Ridgid R4512 Table Saw. Is it normal for the fence to be loose like this?

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Forum topic by noone posted 03-09-2012 05:12 AM 10453 views 1 time favorited 38 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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583 posts in 2474 days

03-09-2012 05:12 AM

Brand new Ridgid R4512 Table Saw. Is it normal for the fence to be loose like this? I have already spent hours getting this thing calibrated. Blade is 90 square to the top, aligned perfectly with the miter slot. Miter gauge is spot on. This stinking fence is killing me! It seems that I have to be very aware of how I move it and how I clamp it down. I thought that this type of thing only happened on the cheap saws? Is the play in this fence normal? Also, the tape measure is no where near 0 when the fence is sitting on the blade. It’s off by about at least a 1/2 inch! Do I have to call Ridgid for a new tape sticker???


38 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile


117328 posts in 3778 days

#1 posted 03-09-2012 05:21 AM

Does it lock down straight and tight,that’s what counts. Did the tape measure come fixed on the rail or did you put it on?
Did you check the manual for adjustment on the fence?

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Kenny 's profile


260 posts in 2649 days

#2 posted 03-09-2012 07:44 AM

Yes, that’s normal, at least on every entry level saw like that which I have seen. It’s not a high-end fence, so that’s pretty much what you get. When you push the handle down, it will tighten up and pull dead straight. Just get in the habit of moving it and then pushing the handle a bit to square. After a bit, it becomes second nature and you’ll forget all about it.
Also, if you move the fence by the front end (where the handle is) and port of pull back while moving it, it will hold the fence square to the rails.
Just wax the rails well with some paraffin wax to keep it sliding easy, try the above mentioned “tricks” to deal with it, and you’ll forget all about it in a week.

Mine has been like that since day one (Craftsman contractor saw), and it only has a little spring tab to hold it straight while moving it, and I have a knob I need to twist to lock mine, and it’s still not bad. I have no issues really.

You may want to look inside the fence, some have a spring tab or another means of holding the fence a bit tighter when the handle isn’t locked. You may have to adjust it in some way. Also, make sure you have it placed properly on the saw. I know you likely have done that, just making sure you think of the small stuff!

As for the tape measure, it’s pretty common from what I gather. I’ve seen it posted in several reviews. You might have some play in the mounting holes for the rails and be able to gain some there, and the little windows do adjust, how much I have no idea.

Or, if it will make up for it in the proper direction, slap on a sacrificial fence. It’s not a bad thing to have anyway. It’ll keep your fence from ever being nicked or dinged up in any way. A piece of melamine with the edges sealed well will make for a good sacrificial fence, and with the T-track in yours, it’ll be cake to install.

I do hope I’m wrong and there is a way to tighten your fence up. But after checking out the new Craftsman just like it that shared that trait, I think it may be just how it is.

Good luck, and nice saw!

-- Kenny

View jeff's profile


1120 posts in 3666 days

#3 posted 03-09-2012 09:21 AM

i have the rigid 4512.the fence was time consuming for me.there are 4 allen bolts to adjust the fence square to the blade.i loosen those,adust my fence square,i hold the fence in place with some forward pressure towards the rear fence and also make sure the back of the fence does not move then i clamp down the fence,not all the way,just snug,then i tighten down the allen took me several attempts to get this right.yes the fence kept moving on me initially but all is well now.the fence cuts very far as the plastic zero indicator i too had problems with it.i had to elongate the holes on the indicator for more movement to zero out the fence,it worked well.when i move the fence for cuts i grab the fence itself and follow with my other hand at the handle to help guide the does glide rather smoothly though.oh i almost forgot,in the manual i think its mentioned how to adjust the rear of the fence if that is an issue.hope this helps keep us informed.Jeff

-- Jeff,Tucson,Az.

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1120 posts in 3666 days

#4 posted 03-09-2012 10:04 AM

noone, oops,i just saw your fence does move like yours but not as much and i think the way i adjusted my fence as i described in my previuos post definitely helped.the main thing does your fence lock down square?.this is my first saw and being a beginner i spent a few nights out in my shop going through the adjustments and making practice cuts and along the way i had to adjust the fence several times.i had some frustrating moments and i thought i was going crazy but i got it worked out.hope this makes sense.Jeff

-- Jeff,Tucson,Az.

View Charlie's profile


1100 posts in 2488 days

#5 posted 03-09-2012 11:06 AM

I had that saw for a week and had that kind of movement. Seemed no matter what I did, the fence was loose. Look at the far end of the fence (not the handle end). There is …. I think it was a nylock nut, and adjusting THAT tightened up the fence in the rails. It goes on the threaded rod that runs the length of the fence internally and adjusts the tension on the clamping mechanism. That pretty much fixed mine. I had to return it for other reasons, but I had the fence worked out pretty well..

View knotscott's profile


8148 posts in 3577 days

#6 posted 03-09-2012 11:53 AM

Have you made any adjustments to the fence? It’d be rare for a fence on any decent saw to come out of the back perfect adjusted and ready to use. The amount of slop in a fence is typically adjustable up to the point that the fence will no longer slide. Some slack is necessary in order to slide it down the rail, but as long as it doesn’t rock when clamped down it shouldn’t pose a problem.

The cursor is adjustable too, but I’m not sure it’ll adjust 1/2”....if push comes to shove, you might need to relocate the tape.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

2832 posts in 3639 days

#7 posted 03-09-2012 12:02 PM

I’ve got an old delta and you can’t really tell what the fence setting should be till you lock it. Locking it binds it straight. The checking and adjusting are after it’s locked. Not great but it works if you take the time.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View noone's profile


583 posts in 2474 days

#8 posted 03-09-2012 12:17 PM

I did try to adjust the nut on the back of the fence. When I tightened it a 1/4 turn, it was too tight and didn’t slide well at all, so I put it back. I guess it pulls straight when you lock it down, at least I hope so. I have messed with this fence for a while now, I will need to check it again in the locked position. I probably shouldn’t have ever messed with it. The blade alignment and miter gauge were spot on out of the box surprisingly.

I like that idea of using a piece of melamine against the fence. That should surely help out on the tape measure situation. How do I attach it to the fence?

View William's profile


9950 posts in 3044 days

#9 posted 03-09-2012 12:46 PM

I have a Ridgid 3650. From the video, it appears that even though the handles are different, it’s the same fence as your.
If it is, then you either need to tighten up on the tightness adjustment nut on the back end, or there is play in the rails.
I see you said you already tried adjusting the nut on the back a quarter turn. Did you try less than that. My fence once had play very similar to yours, and I had to adjust that nut, but it was very, very minute adjustment. Just a tiny bit will do you.
However, before doing anything, take the fence off and look under it to make sure there is nothing broken. It’s not hard to check out. There is little in the way of high end technology. It’s just a handle that acts like a fulcrum, attached to a long piece of rod with threads on the back end, and a nut that holds on a plastic piece that clamps the back rail.
Next, check to see exactly where the play is. Move the fence while watching everything closely. Is the fence moving on the rails? Or is the back rail moving along the table edge. Loose mounting bolts on the back rail would, I think, cause this same movement.


View William's profile


9950 posts in 3044 days

#10 posted 03-09-2012 12:53 PM

Ok, I just went back and watched the video again.
I think I understand it better now.
You’re worrying about the play BEFORE you lock it down.
This is normal. The back clamping piece is made of a material that is supposed to slip along the back rail and pull itself square when you lock it down. Of course this works better in theory than it does in real life. Every Ridgid stock fence I’ve ever seen does the same thing, including mine.
I alway make a habit of pushing the front edge towards the back of the saw as I lock down the handle. This forced the fence square. It works most of the time. I check both the leading and trailing edge of my blade though if I’m trying to make an accurate cut.

For what it’s worth, I now have a different saw with an Incra fence. Since getting it, I only use my Ridgid for my crosscut sled. I never realized the difference between stock fence systems and aftermarket like the Incra until I had one.
I’m not at all saying everyone should rush out and get one. You can still cut accurately with what you got. The advantage of the Incra though is the convenience factor. You just move it and lock it.


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583 posts in 2474 days

#11 posted 03-09-2012 02:34 PM

Yes, that seems like the best course of action – manually pushing the front of the fence toward the back of the saw saw that it squares it up. I do notice that if I rock the fence left or right, when I lock it down, it won’t square up just right, it will be cockeyed slightly toward whatever extreme I had it at. I guess I just need to be careful with how I lock it down. I will try to adjust the nut on the back 1/16 of an inch or so and see what happens just for kicks. I was hoping I wouldn’t have to mess with the fence like this, but hey, I got the saw for $428 out the door, so I can’t really complain. At least I solved the problem where I had the new diablo D1050 blade on BACKWARDS. I had the writing on the diablo blade facing the right side of the saw, just like the stock Ridgid blade, and after a few burnt cuts, I knew something was wrong….... :)

More questions:

1. Can I use Mother’s carnuba wax on the saw surfaces? It’s the only ‘non’ silicone wax I have around the house currently.

2. What is the best way to attach some melamine to the fence?

View noone's profile


583 posts in 2474 days

#12 posted 03-09-2012 02:46 PM

Ok, so I see the track on the fence now which can be used to attach stuff to it…. DOH.

Should I use melamine or MDF?? Isn’t MDF “flatter”?

View SignWave's profile


451 posts in 3236 days

#13 posted 03-09-2012 06:09 PM

The fence that came with the R4511 is a bit different, but it started with a fair amount of play like this one shows, and I was able to adjust some of it out. On the handle side, there are two nylon “screws” that adjust it side to side to adjust the angle. They also can be used to take the slack out a bit when adjusted together. This helped a bit, but the wiggle never really went away.

I also had the problem where if it was skewed before clamping down, it would not go quite straight. I got into the habit of clamping it 2 or 3 times (down/up/down/up/down/up) to get closer to straight. It kind of worked.

In the end, the 2 piece guide caused the most problems. I could never get it to stay 100% straight, so I’d get the fence lined up fine while close to the blade, but as I went to the right (past the split), it would be off. Even when I did get the guide rail relatively straight, a small bump would cause it to shift out of alignment.

Right now, I have the Incra TS-LS, which works quite well for me. I considered trying to tweak the existing fence, including getting a new single piece for the rail, but decided to go with the added features and repeatability of the Incra.

One other thing, if you attach something to the side of the fence, you’ll need to compensate for the measurement guide. Starrett makes a tape that you can use (and they have left and right versions for each side). Either that, or you can make the face a standard width like 1 inch and just do the math each time.

-- Barry,

View noone's profile


583 posts in 2474 days

#14 posted 03-11-2012 04:46 AM

Is the Incra fence plug and play? Easy to install?

The fence on this thing truly does blow. Everything SignWave said above is absolutely true. I struggled with true cuts all day. Sometimes it aligns right, sometimes not. I have a system now where I move it into place and cock it forward and to the right and then wiggle it slightly and then lock it down. Works ok but damn this fence sure wastes a lot of time.

Whats the next step up in table saws that has a good fence? If the cost of a table saw with a good fence is around the same as this Ridgid + a good fence, I may go that route and return this saw back to the Depot.

View WinterSun's profile


163 posts in 2811 days

#15 posted 03-11-2012 06:38 AM

You’ve got a pretty decent saw there, so I’d look at upgrading the fence rather than returning the saw. You can get into a Delta T2 for $150: That’s a solid Biesemeyer-type fence that is a frequent upgrade choice for older or lower-end saws that have subpar fences.

-- Rory // Milwaukee, WI

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