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Review by jacobgerlach posted 07-31-2013 at 02:49 AM 7205 views 4 times favorited 20 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Newbie searching BORGs for TS Newbie searching BORGs for TS Newbie searching BORGs for TS Click the pictures to enlarge them

I’m basically brand new to woodworking and recently bought a Ridgid R4512 as my first table saw. I wanted to write a post to consolidate a lot of the information that I found while researching this saw. I’m going to start with a section on the things I found while researching my purchase and finish with a couple of observations from the very basic work I’ve done so far.

Like many people considering this saw, my budget was limited to about $600. This quickly narrowed my search down to the Ridgid sold at Home Depot, and a pretty similar model from Porter Cable sold at Lowe’s (PCB270TS). There is a Craftsman saw that is basically just a different colored clone of the Ridgid, but I get a discount at HD and Lowe’s, so I never really considered that one.

I found many posts on this and other woodworking sites that recommend buying a used contractor saw or similar from Craigslist instead of this flavor of new saw. Although I checked Craigslist every day while choosing a saw, I never really felt comfortable that I had the knowledge or experience to go out and spend a significant chunk of money on a used saw. I wouldn’t have been confident in what I was getting.

The many reviews I read on the two saws basically boiled down to this:

Many people are skeptical of the plastic gears used for blade height and bevel control in the PC saw, although I did not find any reports of actual problems.
The PC has cabinet mounted trunnions, albeit non-traditional ones (don’t span the entire cabinet), and the table fasteners are inside the cabinet.
Many people talk about the PC’s fence being junk. It felt fine to me in the store, but see the first line of my post and take my assessment with plenty of salt.
There are a few reports of the blade being significantly out of alignment prior to initial tuning/setup.

Many people have had issues with the Ridgid’s blade shifting while changing blade height (more on this below).
There are also some reports of rail/table extension alignment issues.
Most seem to place a somewhat high value on Ridgid’s Lifetime Service Agreement.
A lot of people complained about “split rails.” I guess this is a reference to the fact that the rails are in two pieces that must be fastened together?
I found some posts describing the fence on the Ridgid as superior to the PC.
In general most of the posts I found consider the Ridgid to be overall superior to the PC.
At current prices, the Ridgid is $70 cheaper before any discounts.

Ridgid Blade Alignment Issues
This is by far the most common problem you find when searching for information about this saw. Basically, the back of the blade moves to the right when raising the blade. (Video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PWyvs_g-88c)

The best discussion of this problem was on the Ridgid forums. One poster even thinks he found a possible cause and was able to reduce the lateral motion from 0.015” to 0.002”. (https://www.ridgidforum.com/forum/t38531/)

Some have reported being able to find saws that showed no motion at all, but far more people describe getting a HD manager to open 2, 3, or 4 saws to find that all of them move.

After reading everything, I decided that I didn’t think there was much of a difference between the saws. I liked the Ridgid a little better and it’s cheaper, but I felt there was a better chance of not having to partially assemble and then return a saw if I went with the PC.

Many of the posts I read also discussed the 20% off Harbor Freight single item coupon. Many Lowe’s and HD accept this as a competitor coupon, and obviously a $500-$600 purchase is a great time to score 20% off.

I have two Lowe’s and 3 HD’s within 45 minutes of my house, so I decided that if either Lowe’s or HD would accept the HF coupon, that would seal the deal. Of course the last place I called was the only one to say they’d take the coupon, and it was one of the HD’s.

After reading about people buying these saws at HD for a week and a half, it never occurred to me that one of the stores might not stock the saw I was looking for… 2 hours later I still had a HF coupon and no saw.

Ultimately, I picked up the Ridgid with no coupon. My wife posted the attached pic to facebook asking “who spent it better?” since that purse cost as much as my TS…. I don’t have to ask what all of you would say.

My Issues

As you could expect, my saw does display the alignment shift that so many have seen. As described in the Ridgid forum post linked above, lowering the blade even just an eighth or quarter of a handle turn brings the blade back to (as far as I can tell) exactly where it was before. I don’t have a dial indicator, but within the accuracy of my combo square, my blade is parallel to the miter slots at any height as long as I lower it slightly after raising.

I haven’t tried any of the stuff described in that Ridgid Forum post to reduce the shift. The LOML is sick of TS research and assembly and wants to see more sawdust. It’s good enough for my abilities right now, but I do plan on trying that down the road.

Table extension/fence Alignment
I also had trouble getting the fence to slide over the right hand table extension without binding. I was able to tweak the alignment by loosening the rail fasteners and pulling up on the rails. The rails didn’t really move, but the extension is now slightly lower. I ended up with the right front corner of the extension between 1/16” and 1/8” below the cast surface of the table. My level and framing square both say that the rails are straight, so I attribute this to the table extension and not the split rails (the split is down on the other side of the main table too – most of the table and the right extension are on the same piece of rail).

Caster axles
There are lots of posts about this, so fortunately I knew to expect it before I got the whole saw assembled. There are rocker cams on the axles that hold the saw up when it’s on the casters. These were assembled backwards at the factory, but it was very easy to correct the issue. I’ve included pictures of what it looked like before and after.

There is absolutely no reason you can’t assemble the casters to the legs before attaching the legs to the saw (just not what the instructions say), and I recommend that anyone who buys this saw does so. This will allow checking the caster mechanism before you flip over 250 lbs of saw. I suppose you could probably disconnect and reconnect the caster assembly after the saw is vertical, so you wouldn’t have to flip it back over to make additional adjustments.

Pros
Besides the general sturdiness and component quality improvements that I feel like you get when stepping up from one of the (more) portable jobsite or benchtop models, there were a few things that as a novice I didn’t really consider. I originally tried out a smaller PC (PCB220TS) from Lowe’s, and was very frustrated that I didn’t even have enough room in front of the blade to fit a 4” piece to the miter gauge. There is much more room on the table on the bigger saw. I also like that you’re able to lock the blade guard up – this makes adjustments and measurements a lot easier while maintaining the safety factor.

I’m sure that nothing I’ve written here is really news to most LJ’s, but hopefully if there’s somebody out there like me with basically no experience, this helps consolidate some of the info out there.

Thanks for reading!
Jake




View jacobgerlach's profile

jacobgerlach

29 posts in 403 days



20 comments so far

View Joe Weaver's profile

Joe Weaver

401 posts in 2323 days


#1 posted 07-31-2013 at 05:08 AM

welcome to lj. I have a 4512 and like it. it does everything I need it to do.

-- Joe, Ga

View Matt Przybylski's profile

Matt Przybylski

446 posts in 1015 days


#2 posted 07-31-2013 at 06:43 AM

Great review. Everything you said pretty much mirrored myself two years ago when I bought this saw (except I caught it on Black Friday in 2011 with 25% off from ridgid directly making it $375, a no brainier :)

EDIT: nm, got the link working now

-- Matt, Illinois, http://www.reintroducing.com

View Tennessee's profile

Tennessee

1447 posts in 1151 days


#3 posted 07-31-2013 at 07:24 AM

Welcome to LJ. You write good, concise information, even if it has been posted before. Keep it up and ask a lot of questions!
After about 100 days, my 4512 lost its C clips that hold on the worm gear to raise and lower the blade, (the chrome one attached to the front handle), and it backed out and jammed into the castings. It was past the 90 days, and my lifetime warranty became “You pack it up and bring it to our store, and we’ll send it to Atlanta and have them fix it over the next few weeks.”
I went to Ace Hardware instead, bought the proper metric C clips, and installed the clips and reassembled the saw myself in about two hours.

Other than that, I have had no problems with this saw.
I did also initially note the binding of the fence, and it did revolve around a slight adjustment of the rail system, which of course is in two pieces. Not the finest thing, to be sure, but after it was all said and done, I like the saw, it cuts accurately, and have no regrets. I used a 10% Retired Military discount on mine, no HD locally will touch the HF coupons in my area.

-- Paul, Tennessee, http://www.tsunamiguitars.com

View Parsimonia's profile

Parsimonia

51 posts in 588 days


#4 posted 07-31-2013 at 08:14 AM

Funny. I have to consider the cost of an equivalent purse into the overall purchase price of a power tool.
LOL.

-- More Ideas than Time.

View Craftsman70's profile

Craftsman70

241 posts in 762 days


#5 posted 07-31-2013 at 08:19 AM

This is probably the best single summary of all the issues revolving around the R4512 that I have seen. I am one of those who tried several R4512 last spring and wasn’t able to find one that didn’t have the alignment issue. If fact, it is my opinion that this problem is in the design and engineering of both the R4512 and Craftsman. I think they all have the issue and most of the owners, like yourself, have found ways to mitigate it by always setting the final height by lowering the blade a little. Thank you for putting this all together.

View jacobgerlach's profile

jacobgerlach

29 posts in 403 days


#6 posted 07-31-2013 at 08:36 AM

Matt – Thanks. Wish I could have gotten a great deal like that, would have made the decision easier. I’m also having trouble following the link by clicking it from LJ (seems to load very slowly), but if I copy it into a new window it loads right away.

Paul – I’ll take a look at the height handwheel when I get home – not exactly sure what you’re referring to, but I’ll be on the lookout.

Craftsman – thanks. I don’t think I provided any new info, but I had to read a lot of places to get it all when I was searching, so my goal was to consolidate what was already out there.

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8476 posts in 2286 days


#7 posted 07-31-2013 at 11:49 AM

nice review. enjoy your new saw. these are definitely more aimed at the woodworker, and less at the trim/jobsite carpenters that work on slimmer/smaller parts and don’t need all that table size (and in-front of blade space)

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View whitebeast88's profile

whitebeast88

3505 posts in 827 days


#8 posted 07-31-2013 at 03:19 PM

great review,got mine 5months ago and have enjoyed it and was able to use the 20% hf coupon which made it nicer.

welcome to lumberjocks!!!

-- Marty.Athens,AL

View dustyal's profile

dustyal

1196 posts in 2112 days


#9 posted 08-01-2013 at 07:07 AM

paralysis by analysis… I do that… went crazy researching and deciding on a 14 inch band saw.

I appreciate your summary as a table saw is high on my list with Rigid near the top. I am also looking for ah jointer and drum sander. I have been using a friend’s Ridgid saw that I like but it has the cast iron wings vs stamped steel… he is telling me to get the cast iron for weight to keep vibration down. Don’t know the model, but it is an open base vs closed base. He really likes his version of the saw and he has 30+ years woodworking experience.

-- Al H. - small shop, small projects...

View jacobgerlach's profile

jacobgerlach

29 posts in 403 days


#10 posted 08-01-2013 at 07:46 AM

Al,

I certainly don’t have your friends 30 years of experience (I don’t even have 30 days experience with this saw), so take my opinions with a grain of salt, but the tabletop is cast iron and the saw weighs about 250 lbs – I have not noticed any vibrations using it.

I had to spend a lot of time tweaking the extensions to get everything flush and clear of the fence. On the one hand, I feel like it would have been harder to do that with heavier wings, but maybe they would be better aligned in the first place since they’re more solid.

View Bullet's profile

Bullet

150 posts in 1966 days


#11 posted 08-01-2013 at 08:52 AM

I just returned my 4512 a couple weeks ago. I had it for about 60 days so I was well within the return window. I thought I was fine with the blade alignment issue – It was repeatable and as long as I knew how it would behave, and it was consistent, I thought I would be fine. Please be careful. I used the saw a lot over that time and for me, the problem got worse and I could no longer keep it consistent. Measure, measure and measure again. If it starts to wander, return it and try another. It’s a great saw and I loved it – I really wanted it to work out. Best of luck and keep us posted.

-- Anything is possible when you have no idea what you're talking about.

View jcwalleye's profile

jcwalleye

290 posts in 1710 days


#12 posted 08-11-2013 at 07:56 PM

Welcome to LJ.

Teriffic review. Thanks for adding to the community in your first posts.

-- Trees, a wonderful gift --Joe--

View Tim_H's profile

Tim_H

19 posts in 701 days


#13 posted 08-14-2013 at 06:03 PM

I to have the 4590. I purchased it last December and absolutely LOVED it after figuring out all the little quirks and such. The biggest problem that I have is that after 6 months of using it the entire motor shaft became warped (how this happens I have NO idea) casing the gear that holds the belt to spin off balance, it honestly did not effect the way the blade itself cut because the rubber belt kind of made up for it but it was noisy and caused a bit of vibration. I figured since the saw is under warranty that I would send it back and they would get it all fixed up. So that is what I did, how is the repair you ask? I don’t know its been over 2 months and it still has not been sent back to me! Everytime I call HD repair center it is like pulling teeth to get any real info from them…for the longest time they where telling me that they where waiting on parts from the manufacture….now they say it is “on the repair mans bench”, they have been saying that for a week and a half. I am sure if/when I get it back it will be fine but JEEZ a quarter year with out my table saw makes for a grumpy lumberjock! I will try to remember to update when I get my saw back.

-- "If at first you don't succeed....get a bigger hammer"

View danoaz's profile

danoaz

156 posts in 807 days


#14 posted 08-31-2013 at 03:18 PM

Jacob – I just ordered my Ridgid R4512 TS and it will get here next week. Didn’t know about the caster axles so thanks for that heads up. I guess I better look into any other issues. All I know is that it was getting good reviews and it was in my price range too. I will call you if I run into any problems – HA!

-- "Simplicity and repose are the qualities that measure the true value of any work of art." Frank LLoyd Wright

View Aaron's profile

Aaron

14 posts in 360 days


#15 posted 09-06-2013 at 08:18 PM

Hello all, first post on LJ’s after reading so many helpful posts and reviews. Can’t wait to start tinkering around and honing my skills.

Like many others I recently purchased this saw from The Depot (in NH so no tax!) and used a HF coupon which happened to be for 25% off this month! Have started assembling and am at the point where I have just flipped the saw over, installed a nice new combo blade, and am ready to start the more involved assembly process. However, I simply had to test out a quick cross cut using the included sled to scratch my woodworking itch and make sure that the riving knife did not interfere with the Freud fusion TK blade that I had recently purchased.

So heres my question: I set the riving knife to the highest position first, ran a quick 1×4 piece across and it cut like butter and did not snag the knife. Second I moved the knife down to the lowest position (for non through cuts I assume), ran the same but shorter piece through and unfortunately felt a “thud” when the piece jammed against the outer side of the knife. My only attempt to troubleshoot thus far has been to put varying amounts of lateral pressure while locking the knife in place. This did not work, which leads me to believe that there must be a slight deviation towards the part of the knife farthest from the clamping mechanism (which doesn’t seem to be adjustable).

The riving knife is supposedly .90” thick (still waiting for a pair of calipers to fall off of a truck) and the Freud blade has .071” plate and .091” kerf thicknesses. By all rights I should probably thin the knife out or purchase a replacement but wanted to see first if anyone on LJ’s has run into this issue before and had a work around. Out of principal, before I purchase anything new for the brand saw I would like to work with what I have first.

If anyone has run into this before I would be interested to hear your experience.

Thanks!

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