Need better table saw

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Forum topic by SergeantSafety posted 02-24-2020 01:46 PM 717 views 0 times favorited 24 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 39 days

02-24-2020 01:46 PM

New member, but have been to the site many times for reading articles, reviews and such.

I have gotten to the point that I want to create better, more accurate projects and am in need of better table saw.

I currently have a Ridgid R4513 and consider it not to be the most reliable for accurate /repeatable cuts. I am considering a used Craftsman model 113.298762 and a Ridgid TS3650. The Craftsman ($150) needs quite a bit of work to include a mitre guage (missing) and new fence. The Ridgid ($300) is in pretty good shape.

Thoughts on your recommendations.

24 replies so far

View smitdog's profile


464 posts in 2781 days

#1 posted 02-24-2020 02:26 PM

Between those two only I’d probably go with the Ridgid for the “close to solid” extension wings and aluminum extrusion style fence. You can do some work to modernize the Craftsman a bit but I think you’d probably be happier in the end with the Ridgid being able to tune it up right away and start working with it. Things to check when looking at it – 1) Take a straight edge and check the flatness of the table. If there are big gaps under the straight edge then walk away, unless it’s an incorrectly installed wing… 2) Make sure the fence clamps square at several different points along the fence and 3) Spin the arbor and motor bearings by hand to see if they are going to need replaced which can be done but would be a bargaining chip to lower the price.

Offer $200-250 for the Ridgid and see if they bite. And don’t wait too long or someone will snatch it before you do :)

-- Jarrett - Mount Vernon, Ohio

View MichaelTT's profile


14 posts in 762 days

#2 posted 02-24-2020 02:40 PM

Not an easy choice…
By the time you have added the miter gauge and fence to the craftsman, it’s probably the same $$ as the Ridgid…

I looked online at pictures of the TS3650, looks to me like it has pretty much the same fence as the R4512. And the fence on the R4512 sucks…
Do a search here on LJ and you will see…
I have a Ridgid r4512, just replaced the stock fence on it with a Vega fence, and it is a day/night difference..

So maybe your best bet would be going with the craftsman, but shelling out the $$ for a
good fence for it…
But I don’t know the craftsman, so I don’t know if it has other issues or drawbacks…

View tvrgeek's profile (online now)


593 posts in 2325 days

#3 posted 02-24-2020 02:51 PM

Get one new enough to have a real riving knife.
A good fence is not cheap ( $250 to sky the limit) . Actually almost as much as a contractor saw. Decent miter gauge is not either. ( I use the Osborn, $140) Not the tiny 6 inch ones they come with for sure. A tool that needs work will cost you as much or more than a new one. IF you can fix it. * Buying used and incomplete is the MOST EXPENSIVE thing to do.

Think if you really want something cheap now and will wind up buying another one later. Contractor saws have minimal at best dust collection, so if you are using it indoors, you need to fabricate an enclosure and still should wear a mask. If you move up to a “hybrid”, it will be enclosed. Part of the cost is a dust collector. Much cheaper than lung cancer and dust is actually more dangerous than the blade. ( SawStop shock and horror stories aside). If in your basement, consider what danger of the super fine dust to the rest of the house occupants.

I have the old version (no knife) of the Ridgid TS3650, Made by Emerson, same as the contemporary Craftsman. It is an excellent saw doing everything I ever asked of it. ( good blades of course, dedicated cross cut and rip a must). I enclosed it into a “hybrid”, run a Jet dust collector with the fine canister, and built a ambient air HEPA recurlator. It has about the worst splitter of any saw ever built. Besides being so far back, it is so far off the table to let thin stock, the kind that does get away from you and kick back, to pass under it. So I make my own dedicated table inserts with fixed slitters. Some have used the MJ splitters, but I did not have good luck. I am considering replacing it with one with a riving knife as it has scared me a couple of times. My fault, but it happens.

Unfortunately, you got to pay to play.

  • Trying to find substitute parts for a defective pulley on an old Delta drill press. Might have one close enough on order. Forum has several stories about not getting repair parts for Delta and others.
View CaptainKlutz's profile


2659 posts in 2170 days

#4 posted 02-24-2020 03:06 PM

Welcome to Lj!

Lots of opinions on TS if you search for answers?

Picking a saw is personal decision as not everyone has same skills, or desire to fix/modify old tools for best performance. You haven’t given enough information for me to comment further.

This blog might be good start to help you?
The ABCs of Table Saws

Best Luck.

-- If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all, - Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign released 1967

View Bill_Steele's profile


677 posts in 2407 days

#5 posted 02-24-2020 03:31 PM

I don’t have experience with either of those saws, but I would probably pick the Ridgid since it seems “ready to go”. It looks like the Ridged has a good review from Wood magazine.

I suspect that in use you will notice a difference between the portable job site saw and a contractor saw. I have an older Jet contractor saw (an old blue JWTS-10) that I’ve been happy with—you might consider that saw if you find a good used one.

As others have stated the rip fence is important. You need one that will consistently lock square (or however you set it up). You want a fence that won’t deflect significantly during use. A good fence purchased separately can cost several hundred dollars.

You want a saw top that ideally is flat and the extension wings are on the same plane as the top. I would think a little dishing is better than a crown.

Most contractor saws have 1.5hp motors so you might consider using a thin kerf blade rather than a full kerf blade—I think it makes a noticeable difference.

In my experience, an aftermarket miter gauge is superior to the factory-supplied gauge. If I were on a tight budget I would skip the miter gauge and build a couple of crosscut sleds. You can make one for 90-degree cuts and another to cut angles—or make a combo.

I would suggest “tuning/adjusting” the saw to ensure that the blade is parallel to the miter slot and the miter slot is parallel to the fence. A dial indicator is a good tool for this.

Good luck.

View ChefHDAN's profile


1554 posts in 3525 days

#6 posted 02-24-2020 03:44 PM

Sarge, welcome to LJ’s,
A TS decision is always a mess here and also one of the most frequent questions. Bottom line it comes down to your budget and what is available in your area. Since you have safety in your handle I assume that it’s important to you. Given you also have Sargent I suspect you also value training to perform a potentially dangerous task. For $250 to $300 you would get a MUCH improved TS from a jobsite saw. I run a Rigid TS3612, (predecessor to the 3650). I bought mine from a display at the big box and the rails were FUBAR, so the tool manager opened a the box on a new 3650 and gave me the fence and rails. I know that the 3650 has a shroud around the blade, (which I wish I had), and it also has a mobile base. I have ZERO problems with the fence, I check it regularly and have only had to do an adjustment once in the past 15 years and that was my fault. With a mobile base and “some” dust collection help… go get your car go to the ATM and go get the Rigid, you’ll be able to get some skills tuning it up and cleaning it up. After that some sled and jig building and you’re on your way. OR, be ready to spend $800 to $1200 to get a gee-whiz all the features new TS, all of the projects on my page are off of my 3612 and I have all of my fingers, closest scare was the dammed miter saw.

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

View Robert's profile


3657 posts in 2156 days

#7 posted 02-24-2020 03:47 PM

I’ve been down your road before. IMO none of those saws will have the accuracy or power you might desire.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View tvrgeek's profile (online now)


593 posts in 2325 days

#8 posted 02-24-2020 04:16 PM

Yes, Ridged fence works fine. It locks on both ends. The splitter and blade guard are so horrible, almost no one runs them. Guard no big deal. I make jigs and sleds, it is the splitter that is why I may sell mine.

Put on a Diablo rip blade and it can walk through 3 inch oak. Swap to a 80 tooth crosscut, smooth as can be. Easy to make inserts. ( I use poly cutting boards) Runs a multi-groove belt so quite smooth. By indexing my blades, I have less than .001 runout at the tips.

As far as holding setup, after moving, having knuckle draggers shove it around, using it on a bare dirt floor and eventually getting it set up,it was still dead on.

I was looking at how the trunion casting was made. It looks like I could take it all apart and mount an old-school splitter to the trunnion. It would not move up and down like a riving knife, but could be half an inch closer to the blade and be flush/below the table so thin stock can’t bypass it before it goes past the end of the table where the OEM one goes down. It would tile where a fixed insert splitter can’t.

FWIW, the Laguna F1 and ShopFox hybrids are a grand. New version of the Ridgid is $800. They won’t cut any better than the Ridgid but better dust collection and a little safer. Add a grand for a SawStop if you don’t think you can remember to keep your fingers away from it. Quite a price to swallow just starting out. I would not mind the price for a SS, or even the cost of a brake and blade if it actually did save me from a serious cut, it is the potential for a sappy bit of wood or anything else that changes the capacitance of the blade every time.

When you pick it up, just remember to not lift buy the fence rails or wings. Lift by the cabinet or main tip only.

Unless you need to move it around, the mobile base just makes it hard to vacuum. Works quite well if you do need to shove it around the garage as I did in my last house.

Curious, with the lifetime warranty ( to original owners) does that mean they will actually stock parts forever? Or will they just say ” that company is gone, tough luck? ” Of all my Ridgid tools, I only had one battery go bad, so don’t know about how they really handle things. Sears selling Craftsman, don’t know if parts could come through there any more either.

View tvrgeek's profile (online now)


593 posts in 2325 days

#9 posted 02-24-2020 04:21 PM

Accuracy is fine, Power?, maybe, Desire? Got me there. I really would like that new F3 or Baileigh, Delta, Powermatic…

View MrUnix's profile


7828 posts in 2875 days

#10 posted 02-24-2020 04:25 PM

The Craftsman is worth $50 to $100 tops IMO, regardless of condition. The Ridgid may be worth $300 if it’s in excellent condition. I would personally pass on both and wait for something better to come along. Do you have 240v available? If not, then you will be limited in your choices.


-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View MichaelTT's profile


14 posts in 762 days

#11 posted 02-24-2020 06:31 PM

Recently bought a used Ridgid 14002 band saw, and needed a part for it…
Found the p/n via internet search, called Ridgid and it was like tvrgeek described :
That machine is out of production, no parts available, tough luck….

Luckliy, I was able to resolve the issue.

View USMCVET's profile


3 posts in 57 days

#12 posted 02-24-2020 08:16 PM

Hey, first time long time!!! I run that exact TS and feel your frustration. Saving my pennies for one of those finger keepers, Saw Stop! Anyways, Good Luck and keep rippin’em!!!! Semper Fi!!!

View tvrgeek's profile (online now)


593 posts in 2325 days

#13 posted 02-24-2020 09:27 PM

Glad you solved it. Lot of tools are generic suppliers. Ridgid and Craftsman were mainly Emerson. There are quite a few third party part suppliers, and a lot of parts are just plan generic. Then again, some are not. Problem is, if a part tended to fail, the spares got used up. I have a suspicion that a lot of the Delta pulleys were bad as that is one of the few parts NLA.

For example, Dayton drill presses seem to be Palmgren
I see the same “hybrid” saw with small external differences at least four places.
I see what looks like the Laguna band saws sold elsewhere for huge money. Seen another band saw under at least four brands. I even think I see the same trunnion used by both Jet and Grizzly.

Recently bought a used Ridgid 14002 band saw, and needed a part for it…
Found the p/n via internet search, called Ridgid and it was like tvrgeek described :
That machine is out of production, no parts available, tough luck….

Luckliy, I was able to resolve the issue.

- MichaelTT

View Phil32's profile


980 posts in 579 days

#14 posted 02-25-2020 11:09 PM

I recently had a situation similar to yours. I had an old Craftsman that needed a new fence & miter gauge, problems I felt competent to correct. As I considered other limits of the saw, I realized it would make more sense to get a new one. My wife made the same argument.

So, I bought a new saw and have been very happy with it. I won’t mention the brand because you should make your decision based on your own needs and preferences. I support your decision to choose something new or different.

-- Phil Allin - There are mountain climbers and people who talk about climbing mountains. The climbers have "selfies" at the summit!

View JCamp's profile


1073 posts in 1226 days

#15 posted 02-25-2020 11:35 PM

Welcome to LJs.
As a proud owner of a craftsman 113 they are nice reliable saws…. that hav a fence that leaves a lot to b desired. If I was in ur shoes I’d buy the ridged. A good fence for the craftsman is gonna b the same price as the whole ridged saw.
Let us know how it turns out for ya

-- Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might

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