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Ridgid R4512 Table Saw -- Full Review

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Review by Furnitude posted 03-28-2011 07:09 PM 39072 views 11 times favorited 39 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Ridgid R4512 Table Saw -- Full Review Ridgid R4512 Table Saw -- Full Review Ridgid R4512 Table Saw -- Full Review Click the pictures to enlarge them

The Ridgid R4512 saw has features—including an integral lift/caster mechanism, a tool-less blade guard and riving knife, an accurate fence and good dust collection—on par with much more expensive saws. While it’s easy to get caught up in comparing tolerances, the most important thing to know about a table saw is whether it will do what you need it to do within your budget and space constraints. I generally make furniture and small items in my basement shop. I need a table saw that handles these tasks accurately and safely without making too much dust and noise. For full disclosure, Ridgid sent this saw to me for this article. That said, I think this saw will meet my needs for years to come.

The first thing I notice is that the Ridgid R4512 is imposing enough to inspire confidence. Weighing in at 266 pounds, this thing isn’t going anywhere. To back up that feeling even more, everything under the table is cast iron. There are no plastic gears like on similarly priced saws. The blade height and angle adjustment wheels turn smoothly and lock where you want them. Likewise, the fence, which clamps itself to the front and back of the table, stays where you put it. On the downside, the stamped steel wings are not as flat or substantial as cast iron wings and the edges are rounded, which produces a small seam. This is a feature that I chalk up to the saw’s relatively low price. I will say that the wings are certainly flat enough for my purposes.

The next thing I notice is the saw’s sound, which is more like a cabinet saw than a contractor saw. Instead of a high-pitched screech, the R4512 has a medium-pitched hum (the critical test: my wife can barely hear it on the first floor of our house from my basement shop). As far as vibration, I was able to successfully perform the nickel test and the penny test with no toppling. That isn’t a terribly scientific test, but it does show that the saw’s construction has enough integrity that it can handle the forces of the motor without wobbling. The last thing you want a table saw to do when you are using it is move.

The safety features are a big part of what makes the R4512 so appealing. The two-piece blade guard clicks onto the riving knife and locks into place with a lever, so you don’t have to use a tool to install it. It tilts with the blade to prevent having to remove it for angled cuts (which makes it more likely that users will keep it installed). Likewise, the riving knife has a lever release that allows it to be raised to a high position for through cuts, a medium position that leaves it lower than the blade or removed altogether. It was easy to adjust to be in the same plane as the saw blade. Kick-back pawls are also attached to the riving knife. I found them to be dull where they need to be sharp and sharp where they need to be dull. It is hard to make them grab a board and it is easy for them to scratch a board as it passes under them. My solution will be to sharpen the teeth a bit with a file and dull the bottom edge. The blade guard is very easy to remove and replace. I wish the riving knife were just a hair (almost literally) thinner so it could accommodate thin kerf blades, which are easier on the motors of this category of saw. Some might consider it to be close enough to use with thin kerf blades. It might well be, but I haven’t tested that so I can’t comment on it.

The built-in lift mechanism is strong and works incredibly well. Pushing the foot pedal down makes the saw seem to float. Pull the pedal back up and the saw hits the floor with a satisfying thunk. This feature is critical to me, as my basement shop is not only small but awkwardly spaced. Being able to move the saw around with not much effort helps a great deal.

The aluminum fence, while not perfectly straight, was aligned pretty dead-on out of the box. I took it out of alignment and put it back just so I could see how it works. You loosen four bolts, square the fence to the blade, then re-tighten the bolts. Very straightforward. It moves smoothly on rails at the front and back of the table and locks onto both. Speaking of the rails, because I have such a small space to work in, I’m going to eventually use only the longer of the two pieces so the rails don’t extend as far out and the saw has a smaller footprint. (You can see an example of someone (a fellow lumberjocks member) doing that here.) This modification only involves drilling some holes in the aluminum and is something I think Ridgid should consider offering as a feature. One other thing about the fence. The measurement lines are positioned too far to the right, making it impossible to line up the fence to a precise measurement. I’ll come up with a work-around, but this is something that should have been caught at the factory.

The miter gauge feels heavy and substantial and works well. The only problem is that it is difficult to adjust because the fence turns a bit when you tighten it down. I do like the storage place for the miter gauge, which keeps it handy but out of the way. The blade is a 40-tooth combination blade. Mine produced saw-marked rip cuts and cross cuts with tearout. A new blade (or two) will be my first upgrade. Update: I added a brand new Forrest Woodworker II blade and have had excellent results so far.

Another appealing feature of this saw is the dust collection. The motor is enclosed in a cabinet and there is a plastic funnel where sawdust falls. It has a 4” port that fits a standard dust collector hose. In my limited experience, a negligible amount of dust escapes, which is a great thing in my small work area. Another plus is that the cabinet dampens sound. One improvement I would suggest is moving the port, which is located in the center, to one side but still oriented toward the floor. Its current location is right above the cross bar for the lift mechanism, making it difficult to attach the hose. An offset port could be used on the right or left side depending on the user’s dust collection set-up. My solution is to use an adapter with a 2½” hose which is easier to bend without touching the lift mechanism.

Assembling the R4512 was very straightforward. There were no surprises, the instructions were clear, everything was included and nothing had been damaged in shipping. It took me about four hours total to assemble the saw and another two or three to fine tune the blade alignment, angle stops, fence and miter gauge. (You can watch the Keystone Kops version of me assembling the stand here.) One of the criticisms I keep reading about saws with table mounted trunnions is that you can’t align the blade to the miter slot. I can say definitively that the blade on this saw can be aligned. It could be an easier process but it is certainly doable. (You can read about my experience aligning the blade here.) An earlier model, the Ridgid 3650, apparently had a cam system that made aligning the blade very easy. It would be an improvement if the R4512 had the same thing.

Finally, Ridgid offers a lifetime warranty on the R4512. This is an important distinction from the other manufacturers who offer similar versions of this saw. Sears Craftsman offers one year for defects in materials or workmanship (you can purchase additional coverage) and Steel City offers a five-year warranty.

I may nitpick here and there, but I don’t want that to overshadow my very positive feelings about this saw. The build and power, safety features, dust collection and built-in casters make the R4512 work well for my purposes. I fully expect to get years of good use out of this saw. It isn’t as accurate or powerful (or expensive) as higher-premium saws. However, if you want a solid performer with good safety features that is built to last a long time, the Ridgid R4512 will meet that standard.

You can see all my posts about the Ridgid R4512 here. I’ll write more posts and film more videos as I use the saw in upcoming furniture projects.

-- Mitch, http://furnitude.blogspot.com Also blog at http://www.craftsy.com/blog/author/mitch-roberson/




View Furnitude's profile

Furnitude

346 posts in 2228 days



39 comments so far

View Steven H's profile

Steven H

1114 posts in 1780 days


#1 posted 03-28-2011 08:38 PM

Looks like a decent made saw.
I wanted to see it in my local store, but they dont have it yet. :(

View khamm's profile

khamm

40 posts in 1740 days


#2 posted 03-29-2011 01:14 AM

That looks like a much better fence than came on my R4511, which I have since replaced. Nice review

Keith H

-- Keith H. I don't need more gadgets; I need more skills

View Routerisstillmyname's profile

Routerisstillmyname

713 posts in 2229 days


#3 posted 03-29-2011 01:50 AM

Good review.Too bad they didn’t stick with cabinet-mounted trunnions.

-- Router è ancora il mio nome.

View jeff's profile

jeff

683 posts in 2185 days


#4 posted 03-29-2011 05:58 AM

thx for the review.i just purchased this saw last week.looking forward to assembling it this week.this is my first TS. Jeff

-- Jeff,Tucson,Az.

View David Grimes's profile

David Grimes

2072 posts in 1360 days


#5 posted 03-29-2011 06:31 AM

I am liking mine so far. I agree with your review in every aspect. I will only add that the lift mechanism is smooth going up but kind of dumps going down. I am about to epoxy my floors, so can’t help but wonder what it will do to the epoxy the first and twentieth time I set it down with a bang.

Good job.

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

View Blozo  's profile

Blozo

146 posts in 1365 days


#6 posted 03-30-2011 02:01 AM

I got this saw back in october. when it first became available online. I love it.

-- eat crap

View adrocker's profile

adrocker

6 posts in 1412 days


#7 posted 03-30-2011 03:16 AM

I bought this saw about two months ago, and this review is dead on. Even the assembly and truing times. I also have a small awkward basement workshop. This saw fits my needs perfectly.

View Moby's profile

Moby

64 posts in 1480 days


#8 posted 03-30-2011 04:23 AM

I am looking for a new table saw and I have a few questions. First, how is the dust collection on your? And, what horsepower is this saw?

View devann's profile

devann

1735 posts in 1413 days


#9 posted 03-30-2011 06:58 AM

Lets see, Ridgid sent you a saw to review and post on your blog and here. Did you hear that Festool? Need a domino joiner review?

-- Darrell, making more sawdust than I know what to do with

View David Grimes's profile

David Grimes

2072 posts in 1360 days


#10 posted 03-30-2011 09:07 AM

Dust collection is great. It’s like a funnel to the bottom center 4” hookup. Shop vac now until I can get the HF installed and going. And not even using a zero clearance insert yet. Tonight was the first time I actually ran some project wood through it. This thing is really quiet, too.

FWIW… I ripped 10 2×6 8 footer down the middle to make 20 2×3’s plus ripped 3 4×8 3/4 birch 7-ply in half lengthwise this afternoon. Like butter, I tell you. Ran them in halfway and went around to pull them through. A piece of cake ! A couple of the 2×6’s were really knotty and dense like fat lighter. They went through as easy as the rest. I never touched a tape measure. Just dialed in the distance on the fence scale and went to it.

I am liking this saw.

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

View edavisj316's profile

edavisj316

1 post in 1335 days


#11 posted 03-30-2011 02:51 PM

I am looking for a new table saw also. This saw looks very much like the Craftsman 21833 contractor saw which has received such bad reviews. Looks like people are much happier with this saw.

Can anyone confirm that the alignment issues that are present with the Craftsman are not an issue with this saw?

Thanks

Ed<><

View USNA91's profile

USNA91

1 post in 1337 days


#12 posted 03-30-2011 03:23 PM

Can’t confirm anything on alignment, as I am in the shopping/backordering process (high demand item through Home Depot).

What I can confirm is that I spoke to the Bench Dog folks yesterday and they confirmed that their cast-iron router table extension wing mount is compatible with the R4512 table saw. This is not even close to the primary reason I am going with this saw (the table saw reviews on this website are), but it was a tiebreaker to provide a solid table and save space in a garage that will not be a dedicated shop (I still need to park cars and do other work in there, like auto maintenance and rigging lines for sailing).
The Bench Dog rep stated that despite the motor protrusion on the left side of the table saw, that a router mounted to the extension wing will clear the table saw motor cowling.

The two LJ reviews for the Bench Dog table extension can be found here.
Note that there are multiple mount plate choices for the router table, so ensure you select the correct mounting plate for your router.

-Matthew

-- Matthew

View WaywardHoosier's profile

WaywardHoosier

80 posts in 2756 days


#13 posted 03-30-2011 05:48 PM

I appreciate the Table Saw reviews from those that own the saw. My main concern is allignment and that seems to be answered here as not an issue.

For a hobbyist and on a budget, the comments help with making my decison which I think will be the Ridgid R4512.

I just want square cuts….

-- WaywardHoosier - Behind schedule and over budget, but who's counting? Well of course she is!

View Rick Boyett's profile

Rick Boyett

167 posts in 1933 days


#14 posted 03-30-2011 07:10 PM

Isn’t this basically the same saw as the Craftsman 218330? I ask because the reviews of that saw have been very mixed on Lumberjocks.

Frankly I consider this saw to be a step backwards from the R4511, mainly due to Ridgid going back to table mounted trunnions as opposed to cabinet mounted ones from the R4511. I’m also not a fan of stamped steel wings. The 4511’s granite surface wasn’t perfect but I do think it is superior to stamped steel.

I think folks would be better served spending a little extra cash and getting the Grizzly G0715P hybrid.

View Routerisstillmyname's profile

Routerisstillmyname

713 posts in 2229 days


#15 posted 03-31-2011 03:46 AM

Grizzly G0715P is also not a true Hybrid since it does not have cabinet-mounted trunnions.
These days, just because a saw has motor mounted inside and therefor dust collection, it’s called a hybrid which is a total falsification and deceptive.

-- Router è ancora il mio nome.

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