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Posted on Ridgid R4512 vs. Steel City 35990C

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lumberjoe

2847 posts in 971 days


#1 posted 02-11-2013 07:09 PM

I went with the rigid because of the price. There is only one thing I am not happy with and that is the fence. There is no benefit to the steel city here because that also has a 2 piece fence system (more on that below)

You will likely get a lot people telling you the Steel City is the one to go with because it has
A – more cast iron
B – cabinet mounted trunions (vs table mounted trunions)

That was a large consideration for me at first, but in reality I haven’t ever thought to myself “man, I wish I had more cast iron”. The Steel wings on the R4512 are plenty sturdy and flat to the cast iron (if you take the time to assemble it correctly)
There have been trunion issues with some of the older R4512’s. I won’t elaborate because it has been well documented. With that said, newer models do not seem to be affected at all. I find both height and angle adjustments to be true and consistent once aligned properly. I use my saw daily.

Like I mentioned, on paper the Steel City is the better saw. In real world applications, I haven’t found the lack of cast iron or the table mounted trunions have had any effect on the quality of cuts I make with the saw, or my ability to make any cut I want to. Once set up properly, it’s as good as an under-powered hybrid saw gets. The fence rails can be an issue though – but it will be on the steel city as well. This is not a showstopper. There are plenty of aftermarket fences available. Some require some tweaking (Delta T2, vega pro), and some bolt right up but cost more than the saw (Incra LS-TS – but that would be an upgrade on any saw you were to buy).

Unless you are going to go with a 3hp full cabinet saw, I really cannot justify the price difference between the R4512 and the other contractor saw/hybrids like Rikon, steel city, Jet, and Grizzly. In addition, I think the R4512 is superior to other similarly priced saws. The Craftsman clone is usually $100 more and not eligible for the LSA, and the Porter cable has a LOT of plastic where you would expect metal to be.

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