LumberJocks

Decked Out Ridgid Model R4511 Table Saw #5: Upgraded Rip Fence

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by Paul Stoops posted 977 days ago 7278 reads 5 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 4: On-Board Storage Part 5 of Decked Out Ridgid Model R4511 Table Saw series Part 6: Rear Outfeed Table »

For those who don’t have the Ridgid Model R4511 or have never seen one, the stock fence is a T-square type — sort of a mini-Biesemeyer configuration, very loosely speaking. This configuration is somewhat similar to the Delta T-2, which a number of folks have purchased to replace the stock fence on this saw. It has a square tube front rail, bolted to a formed steel angle which is screwed to the front of the granite table top. For ease of shipping, the front rail is split in two pieces, with a plastic coupler fitting between the two halves. Like the Biesemeyer, the fence body straddles the rail and a cam lock mechanism pulls the body against the steel tube rail. This mechanism seems to lock the fence position quite well. The fence itself is a 2” square steel tube, which has a “hook” fitting on the rear end that catches underneath the rear angle rail.

There have been quite a number of folks who have found the original rip fence on the Model R4511 to meet their needs and expectations very well. And of course there have been a fair number of folks who have had difficulties with the fence — issues related to the two piece front rail, alignment front to back, excessive height off the table, etc. I didn’t have any major issues with the fence except the excessive height off the table, altho I think the 2” square tube is too small to be useful for a lot of ripping applications on thicker/longer stock. In addition, I could not get used to the debris-catching space between the front rail tube and the rail support angle — it seemed like I was always losing a pencil in that space and it was always full of sawdust!

My biggest problem with the original fence was a historical one! I had been using a Delta Unifence for the last 20 years or so, and I just couldn’t get comfortable using a difference fence. In addition to the “perceived deficiencies” mentioned above, I missed some of the features of the Unifence — especially the unique feature of the Unifence which allows the fence extrusion to be retracted to a position in front of the blade so it can be used as a stop block for uniform length cross cuts.

The Delta Unifence I purchased for use on the Model R4511 had a 30” rail, allowing a maximum cut of 30” to the right of the blade and 9” to the left. The total length of the front rail was about 60”. Unfortunately, since I purchased the one for this project, it seems like the Unifence is either no longer made or is in very short supply. I suspect that since Delta bought Biesemeyer, they would rather sell only the Bies. — which is indeed an excellent fence, as many of you can probably attest.

The Unifence is a three-piece rip fence — an extruded aluminum front rail, a machined cast aluminum body, and an extruded “L”-shaped aluminum fence. The fence body is supported by the front rail, and a nylon tipped “foot” that rests on the table top — there is no attachment to the rear rail. A steel bar running in a tee slot in the front of the rail is cam locked to the face of rail to lock the fence position. The fence extrusion can be positioned on either side of the fence body, allowing left-of-blade cutting.

The fence extrusion can be mounted to the body in two ways. To accommodate this feature, two index lines are provided on the clear plastic scale cursor, with an icon to show which one applies —therefore, it is possible to read the wrong cursor line if one isn’t paying attention…... :-( DAMHIKT...........!!The following photo shows the fence extrusion in the Low Fence Mode, (my favorite) providing a 1/2” high fence surface and allowing space for hand holding the workpiece without obstruction from the higher part of the fence.

This view shows the fence positioned in the High Fence Mode providing a 3 1/2” fence face.

The addition of an After Market Auxiliary Fence extrusion allows the use of feather boards or other hold down devices. However, the use of such devices does require the fence extrusion to be clamped down to the table or rear rail, which is easily accomplished.

Mounting of the Unifence proved to be challenging. The Unifence was designed to be attached to the front face of a cast iron table, which typically has a flange around the edges of the table. Bolts with heads inside the flange and nuts inside integral tee slots in the back face of the fence extrusion are used to secure the fence to the table. However, the Model R4511 has a solid granite table with no edge flanges. So I had to dream up an alternate mounting method.

This installation required the mounting of a new steel rail support angle to the front edge of the table, using the original hole pattern, which I transferred from the original fence rail — the cheapo transfer punch set from Harbor Freight worked like a champ for this application. I used 1/8” x 2” x 2” angle stock from Home Depot. In retrospect, I wish I had used 3/16” or even 1/4” thick stock, which would have made it more rigid. The thinner stock is adequate, however — sometimes bigger is better! In addition, I replaced the stock rear fence support angle with a 1/8” x 1 1/2” x 1 1/2” steel angle I had lying around the shop to provide support for a right hand table extension to fill the space between the fence rails outboard of the granite table.

To accommodate the radius between the rail angle legs, I fabricated a maple filler. The filler was attached to the rail extrusion with 1/4” machine screws and either speed nuts and hex nuts. The speed nuts were used to accommodate the large upper tee slot, which was designed for 3/8” hex nuts in a normal installation. I didn’t have room for the large heads of 3/8” FH machine screws in the face of the filler.

This view shows the rail support angle, filler, and rail extrusion installed on the front of the granite table. Note that there is no channel between the table and the fence rail to collect debris — or lose pencils…. :-)

The Unifence rail extrusion was attached with 1/4” machine screws tapped into the bottom surface of the fence rail, as shown in this view. Altho the fence rail extending beyond the edge of the right hand granite table extension was unsupported, it is so rigid as to not pose a problem.

Since installing the Unifence, I have felt much more at home using the saw—kinda like putting on an old pair of slippers…........ :-)

Well, that’s about it for this chapter. Stay tuned, there is lots more to come….....................

-- Paul, Auburn, WA



9 comments so far

View cam1297's profile

cam1297

64 posts in 1844 days


#1 posted 976 days ago

Nice upgrade. I have the 4511 and put an Incra fence on. Gotta love craigslist.

View Paul Stoops's profile

Paul Stoops

322 posts in 1194 days


#2 posted 976 days ago

Thanks. I have heard that the Incra fence is a dandy. What a jump from the OEM Ridgid fence, huh! Good show!

-- Paul, Auburn, WA

View b2rtch's profile

b2rtch

4318 posts in 1682 days


#3 posted 539 days ago

Paul,
Do you still have your R4511?
I had one .
I sold it for about $200.00 than I paid for new.
I bought a used Unisaw for $400.00 and I rebuilt it.

-- Bert

View Paul Stoops's profile

Paul Stoops

322 posts in 1194 days


#4 posted 539 days ago

Hi Bert,
Yes, I still have the R4511. So far, it meets my needs very well. I am not overly impressed with the granite top, but it does solve the rust problem.
The Unisaw is the old standby—that is a good price you paid for it. I don’t have room in my shop for one. In my old shop I had a General Model 350, which was the Canadian equivalent of the Unisaw. That was a great saw.

-- Paul, Auburn, WA

View b2rtch's profile

b2rtch

4318 posts in 1682 days


#5 posted 539 days ago

View Paul Stoops's profile

Paul Stoops

322 posts in 1194 days


#6 posted 539 days ago

You do very nice work, Bert. That is quite a shop you have there. Congratulations!

-- Paul, Auburn, WA

View b2rtch's profile

b2rtch

4318 posts in 1682 days


#7 posted 539 days ago

To repair/refurbish old equipment is what I like to do best more that to use it.

-- Bert

View MrFid's profile

MrFid

517 posts in 538 days


#8 posted 406 days ago

Hi there,

Not sure if you’re still monitoring this page Paul, but if so could you tell me how long the front fence rail is on the original R4511 supplied fence? I am hoping to purchase one in the near future, and for planning purposes with my shop it would be helpful to know how long the rail was/is. You might not still have it, in which case would you say it was longer or shorter than the Delta you have on there now? Thanks so much for the advice.

-- Bailey F - Eastern Mass.

View Paul Stoops's profile

Paul Stoops

322 posts in 1194 days


#9 posted 404 days ago

Hi Bailey,

The original fence rail was about 67 1/2” long. The saw specifications state that it will cut 20 inches to the left of the blade and 30 inches to the right.

Tho I like the saw, I would have preferred to have a cast iron top instead of the granite. The granite will chip and scratch and makes the saw weight much heavier than cast iron. I am not happy with the miter gage slots in the granite top. The edges of the slots are not polished and quickly wear the plastic adjustment washers on the Incra miter gage bars. Also, you can’t use any magnetic tool accessories with the granite top.

If you can find one, I would recommend the previous model, R3650, which a lot of folks seemed to like. Some folks also like the follow on model, R4512, which is the current model. Check out both of the saws in the Reviews section of LJ. Both of these models have cast iron tops.

Hope this helps.

-- Paul, Auburn, WA

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

GardenTenders.com :: gardening showcase