All Replies on Ridgid R4512 Fine Tuning

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Ridgid R4512 Fine Tuning

by blackspring
posted 12-22-2011 07:23 PM

23 replies so far

View Lifesaver2000's profile


551 posts in 3135 days

#1 posted 12-22-2011 07:38 PM

I have a procedure I use for this type of thing. It works for me and is pretty simple. Someone else may have an easier way to do it so I’ll be watching.

First of all, what I would do would be lock the fence down at any convenient location on the saw. Next, assuming the far end of the fence is 1/16 inch farther from the blade, I would then clamp a long, straight board firmly against the back of the fence.

Next, loosen the adjustment screws, and place any convenient, appropriately sized shim between the clamped board and the fence. A stack of paper works well. Then, hold the fence firmly against the clamped board and tighten the adjustment screws on the fence.

I use this procedure frequently to fine tune stop blocks, and most recently to get the fence on my panel cutting jig fine tuned. It eliminates a lot of the error of trying to eyeball or hold something where you want it.

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 2994 days

#2 posted 12-22-2011 08:01 PM

I would only add that the very first thing to align, before you worry about the fence, is the saw blade absolutely must be aligned with the miter slot.

And, the only way to do that is to get inside the back of the cabinet and adjust the arbor assembly where it is bolted to the bottom of the table. There are some small set screws on top of the table that also help to lock the arbor assembly in place.

Also, this particuar saw has a hard time staying in alignment when the blade is at different heights. And you can’t adjust squat when the arbor is in it’s fully raised position.

View blackspring's profile


36 posts in 2384 days

#3 posted 12-22-2011 08:33 PM

Thanks LS. I’ll try clamping a board down with a shim.
The frustrating bit was when I loosened the screws off, and clamped it down, my measurements were spot-on. I tightened things up again, but when I released the clamp it was out.

The shim method may work. I’m wondering too if a small shim/bit of cardboard may help if I stick it in the assembly where the fence attaches to the slide on the front of the saw. Not sure if you have the same saw, but the 4 allen heads attach to the sliding bit – maybe a shim in there, top left would insure it stays put….I guess you have to spend 1K or more to get a saw that’s dialed in perfectly.


View blackspring's profile


36 posts in 2384 days

#4 posted 12-22-2011 09:01 PM

Thanks Crank -
That’s frustrating. In hindsight I’d have saved a few more bucks for a professional saw. I thought this was it, and it is like night and day compared to el cheapo I was running for years.

I checked the blade as you said, last night and it too is out of parallel to the miter slot. I just checked my purchase date and I still have 60 days to return. Don’t get me wrong – I understand any saw will need to be dialed in regardless of price, but if I can’t get this thing square, that’s a serious deficiency. Especially if, as you say, the saw goes out of alignment with the simple changing of blade height.

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4948 posts in 3983 days

#5 posted 12-22-2011 09:12 PM

Just a point.
I set my fence about 1/32” away from the back of the left miter groove (left side of the blade) to give me some protection from binding and potential kickback. Just a note…...I ALWAYS use the splitter and guard unless cutting dados.
Fine tuning takes some time, but some saws just won’t tune well.


View blackspring's profile


36 posts in 2384 days

#6 posted 12-22-2011 09:17 PM

Hey Bill – Thanks for your comment.

I’m completely green with this. If you set the fence 1/32 out on one end, does this not affect your cut?

I’ve been running the saw with the riving knife (except of course with dados) but no guard. I’ve been re-thinking this for safety and dust reasons (likely another thread topic that’s been discussed to death ;).


View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 2994 days

#7 posted 12-22-2011 09:26 PM

Please don’t take it wrong. I’m not out to put anybody’s equipment down. I bought the same saw about 20 months ago, from Sears. Mine is the Craftsman version, Model 21833, that’s made in the same factory from the same design drawings by the same workers, but painted red and silver instead of orange. I think I paid $409 for mine and close to $450 with Tennessee tax. I have made a lot of stuff on it in that time and have learned to live with its quirks, but I wish I had held out for a better machine as well.

One other point, when you get the blade alligned with the miter slot, then recheck the fence. You actually want the fence to be very slightly skewed away from the rear of the blade, no more than .015” or about 1/64”, to prevent binding. I’ve heard people say no more than .002” out, but I wonder what type of wood they work with. I think a board would grow more than .002” from the heat of cutting.

OOPS! I see Bill beat me to the point.

I see you asked if the skewed fence would not affect the cut. I suppose it could technically, but not from a practical standpoint. Really, only the part in front of the blade should have an effect. In a perfect world I guess the fence could be split with the back half stepped over a little while the front stayed perfectly parallel to the blade. But most folks just skew the whole thing slightly.

View blackspring's profile


36 posts in 2384 days

#8 posted 12-22-2011 09:37 PM

Geez – now you’ve got me thinking. HD said they’d take the saw back sans-box, as is, as long as I’m within my 90 days. I don’t want to give up on it, so I’ll try to dial it in some more and see how it shores up.

I’ve spent a lot of money in the past on cheap tools to just ‘get the job done’, but have learned you get what you pay for most of the time. These tools are slowly being replaced. I may just be loading this up into the trailer and hitting the forums here for ‘table saw reviews’ ;). Thanks again for your feedback.

View blackspring's profile


36 posts in 2384 days

#9 posted 12-23-2011 05:47 AM

Hey fellas -
Just thought I’d post a progress report. Canadian Tire has a sale on right now, so I picked up a digital caliper – something I’ve wanted for a while and this was a good excuse to buy one – reg $40 on for half price.

Anyway – I’ve spent the past 3 hours fine tuning things on the saw and took Lifesaver’s advice and shimmed the back of the fence. I put a 3/4” piece of hardboard in the miter gauge slot and then clamped the fence to it with a shim at the back. Tightened everything up and measured with the digital gauge. The difference between the front and rear is .064” which I think is pretty good, compared to what it was. Measuring from an arbitrary fence position to the miter slot, the front reads 5.774” and the rear, 5.789 – I can live with that!

I then got the saw blade adjusted..the difference from the front and back of the blade to the miter slot edge is .027” again, I think this is pretty good.

Thanks for all the feedback here.

Mr White – I put the anti-kickback pawls and blade guard on too… going to force myself to build good habits ;)

View jeff's profile


1081 posts in 3488 days

#10 posted 12-23-2011 06:38 AM

sounds like your new saw is now working out for you.i too have the rigid 4512 and its my first.i also had to spend some time with adjustments.i had some frustrating moments but the owners manuel and reviews here on LJ’s was very helpful.i have been using it for several months now and it has remained accurate.Jeff

-- Jeff,Tucson,Az.

View blackspring's profile


36 posts in 2384 days

#11 posted 12-24-2011 04:12 AM

Good to hear Jeff. Did you end up making your own zero clearance inserts or buy the one from LeeCraft?
One crazy thing in the manual was the reference to putting the blade ‘washer’ on backwards! I read it 3 times and thought it had to be a mistake….I think they should revise the manual a bit!

View jeff's profile


1081 posts in 3488 days

#12 posted 12-24-2011 11:26 AM

blackspring, i have not attempted to make a ZCI yet but want to try.yes i agree the owners manual could use a slight revision. jeff.

-- Jeff,Tucson,Az.

View phomer's profile


5 posts in 1976 days

#13 posted 01-19-2013 08:27 PM

I was just trying to put the riving knife back on my saw and the release lever will not lock down on it.
Any ideas of what may be wrong?

-- David Gardner, Natchitoches, LA

View bbasiaga's profile


1234 posts in 2018 days

#14 posted 01-19-2013 08:47 PM

I have the saw one step down from this one. Its the 4510, a portable/contractor. Coming from my skill saw with straight guide its excellent. And it folds up so i can fit it in my garage. I think it has the same fence as yours. I noticed mine jumped in and out of square when clamped down until I got the tension just right on the clamp mechanism. Under tightened and it would slip around. Over and it seemed to cant one way.


-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

View daviddoria's profile


67 posts in 1961 days

#15 posted 02-03-2013 04:36 PM

crank49 – Do you suggest loosening the set screws that go through the top of the table before adjusting the blade alignment?



View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 2994 days

#16 posted 02-03-2013 04:56 PM

Yes, the set screws have to be loosened. I prefer to keep one corner snug and adjust every thing else around that point.

View daviddoria's profile


67 posts in 1961 days

#17 posted 02-03-2013 05:29 PM

I just looked at the set screws, and the one to the right of the blade is not touching anything – I literally screwed it all the way through the table so it fell to the floor. Does that sound suspicious to you? The left one is touching something, so I’ll back it out and then try to align to the miter slot again.

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 2994 days

#18 posted 02-03-2013 08:29 PM

Hold on. Stop the presses.
I just looked at the online manual to see why you would not have anything below the right hand screw.
They have a pretty fair manual now. When I got my saw the manual was crap.

Those two screws are for adjusting the 90 degree stop (left screw) and the 45 degree stop (right screw).
It was just coincidence that I could not get my trunions to move untill I backed the left screw out.I never moved the right hand screw, thinking I’d leave a point to pivot around.

Put your screw back in and tilt the blade to 45 degrees and then run the screw in till it touches the tilting arbor mount which should be below it with the blade tilted. Then crank the blade back to 90 degrees and run the left screw in till it touches the arbor mount.

For what it’s worth, I would still leave one of the 4 trunion mount screws snug and try to adjust the mount around that one point. It’s not easy to move. I had to take a 2 lb shop hammer and a block of oak to mine. Put the wood block on the trunion casting and tap the block with the hammer. You don’t want to hit the trunion directly with a hammer as it could break.

Carefully tighten the bolts back up. Mine wants to move as I tighten the bolts. Try to resist this.

View jonwright's profile


68 posts in 1960 days

#19 posted 02-05-2013 04:47 AM

I bought this saw the other day and I’m about ready to return it for a nicer saw….I’ve been lurking for quite a while and I thought this would be a good saw with the small amount of research I did. Now that I know it’s basically the same as so many other saws out there and the trade-offs with the price I think I’d rather not have one than be perpetually disappointed.

I’ve spent a good deal of time getting it straight, but with the skew in the blade I’m really having a tough time keeping it.

Although I built a table with it (my first real woodworking project) I was disappointed in the cuts and when I made the chamfer cuts on the long aprons I really noticed how out of alignment it was. I thought “good enough” was fine when I initially put it together, and now I’m just really annoyed all the way around (both with my expectations and also the consideration of doubling my tool outlay – NOT planned).

The best alignment I can get is .005 out, and that’s with a LOT of tweaking on the trunions. I’m betting that over time given I had to horse them over pretty substantially (and under a constant load) it’s only a matter of time before the blade is out of alignment again. Where the trunions WANT to be without my tweaking with the largest screwdriver in my arsenal is .010” which sounds awfully familiar to other folks’ measurement.

And seeing the fence move alignment as I move it over is pretty annoying to me. I really don’t want to have to square up the saw blade and fence every time I move something – or will I anyway no matter what I get?

Guess I could hold on to it, then sell and wait for a ‘good’ deal on a nice saw. Apparently all the good deals that were going on at the end of the year are over. Nonetheless the hickey I’d take on not being able to return the saw would probably off set any savings with waiting for a nice one to go on sale.

Eh. I thought I was getting a “good” saw, but I’d say not good enough for me and my specifications, apparently. Guess I’ll be waiting a bit longer on the router. :(



280 posts in 2026 days

#20 posted 02-05-2013 05:11 AM

Blackspring, bought my R4512 few months ago and checked the same, mine happened to be spot on so I can’t relate to the problem. My only issue with this saw is the stock zero clearance insert plate. I’ve tried a few ground down washers to get it level to the cast iron, it’s close but not perfect.

I ended up building a 1/4” zero clearance plate for m Freud dado stack and it actuall works better. I need to make one dedicated for the single blade.

The recommendations so far on here are great though, will keep this favorited for the future. This is one great saw for the price.

You might even check out and Alan Little’s t-clamp fence system, it’s a great upgrade to our Ridgids. Haven’t gotten around to it myself yet, but plan to.

View me5269's profile


43 posts in 2190 days

#21 posted 02-05-2013 03:52 PM

LeeCraft makes both straight and dado zero inserts for the 4512 sold by WoodCraft and Amazon. I have one of each, they level out easily to the table top, have an adjustmetn screw on the rear for a tight fit.

-- Mike

View toolie's profile


2134 posts in 2651 days

#22 posted 02-05-2013 07:52 PM

jonwright….............the 4512 has a 90 day satisfaction guaranty. if it’s less than 90 days old, return it for another one or a refund. some of the 4512s a while back had a blade alignment issue. you may have gotten one of the inventory that had that problem. there are many satisfied 4512 owners, so why not try another. pull off the rails and stand and return it. you don’t need the box. no sense taking a loss when you don’t have to , or enduring a less than satisfactory tool.

-- there's a solution to every just have to be willing to find it.

View jonwright's profile


68 posts in 1960 days

#23 posted 03-11-2013 03:08 AM

Toolie: I did exactly that. I returned it and decided to just go ahead with a cabinet saw. :D

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