Delta 34-444 vs. Ridgid R4512

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Forum topic by ProfPenguin posted 04-14-2013 07:38 PM 4642 views 0 times favorited 49 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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31 posts in 1878 days

04-14-2013 07:38 PM

Hi Guys,

I have another flamebait… I mean, comparison thread to throw up here that maybe you could help me with.

A guy on CL has a Delta 34-444 contractor saw he would sell for $400. It has new machined pulleys, a link belt, both cast iron extension wings, a couple shop made jigs, and an upgrade to the dust collection system. He is a really nice guy from what I can tell, semi-professional woodworker, and really seems to know his tools. From the pictures, the thing looks mint, I mean you can see the shop light reflected off the table, no dust left on it anywhere.

I have been trolling CL for about a month now looking for a decent deal on a saw so I’m in no big hurry to buy anything but at this price, I’m worried that I might be better off with a new Ridgid R4512 (my HD accepts competitors coupons). I know that they seem to be getting hit-or-miss reviews lately but I figure as long as I get one without the defect, they are a great saw. A newer saw would get me a riving knife, warranty, and a bit of POM.

What do you jocks think? I’m just starting off on this hobby having made nothing more complicated than an end grain cutting board (which I need to post…) Will this saw last me for a while or will I just want to upgrade later?


49 replies so far

View toolie's profile


2121 posts in 2626 days

#1 posted 04-14-2013 08:20 PM

IMHO, you are on the right track. the 4512 offers a lot of value. it aslo has a 90 day satisfaction guaranty, a 3 year new tool warranty and the LSA, with which the tool must be registered for it to be effective

as far as it being a last saw, my two emerson built 10” CI contractor saws are all i’ll need for the foreseeable future. a spinning carbide tipped blade powered by a 1 1/2 hp motor should be able to handle whatever you need, just not at production shop speeds. cabinet saws are nice ( i refurbished an “old arn” unisaw and sold it), but not mandatory for fine woodworking.

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

View knotscott's profile


8012 posts in 3373 days

#2 posted 04-14-2013 08:24 PM

What fence is on the Delta?

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

View cabmaker's profile


1730 posts in 2806 days

#3 posted 04-14-2013 08:30 PM

The fence would probably dictate the value on this one. But with the cast iron wings it sounds like a fair deal, even with the orig. jet lock. I would choose it over any comparable cont. saw out there.

View Charlie's profile


1100 posts in 2283 days

#4 posted 04-14-2013 08:37 PM

Before you get lured in by the lifetime service on the Ridgid, find out where the closest place is that will do the warranty work. Ridgid gave me the name of a place. I called. They told me they stopped doing Ridgid warranty work because Ridgid stiffed them for a lot of money in reimbursements. So…. next place was 350 miles away. That’s a long drive! Home Depot apparently takes in the smaller tools for warranty work, but not the larger ones. Without a service center, the warranty is garbage. They would not ship me the parts to fix the R4512 myself (former journeyman millright… I could have handled it).

There are some very happy R4512 owners out there. But for every happy one there’s probably 10 that have picked up and returned a defective one.

The 34-444 was a top-of-the-line Delta contractor saw from the 80s into the 90s. If it has the cast iron wings (not the stamped steel ones) and a decent fence (I think they came with or could be ordered with a unifence), then if it’s in mint condition and comes with extras it might be worth $400. I’d try getting him down to $350 though … but that’s just me. :)

knotscott may chime in with more info. He’s kinda like the table saw god. :)

View ProfPenguin's profile


31 posts in 1878 days

#5 posted 04-14-2013 09:28 PM

I hear ya about the Ridgid warranty, thankfully the service center is about 15 mi from here so it isn’t so bad. I’ve read about the defective units and I plan to do the “parking lot test” on the Ridgid if I go that route to be sure I get a good one.

The fence on the Delta is the original jet lock fence which I hear mixed things about. It could probably use an upgrade but at $400, I don’t know if it would be worth it. At $600, I might be better off with a Steel City or Grizzly hybrid saw.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

4985 posts in 2490 days

#6 posted 04-14-2013 09:36 PM

I had the 34-444 with a Unifence…and for me there would be no question between the 2 you listed, except for the fence. With the Jet lock, I would want the Delta for a little less…but I would still want it. USA made, a 2 HP motor that was derated to 1.5 for UL reasons….and that one has the cast iron extensions.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View Charlie's profile


1100 posts in 2283 days

#7 posted 04-14-2013 09:39 PM

I bought an R4512 first. I tried everything I could think of, short of pulling it apart and remachining parts. I really liked the saw that much. Unfortunately, there was no getting around the alignment issue so I had to return it. They had one other in stock besides the display model and those BOTH had the alignment issue.

So I spent a little more and got the Steel City 35990G. I love it. Once I figured out the procedure for getting the split miter slots adjusted, it has been clear sailing. And I can remove and reset the wings and get the miter slots right on with no problem at all. I see Steel City has a line of saws now with both slots milled into the center section as well. So….whatever floats your boat. ALL machines have their quirks. ALL of them. Part of this is dealing with them, learning them, and working WITH them. :)

View knotscott's profile


8012 posts in 3373 days

#8 posted 04-14-2013 10:21 PM

The Delta is a nice saw (in the right hands ;-)), and the cast iron wings and link belt are nice touches that do add some value, but the jetlock fence deflates the value IMO. In today’s market I don’t think it’s worth $400 as is. I’d be more inclined to offer $300 and see what comes of it.

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

View Tedstor's profile


1643 posts in 2630 days

#9 posted 04-14-2013 11:40 PM

The 34-444 is a very capable machine. I wouldn’t think you’d outgrow it anytime soon. Certainly not any faster than you’d outgrow a 4512. But as said before, $400 is a hefty price for a saw with a mediocre fence.
I might pay $200-250 with the intention of immediately installing a Delta T2 fence. They typically run $150-200, are of great quality, and would be a direct bolt-on to a 34-444.
You’d have $400-450 sunk into the machine at that point, but the saw would last for decades. And IMO, you’d be hard pressed to find anything better for $450.

View NiteWalker's profile


2737 posts in 2574 days

#10 posted 04-15-2013 01:50 AM

In this instance, I’d go for the ridgid. If the delta was cheaper, I’d go that way and do as Tedstor said.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View SamuraiSaw's profile


515 posts in 1961 days

#11 posted 04-15-2013 03:04 PM

First the good news…....

The biggest culprit for making these type of dicussions is now history (by name and hopefully in reality). Makes for a much nicer environment.

I am not a fan of Ridgid, but that delta is way over priced. IMO $300 is top dollar. If the seller won’t come down, consider ridgid.

-- Artisan Woodworks of Texas....

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3670 days

#12 posted 04-15-2013 03:12 PM

I would get the Delta 34-444, its a much better saw.

View ProfPenguin's profile


31 posts in 1878 days

#13 posted 04-15-2013 08:33 PM

Thanks for the input gentleman!

Just to throw more confusion into this thread… I found another guy selling a Craftsman 113.298032. He’s asking $200 which is about twice what it’s worth but if I can get it for ~$100 and replace the lame Emerson fence, it might be a nice saw and last me a while.

What do you think?

P.S. KnottScott, I think we’re in the same area and I know you have some experience with these saws. Are they decent enough for a new woodworker? Are they worth the time to restore?

View knotscott's profile


8012 posts in 3373 days

#14 posted 04-15-2013 08:53 PM

I’m in the northern part of Greece on the west side of Rochester. Those old Emerson saws are made in the USA, and have direct lineage to both the Emerson and TTI/Ryobi made Ridgid and Craftsman contractor saws like the TS2424, TS3612, TS3650, etc. The fences on the old Cman Emersons were fairly lame, but the guts underneath are nearly identical, and many parts are interchangeable. With a good fence, they’re can be a very respectable saw.

If you’re talking about the old Emerson Cman on CL in Henrietta, yeah, $200 is a little steep IMO, but it’s got wheels, metal handwheels, a DC blower built into the motor, and looks to be in good shape. If he’s got the blade guard that goes with it, I think an offer $150 would be reasonable. The DC blower is a mixed bag for me….it helps resale value if you’re peddling the parts, and it actually helps with dust collection if he’s got the blade guard attachment, but those fan blades share an already slightly underpowered motor with the saw blade. You can take the blower off, or you coul. Not much on CL here in the past week or so. Somebody had a pretty nice Ridgid 3650 a couple weeks back…it didn’t stick around long. There’s an old Emerson Cman in Greece for $350! That’s crazy, but it’s in nice shape and looks complete. There’s a project in Lyons for $150…..$75 to $100 would be reasonable on that one (needs some TLC). There’s an older Ridgid with a decent fence for $300 in Greece (looks like it might be a TS2424) leg stand, but doesn’t need a fence upgrade…$200 to $250 would be a good offer on that one IMO (it was posted mid March, so if it’s still around, they’re probably willing to negotiate by now….lack of blade guard is a good bartering point). There’s also an older Delta with a jetlock fence and a vacuum system thats’s overpriced at $350, but that one’s also been there a while, so they might be up for an offer.

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

View ProfPenguin's profile


31 posts in 1878 days

#15 posted 04-15-2013 09:09 PM

Hey Knott,

I’m over in Penfield so, opposite side of the city. I haven’t seen much to jump at on CL yet, hence my hesitation to pull the trigger on any of these.

The Cman is indeed the one in Henrietta, good eye. Wheels and handwheels are a plus but the blower does nothing for me since I have very little in the way of a dust collection setup and like you said, why rob power from an already under-powered motor?

I already tried to talk to the guy with the saw in Greece, he wasn’t going to budge on the price much so that one’s out of the question. I didn’t see the one in lyons though so maybe that’s worth the drive. I have some old Rockwell Stamped wings that might work on there too.

Thanks for the advise!

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