Tool Talk #7: Ridgid 12″ Compound Sliding Miter Saw

Well over half of the emails sent to me are on the subject of tools. I have no objections to responding to them but I thought it would be beneficial to start a video library of sorts to briefly touch on what I think of a particular tool or set of tools. These won’t be in depth tool reviews as I know very few people are interested in that kind of thing and I really don’t want to go over all the details. Instead I’ll just focus on the things I like about the tool, things I don’t like about the tool, and would I buy it again. I have a huge list of “episodes” that can be made and plan on releasing one per week. Hopefully this will be helpful to some people.

Ridgid 12″ Compound Sliding Miter Saw

Specifications for the Ridgid MS1290LZA can be found here: https://www.ridgid.com/us/en/12-inch-sliding-compound-miter-saw

 

I received the saw as payment for work completed so I did not purchase it out of pocket but also did not receive it for free.

What I like:

  • 12″ blade gives a little extra cut capacity over a 10″ blade. Not 100% necessary but it has been handy a time or two.
  • 13.5″ of sliding cut capacity. Again, not 100% necessary but if you don’t have a table saw with a crosscut sled this will be able to cut items like shelving material to length.
  • Very smooth and repeatable left and right angle adjustments. I don’t use the compound feature so I can’t speak for that.

What I don’t like:

  • The left fence extension on my unit is not parallel with the fence and causes cuts on taller material to not be 90 degrees. This problem was resolved by removing the fence extensions. I haven’t missed them since removing them so as of right now it’s not a huge concern.
  • It’s HUGE. This saw definitely takes up a lot of space. That might be a concern if you are limited for space. I really don’t like how much space I had to dedicate to it when I designed my miter saw station.
  • The laser is activated by the blade spinning so it’s not convenient to use for quick reference or positioning.
  • The insert plate is lower than the rest of the table surface. This means when the material is being cut the bottom of the material is not supported and can result in more tearout during use. A good, clean blade as well as pushing the saw front to back when making through cuts can reduce or eliminate tearout though.
  • Dust collection is horrible on this saw right out of the box. That’s more of a generic miter saw problem rather than specific to this saw though.

Would I buy this miter saw again?

 

As I stated earlier, I did not purchase this saw out of pocket. I received it as compensation for work I did for another company. However, would I buy it if I had to rebuild my shop tomorrow? Probably not. I think I would much rather try harder to find an older radial arm saw that is in good condition and pair it with an inexpensive, non-sliding 10″ miter saw than purchase this particular saw. If I couldn’t find a decent radial arm saw I would probably settle for a regular 10 or 12″ miter saw. I never use the compound bevel feature and if I needed to make a sliding bevel cut I could do that much easier at the table saw. The sliding feature can also be replaced with a table saw crosscut sled. That being said, I’ve got it and it’s doing what I need it to do so I have no plans to replace it with something else.


 

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25 Comments

  1. Gary Roofner

    I agree with you on radialarmsaw . I bought a used old radial and craftsman was giving a retrofit kit for my saw for free they stopped providing. Love the setup I use this to cut stock to length. I just bought a cheap slider and plan on building into my new fangled work bench.

  2. John Cooper

    Great video as always. I’m fortunate to live in the country on acreage and my 12″ miter saw is on a mobile stand. I just roll it out into the drive of the shop so I never have a dust collection problem.

  3. Adam W

    This is probably a naive question, but why do you always cut a tiny bit along the top as you pull the saw back? Just curious what this does differently than if you were to start the cut with the saw closer to you and then slide/push it forward.

    By the way, thanks for everything you do. You’re more helpful than you could imagine. I wish there were more hours in the day to catch up on your older videos!

    1. Jay Bates

      Thanks for the kind words :)

      The tiny cut along the top is to score cut the top and prevent tear out. You start the score cut with the saw pushed forward and then carefully climb cut towards your body for the rest of the score cut. This way the cutting teeth of the blade are pushing the wood in on the cut first instead of pulling out resulting in a super clean cut. Once the saw is pulled forward all the way the saw is dropped below the material and then pushed back to complete the cut. On the full depth cut the material is already removed on top from the score cut so you don’t have to worry about tearout on that side and because the blade is actually cutting the rest of the material starting from the bottom side of the material and cutting in the bottom side will be a nice clean cut as well. Hope that made sense.

      1. Adam W

        I had to re-read your response a few times, but your explanation makes perfect sense. I look forward to supporting your work in a few weeks when the t-shirts come in – thanks again!

  4. Max Blanton

    Love these videos, gives a different perspective on shop tools. I bought a radial arm saw in 1977, it was my first stationary power tool. And yes I still have it and love it. It does, however, take up a lot off space too. Not so much from side to side but front to back you also have the same dust collection problems as the miter saw.

  5. spikey

    Thank you for the information I’m thinking about getting a new miter saw. I have been watching your videos and they all have been very helpful.

  6. Rich

    I bought a older radial arm saw a couple of years ago but only kept it for a few weeks. Too large, too limited and my shop is only a two car garage. It was great for rough cuts but accuracy was lacking. Bought a Festool kapex next. That worked better but for the price I expected much better quality. Way too much plastic for me. When Bosch came out with their articulating arm saw, I dumped the kapex like a hot rock and never looked back. The 12″ bosch is twice the saw for half the price. Can go flush to the wall and all controls up front. The smoothest action I’ve ever felt. One of those purchases that I wouldn’t change a thing. Also now available in a 10″ version.

  7. Rogelio

    Great review bud! I just use a little 10″ dewalt and so far has been great. I would also like the radial arm saw one day! Thanks and have a good one!

  8. David M

    Jay, I recently purchased a WEN brand 10″ sliding compound saw, because I liked yours so well. I do own a Hitachi 10″ Compound Miter saw, but I was not happy with the fact that anything larger than a 1×6 wouldn’t cut in a single shot. Both are rather cheap, but neither have good dust collection abilities either. Hence I am building my own version of your cut station as you read this. Thanks for all the great videos, I watch all, and share many.

  9. Troy

    Thanks for the review and please continue with why it’s good or bad for your application. Some of what you don’t like may not apply to some of us out here but is good to know. I have a 10″ Craftsman that I use primarily for cut-offs. Precision cuts are done on the 10″ table saw. Of course size is limited.
    Good review Jay, keep it up.

  10. Ryan Corell

    Thanks for the candid video review as always, Jay. I use the Bosch 12sd 12″ sliding miter saw with your station design (that I purchased- thank you). It’s not nearly as bulky as the Ridgid; 13 1/8″ from back of the saw to the fence. I was able to modify your dimensions; the top cabinets are 6″ shallower, but I DID have to make then 1″ taller to accommodate its height. I was also able to narrow up the saw area (width) by over 13″ and add more drawer room. The Bosch doesn’t have a laser, but I really don’t miss it, because mine is well-lit, and I just lower the blade to show where it lines up when accuracy is key.
    It’s not like Bosch paid me to bring their saw home, but in hindsight I’d definitely buy it again. Just my experience and opinion!

  11. jim hess

    Almost all ridged and any other Good American brand names are all made in china and I really think if you are going to buy a brand name IT should NOT be chinese junk!!!!!!!! keep up the good videos jay love your stuff! SORRY about the vent

  12. Mark L

    Dust collection. I am getting ready to build a miter saw station and dust collection is one thing I am trying to design. Listening to your explanation of how yours works, I thought it might be worth trying to split the 4 inch hose into several smaller ports and try that. When I was messing with my router table dust collection, I found that several smaller holes to let air in the front works a lot better than one big one. So that’s my logic. I will let you know how it works out.

  13. William Walters

    Got a USA built Bosch 10″, and I’ve been using it since 1998 with a Freud fine cut blade you can split hairs with. It’s done three renovations and been loaned to friends. It had the power cord cut and replaced a couple of times. No laser sighting or frills. It just lasts and lasts and the guard never gets in the way either.

  14. John Seiffer

    I also have that saw and I agree it’s way too big. Plus it only came with one clamp – should have one for each site. I guess the bevel is for people who do a lot of crown molding and stuff but I don’t. Mine is an older model and the laser is not lined up with the blade (and not adjustable) so it’s about 1/16 inch off – totally useless. I think this has been fixed in newer models.

    On the plus side – it’s BIG and powerful. Makes great cuts, and the angle adjustment is easy and locks well at many common positions.

    Thanks for the way you review tools and your approach in the videos.

  15. Howard

    I pondered over a radial arm saw for years but convenace of portability won out ( I was a finish carpenter ). I bought my first slider why hitachi came out with the 8.5 instead of a 15 inch miter ( and you think a 12 inch is big ) because of the difference in price of the blades and having them sharpened I also ran a 12 inch dewalt compound set up for crow latter own and upgraded the 8.5 to a 10 inch makati dual compound slider they had a 12 but I couldn’t lift the dang thing. Most or the guys I worked with went dewalt sliders The guys I worked with specialized in homes above 14,000 sq ft or large comer ail finish work. I’ve had as many as 16 miter stations in one building plus a few table saws scarred about some compact some builder grade, the real big stuff stayed at the fabrication shop

  16. Harold

    Ridgid offers a Lifetime Warranty. So as for those imperfect extensions, so as long as you registered it, you can most likely get those replaced. AS for the venting done by Jim Hess, I wish ridged was an American Built products. At least they have US customer service in the Carolina’s. But lifetime warranty can not be beat. I have many Ridgid battery op products and the 10 in miter saw. They have replaced or fix products with no questions and have replaced my four batteries at lest four times. It’s great not having to buy batteries.

    Good video.

  17. Rod

    Jay – what blade are you using on your miter saw? Or are you switching depending on material?

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