Lorax----yea---didn't make sense to me. But, they really should come out with a dado insert.
m00n---you might find it helpful to do some reading on the subject. Kelly Mehler's Table Saw book has some great reading on different table saws, features, etc. Also, American Woodworker did a fine, two part article on buying a table saw---check their web site.
There are basic reasons/advantages to a number of saw features, that really have little or nothing to do with how often you'd be using the saw. For example---a good fence is a must for both accurate cuts as well as safety. A fence that doesn't say aligned, toed in towards the blade, will give you a poor cut and could kick the wood back.
But, in starting out---a good table saw is going to be the center of your shop for many years to come, so don't limit your thinking to just now. Besides, believe me---commercial shops generally don't use contractors' saws as much as you would find cabinet saws at more that a thousand buck more than the saws discussed. Good luck.
Hi m00n - When comparing tools, it's good to make a list of advantages and disadvantages, then decide why you should buy one or the other. At this price range most of the saws available are "good", and most will do what they're supposed to do. But since they all work I like knowing I bought the "best" I could afford.
The new Ridgid is $597 which puts it at even money with the new Grizzly and close to the GI. The Griz has what appears to be a better fence, stronger motor, and an adjustable cast iron miter. Neither the Griz or the 3650 have much track history yet. I'm concerned about the metallurgy and design of the trunnions on the 3650. They're die-cast zinc which is not a particularly strong metal...most are cast iron. The entire trunnion design deviates from a well proven standard design that is well proven. The design could turn out to be better, but at this time we don't know....the choice of metals gives me a hint of the importance they placed on the trunnions....(most people won't notice right?) They're still working out bugs in the 3650... motor vibration caused by bent fans and leg flex are the two most reported. The Ridgid warranty is good, but the customer service has had alot of mixed reviews lately. The Herculift mobile base is nice, but I'd rather see a Biese clone fence in it's place.... I can build a mobile base for $20 in under an hour...an aftermarket caliber fence is alot harder to duplicate. The 36" rip is a plus, but longer rails are not an option....again I'd rather see a better fence in it's place with the option of 52" rip and a long extension table. On the 3650 the fence tightens from both ends which holds nicely, but is more difficult to get squared and can be tightened in an out of square position....not so with the more repeatable t-fence design like the Biese. A good t-fence will only move about 1/64" at the end with about 20# lateral pressure...a good trade off for the repeatability and ruggedness of the steel rails and fence tube. Also, what's with the plastic handle of the Ridgid fence? One good bump on a cold day....makes me shudder.
Also as Dave pointed out the General Intl GI 50-185 is only $53 more than the Ridgid and I believe it's alot more saw - Biese fence, 2hp motor, solid cast iron wings, cast iron miter gauge with track adjustments to take up any slop, metal handwheels, cast throat plate, dado insert, dust pan, accessory racks, solid well proven saw. It's much more comparable to a PM64a, or top of the line Delta or Jet than the Ridgid is.
So to any that have the 3650 and like it....great. I don't want to start anything... It's a fine saw and should serve you well, and if you got it on sale you bought it right. But for those who are shopping, if the Ridgid's not on sale, there are a couple that IMHO are "better" choices....one of which is a proven "best" according to Finewoodworking's 2004 "Tools and Shops" issue.
The important thing is to get the one you like that'll suit your needs. Kick the tires, do as much research as you can, and you'll most likely make the best choice.
Ridgid has changed the mitre slots on the 3650 they are standard v groove now. I agree the fence is a good fence, it is not top of the line. It is alum not steel. The saw vac system does not need to be a cabinet, Ridgid has enclosed the pick up system without enclosing the cabinet. No one on this site I know of who owns one complains about it. It is a good deal for what you get. I build mostly furniture and have had no problems with it.
Don't shortsell yourself b/c you don't have a full fledged shop. My first TS was a hand me down craftsman lucky for me. B/c using it, I found out what I didn't want in a saw and what I really needed. I started in the 500 dollar price range below ridgid, was considering the ridgid but took about 4 - 5 months researching saws. Visiting stores, getting a feel for what everything offered, reading reviews on amazon. etc etc.
Best advice I got on tablesaws was to get the most you can afford. didn't understand it at first, but if you buy a good saw, it will last your lifetime. I'm only 30 so didn't mind upping my budget a bit. I figured I didn't want to have to replace my saw as I outgrew it. Or have to spend another 300 dollars to upgrade the fence later. I got the powermatic 64A with 50" Bies fence / Cast iron table. Like goin from a kia sophia to a lexus. And It'll feel that way every time I use it over the next 30 years. ;)
Question I asked myself is this. "If I had to choose a car and I was going to be driving that car for the rest of my life and NONE of my options would ever break down in any way. What would it be. Well, I'm not a rolls roycer, but I'd much rather buy a lexus for lifetime car than a hyundai."
Okay - some more comments I suppose.
The fence is very solid and accurate - but not as solid "feeling" as Bies. Nobody ever claimed it to be - but nobody as yet has said a negative word either.Certainly not me.
The leg flex-not here in any I have used. Maybe it true it has occured to someone - I cannot attest nor seen it.
Motor-solid. Powerful. Lifetime warranty vs General. General has a bit more umpppph but never heard anyone complain on Rigid unless ripping 8/4 or thicker. Then slow it down a tad - problem solved.
Screws - I heard comment(s) from 2 individuals. Not many considering number of machines out there.
Yes-new model. Not much in way of accessories yet but that's to be expected. It's not difficult to make inserts as we all know. No company will "pre" manufacture items until they see market for them - it's ridiculous to expect it. They coming as sales have very good.
While I have several mobile bases that are HM - give me a Herc-Lift anytime. It's a nice feature and costs $50-80 to duplicate with aftermarket universal base.
I personally starting to actually favor the semi-open wing design. Allows me easy setup for some jigs, etc - I was always of "old school" in belief that solid was the "only" way to go. I see many pros - only negative is weight is less but no vibrations here so moot point to me.
On to negatives - cost is within general (no pun intended) striking distance of General_dave's states in $50 range, I think actually more like $80 here currently plus shipping if required (not cheap)and w/o a mobile base if wanted/needed. And it is the same as Bridgewood and some others I guess I will not cover as I am not really qualified having not used. On sale with the 20% off I personally think it was/is best buy out there.
At full retail I have do have a different opinion -I look to the General, maybe the Bridgewood (but distributers and warranty negative IMO) and I suspect without any reservations on the "new model" Grizz will be an excellent one - the company has been putting out, in the mainline products, some excellent tools. The z delivered will $600 so there is Rigid pricing(retail).
The game changes above $700 - really like the PM64 and the DW hybrid is nice too - we talking nearing the $900-1000 range and up loaded with bigger rails, etc so while I like them and feel they wonderful top line items-we also at an entry level, nicely equipped cabinet saw. Like the 1023 from Grizzly (currently $890 at your doorstep). I'll take the Grizz anyday or night or a contractor saw in blink of an eye.
I did not even touch on the Delta models - I have somewhat become disillusioned with them unless you really talking the Uni :D - they good but no longer the "great" contractor saw they were I feel and hear from many who own that I know - but a great buy if you can locate a quality used older vintage model.
Confusing topic - you somewhat "upped" the threshold when you stated making furniture at future point. That's only reason I tossed the last items out at you.
Okay - IMO you will be happy with everyone listed above. It goes from good or very good to great without breaking the bank.
Some stated above and it is important - see and feel them, try if you are able to somewhere. It may be harder to do this say with a Grizzly or Bridgewood but if you not near an outlet ask the company if they can provide a name of customer or ask here or on other forums - we all love to show off our messy shops and ***** or praise about the tools we have. ;)
It's going to be your saw and that is only factor that should decide in the end. What feels great and solid to me may feel totally different to you.
Best of luck in this - unless you are delivered a defective one (they are discussed when it does happen as we all realize. Happy it's rare thing!) I think you'll find it very hard to find anything to complain about regardless of choice made.
I see I did not answer your question - shame on me. "is it generally a good buy?" The answer remains - yes
And yes - a router can do those cuts and often times much better at that.
[ 01-21-2004, 10:59 AM: Message edited by: ChipMaker ]
Thank you guys for all your input. I will go to my local woodcrafters store and see what they have on display. I am still debating slightly to upgrading my options higher than this saw by looking at the dewalt hybrid. However, someone mentioned that with the dewalt, you are paying a bit more for the name. At the same time, i am not sure I want to move all the way up to the $900.00 range either... I know how important good quality tools are, but I have to draw the line some place. [img]smile.gif[/img]
m00n - you don't have to go all that way to get a good saw. As many have stated - many out there that will do job and you actually get to return home with some cash in wallet.
You will find that the DW is a bank breakers too.
General may be a great solution - it's a much beloved machine by all who own it.
m00n - just got back from quick run to HD to grab some screws and talked to guy I been doing business with for long time there. He's been told they having another tool sale coming up - was unsure exact dates or amount of discount involved at this point but they are expecting large shipments of things and they have to make room for things which just thrilled him of course :(
If time is not critical it may be worth waiting another week or 2 and see what happens there. 20% off it _ if happened again _ would be great. Even better if it happens before end of month with longer warranty.
He was dead on in December sale and gave me a heads up few times before so I do have some faith in what he says.
Anyway - wanted to toss this at you FWIT
Cranky, thank's so much for the tip!!! Time is not too important. Just that if I do choose this saw i would like to get the lifetime warrante with it is all. :cool:
Just a FYI, I just spoke to someone at woodcraft, he informed me that they will be having an anual 10% discount on all times I think he said Feb/29th? Something like that.
Soooo... I am doing some diggine around the forum here and I am reading some posts down in the Tips and Techniques area.
I must confess that I am a bit curious about the strength of the legs. Not saying that is would happen but, what comes to mind is trying to make a cut with a bit sheet of plywood, something heavy and the legs twist and buckel... That just says disaster to me. Am I being a little too dramatic here or is this a possibility?
Also as far as the motor is concerned, how do I tell if it has issues. Not having the experiance that some of you have puts me at a read dissadvantage to finding these types of issues. :(
[ 01-21-2004, 06:32 PM: Message edited by: m00n ]