|Review by bbasiaga||posted 01-03-2013 04:58 AM||4390 views||1 time favorited||10 comments|
I have been lucky enough to be collecting some tools to help me expand my project capabilities from rough carpentry to some finer work. I recently got a planer, and today added a table saw. Previously I had made very good, and I’d like to think creative, use of a straight cut guide for my circular saw and a compound miter saw. After having worn out my CMS, I was preparing to purchase another, and decided to instead give it a little TLC and buy a table saw.
I read many reviews and decided that the Rigid 4510 was the one for me. I have a small area to work in and needed the portability of it. A floor standing model just isn’t in the cards for me at this point. So understanding there would be some limitations, I got what seemed to be one of the better options on the market.
I spent today setting up the saw and wanted to give my impressions. They’ll go pretty much in the order I remember them, which is close to the order in which I experienced them.
1. Pro = the saw feels very solid. I noticed this right out of the box. The table is thick and feels solid, and is nice and flat. My only experience with table saws prior this was with a couple of friends’ saws that were in the $200-300 dollar range. This one felt much sturdier and had a bigger and nicer table.
2. Con – the instructions for assembling the folding cart SUCK. Big time. There is some small text, and one small exploded parts diagram, and even a guy like me with an engineering degree couldn’t decode it. So I had to fall back and look at the picture on the box while gleaning what details I could from the instructions.
3. Pro – once assembled the stand is very solid, and it is easy to fold up and put away.
4. Pro – the saw has little places to store the anti-kickback pawls, the guard, push stick (included with the kit), miter gauge, and even the fence. There is nothing to keep track of. It all fits in its place when the saw is put away. This is awesome.
5. Pro – The instructions for squaring the blade, setting the correct angle and stops, and squaring the fence were much better than those for putting together the cart. The blade stop for 90degrees was set properly from the factory, but the gauge needed to be calibrated. The blade was square front to back. The insert was properly leveled. I did have to square the fence, and so far it seems to be holding very well.
6. Pro – The bed extension is handy and smooth.
7. Neutral – I read much about these saws being loud, mostly in comparison to stand alone table saws. I don’t have a basis for comparison but it was not overly loud with hearing protection in, the wife did not complain inside the house (i work in the attached garage), and it did not wake my sleeping daughter. Good enough for me, I guess.
8. Neutral (undecided). I was cutting some 1/2” plywood for my first cuts (see below) and I felt like I had to raise the blade excessively high in order for the anti-kickback pawls to allow the sheet to pass under them. I didn’t measure, but it seemed the blade was at least half way up if not higher. Maybe its my lack of experience, but it didn’t seem best to have the blade so high. I removed them for this cut.
9. Pro + Con – (and this one is out of order b/c the last one just made me remember it, I did have the guard in place before running the saw the first time). The pawls are easy to attach. They have a little push button and a lever and lock in place easily. The guard, not as much. It also is lever operated – raise the lever, insert the guard in to a slot on the riving knife, and then lock it down. Seems like it takes me three tries each time to get that darn thing to actually attach. Maybe I just need practice….
I made a few cuts for a project I’m working on. It was easy and smooth. The very best part was that the cuts were repeatable, and I didn’t have to move and re-clamp my straight edge each time! Makes me wish I had one of these a long time ago.
Over the next few months I intend to make a couple of sleds and jigs for mine. I am hoping to make a set of end tables out of hardwood and will benefit from a cross cut sled and a tapered leg sled for this project. Hopefully I’ll be able to come back and add a second part to this review after I have some more experience.
Overall first impressions – very good tool. Its pricey, but it seems solid and capable. I would say if you are like me and considering a table saw but don’t have the space for a floor standing model, look hard at the Rigid 4510. Compared to what I have seen for portable saws in the past, this one feels much more like a ‘real’ tool. We shall see how it performs over the next month or two.
-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.