Delta vs Ridgid vs General International


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I'm looking to buy a contractor-style saw. I need something that can run on a 110V 20A circuit in my basement. Portability, provisions for dust control, and a 30 inch capacity fence (with T slots) are important. I'd prefer a left tilt. I'm planning to hang a router from the saw. Since I'd rather not buy a separate router fence, I'll likely need to attach a sacrificial face to at least one side of the saw fence.
I want to purchase locally, so options are a bit limited. I've narrowed the field to three - General International 50-185, Ridgid 3650, and Delta 36-461. The GI is available for CDN$850. The Ridgid WAS CDN$800 but is now CDN$900. The Delta is available from the House of Tools for CDN$760 (see http://www.houseoftools.com/product.htm?pid@9669 ).
The only shortcoming I can find with the GI is the baby Biesmeyer fence. It's solid and all that, but I'd like it better if the fence faces could be easily replaced. The notion of sliding a box over the top of the fence doesn't appeal to me.
As for the Ridgid, although I like the built-in lift, the T slots in the fence, and the dust collection setup, I'm not impressed by the motor mount design. When the belt is under tension, it looks to me like the motor pulley lifts and the motor is tilted. The metal Emerson picked for the cabinet and legs also seems thin and flexible.
Although the Delta 461 has a Unifence, I get the impression that this fence would do better on a stationary saw. I can see myself having to tweak this puppy every time the saw is moved - especially if I build a wooden router table and use the supplied table legs. I'm also NOT impressed by the plastic hand cranks, the fixed rubber feet, the dust "collection" tray, and especially the pressed steel left wing. Throwing on a proper CI wing would cost me an extra CDN$80 to CDN$200. Like most Delta saws, the 461 is a right tilt.
I've used Delta saws before, so I'd like to lean in that direction. On the other hand, everyone I talk to raves about the GI. I'm thinking of passing over the 3650 simply because it's not on sale and it doesn't have much of a track record.
Can anyone please help me make up my mind?
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I've got the GI 50-185. Decent saw, and I think the fence faces are as replaceable as anything else. They're just some sort of laminate covered material, AFAIK. I'll probably do the "box over the fence" thing when it comes to that, or else drill some holes in the existing fence, mount some t-nuts on it, and affix the sacrificial fence to that.
In any case, if it was me, and I was doing it again, I'd probably be looking at the GI 50-220. Little bit more money, but it's one of the newer hybrid saw. The big advantages I see with this design are 1) enclosed motor means nothing hanging out the back (taking up a bunch of extra room), and 2) better dust control (because the base is enclosed).
Here's the link to the HOT item: http://www.houseoftools.com/product.htm?pidC3415 . Don't get me wrong, I'm happy with my saw, but I think I really don't like the motor hanging out the back of mine. Dust control isn't as big of an issue with me, but being able to push it flat against the wall of my garage/shop would be sweet. Hmmm, looking at the pictures, I'm not sure if I like the fence on the 50-220 as much as my fence, however. But Delta also has a hybrid saw, I think.
Clint

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Clint:
The CDN$979 General 50-220 has their basic aluminum fence. The 50-220C has their 30" capacity baby Biesemeyer fence. The 220C would set me back CDN$1100 (see
http://www.general.ca/images/circulaire/an/P.2ANG.CAN.gif ). Doubt that the 220 would run on 20A at 110V. Also doubt I could sneek it downstairs without the wife noticing...
HoT also has an entry-level Delta cabinet saw - the 36-655 for CDN$900 (see http://www.houseoftools.com/product.htm?pid 1668). It would run fine on a 20A curcuit, but I don't care for the fence. Marson has a 36-655 w/o a fence, but they're asking CDN$950 for it.
Apparently the 36-717 is Delta's newest "hybrid" saw. According to FCB Machinery, the 36-717 isn't available in Canada - and according to Sears Canada, neither is the similarly built Craftsman 22124.
Bruce
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Bruce,
I'd still do what I can (save up for another month or two, whatever) to get one of the entry level cabinet/hybrid saws, especially if dust control is important to you. When you're getting up to the prices of these saws, I'm assuming you're planning on buying it once, and it will last you for quite a few years. An extra $200 now could work out to $10/year, or less than $1/month for the life of the saw. See what kind of mileage you get with SWMBO with that theory. :)
Also, check out this forum: http://www.workshopbuzz.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t318 . It's set up by one of the Canadian wood-working magazines. They've had discussions about a King hybrid/cabinet saw as well, which would only be available in Canada, and a Craftex (Busy Bee, similar to Grizzly) cabinet saw.
This thread (http://www.workshopbuzz.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t197 ) talks about a bunch of those saws as well, and mentions a Delta 36-656 saw which is the 36-655 saw with a Bies fence.
And according to a number of posters, the Craftsman 22124 was at a recent Canadian wood-working show, and Sears Canada is bringing them in, but the price is probably going to be closer to $1200 than $1000.
Anyway, have fun with your purchase! Like I said, I'm happy with my GI 50-185. I just wish the footprint wasn't as awkward, and I suspect any contractor saw would be the same. The dust collection will also be a kludge on any of them, due to the open back (and the belts running through where a back wall would be).
Clint

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Clint:
Thanks for the pointer to the Workshop Buzz. I had no idea that the Craftsman 22104/22114/22124 and the Delta 36-715/716/717 are finally available in Canada. Woodcraft has a good article on these units at http://www.woodcraftmagazine.com/articles/article.aspx?id=6&page=1
I called my local Delta dealer today about the 36-716 (it's the one with the 30" Unifence). Although the 36-717 was apparently available at the show you mentioned for a mere CDN$1026, he said the best he could do now on a 36-716 is CDN$1279. Yikes!
This weekend, the B&D purchase of Delta becomes reality. I'm hoping this acquisition results in better deals on Delta products. During the last year, it seems Delta has been preoccupied with corporate restructuring, and has neglected the marketplace. Delta didn't have much of a presence at our local woodworking show last fall, and I read somewhere that General is now outselling Delta six to one!
Bruce
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Bruce,
I've got the GI 185, and have been quite happy with it. Setup was MOSTLY smooth, though the documentation is really bad. I did have to enlarge two of the pre-drilled holes in the front edge of the table top when I was installing the front rail (I got the 52" rails), because the holes didn't line-up quite right; the holes in the front "L"-rail and all the holes in the two CI wings matched dead-on, but a couple in the CI top were just slightly ... low or high, can't remember.
I'm not squeezed for space, so the motor out the back is not an issue for me in that regard. Dust collection HAS jumped to the top of my priority list, however. While I've "sealed up" the back (cardbord template taped into place) I just use my shop vac for dust collection at the moment; woefully inadequate.
If the larger footprint caused by the motor out the back is workable for you, I'd say stick w/ this pricepoint on the table saw and spend that $200 Clint suggested (for a hybrid upgrade) instead on a DC system.
My 0.02 USD.
-Chris
snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

CDN$900
run
FCB
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I think my solution for the two issues is going to be to make a outfeed table, made of two parts. The first part will be fixed in place, and will consist of a box that encloses the motor, as well as a top. Then there will be a folding portion that will be hinged off the fixed part, allowing the table to be expanded as required. I saw something similiar in FWW for the fixed/folding part, but I don't think they did the box around the motor thing.
By enclosing the motor in a box, it means that there's not problem with tilting or raising/lowering the blade, and dust collection should be easily managed, since there will be minimal holes.
Clint
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I like the idea, and definitely see the upside with the freedom of tilt.
BUT, do you think there's any issue w/ potential over-heating and/or dust infusion to the motor? (though, the 185 has a TEFC, yes? ... I can't recall at the moment...)
-Chris
Clint wrote:

with
easily
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I probably wouldn't do it unless I had some form of dust collection going (besides my broom, that is). I figure that should keep enough air circulating to keep things cool. I've heard comments before that if a table saw is sealed up too tightly, the dust collection becomes an issue because there's not enough air flow in the pipes to get the dust from point A to point B, so some people had to drill holes in places. Table saw inserts would be one place, but around the motor might be an idea as well.
Clint

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I am also in the market for a new tablesaw, as a result I am following this thread quite close( I am currently leaning towards the GI 50-185). After following the link to the House Of Tools that you had included in your original post I noticed another brand of saw that I am not familiar with, Canwood. Is anyone out there familiar with this brand? If so, how do they compare with the others.
TIA Doug.
ews: snipped-for-privacy@posting.google.com...

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They're a house brand for House Of Tools. Check out the forum links I posted earlier in the thread; there's a number of conversations on this brand in there, and you can start your own thread to answer specific questions if you like.
King is another brand you can check out in Canada.
Clint

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I've seen the Canwood brand advertised but don't have any experience with it. My opinion of the brand from the ads I've seen lead me to believe it is a cheaper clone line of tools. Not the worst of the bunch, but not the highest quality either. It's been on the market for some time and hasn't become really popular that I know of. If it was a really good brand, I'd expect that it would have gained a little more Canadian market share that it has done so far. Either that or its sales teams are not very good.
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I've looked at both King and Canwood. Aside from the fence, parts look similar (if not identical) to those used by General International. Although they are less expensive than a similarly configured GI, they have fences that are no doubt inferior to the General "T" fence. I considered ordering a King w/o a fence, but was told I'd only save myself CDN$45 (yet the fence is apparently sold separate for CDN$145).
In the case of King, availability is also an issue. Our local Home Building Center retails King, but since they sell so few units they can't afford to ship in a specific model from Montreal.
AFAIK, Canwood is only available through House of Tools. I haven't looked closely at Canwood since the staff at HoT don't seem overly fond of them.
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Thanx for all of your input. You have been a huge help. I knew I've been hangin' out in this NG for a reason.

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A Home Depot Pro Sales Associate called me this morning to let me know the 3650 was back down to CDN$800. I swung by on the way to work and handed over the plastic.
I also found a "reconditioned" 50-175 at a local industrial equipment dealter. I could have picked it up for $700, but didn't. After my benchtop saw hurled a few pieces of spruce across the basement yesterday, I decided a left-tilt was in my future.
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===========Can't say I blame you....BUT what type of cut were you making on the spruce? Bob G
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