Sizing up Ridgid's new tile sawcomments (8) May 1st, 2009 in Blogs
A few weeks back I sent one of Ridgid’s brand new tile saws to our go-to tile author, Tom Meehan. Now, Tom has been in the business for over 30 years, and he has more tile saws than most woodworkers have hand planes. Also, like most guys that still make their living out in the field, he has a few less-materialistic things to show for his experience: hands as rough as 60-grit sandpaper, a bad back, and a low tolerance for tools that don’t perform.
I checked in with Tom yesterday to see how he liked the new saw after a couple of weeks on various jobs. Here are Tom’s general thoughts (filtered sarcastically through me):
- The assembly is beyond painful. The instruction manual packaged with this saw is about as useful as it is appetizing. Only with a little bit of help from a full pot of coffee, an impressive vocabulary of curse words, and his two best employees, did Tom manage to get the 121 lb. saw and stand assembled and ready to go.
- The power switch, which is surrounded by plastic on all but two sides, is too hard to turn on. Hell, with this many saws in a fleet its hard enough just to remember where the switch is, never mind having to think about how to use it.
- The water tables are flimsy. How flimsy, you ask? This editor is surprised they manage to hold the water they are supposed to collect. Still, they seem to do a passable job at reigning in overspray and keeping the work area dry.
- The laser is cool, but once the tile is in position against the sliding table, is it really necessary? For plunge cuts, maybe…yet it doesn’t project back far enough to be used during those cuts. But come on…what consumer in their right mind can resist a laser? Oh, I almost forgot: There’s also a light right next to the laser…a combo that would be especially useful when working in or around a light-sucking cosmic event such as a black hole.
- The water collection system is clever, especially the spray hose for cleaning the saw and the removable under-table reservoir with anti-tile-sludge protection. But the downside is a setup that has more hoses and valves than a cardiopulmonary bypass pump.
- The collapsible stand makes setup and take-down a snap, but the saw can’t be removed from the stand. So, even in the folded position the combo takes up a huge amount of space. Also, the protruding handles and wheels force you to stand too far away during use, sort of like trying to drive a minivan from the backseat. Finally, when a stand this large is erected in it's working position it occasionally needs to be moved around the site. Good luck. The wheels on this stand are on the same side as the handles; about as helpful as a forklift with a seat that faces backwards.
Still, this $700 saw offers a lot of power and features in a category where competitors are selling for $1,000. Ridgid may have missed the mark in a couple of spots, but they also got creative with several features, and are sure to be noticed (and duplicated?) by other tile saw manufacturers.
Tom’s summary: “You have to give Ridgid credit, they are really trying”.
The saw should begin to hit stores sometime this month.
**EDIT: SPECS JUST IN FROM RIDGID**
posted in: Blogs, kitchen, bathroom, saws, tile, tilework, entryway, laundry room, patio, hallway
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