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Great Saw - Keep it in Context

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Review by tblake1984 posted 03-21-2015 06:20 PM 19174 views 4 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Great Saw - Keep it in Context Great Saw - Keep it in Context Great Saw - Keep it in Context Click the pictures to enlarge them

I have had this saw for two weeks and felt I had used it enough to write a balanced review of it. As you can see from the pics, I have added a router table extension, sacrificial fence, and a router fence. In summary, it is exactly what I was looking for. The footprint is perfect for a basement or garage shop and the mobile base works extremely well and is built to handle this 260lb saw.

Getting the saw home is a bear. I was doing it solo and I have a basement workspace so I actually ended up having to take the cast iron top off the motor housing to get it down to a manageable size and weight. Even after detaching the top (it ships already attached to the motor housing), each part was still ~100lbs but I was able to get it downstairs. I completely expected that this would cause issues tuning the saw later as I had to completely remove the table mounted trunnions.

The assembly went fairly well; the directions are very well written and accurate. All the parts were very well packaged, undamaged, and labeled. It was actually a very pleasant assembly and the only thing that really stands out in my mind is getting the thing upright. For this, I recommend not following the directions 100% and wait until the table is upright to attach the stamped table extensions.

I was pleasantly surprised to find the blade within 0.006” of parallel with the miter slot. I had completely expected this to be way out of adjustment because I had to remove the table top but I got very lucky with it. I used the clamp method I saw somewhere else on this site and was able to get it within 0.002”. The saw also doesn’t seem to exhibit the alignment issues reported when raising/lowering the blade. I don’t know the manufacture date of my particular saw but it looks like Ridgid has sorted out some of the issues.

Overall, I am pretty happy with the fit and finish. The included blade is junk… replace it asap. The miter guage is ok. There is no play in the miter slot but the miter stops are pretty rudimentary. The rip fence was dead on parallel right out of the box. The power is sufficient… I wouldn’t cut 8/4 bubinga with this thing but I don’t work with bubinga so it’s not an issue.

To end, if your budget is ~$500, I would have no reservations whatsoever recommending this saw. It is stable, well powered, and inspires confidence. Ridgid customer service has been very responsive as well (explained below) and the Lifetime Service Agreement they offer is unmatched.

Now the criticisms (in order of annoyance) :

[1] The saw base is not level. When I disable the mobile base, the saw wobbles on a diagonal axis by 3/16”. I have to shim on leg of the saw to make it stable. I contacted Ridgid about this and they promptly sent out another set of legs. Now, to flip this thing back over and swap them is another matter. I may never change them but at least I have the option.

[2] The directions don’t mention this but use a level / straight edge when you install the rails. My rip fence was catching and getting tight in places and I couldn’t figure out why… turns out my back rail was way out of square (see picture). Once I loosened the bolts, straightened the rail, and tightened it back down, everything was fine.

[3] The stamped steel wings are cheap, lightweight, and not flat. These will be the first thing to get replaced on the saw but I understand it is a product of the saw’s price so I am not complaining.

[4] The front fence has some points where the rip fence binds a little bit. Also, the two pieces are a little difficult to align and get straight.

[5] The table insert is extremely thin and near impossible to make ZCIs due to the way it’s mounted. I am sure you could make one but it would probably take so long that it’s just not worth it to me. I have used a friend’s inherited Powermatic for the last two years and could whip up a ZCI for that saw in maybe 30 minutes.

UPDATE 6/15/15 :

After having this saw for a few months, I figured I should update this review.

The uneven supports have resolve themselves. I realized the back panel had brought the whole support structure out of square so I loosened the six bolts holding the back panel in place, made sure the saw settled evenly and retightened them. SOLVED!

Lastly, and the primary reason for this update is the riving knife assembly. After some time, saw dust builds up and the cam lever which secures the riving knife did not fully engage. This led to not only a safety concern of the riving knife loosening mid-cut but also, since the lever did not sit in the 9-o-clock position (but was instead at the 11-o-clock position), it would push the throat plate up when I set the blade for a deep cut. I attempted to loosen the bolt that holds the assembly together by adjusting the hex head on the side of the assembly and snapped the bolt head off! Unbeknownst to me, this is actually a flat sided bolt and the hex head should NOT be adjusted. There is actually a little half-dollar sized hole in the side of the trunnion assembly to access the nut that this bolt goes into with a 13mm ratchet and THIS is how the tension should be adjusted; you just have to remove the back panel from the saw to do it. See the third picture for clarification.

I still really like this saw and again, for the price, it cannot be beat.




View tblake1984's profile

tblake1984

29 posts in 1171 days



15 comments so far

View redryder's profile

redryder

2393 posts in 3102 days


#1 posted 03-21-2015 06:46 PM

That’s quite a list of things that annoy you about this saw.

These will be the first things to get replaced on the saw but I understand it is a product of the saw’s price so I am not complaining.

I guess you get what you pay for…...............

-- mike...............

View Mark Davisson's profile

Mark Davisson

597 posts in 3317 days


#2 posted 03-21-2015 07:02 PM

Thanks for the review! I’ve always understood that the front rail being split causes problems – especially when the fence is tightened at a point very near the inner end of either one of the rail halves Have you noticed any rail deflection at those points when it is under pressure from the fence?

-- I'm selfless because it feels so good!

View tblake1984's profile

tblake1984

29 posts in 1171 days


#3 posted 03-21-2015 07:08 PM



That s quite a list of things that annoy you about this saw.

These will be the first things to get replaced on the saw but I understand it is a product of the saw’s price so I am not complaining.

I guess you get what you pay for…...............

- redryder

Well that’s the point of the review (hence the title). A $500 table saw isn’t going to be perfect but I think even with the criticisms, it is an extremely good value and sure beats the heck out of a jobsite saw.

If the R4512 cost $700, I would give it three 3 stars just because my expectations are higher at that price point.

View ic3ss's profile

ic3ss

389 posts in 2777 days


#4 posted 03-21-2015 10:41 PM

If those are the only issues you have with the saw, I’d say you are a fortunate buyer. The 4512 was on my short list but I opted for an old Unisaw instead. I had to re-wire it but it’s been a champ, and I paid $400 for it. If the saw works for you and meets your expectations, then you should have no apologies for anyone. Enjoy your new toy!

Wayne

-- "I am endeavoring, ma'am, to construct a mnemonic memory circuit using stone knives and bear skins."

View AaronK's profile

AaronK

1506 posts in 3464 days


#5 posted 03-22-2015 01:20 AM

thanks for the review. I have the older brother of this saw, also with table-mounted trunion. getting it aligned is a real pain in the ass… what’s this “clamp method” you speak of?

View Chris Cook's profile

Chris Cook

323 posts in 2281 days


#6 posted 03-22-2015 02:30 PM

The 4512 is a great saw. I have purchased three over the last several years (installed different locations) and they are great for the value. Compare it to the $2200 sawstop contractor saw purchased in 2010, which is not worth even $499!

-- Chris, "all we are is sawdust in the dust collector""

View bigJohninvegas's profile

bigJohninvegas

448 posts in 1462 days


#7 posted 03-23-2015 06:54 PM

Good review. I have had my saw almost 2 years now, and am very happy with it.
There are a couple options for throat plates, both zero clearance and dado.
I am using lee craft throat plates, and am very happy with them. They are around $25 each on woodcraft. The only issue is once you set up the saw to use them, the metal plate that came with the saw will fit a little low. a pain to re adjust.
I wound up buying a second zero plate and using my dado to open it up to match the factory metal plate.
Works perfect for miter cuts. Also you can get them direct from lee craft. http://www.leecraftzeroclearance.com/
The other option I saw is to make your own. I have not got around to it yet, but want to give it a try.
Another member here BrianB, has done it. looks really good too.
Here is the link to his project. http://50.23.231.98/projects/118633

-- John

View tblake1984's profile

tblake1984

29 posts in 1171 days


#8 posted 03-24-2015 04:55 AM



Good review. I have had my saw almost 2 years now, and am very happy with it.
There are a couple options for throat plates, both zero clearance and dado.
I am using lee craft throat plates, and am very happy with them. They are around $25 each on woodcraft. The only issue is once you set up the saw to use them, the metal plate that came with the saw will fit a little low. a pain to re adjust.
I wound up buying a second zero plate and using my dado to open it up to match the factory metal plate.
Works perfect for miter cuts. Also you can get them direct from lee craft. http://www.leecraftzeroclearance.com/
The other option I saw is to make your own. I have not got around to it yet, but want to give it a try.
Another member here BrianB, has done it. looks really good too.
Here is the link to his project. http://50.23.231.98/projects/118633

- bigJohninvegas

Thanks for the info… I have been looking at them myself and may go that route. If the stock throat plate was just a little thicker, it wouldn’t be much of an issue but as it is, it is ~1/16” thick and my top-bearing flush cut router bit has a little gap between the bearing and the cutter which is, unfortunately, about a 1/16” thick. The stock plate nestles in there pretty nicely and I end up gouging the pattern I am attempting to make. I will have to try again using some shims in between the stock plate and the MDF I am using to make the pattern. I think once the pattern is cut, it will be a lot easier to jam them out by just routing a 1/16” rabbit around the edge and cutting slots for the blade and riving knife but I am still not sure if it will be worth my time over just buying the leecraft ones.

Has anyone had any experience putting cast iron extensions on these? I saw the SawStop extensions are roughly the right dimensions but don’t know about the mounting holes. Ridgid should seriously consider offering these as an OEM upgrade.

View TheFridge's profile

TheFridge

9477 posts in 1486 days


#9 posted 03-24-2015 05:01 AM

Anything can be done with a drill and some taps (if necessary).

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View William Shelley's profile

William Shelley

572 posts in 1469 days


#10 posted 03-28-2015 05:29 PM

I have this saw as well, also in a basement shop. I had to rent the home depot truck when i bought it and they loaded it into the truck with a forklift …. i don’t have a forklift at home so I understand your pain with moving this thing around :)

One thing I want to highlight to all R4512 owners is … the two-peice aluminum fence rail is a crap design and will sag over time, I solved the issue as described in my blog post: http://lumberjocks.com/cathode/blog/41162

I agree with all of your complaint points though. Regarding the ZCI … i really don’t understand why they designed the table like that. I ended up using 1/2” birch plywood and using a straight flute router bit to cut out little “pads” so that my ZCI’s would fit properly.

-- Woodworking from an engineer's perspective

View tblake1984's profile

tblake1984

29 posts in 1171 days


#11 posted 03-30-2015 05:41 PM


I have this saw as well, also in a basement shop. I had to rent the home depot truck when i bought it and they loaded it into the truck with a forklift …. i don t have a forklift at home so I understand your pain with moving this thing around :)

One thing I want to highlight to all R4512 owners is … the two-peice aluminum fence rail is a crap design and will sag over time, I solved the issue as described in my blog post: http://lumberjocks.com/cathode/blog/41162

I agree with all of your complaint points though. Regarding the ZCI … i really don t understand why they designed the table like that. I ended up using 1/2” birch plywood and using a straight flute router bit to cut out little “pads” so that my ZCI s would fit properly.

- William Shelley

This is a great idea, I may look at doing this to my own saw tonight. However, where did you mount the power switch with the t-slots covered by the front angle iron? I could use a good excuse to move it because I always bump it with my hip during a cut. Is angle iron from a big box store (i.e., Lowes/Home Depot) reliably straight?

I like what you did with the outfeed table. Very nice.

View William Shelley's profile

William Shelley

572 posts in 1469 days


#12 posted 03-30-2015 06:48 PM



This is a great idea, I may look at doing this to my own saw tonight. However, where did you mount the power switch with the t-slots covered by the front angle iron? I could use a good excuse to move it because I always bump it with my hip during a cut. Is angle iron from a big box store (i.e., Lowes/Home Depot) reliably straight?

I like what you did with the outfeed table. Very nice.

- tblake1984

Thanks.

On my saw (2012 mfg date), the switch actually mounts to a second slot behind the first on the bottom of the front rail.

I found that the angle iron from home depot was sufficiently straight. If you can’t find any pieces that are straight enough, you can cut an aluminum pop into shim pieces and use that.

On a side note, did your table have any “filled” spots? I’ve got a couple pea-sized defects in the table surface that are iron but a slightly different color, looks like there were voids or defects that were filled after casting.

-- Woodworking from an engineer's perspective

View woodworm1962's profile

woodworm1962

145 posts in 100 days


#13 posted 03-02-2018 12:08 AM

Do not walk away from this saw… RUN!

-- No one likes the truth...

View tblake1984's profile

tblake1984

29 posts in 1171 days


#14 posted 03-02-2018 01:05 AM



Do not walk away from this saw… RUN!

- woodworm1962

Care to elaborate? What’s your experience with the saw? I can’t say your comment adds much to the conversation.

View Jon Hobbs's profile

Jon Hobbs

147 posts in 704 days


#15 posted 03-02-2018 09:47 PM



Do not walk away from this saw… RUN!

- woodworm1962

Too late, the OP purchased the saw before posting his review of the saw. THREE YEARS AGO! :)

-- Jon -- Just a Minnesota kid hanging out in Kansas

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