Table Saw: Bosch 4100-09 or Craftsman 21833 Update: got an R4512!

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Forum topic by eltee posted 01-19-2014 12:03 PM 6244 views 0 times favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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18 posts in 1765 days

01-19-2014 12:03 PM

Topic tags/keywords: table saw buying advice

HD has the Bosch on sale for $480 (Lowes actually has it in stock and will match HD’s prices) and Sears has the 21833 for $460. I’ve read about the alignment issues common with the 21833/R4512, so there’s that potential headache… What do you guys think, entry level contractor’s saw or high end portable? I’m pretty new to woodworking but have jumped into the deep end lately and need a table saw. I’d like to get something I can grow into, but $500 is about the extent of my budget. Portability would be nice, but not really required because I’m not going to be hauling this thing outside of my garage/drive-way… unless I can ;)

Oh, the Ridgid R4512 isn’t an option because HD in my area doesn’t stock them and they won’t ship it to the store. Having them ship it to my home is my only option and would be another $100 over the $530 MSRP.

My upcoming projects include some built-in bookcases, shop cabinets, kid’s bed, storage shed and some front porch repairs. Once I get some more experience, I’d love to tackle building new kitchen cabinets (nothing too fancy), but that’s probably not going to happen for a while.

I ended up buying an R4512 from HD. I assembled it in a day and tuned it up this Saturday. It came about 1/32” out of square with the slot out of the box and I was able to align it to within 1/128” which is the best I can do by eyeball with an engineer’s ruler. The good part is that it maintained that alignment after several height adjustments! This made me happy since the adjustment process began with having to drill out three of the six screws holding the access panel onto the cabinet after the hex heads stripped instantly, apparently because of the pandas they apparently have assembling these things in a China crossthreaded them… On the upside, the screws are really cheap and drilled easily with a basic hss bit and some WD-40. I interpreted this as a bad omen but after initial assembly of the base involved judicious use of a pry bar and mallet to get the parts to align, I was less than surprised.

I do have it assembled now and more or less tuned, which made cuts with the stock blade much smoother. I’m glad it didn’t turn into a project on its own as I was initially afraid of. I ditched the anti-kickback pawls because they were etching grooves into everything I cut. The blade guard and riving knife aren’t bad although sometimes the riving knife will interfere with the wood when using the miter fence to crosscut. That will come off for cross its as soon as I build a sled. All in all it seems like a good saw as there is very little cursing when I’m using it (as opposed to when I’m maintaining it.). For the money, it seems like a good deal.

19 replies so far

View knotscott's profile


8140 posts in 3551 days

#1 posted 01-19-2014 12:31 PM

A portable is best when you need to move the saw from site to site, or if it’s needs to be stowed away on a shelf. A decent full size saw with a belt drive induction motor has the lion’s share of other advantages….more room to operate in front of the blade, more mass, more torque, more upgradeable, more reliable, etc.

The ABCs of Table Saws

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

View eltee's profile


18 posts in 1765 days

#2 posted 01-19-2014 04:12 PM

Thanks Scott, that’s a great article and I learned a bunch from it. I guess the only thing I’m still wondering is what types of saws would be well suited to particular projects. For instance, the projects I listed above, would a portable like the Bosch be well suited to them or will there likely be a great deal of cursing and frustration? I get that a stationary saw will be easier to work with all around, unless I need to take it somewhere, but what are the limits of modern high end portables (like the Bosch 4100?)

View knotheadswoodshed's profile


225 posts in 2348 days

#3 posted 01-19-2014 04:26 PM

for the types of projects you are describing, go with the biggest saw you can afford.
I used my Bosch for years, making my boxes and other smaller projects and it always performed flawlessly, but it struggled with larger panels, the surface area of the table is just too small and the fence too short. I finally upgraded to a Jet Proshop which is a nice compromise (IMO).

-- Randy - "I dont make mistakes, I make design change opportunities"

View dhazelton's profile


2789 posts in 2472 days

#4 posted 01-19-2014 05:03 PM

Portable contractor saws are great for ripping trim or flooring installation, not really breaking down sheets of plywood. I’d consider getting a track saw for that unless you go with a used cabinet or hybrid saw. Even then, breaking down sheets accurately by yourself is a pain.

View paxorion's profile


1107 posts in 2221 days

#5 posted 01-19-2014 05:15 PM

I also am in a similar situation in terms of the projects I am looking to build. For a long time I didn’t think I needed/wanted a full sized (i.e. contractor saw, hybrid, cabinet), but after using my guild shop and a contractor saw, I realized that there was a night and day difference in the ease of use. It made it a lot harder for this novice to “mess up” cuts. I’m in that uncomfortable boat of requiring portability since I have to haul all of my tools to work out in my backyard. With that being said, I wish I could get a contractor saw. A few of my reasons include:

  1. Table size for contractor/full sized saws seem to be 40” x 27”, whereas the high end portables (e.g. Bosch 4100 or Dewalt DWE7490x/DWE7491RS) are closer to ~33” x 25” The larger table has proven it’s worth in ease of use
  2. Fences (and upgrade options) are MUCH better on the full sized saws
  3. Operation is smoother, and the induction motor will last better than the universal motor
  4. Cutting capacity is generally larger on the full sized saws. You’d be surprised what 1 additional inch in front of the saw blade will do for crosscut cut capacity

-- paxorion

View bbc557ci's profile


595 posts in 2250 days

#6 posted 01-19-2014 05:28 PM

See post 3. Get the biggest/most saw you can afford. Might wanna check Craigslist or other sources for a used machine. Used, you can get allot of table saw for $500.00.

-- Bill, central where near the "big apple"

View eltee's profile


18 posts in 1765 days

#7 posted 01-20-2014 12:35 AM

Great advice guys. Thank you. I went by Sears today and took a look at the 21833. They didn’t have any in stock except the floor model but said they could have one for me in a week. I will likely be ordering one tomorrow and will check the blade alignment first thing. I wish there was a way to check it before I leave the store’s loading dock. Any ideas there? If the trunnion problems are as common as it seems… I really hope this isn’t a whole new ordeal I’m entering into.

View jonah's profile


1874 posts in 3474 days

#8 posted 01-20-2014 01:29 AM

You could always ask them if they mind you spending an hour putting the trunnions on the base in the loading dock. It’ll take a while, but if they have the space and don’t mind you taking it up for an hour or two you’d save the loading/uploading/trip back there if the saw’s no good.

According to the other thread, you should be able to tell if you have a bad one by the gap between the trunnion and some other part (I didn’t read it super carefully).

View eltee's profile


18 posts in 1765 days

#9 posted 01-20-2014 01:53 AM

Actually, I think I will get the Ridgid after all. I just realized that there is a Home Depot about an hour away that has the R4512 in stock and I’ve got gift cards :)

They might disown me if I return one more big ticket item though, so lets hope the trunnions are good on this TS.

View eltee's profile


18 posts in 1765 days

#10 posted 01-22-2014 12:02 PM

So I bought the R4512 last night. After driving an hour and a half, the HD manager wouldn’t honor the Harbor Freight coupon or even price match the Craftsman 21833. I ended up paying full price because I had a gift card and some store credit to use, but I was kinda grumbly. At least I got it home alright and since I was by myself, had to unpack the box on the bed of my truck to make it light enough to take down once it was just the top and cabinet left. Fun times. I’m pretty excited about this thing and can’t wait to get started assembling and tuning it.

View jonah's profile


1874 posts in 3474 days

#11 posted 01-22-2014 12:15 PM

I didn’t realize any HD stores carried stationary tools anymore. I thought they’d clearanced them out a year or two ago. Hope the saw works out for you. Don’t forget to register for the LSA.

View Howie's profile


2656 posts in 3099 days

#12 posted 01-22-2014 01:53 PM

Beware of Sears , they are in financial trouble and may not be there tomorrow.

-- Life is good.

View Craftsman70's profile


244 posts in 2301 days

#13 posted 01-22-2014 02:52 PM

eltee, let us know how your alignment goes. We have our fingers crossed for you.

View Jokker78's profile


136 posts in 1873 days

#14 posted 01-22-2014 03:28 PM

I have craftsman saw and love it.great saw
I bought it three years ago on sell for 380.I have added a saw stop fence to it

-- Measure once, cut , measure again, cut and damn its still to short

View eltee's profile


18 posts in 1765 days

#15 posted 01-22-2014 03:29 PM

jonah, most stores in my area (Central NC) don’t carry them. That’s why I had to drive into the next district over to buy this one. You can tell who has a particular tool in stock by entering different cities as your “home store” on their website. If its in stock, the website will give you the option to “pickup in store”. If its not then it’ll check other nearby stores where it is in stock and how many they have. I had to keep trying farther and farther cities before I found one in stock.

Howie, I agree, which is one reason I spent a little more for the Ridgid once I found it in stock. They’re cannibapizing the hell out of their brand loyalty right now and that’s never a good sign. I visited the tool department at Sears for the first time in many years the other day and the guys they had working there didn’t seem like they’d ever used any of the tools they were selling. Needless to say I was less than inspired.

Craftsman70, thanks for the good vibes man. My fingers are crossed too. I’m buying a dial indicator today.

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