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Ridgid R4512 vs. Steel City 35990C

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Forum topic by grunt58 posted 02-11-2013 06:28 PM 4223 views 0 times favorited 60 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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grunt58

19 posts in 663 days


02-11-2013 06:28 PM

First, I know threads asking about this TS vs that TS and what TS should I get have been gone over a million times. After reading a lot of the posts I’m still confused on what would be best for me so I thought I would ask what people think of these saws. I’m looking for comments on each and maybe suggestions on other saws. I’ve narrowed it down to either a Ridgid R4512 or a Steel City 35990C. At least for now I have narrowed it down; I keep changing my mind every few days.

My requirements are like most hobbyists size, cost, moveable and 110v. I like the Ridgid because of the price and it got pretty good reviews. But I’d be ok with spending a couple hundred more to get a better saw. Assuming the Steel City is worth the extra money.

http://www.ridgid.com/Tools/10-Cast-Iron-Table-Saw/EN/index.htm

http://www.steelcitytoolworks.com/products_tools.cfm?section=2&category=12&tool=35990C

Thanks


60 replies so far

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lumberjoe

2833 posts in 914 days


#1 posted 02-11-2013 07:09 PM

I went with the rigid because of the price. There is only one thing I am not happy with and that is the fence. There is no benefit to the steel city here because that also has a 2 piece fence system (more on that below)

You will likely get a lot people telling you the Steel City is the one to go with because it has
A – more cast iron
B – cabinet mounted trunions (vs table mounted trunions)

That was a large consideration for me at first, but in reality I haven’t ever thought to myself “man, I wish I had more cast iron”. The Steel wings on the R4512 are plenty sturdy and flat to the cast iron (if you take the time to assemble it correctly)
There have been trunion issues with some of the older R4512’s. I won’t elaborate because it has been well documented. With that said, newer models do not seem to be affected at all. I find both height and angle adjustments to be true and consistent once aligned properly. I use my saw daily.

Like I mentioned, on paper the Steel City is the better saw. In real world applications, I haven’t found the lack of cast iron or the table mounted trunions have had any effect on the quality of cuts I make with the saw, or my ability to make any cut I want to. Once set up properly, it’s as good as an under-powered hybrid saw gets. The fence rails can be an issue though – but it will be on the steel city as well. This is not a showstopper. There are plenty of aftermarket fences available. Some require some tweaking (Delta T2, vega pro), and some bolt right up but cost more than the saw (Incra LS-TS – but that would be an upgrade on any saw you were to buy).

Unless you are going to go with a 3hp full cabinet saw, I really cannot justify the price difference between the R4512 and the other contractor saw/hybrids like Rikon, steel city, Jet, and Grizzly. In addition, I think the R4512 is superior to other similarly priced saws. The Craftsman clone is usually $100 more and not eligible for the LSA, and the Porter cable has a LOT of plastic where you would expect metal to be.

-- www.etsy.com/shop/KandJWoodCrafts

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grunt58

19 posts in 663 days


#2 posted 02-11-2013 07:32 PM

Thanks for the reply, great information. I was set to go with the ridgid but then started reading up on the Steel City. Witht he ridgid I thought about adding the Incra fence and replacing the extensions with cast iron but at that point I’m in another $400 so I might as well buy a $1k saw. I’ve read people say to suck it up and buy your second gen saw and skip the first. I wish I could but like most my current shop is my 2 1/2 car garage which stores 2 cars a 4-wheeler misc tools and lord knows what else. My goal is to get by for 5 years then at that point have the dedicated shop and money for a cabinet saw. Then keep this as a back up saw.

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PurpLev

8476 posts in 2314 days


#3 posted 02-11-2013 07:43 PM

the specs favor the SteelCity saw, and I’m basing this on the cabinet mounted trunnion. Other than that I have the R4511 which uses the same fence setup as the SC saw mentioned above and have had no problems with the 2 piece rails- but I do know many people complaint about it. a quick solution to this is to replace the 2 piece rail with a single 1.25×1.25-1/8”thick tube and problem solved (like many have done in the past).

so that leaves the price vs. trunnion – which is more important to you?

Another thing to consider is availability – the Ridgid is fairly easy to come by at any HD, or HD can get it from another store, where as availability of the SC is harder to come by (at least around here).

I have a similar saw in spec (1.5Hp 110v) and honestly do not think I will ever NEED a bigger saw. do your homework and get your last saw today, whether it is one of the above 2, or your final planned 3Hp saw.

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

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lumberjoe

2833 posts in 914 days


#4 posted 02-11-2013 07:58 PM

Honestly, if I were to upgrade this saw, my minimum consideration would be the Grizzly G0690 at about $1500 shipped. Nothing brand new in the $500 to $1300 range get me to upgrade from the R4512. Like you, I would also need a mobile base at an additional cost. In addition to that, if you don’t already have 220v power, you would need to make provisions as well.

-- www.etsy.com/shop/KandJWoodCrafts

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gtbuzz

357 posts in 1107 days


#5 posted 02-11-2013 08:00 PM

I’ll jump in here because I’ve got some experience with the former…

All I can say about the Ridgid and that style of trunnion design (Craftsman 21833 and Grizzly G0715P) is that make sure you can get a good one. I’ve gone through 1 R4512 and 2 G0175P (long story) and here’s what I’ve found:

Ridgid #1 – was able to square the blade to the miter slot +/- 0.001, however it never held. It would lose the alignment within a few cuts. What’s worse is that if you raised the blade, the alignment went WAY out of whack. Really wish this one worked out because I got it for $470 or so from HD, but it went back.

G0715P #1 – awesome alignment. +/- 0.001 and didnt’ change with the blade raising / lowering and with the blade angle change. Saw had some motor problems so I had to get it swapped out

G0715P #2 – no motor problems, but alignment is AWFUL. Can’t get it better than 0.015”. Doesn’t change when you raise/lower the blade so I really think the trunnion mounting holes in the bottom of the table were mis-drilled. Grizzly has agreed to take this back (I think).

Having gone through 3 saws with the same trunnion design, all I can say is…. I give up. 66% failure rate (on the trunnions at least) is far far too high for me and just not worth the frustration going through a bunch of them to find a good one. If you can find a Home Depot or a Sears with the 4512 or 21833 on display, I’d say check it out and if it’s good take that one and that one only. Alignment problems aside, it seems like a decent saw, especially for the price.

I’m in the hunting for a table saw phase again, and I’ve basically narrowed it down to a handfull of Steel City models (950, 926 and 990 that you mentioned) as well as the Craftsman 22116 which is basically a copy of an older SC saw, still has cabinet mounted trunnions too. Wouldn’t have thought it was worth the few hundred $$ difference, but apparently, at least based on my experience, it does.

Really don’t want to break the $1000 barrier either, but honestly there’s this thing in the back of my head telling me to go ahead and buy the 3hp SawStop because I’ll never have to buy one again.

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grunt58

19 posts in 663 days


#6 posted 02-11-2013 08:07 PM

If I had the room and was not saving for my next house I’d get my final saw. Some people don’t realize the interwebs has people of all ages and demographics on it. Everyone is at different stages in their life. There is a hardware store about an hour from my house that sells Steel City and said they had the 35990C on display. So the shipping/recieving is a moot point right now.

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lumberjoe

2833 posts in 914 days


#7 posted 02-11-2013 08:18 PM

Grunt58, that’s a good observation. There are two schools of thought though. The “old timers” have all been where we have and have bought multiple table saws when saving up for just one would have worked out better financially. The second group is the people like you (and me) that just want to get woodworking. My table saw is not the only tool I bought. Last year at this time I owned a chop saw and a few drills. I now have a complete woodworking shop that if I were to total receipts probably cost more than my first 4 cars combined. I think I may be in the upgrade category soon, but that has more to do with my current financial status than the shortcomings of the R4512.

The ridgid alignment issue can be diagnosed in the parking lot at home depot if present. I haven’t seen any recent examples of this, but it was quite prevalent. The Steel City is a little nicer, but not worth the premium in my opinion. Keep in mind included blades are junk, so you will need a new one right away. Getting a dado set, zero clearance insert(s), upgrading the junk miter gauge that comes with saws (or building a sled) etc, all factors in as well. That is a zero sum equation between the R4512 and the SC.

-- www.etsy.com/shop/KandJWoodCrafts

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toolie

1764 posts in 1294 days


#8 posted 02-11-2013 08:20 PM

here’s one vote for “less ” saw (so i’m kinda in the 4512 camp). i sold a unisaw i refurbished for lack of room rather than sell the 2 10” CI TSs which i have. all this hubbub about “more power” won’t make your cuts better. it will make them easier and faster, but not better. i’d try for a 4512 for $400 w/ a HF 20% off coupon and put the saved $100 towards a better fence or blade or miter gauge. just my $.02.

-- there's a solution to every problem.......you just have to be willing to find it.

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grunt58

19 posts in 663 days


#9 posted 02-11-2013 08:34 PM

Side note. I kinda almost pulled the trigger on a delta x unisaw. Distributor was selling a new/never used one for $1900. I was not to familar with it but I think that was a good price. It being 220v and the fact my fiance would kill me for droping that much money on saw when we want to move made me pass. I guess she would also be pissed that I spent that much money and we are getting married this year too….

This is not it but is what it looked like minus the 50” fence.
http://www.redmond-machinery.com/images/Delta/Delta%2036-L31X-BC50.gif

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PurpLev

8476 posts in 2314 days


#10 posted 02-11-2013 08:38 PM

not THAT GREAT of a deal that you should feel bad about it ;) this looks like the older generation unisaw.

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

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Furnitude

339 posts in 2173 days


#11 posted 02-11-2013 09:07 PM

Have a look at my review of the Ridgid 4512: http://lumberjocks.com/reviews/2020. I can’t comment on the Grizzly because i’ve never laid eyes nor hands on it. All I can say is that I’m still very happy with the Ridgid 4512 after a couple of years. I haven’t had any problems with the fence, as others mentioned above. If I could change anything about the Ridgid, I’d say it would be great to have a full iron table and not the stamped steels ones. I don’t like the cawl very much, but the riving knife has worked well. I haven’t had a single kickback incident—nothing even close. The mobility of it is quite good. I have a small basement and have had to move it around when work was done on the furnace, etc. Up on its wheels, it feels like it’s floating. I’m sure an aftermarket fence would improve performance a bit. If i could have any saw regardless of money, i’d have a SawStop cabinet saw. But the Ridgid has all the features I need. If you have any specific questions, feel free to ask me.
Mitch

-- Mitch, http://furnitude.blogspot.com Also blog at http://www.craftsy.com/blog/author/mitch-roberson/

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grunt58

19 posts in 663 days


#12 posted 02-11-2013 09:10 PM

Cool. I heard new Delta Uni Saw for $1900 and almost dropped my pants and bent over.

What is the fence on the Steel City 35990C like? Is it 2 piece? What is the down side to the 2 piece if flexes somewhere? In the middle?

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knotscott

5482 posts in 2041 days


#13 posted 02-11-2013 09:13 PM

GTBuzz – I’m curious why you’d swap the entire saw for a motor problem, as opposed to just replacing the motor?

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

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lumberjoe

2833 posts in 914 days


#14 posted 02-11-2013 09:14 PM

It flexes near the joint. If I am working within about 3” of the blade, I get some flex. The closer to the blade I get, the more flex I get. This changes the geometry of the fence and brings it out of parallel ever so slightly. It has gotten worse over time. It is much more noticeable on harder woods. I just cut some Cumaru and the last few inches are completely scorched. It can be adjusted out – and I do if I am making a lot of repeat cuts close to the blade, but it is annoying. This weekend the saw is coming apart anyway as I am ditching a steel insert in favor of a larger router table. I have a feeling the little set screw blocks that holds the two pieces together loosened up a bit.

-- www.etsy.com/shop/KandJWoodCrafts

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lumberjoe

2833 posts in 914 days


#15 posted 02-11-2013 09:15 PM

Also it was Furnitude’s review and blog that convinced me to stop dicking around and just get the R4512. I had been saw shopping for about 2 months

-- www.etsy.com/shop/KandJWoodCrafts

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