Any good workshop redo includes new tools and I finally replaced my old Craftsman bench-top saw with a Ridgid R4511. I got it for the clearance price of $499, but then three days later it dropped in price to $299. I was able to get Home Depot to honor the new lower price and I came away with a brand new saw for an almost criminally low price.
The assembly was a bit time consuming, but the other lumberjocks’ reviews helped with some of the common issues. I was quite annoyed to find that two of the bars for the Herc-u-lift were missing and that halted the assembly very early in the process since I didn’t want to build the thing without the mobile base attached. Ridgid was prompt about getting the parts out to me and I had them in three business days. The rest of the assembly went pretty well except for the bolts that were also missing for the rear fence rail, but a quick trip to the store got me some replacements.
I’m pretty happy with the saw. The motor is smooth, quiet and strong enough for my purposes. I didn’t really care one way or the other about the granite top versus iron, but I was glad to have the granite a couple weeks ago. The weather had been cold, but warmed up substantially during the day to the upper sixties with near 100% humidity. It felt so nice that I opened the garage up, but after about a half hour I noticed all the condensation on my cold tools. The saw was fine, of course, but my planer, jointer, band saw and drill press are all cast iron! I spent a day the next week cleaning all my cast iron tools and tuning them up while I was at it.
Back to the table saw. Another reason I wanted a new saw was to put a router table in the extension wing for better accessibility and still good use of available space. I scoured the web for ideas on doing shop made extension/router tables and got busy building my own.
I saw one version where the guy just moved the stock fence rail over to gain extra capacity to the right of the blade.
This leaves no room on the left, but in the five years I used my last left-tilt saw, I never used the fence on the left side of the blade. So I tried this version after buying a six foot long piece of angle iron and painting it to match. This serves as the rear rail and to help mount the extension table.
The extension table is laminate coated MDF over a 3/4” plywood frame with a maple edging and is bolted to the rear rail and front rail mounting bracket.
I will be adding some permanent support legs to help keep things level and keep the strain off the rails, I just haven’t finished them yet.
By moving the fence rail over, this eliminated the mounting location for the switch, so I just used some metal angle to remount it. This is ugly, but gets the job done.
The extension table works pretty well. I’m still waiting for the router plate to come before adding the router, and the legs should be on soon. Initially, I hooked up my shop-vac as a temporary solution to dust collection until I get a true dust collector, but the only way it actually collects dust is when I open the motor cover and push the dust into the port! The dust collector will be here soon.
I also plan to add fence faces, zero-clearance inserts, a low-profile riving knife and quicker access to the motor cover. It will be much more enjoyable spending time at this table saw than my last!