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Ridgid R4511 10 in. Granite Top Table Saw

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Review by PurpLev posted 06-23-2009 06:02 PM 65179 views 13 times favorited 160 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Ridgid R4511 10 in. Granite Top Table Saw Ridgid R4511 10 in. Granite Top Table Saw No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

To be fair , I was waiting to write this review after I tackled the last (and only) issue I’ve had with this saw as to give a proper review of it’s operation, and not limited by any aspect of missing/malfunctioning parts out-of-the-box. my ‘limitation’ was that the fence had a slight disposition issue once locked all the way down (was fine if locked half way – it would stay put and stay on the mark – but if the lock handle was pushed further, it would skew the fence ever so slightly – not a show stopper, but a nuisance) -more about that later.

I got this saw after becoming familiar with it while researching a SteelCity saw identical to this one (35920) at a higher cost, a lower finish, and tacky marketing by SC that put me off of that one.

I was never impressed by Ridgid tools, but after reading a lot of great reviews on their cast iron table saws, figured they are worth consideration – I’m glad I did.

Stats from manufacturer: 1.5 Hp, Left Tilt table saw, 110v (can be rewired to 220v) 13Amp (6Amp on 220v).

Assembly
This saw is heavy at ~430 lbs, luckily I had it delivered, but otherwise it would require at least a strong helping hand to load/unload this thing. Since the trunnion are mounted to the base, I took off the table top, and motor cover while unpacking to relieve some of the weight off of the machine while assembling it all together – this was very helpful. It comes very well packed in a steel framed cage.

Table Top and Cover Off for assembly

Assembly of the mobile base is somewhat more difficult than it should as the user manual is a bit vague about it, but using the companion parts exploded views helps a lot – also, the markings on the screws bags refers to those views and not to the user manuals figures.

Install the dust hood BEFORE you put the wheels on the base, otherwise you won’t be able to slide it in (manual states the opposite)

assembly of the granite wings is a breeze as there are 2 assistance bars for each wing that hold it in place while you adjust it to the table and bolt it down. I left the lag bolts loose while leveling the wings as I heard other’s had their top chip when they aligned the wings while having the bolts somewhat tightened. no chips, or cracks on mine.

The belt seems better quality than your regular v-belt. this one is a micro v-belt (?) at ~1/2” wide, it has 6 grooves that fit 6 slots in the pulleys for better traction and fit. I wasn’t able to find any “high-quality” replacement for this belt yet, but as this one seems to be good, maybe I shouldn’t worry about it as of yet (it has reinforcement strings like higher quality belts, but as I’m not a belt expert, I can’t really tell how good this one is – time will tell)

While assembling – all pieces from the body frame, to the table top, and the screws, and mobile base seem to be of good quality and finish. no burrs on edges, and everything fits well.

Tuning and Runouts

I finally went and got some feeler gauges, since I figured if there is anything unacceptable – now would be the time to find it out and work a replacement if needed.

Arbor runout was less than 0.001”, I cannot refer to the blade runout out of the box, as I took the table top off for assembly, but aligning the blade to the T-slot was a breeze – unlock 4 screws holding the granite top, align to blade, and re-tighten. done deal. Fence had a hollow in the middle (blade area) of ~0.005” – nothing that can’t be fixed with shims and a fence face. Granite top mostly dead flat, with a low spot of ~0.001” on the left edge (left of the left miter slot) and a low spot of ~0.004” on the right edge (right of the right miter slot) – I was hoping the granite would be this “perfect” material and surface, but I guess the imperfections are within margin and are acceptable (?).

2 set screws that are adjusted from above the table to set the 90 and 45 degree stops – easy to set, but I’d still check with a square when I’m changing angles, as you can never truly rely on stops of that sort, and cranks that can push just a hair bit more.

aligning the wings to the table top was fairly easy, there are 4 set screws under each wing to raise/lower that part of the wing. once the wing is aligned, lock it to the table top with 3 bolts. easy enough. make sure while you’re aligning the wings to keep some distance between the wings and the main table top as changing the angles when they butt against one another will put sheer force on the granite and might chip it off (as happened to someone else). After aligning the wings – there is ~0.000” between the wing and table top – can’t ask for more than that.

Aligning the fence was easy as on any other T-square type fences – there are 2 set screws to skew the fence slightly to the left or right. as I mentioned earlier – I did notice a bit of a shallow spot in the middle of the fence = not ideal, but something that can be remedied with a fence face – which would be a good thing to add either way (I guess thats why they have those faces on the B-Type fences). I actually added Phenolic face frames to mine.

Dust Collection:
This saw is equipped with a 3/4 fully enclosed cabinet with an angled bottom that slides into a 4” dust port, there is minimal dust that comes out of it, and while connected to a Jet 1100DC there is still dust that is left in the cabinet sides – where not in direct path of the DC air flow. Also there is little dust that escapes the bottom of the cabinet (and accumulates on the mobile base). I assume this is a general issue with table saws as looking at the construction and air flow – there really is little that can be done to fix that except reducing the size of the actual cabinet, and it’s openings – which will make access to the motor and trunnion a PITA, so with that respect, I find the DC to be more than enough.

Riving Knife
The saw comes out of the box with a riving knife blade guard assembly as a one-piece. my previous saw was the Bosch which had a modular blade guard that mounts on top of the riving knife (which can also be setup to be full height or low profile knife), in comparison with that later, I find the one piece guard somewhat bulky, and unfriendly. there was no low-profile knife with the saw, and so far Ridgid doesn’t provide one as an accessory. I have made a low profile knife out of aluminum plate which works great. just make sure you use stock material that is thinner than your blade if you choose to make this yourself. installing and releasing the splitter/riving knife is really quick and easy with a turn of a large plastic nut.

Low Profile Riving Knife

Necessary Upgrade:
First thing to do was to make some fence faces, I chose to use phenolic material (see my blog) and while at it, I also did a set of 6 zero clearance inserts. While setting up the fence faces, and shimming the middle bolt, I’m able to align the fence with the blade continually from start to finish and eliminate that hollow in the middle of the steel fence bar. Zero clearance inserts are a must in my opinion both for safety, and better quality cuts, and should be done on any saw you have regardless.

Zero Clearance Insert and Fence Face Frames

I Also buffed the table top with some Johnson’s paste wax, and the surface is glass smooth – pretty amazing.

Pet Peeves, and future upgrade ideas:
1. Motor cover screws – these are philips screws. would be nice to have finger screws, or some other fast-action release mechanism – I’ll probably fabricate something for that in the future.

2. Fence shifts just so slightly when locked – I’ll position the fence spot on, but once I lock it down, it’ll shift slightly toward the blade. I found the problem to be related to the metal wing on the left side of my fence – it was skewed downwards – causing the plastic cap to contact the rail on it’s top part – and locking the fence in a set angle, but if you pushed the handle lower – it would “straighten” the skewed wing+cap, and although the fence would still be just as locked – it would shift a tab bit to the left, throwing it off it’s mark. – FIX – I used pliers and bent the skewed metal wing back to being parallel to the fences’ body – now the entire left cap contacts the rail when locked all at once, and the fence stays ON THE MARK from beginning to end of locking procedure. FANTASTIC!

3. The Fence rails are made of 2 parts that are connected with a plastic coupler – makes it easier to pack this system in a smaller box, but operation wise it leaves a lot to be desired. the 2 rails needs to be perfectly aligned for the fence to operate ‘perfectly’ otherwise the fence contacts each half of the rail differently when the fence is positioned close to the blade (so that half of it is over each of the rail parts). either need to perfectly align the halfs, or completely replace them with a 1 piece 2”x2” square tube (1/8” thick material). another thing that can be upgraded are the angle irons that hold the fence rails – with longer thicker material that can also support an extension table (router table and the likes). I’ll probably do that next.

Operation:
The on-off switch is conveniently positioned on the left side of the fence, and is much easier to use than my older (and portable) Bosch 4100, I can find it blindly, and is very easy to bump against to turn the saw off

The saw hums nicely, and cuts through the wood smoothly and easily without much effort (where my older portable would start calling in the troops for more power) the hum stays a constant hum. The table top is glass smooth and is a pleasure to pass material on top of. The table top is large, and the distance in front of the blade is much larger than I had been used to which is a blessing. (I always wished I had “just a little more” room before the blade).

Vibration is somewhat minimal – I do not have vast experience with table saws to compare it to other saws in this category, but with it’s massive weight and granite top, it does seem to be in good control. I was able to pass the nickel-test on it, and while the nickel DID jump a little when I started the saw, it did stay in place long after the saw was running, and even after shutting the saw off. mind you – my garage floor is NOT level nor is it continuous – which would add to vibrations – but I don’t have any complaints so far.

The Fence moves smoothly across the table (runs on back rail with a glide UHMW bolt) and locks firmly in place. after fixing the nuisance issue I had with the fence shifting while being locked down – I am now very pleased with this fence.

Herc-U-Lift mobile base is phenomenal! glides smoothly on the floor, and once locked this thing is rock solid. I like the fact that when it’s set to motion – it rides on 4 swivel wheels as opposed to 3, or 2, or 1 (with the rest of the wheel being non-swivel) and when its lowered to the ground, NONE of the wheels is in contact with the ground as they are ALL retracted upwards, and the base sits on 4 legs.

The control wheels are large, and turn smoothly up/down left/right and lock sound in place with a lock in the center of each wheel.

Conclusion
No, It’s not a 3HP Work horse perhaps – but this is all (and maybe more) the saw I need, I’m very very pleased with it. not to mention that this is the lowest cost saw in this class, yet it comes with the riving knife (well, this is a requirement of all new models, but as today there are only a few NEW models in the market) a granite top (you could argue this way or the other, both cast and granite have their strengths and weaknesses, its all a matter of which weakness you’d rather cry about), cabinet mounted trunnion, built in mobile base, decent Dust control, a good fence (after you tune it) and so far – the power to handle what I need. I like the idea that it can be converted to run on 220V as well if I ever choose to go that route.

Another thing to consider which played a big part in my decision was the warranty – Ridgid has a lifetime warranty to the original owner of their powertools, now this is hard to beat. so far Ridgid has proved to have a very helpful and prompt customer service, which is a good thing.

If anyone wants a PDF version of the user manual, I have it scanned and uploaded here:
http://woodwork.homeip.net/Ridgid_R4511_UM.pdf

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




View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8476 posts in 2307 days



160 comments so far

View Don Newton's profile

Don Newton

712 posts in 2277 days


#1 posted 06-23-2009 06:41 PM

Nice review, is the saw blade right or left tilt? A universal complaint in reviews is the mobile bases…..looks like you found the good one.

-- Don, Pittsburgh

View spaids's profile

spaids

699 posts in 2352 days


#2 posted 06-23-2009 06:48 PM

The only trouble I’ve had with my Ridgid Saw (the old kind) is that the miter gauge slot was not ground correctly and I had to sand out a burr/hump to get a miter gauge through without it getting stuck. Other than that its been plenty for my needs. I’m not going to lie to you though and pretend I’m not envious of your lifetime of rust free table saw top. It looks like Ridgid has upgraded their saw in almost every way possible.

Nice.

PS got any mag jigs you want to sell now? :)

-- Wipe the blood stains from your blade before coming in.--

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8476 posts in 2307 days


#3 posted 06-23-2009 07:14 PM

Don – Thanks. this is a left tilt saw.

Spaids – the miter slot on mine are ok, but I’ve heard of others that were too tight as you mentioned – a little sanding should do the trick. I’m not completely sold on the granite top concept, but I do have high humidity in the summer where I’m at so that would be a blessing mostly. other than that – I never had a cast iron top (previous TS ws aluminum top – non magnetic either) so I don’t have any mag jogs to give… but I’ll keep you in mind ;)

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

View Cato's profile

Cato

641 posts in 1971 days


#4 posted 06-23-2009 09:53 PM

Good review PurpLev. I figured once you got your fence adjusted you would do a write up. I really like the portability coupled with the 3/4 cabinet design, so I can roll it right up to the wall. Dust control much better with the cab. Like you the power of the saw is fine for my needs, and for me as a hobby person to woodworking, at this point anyway I doubt I would need more.

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

112104 posts in 2235 days


#5 posted 06-23-2009 10:12 PM

Good Review lots of details and things of interest.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View Karson's profile

Karson

34878 posts in 3059 days


#6 posted 06-23-2009 10:27 PM

Great review with lots of details. I’m guessing that you made notes as you went through the process.

I’ve thought I’ve heard others saw that the riving knife was thicker than the blade that came with the saw. Did you experience that

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware karson_morrison@bigfoot.com †

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8476 posts in 2307 days


#7 posted 06-23-2009 11:25 PM

Thanks Cato. this is indeed a fantastic machine.

Karson – thanks, the factory supplied splitter is 0.090” and is thinner than the factory supplied blade. I made my riving knife out of 1/8” aluminum sheet which is rather thick – but I’m using a Forest WWII blade which seems to be as thick/thicker than my knife so I have no problems (I actually also used the factory supplied blade with the 1/8” knife with no problems – surprising, but it worked for me) – If I had to make another riving knife – I’d use 0.090” thick material though.

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

View Tim Dahn's profile

Tim Dahn

1469 posts in 2223 days


#8 posted 06-24-2009 01:50 AM

Great review Purplev, adding the WWII makes a pretty sweet saw. I added the Forest Dampener/Stiffener along with the WWII and can now make perfectly smooth rip cuts. Now to make fence faces, would you use the phenolic again?

-- Good judgement comes from experience and experience comes from poor judgement.

View Routerisstillmyname's profile

Routerisstillmyname

706 posts in 2167 days


#9 posted 06-24-2009 02:26 AM

Dang that looks sweet. I wish I hadn’t bought my 3660 now.

-- Router è ancora il mio nome.

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8476 posts in 2307 days


#10 posted 06-24-2009 03:26 AM

Tim, the phenolic is a phenomenal material (pun intended) – it’s glass smooth, heavy, and ridgid. but is horrible to work with – creates very fine dust similar to MDF dust – only this one stinks. as long as you can work outdoors with it, have good dust control setup for it, and dont mind getting a little dirty – I would do it again knowing what I know today, but this is very tough on tool edges (resins, and the material itself being abrasive) so make sure you use clean sharp tools, and take light light passes. I still have the router table project ahead of me in which I’ll be utilizing my 1 3/8” thick phenolic board (28”x32”) – not really looking forward to the dust and working with the material – but am VERY looking forward to having that table top. one last note – this material is so smooth, that it’s hard to clamp a straight edge guide to it (to cut it with a circular saw/router)... so take your time and work slowly and carefully, you can also put some blue tape on the board, and put the straight guide on top of that for some friction.

For the face frames though – I think UHMW would be a better choice – lighter material, easier to cut and work with. I just happened to have the phenolic, so I made use of it.

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

View dlux's profile

dlux

54 posts in 2092 days


#11 posted 06-24-2009 04:56 PM

Timbo, did you use the Forrest STIF05 Dampener/Stiffener? I had thought about getting one, but wanted to hear how well it worked with this TS first. I think this is the right one for this TS, but since you already have I wanted to make sure before ordering.

Purp, when you start cutting the phenolic for the router table, you should cut a few fence faces. There might be a red head interested in buying one from you…. :)

View BigET's profile

BigET

2 posts in 1916 days


#12 posted 06-25-2009 12:20 AM

Thanks for the great review of this saw. I was going to go to HD to get their TS3660, but discovered they do not carry them anymore, but was excited to see this saw there. After a little searching on the web, I was uncertain about purchasing it. Your detailed review has me thinking this is an excellent saw for my needs, even better than the TS3660 at not much more cost. Thanks again!

-- Earl in Maine

View Tim Dahn's profile

Tim Dahn

1469 posts in 2223 days


#13 posted 06-25-2009 12:06 PM

dlux,
I purchased the Dampener/Stiffener from Forrest while at a woodworking show and do not know the model number, unfortunately I’m out of town at the moment but I’ll check and let you know know when I get back to the shop.

-- Good judgement comes from experience and experience comes from poor judgement.

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8476 posts in 2307 days


#14 posted 06-25-2009 03:57 PM

dlux, Tim- are you guys using the Thin Keft WWII? I’m using the full kerf 1/8” – which is also why I’m using the 1/8” riving knife… I have been using this blade also with my previous Bosch 4100, and is has always performed well (power wise).

P.S. Make sure you use appropriate riving knife thickness if you use a thin kerf blade (or at least have the front of it sharpened down)!!!

BigET- you’re welcome. the 3660 is an excellent saw hands down and would be another great choice (Based on other LJs reviews and experience that I’ve read here). I just personally wanted the features that the hybrid has (enclosed base/motor, riving knife, cabinet mounted trunnions). and since it’s through HD you can always get a 10% discount when purchasing it (PM me if you’re not sure how). Or if you are not in a rush and can wait for HD to have a major sale you might even be able to get a bigger discount.

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

View Don K.'s profile

Don K.

1075 posts in 1985 days


#15 posted 06-25-2009 06:43 PM

Purplev,
Congrats on the new saw…..I had the old T2424 table saw and LOVED it…never gave me a seconds problem. Only reason I went to a cabinet saw is because I actually needed the 3hp. As far as the factory belt that came with it. If it is still made by the same people that made mine…and made to the same quality mine was….I would NEVER change it. I also had the same belt on my old 2424….it never wore out, lasted for years, and if it sat for weeks or even months in between being used…it never vibrated a bit. After almost ten years of use, when I sold it, it would still pass the nickle test with the factory belt it came with. The old man who bought it was simply amazed at how smooth and quite it was.

Again, congrats on the new saw, I am sure it will give you YEARS of trouble free service if it is even HALF the saw my old ridgid was.

-- Don S.E. OK

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