After the first year of use, how does the TS-3650 hold up?
It has been roughly a year since I got my RIGID TS-3650. I am confident that I have put enough lumber through this saw to justify a review. So, without further delay...
The table is cast iron, with cast iron wings. It was very easy to
setup and level. With a few coats of Johnson's paste wax the table has
provided a smooth sliding surface. The miter slots are standard width
and depth allowing the addition of common table saw add ons, such as:
upgraded miter gauge, mortising jig, etc. The fence system is extruded
aluminum and works very well. The rip fence has a slot to allow for
securing a sacrificial fence. The paint has been durable, even after
dropping a couple of legs during setup. The built-in Hercu-Lift
system, while not easy to setup, allows one person to easily move the
saw from one side of the garage to the other. The saw comes with a shroud surround the lower portion of the blade. This shroud leads to a 2 1/4" dust collection port, which allows for easy hook up to a shop vacuum.
The controls on the TS-3650 are very nice. The height adjustment and angle adjustment knobs are easy to use and have locking mechanisms to ensure an errant knee won't move them during a cut. The rip fence locking mechanism is quite nice too, not to mention magnifying strips on the fence to help read the tape strip. The on/off switch comes with a lockout key, which is a good feature to ensure someone can't start the table saw without you there. The on/off switch can be mounted in a number of places, I put mine on the right hand side where I can push it with my hip to turn off the saw.
The construction of the saw is very solid. Cast iron trunnions, a cast iron top and cast iron wings. The body and legs are made from sheet steel. Occasionally you'll see folks on some forums complain about "wobble" with the TS-3650, especially with store display models. I have to say, I have seen this with the display models, but the wobble is because of poor setup. The store I bought my saw from had a display model that was rock solid. Obviously, the person that set it up read the instructions. My TS-3650 does not wobble, even when sliding a heavy workbench top across it.
The first thing I did when I got my saw was rip hard maple. I had around 30 boards between 4" and 9" wide, and 6' long that needed to be ripped down to 3" wide. Doing some quick math I figure I ripped a few hundred linear feet of 4/4 hard maple. In my review of the setup I covered aligning the fence to the miter slots and blade. The lumber was S2S R1S so I had a referenced edge to place against the fence. The saw powered right through all of it with no trouble. Only on the most highly figured maple, which there were a few boards, were there any burn marks from the blade and those marks were brown not burned black.
I have also ripped a few pieces of 12/4 walnut. The saw didn't bog down one bit. I did slow the feed rate down somewhat, but that was for the benefit of safety not because I thought the saw couldn't handle it. The walnut came off the saw with no burns and a surface almost smooth enough to glue.
For honorable mention, I have ripped poplar and pine with no problems.
I have cross cut all of the woods that I have ripped. I even cross cut the top of my workbench. Yeah, my workbench. While it was difficult to get the bench on the saw, the saw powered through with no problems. I did have some burn marks but those were my fault. It's difficult to push a 3" x 22" x 6' piece of stock evenly. The saw never bogged or gave hesitation. The second cut was as clean as the first, and there were fewer burn marks as I figured out how to guide the piece better.
The stock RIGID blade that came with the saw has been great. I have to admit, I was worried that I would immediately have to upgrade the blade, but I've become a believer in the RIGID blade. The 40 tooth combination blade has done a wonderful job ripping. The ripped edge is smooth and almost ready for glue. Cross-cutting has been a breeze with little to no burn even on the thickest maple and walnut I've put across it. I have also put a lot of MDF across this blade. I have had no problems with the blade handling MDF.
The fence on this saw is quite good. Now, this is my first table saw. I've not used a Beis or Incra fence system, so my point of reference may be skewed. One reason I bought this saw is that all of the reviews I read stated the RIGID fence is good and I didn't want to shell out another $200 or more for a fence. I haven't run into a situation where the stock rip fence was inadequate. The rip fence has stayed accurate and in line with the blade. It stays tight, and doesn't move.
The miter gauge on this thing sucks. It's the typical cheap-o miter gauge. My plan is to upgrade to an Incra 1000SE or something. Currently I'm supplementing the miter gauge with a piece of hard maple. When that doesn't work I use a panel cutting jig I made using a design I saw on The New Yankee Workshop.
The dust collection on this saw has been quite good. When I bought the saw I also bought the RIGID 14 gallon vacuum. The vac hooked right to the dust collection port out of the box. I wish the blade guard had a dust collection port as well. I think with dust collection above and below the table, even MDF dust would no match. While the under table shroud catches most of the dust, there is some that escapes above the table. This is a contractor saw, so the base is not enclosed. Because of this there is some dust that escapes below, but it is minimal. Overall, I am pleased with the dust collection on the TS-3650.
The TS-3650 is one of the few contractor style saws that comes with a splitter, blade guard and anti-kickback pawls. All three of these devices are integrated into one unit that is easily removable. I would rather have a true riving knife that rises and falls with the blade, but the splitter is better than nothing. So far, I have been lucky not to have kickback, but I have tested the pawls, with the saw off, and they definitely will only allow one way travel. The blade guard doesn't get in my way. I use it for almost all of my cuts. The only time it would need to be removed is like in the pictures above, where it would inhibit cutting thick lumber.
Would I buy this saw again? You bet. I'm a novice woodworker, and on a budget. I picked up my TS-3650 by signing up for a Home Depot card and getting 10% off with 1 year no interest. Would I rather have a Saw Stop? You bet. But it would be hard to justify $3k or even $1k for a cabinet saw for a hobby. At least for me, at least right now. All in all, I'm glad I spent the extra money for this saw rather than the similar Delta or Jet. I don't have to upgrade the fence, and the warranty is one of the best in the business. I'm extremely happy with this saw and I would not hesitate to suggest it to another woodworker.
Here is where you can find out more information on the RIGID TS-3650
These are the forums that I scoured for information on the TS-3650. Everyone that I ran across on these forums have been helpful.
Feel free to email me with any of the above.
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