First off id like to thank everyone who contributes on this site as it's been a great resource for someone like me who's just starting out. I thought I'd write this to benefit the other novices who might be reading.
I'll spare you the lengthy background just know I'm not really a woodworker, more of a DIY guy who buys tools as my projects require them. Next on my list are built in bookcases, a mantel, and some laundry rooms cabinets. The bench top table saw I owned was not going to handle the large materials that I needed so I started shopping for table saws. There was no way I could justify dropping anything close to the $1000+ that a quality cabinet saw costs so I landed on the R4512. I knew it was a gamble going in but like many of you have probably found, there's nothing else in the price range that can compare.
I'll give you the bad first. Mine did not have the common problem you've probably all read about, the rear of the blade healing out when you raise or lower the height. I had convinced myself I could live with that given it goes back into alignment if you simply relieve the tension on the wheel. My saw DID have the issue you see fewer reports on where the blade cannot be aligned. The trunnions on this saw are mounted to the cast iron table top. To set the blade parallel to the miter slot, you loosen 4 bolts and gently "tap" it into alignment. The issue with some of these saws is there isn't enough room machined into the bolt holes on the trunnions to allow for the necessary adjustments. There are a few posts about guys using a bar clamp to force it into alignment, I do not own a clamp that can persuade the cast iron parts to go where they need to. I do not own a dial indicator and I'm just not going to spend the $$ on a professional alignment gauge. I used a combination square with a 1/32 scale. When everything is said and done, my saw is out of alignment by something less than 1 32nd of an inch. I don't own a tool accurate enough to measure the distance. If I touch the ruler on my square to a tooth at the front, then roll it back to the rear it's not the same. I can get it to tick like I've read about. That being said, it all but touches. With good light and 20/20 vision I can just make out the gap between them. There's no fixing it, Ridgid suggested I take it back to HD or prepare for a long wait while they fixed it. However, with a slow steady feed rate it does not burn or bind anything I've run through it.
Here's the good. For a novice like me, this thing is not even the same kind of tool as my bench top saw. Even with the issue I mentioned this is by far the most accurate tool for cutting wood I've ever owned. I swapped the miter gauge for an Incra and put a Freud 60 tooth blade on it. The fence is smooth and can be set with amazing accuracy. I still measure with my tap on an important piece but basically what you set the fence to is what comes out the other side. I built a 2x5 out feed table for it and breaking down large stock or cutting long pieces of hardwood is a pleasure. It's crazy how quiet it is too. After using it for awhile, I went to break down a 4 x8 sheet of plywood with my circular saw and the noise from the small saw gave me a jolt! My old TS sounded like a 747 revving up.
I've still got a few weeks left on my 90 day retune to HD but at this point I think I'm going to keep it.
Bottom line, if you own a commercial wood shop I'd pass on this saw. If your just starting out, or are setting up your garage/basement I'd say this is a good buy. I picked up a used router and will buy a planer soon and still won't have spent the $ it would have taken to get a better saw.
Hope this helps someone.
Last edited by Jim_677; 09-29-2014 at 10:41 PM.