old Craftsman versus Rigid R4512?

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Forum topic by rlrobinhood posted 05-25-2012 05:20 AM 3804 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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80 posts in 2646 days

05-25-2012 05:20 AM

Hi all,

I’m just getting into wood working and have an old 12” direct drive Craftsman table saw. I think it says “professional series”. Its wired for 220 and passes the penny/nickle test. But, when you first start up the saw and shut it down, you can see the blade wobble. Sounds like runout and I’ve yet to put a dial indicator to it. But, if it is runout, it could be bearings, flange, etc. The fence is horrible on this saw as well. I’ve attached a pic.

Ideally, I’d like a cabinet saw as I’m rather paticular. But, not sure I should go there yet (money reasons and I don’t know how much devotion to woodworking I’ll have in 2-5 years from now). So, I have a family friend who has a R4512 he’ll sell me for $300. He’s only used it a couple times, even though its about 4-years old. I’ve read all the reviews and it seems its not a bad saw for the money. Biggest complaint seemed to be about the fence, but that is probably better than mine.

Which saw do you think is better? What would you do? Would I be better going for the Rigid as a cabinet saw is probably not in the immediate future? Would I be ahead to buy the Rigid and sell the craftsman?

Thanks for all your sound advice.

Oh, and does anyone know if PALS will work with the R4512?

9 replies so far

View Tomj's profile


204 posts in 2381 days

#1 posted 05-25-2012 08:31 AM

I don’t know which is one is the better choice (others will chime in on that one) but I will say that you should check if the blade is parallel to miter slot/fence with the blade at different heights. That has been one of the main problems popping up with R4512. If it was the case and it was off by allot you would have to realign the blade to the fence every time you changed the blade height. Good luck.

View knotscott's profile


8015 posts in 3375 days

#2 posted 05-25-2012 09:09 AM

I’m not sure you’d be gaining much other than a possible fence upgrade (from “horrible” to ok). As Tomj mentioned, some of the R4512’s have an alignment problem that shifts the alignment when the blade height is changed….not a problem you’d want to gain.

Are you positive your saw is direct drive? I’m not familiar with that model, but wiring for 220v is usually only possible with induction motors, which are usually belt drive, but I could be wrong. If there’s a motor hanging off the back, it’s a belt drive induction motor. If it’s truly a direct drive saw with a universal motor, it could be worth swapping for the R4512 if it doesn’t have the alignment issues.

As far as runout, how well does it cut? Does the blade run true when at full speed? If it cuts true and does turn out to be a belt drive saw, I’d consider just adding a better blade, and a fence upgrade like the Delta T2 for $153 shipped from You can offset some of the cost by selling the original fence…it might fetch $25-$50. Replacing the bearings and even the arbor are doable options.

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

View Charlie's profile


1100 posts in 2286 days

#3 posted 05-25-2012 11:34 AM

Yeah, a lot of people having issues with the 4512 and alignment. But not everyone. If the saw is 4 years old, it might be fine but you’d need to check it very carefully.

Personally, if I had that 12 inch table saw, and it runs that smooth, I’d look at tuning it up. If you’re able to tune it up and square it to the slots and all that, then it’d be worth putting a nicer fence on it. It will be more powerful and have greater depth capacity than the 4512. And it looks like your old craftsman has all cast top and wings. The 4512 has stamped steel wings.

View rlrobinhood's profile


80 posts in 2646 days

#4 posted 05-25-2012 02:20 PM

knotscott, you put it very nicely. And that is exactly where I thought I should be 2-nights ago and then I started wavering…. When the 12” blade is spinning full speed, it visually appears to run nice and true. It only wobbles at the slowest of speeds just when it starts and just before it stops spinning.

It is definately a direct drive. There are no belts and the blade goes directly on the motor shaft. It does cut nice. I’ve cut 1” oak, zebra wood, and black walnut with it. No problems.

The reason I started thinking awefully hard again on the R4512 is if I had to replace bearing or have a machine shop work on the arbor, it would be $$. Then throw a T2 fence on. More $. At this point intime, I’d be real close to the $300.

Charlie, I’ve tuned it up some. The miter slots are close to paralell. I think I’m going to get some PALS to finish dialing it in. The Craftsman has cast iron table and what I think is cast aluminum wings.

So at this point it sounds like everyone would keep the Craftsman and add a T2 and tune it better. Any other thoughts?

Thanks again.

View RussellAP's profile


3104 posts in 2286 days

#5 posted 05-25-2012 02:27 PM

If you can get a 4512 for $300 I’d say buy it.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View Dwain's profile


524 posts in 3859 days

#6 posted 05-25-2012 03:57 PM

You have a tough decision. I think the big issue is parts availability. If you can get parts from Sears for your saw, then keep it. PALS are cheap. I don’t know what bearings will cost you, or the arbor. Frankly, I don’t think you will get anything for your fence. For $250 and a little work, I think you will have a better saw than the Rigid. That being said, the Rigid is a nice saw. If you don’t want to do the work, go with the Rigid. It will do most everything you need it to. Still, I love running my saw on 220. I would probably fix the old machine.

-- When you earnestly believe you can compensate for a lack of skill by doubling your efforts, there is no end to what you CAN'T do

View lieutenantdan's profile


176 posts in 2306 days

#7 posted 05-25-2012 04:16 PM

Isn’t the 4512 wireable for 220??

-- "Of all the things I have lost in life, I miss my mind the most."

View knotscott's profile


8015 posts in 3375 days

#8 posted 05-25-2012 06:53 PM

”Isn’t the 4512 wireable for 220??”

AFAIK, yes.

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

View jaydubya's profile


183 posts in 2812 days

#9 posted 05-26-2012 08:48 PM

Didnt the 4512 just come out last year? I know i got my craftsman 21833 at the end of 2010 and the 4512 wasnt out yet at that point

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