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Nifty saw made even better by nifty upgrades

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Review by ferstler posted 03-19-2011 11:44 PM 6106 views 0 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Nifty saw made even better by nifty upgrades Nifty saw made even better by nifty upgrades Nifty saw made even better by nifty upgrades Click the pictures to enlarge them

I have owned this Ridgid R4510 for about two weeks. During that time I have cut a fair amount of wood with it, and the unit works very well, indeed. The blade growls a bit as it comes up to speed, but once there the operation is smooth as silk.

The fence was aligned square out of the box, as was the blade (which I replaced with a new Freud unit for precise ripping work, saving the Ridgid blade for rough-and-tumble stuff), and even the wheels were attached when I unpacked it. I did several things almost immediately after getting the saw. First, I replaced the stock throat plate with a zero-clearance job that I cut from smooth chip board (an old audio equipment rack shelf provided the material). Second, I replaced the plastic knob on the blade-height crank with one that I machined out of wood. I like wooden knobs, and have replaced all of the plastic ones on my collection of tools. Third, I removed the accessories from their storage locations on the saw chassis and have them hanging on pegs in my shop. I even removed the clamp assembly that would hold the miter gauge to the saw case. I like the accessories out of my way when not using them.

Overall, this is a fine tool that I recommend to anybody needing a decently precise table saw, but who also have space issues to take into consideration. Interestingly, after examining the saw undercarriage carefully I discovered that the motor that powers the thing seems identical to the one that powers my Ridgid 1290 sliding compound miter saw. At least the case, vent grill, and brush-access caps are identica, as is the color.

I also have a Ryobi BTS20 portable saw (several years old, and more competent looking than the later BTS21), but the Ryobi has limitations that called for getting an improved saw. The Ridgid has those improvements, such as an ability to be moved when the saw is extended into the work position (the Ryobi’s wheels are off of the ground when set up), a deeper work surface in front of the blade (allowing one to more easily use a feather clamp and miter gauge), and a longer and more solid fence.

(Note that one might think that these two saws will take up as much shop space as a good contractor saw, but in my case this is not true. My shop is small and the two saws fold up out of the way, allowing me to do work inside of the building when the weather is poor. Normally, my home being in Florida, I wheel the saws and a number of my other large tools out onto an adjacent work deck.)

Anyway, one advantage the Ryobi does have in comparison to the Ridgid is a deeper outfeed area behind the blade. The aluminum saw-table surace itself is not particularly deep, but the Ryobi has a steel extender out back that that adds additional inches of depth, and which can also be pulled out even further for better stability with longer boards. The Ridgid’s outfeed surface is rather short, and while Ridgid suggests using the company’s nifty “flipper” outfeed table to handle longer boards, it is still tedious to set up.

So, I modified the new saw. I bult outrigger arms out of some scrap pine, painted them, and carefully installed them by drilling holes in the saw’s plastic base and using large screws with VERY large interior washers to spread the load out as much as possible over the interior plastic surface. I then made a cross piece out of a thick dowel (actually, a section cut from an old shovel handle), and sheathed it inside of a steel sleeve that I cut from an old torchiere lamp stand. I sanded off the paint on the sleeve and waxed it to make it slick. It is exactly level with the back of the saw table, and adds an additional 7 inches to the outfeed support. The extra depth does not hamper my ability to store the saw comfortably in the shop.

I recommend this saw highly, and also recommend the modification to anybody who owns the saw, too, who cares to give it a try. Note that all three of my mods cost me no additional cash, since I had the materials in storage and might have tossed them later on.

Howard Ferstler




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ferstler

333 posts in 2174 days



16 comments so far

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jack1

1924 posts in 2682 days


#1 posted 03-19-2011 11:50 PM

Some roller stands at the back work well too as long as they are level with or slightly lower than the table surface. I used that system for years.

-- jack -- ...measure once, curse twice!

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ferstler

333 posts in 2174 days


#2 posted 03-20-2011 12:21 AM

Yep, and you can still use the stands with my modified saw. However, for some projects the additional support at the back of the modified saw is all one needs, thereby making it less tedious to set up to cut certain board lengths.

Howard Ferstler

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JasonWagner

523 posts in 1834 days


#3 posted 03-20-2011 01:19 AM

Howard – check out my router table insert for the Ridgid 4500 I used to have. Sorry there’s only one picture but I took it right before I sold it. I made a similar fence for my cabinet saw in my projects section.

-- some day I hope to have enough clamps to need a clamp cart!

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JasonWagner

523 posts in 1834 days


#4 posted 03-20-2011 01:23 AM

Sorry for the double post – Actually I think it was TS2400 or something like that. Down in the comment section there are some links to design ideas.

-- some day I hope to have enough clamps to need a clamp cart!

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ferstler

333 posts in 2174 days


#5 posted 03-20-2011 02:18 AM

A novel approach with that saw of yours, which is, as you noted, one of the earlier 2400 series units. The 4510’s main upgrade over the 2400 involves the changeover from a fixed-position splitter to a movable riving knife behind the blade, and a bit later on still to the “zero gravity” folding stand. I do not need to add a router table to my saw, because I have a separate Delta bench shaper, but there are certainly people here who would be happy to adopt your design. I think that there is a Sears Craftsman jobsite saw that also has a built-in router table. A big cabinet saw like what you upgraded to later on, or even a contractor’s saw would be a great addition to my small shop. Unfortunately, if I put one in there not much space would be left over to do any work. In addition, my two jobsite saws roll easily over the shop’s threshold to the work deck outside.

Howard Ferstler

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Dusty56

11659 posts in 2342 days


#6 posted 03-20-2011 03:15 AM

Great additions : )
I guess you weren’t kidding about the lack of outfeed table area !!

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

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ferstler

333 posts in 2174 days


#7 posted 03-21-2011 07:39 PM

The total front-to-back depth of 28 inches (counting the bar) is roughly what one has with a typical contractor’s saw. And that added back bar is almost precisely on the same plane as the main table, and is very stiff. I think that Ridgid could easily offer up a modified version of the saw that incorporates much the same kind of thing. It could be configured in such a way that it could be quickly removed to reduce the size of the unit for storage, which cannot be done with my arrangement. Thankfully, I do not have any space problems with storage.

Howard Ferstler

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RDR

33 posts in 1326 days


#8 posted 03-23-2011 04:02 AM

I’ve got the same saw and have been quite happy with it. I, too, have space concerns. I have to haul the saw from the basement to the garage every time I use it if I don’t want to make a big mess in our utility/ laundry room. I’m in the process of making some zero clearance inserts, and I really like your outfeed rollers. The only complaint I have is that cutting sheet goods is pretty tricky.

Have you installed a dado set on the saw yet? The manual says only to use a 6 inch set, but I think that’s only because the saw couldn’t handle an 8 inch if it’s set to cut a 45. I really want to invest in a dado set, but don’t really know what to get. I wonder if power is a concern with an 8 inch?

-- The Dude abides...

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Bigjoemann

26 posts in 1315 days


#9 posted 03-24-2011 06:44 AM

Thanks for the review! I have had this saw at the top of my purchase list for a couple of months now. Just waiting for it to go on sale at HD. I, too, have space restrictions, so I am looking for tools that can be wheeled or folded up out of the way.

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ferstler

333 posts in 2174 days


#10 posted 03-25-2011 06:10 PM

The only tricky thing about making a zero-clearance plate is that you cannot lower the blade enough to get the plate to seat soldly before cranking the spinning blade up and letting it cut the slot as it rises. You have to kind of diddle it into place while the blade spins at the lowest setting, and that can be a hairly operation. Once the plate seats, however, you can hold it in place (carefully!) while raising the spinning blade with the crank.

I do strongly suggest fabricating a tab at the back of the plate to fit under the overhang at the rear of the blade-cutout area. That will guarantee that the blade will never snag the plate at the back and flip it out. My tab is held in place by both a screw and epoxy glue. The stock plate also has a tab.

Note that the outfeed support I built does not use a roller. That steel sleeve is fixed in place over a thick wooden dowel and simply allows workpieces to slide over it. It is waxed, and is easily as slippery as the top of the saw table.

I have not used a dado set yet. For that kind of work I so far have been using a Delta bench-top shaper and whatever square-cut router bits that make the width cut I need.

I am lucky enough to have a small shop in my back yard (heated, cooled, and dehumidified full time), with a big deck next to it that allows me to move my larger (wheeled) tools out onto it for projects. I live in north Florida and I have much of the year free to do that. (Murder in June, July, and August, however.) So, getting tools into work positions is easy and not all that time consuming. Storage space in the shop is very carefully calculated and everything (and, believe me, everything means a LOT of stuff) is shoehorned into calculated positions.

I was lucky enough to get a 10% military service (I got out 46 years ago) discount at Home Depot. Ours has this locally, as does the local Lowe’s. (It may be company policy, or just local.) There are two HDs and two Lowe’s in this town, by the way. My only beef is that I only recently learned of the discount deal, and prior to that I have purchased a LOT of tools at each store.

Howard Ferstler

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ferstler

333 posts in 2174 days


#11 posted 05-10-2011 08:12 PM

The outrigger brace continues to work fine, as does that zero-clearance insert. As I mentioned, an insert like that could potentially lift at the rear, due to blade rotation, and so right at the beginning I installed a small tab on the bottom back end of the insert that extends under the rear of the opening (the stock insert also has a tab) to keep it from lifting. The tab was made from a piece of scrap metal (I cannot remember just what it was originally used on, but anything with decent stiffness would work), and is held in place by both a screw and two-part epoxy. A photo is attached.

Howard Ferstler

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handystanley

165 posts in 1568 days


#12 posted 06-19-2011 07:03 AM

@ferstler: How did you go about making the outfeed bar?

-- "Projects beget projects and projects beget the need to buy new tools and that is what the cycle of life is all about." Stan Pearse, Novato, CA

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ferstler

333 posts in 2174 days


#13 posted 06-19-2011 11:47 PM

Hi, handystanley. I am hoping that the description I made with my initial post will be answer enough. However, “enough” is rarely enough when describing some jobs.

Initially, the crosspiece was just the cut-down shovel handle. This was a big construction handle, over an inch in diameter, and was a consistent size all the way down its primary length. (For several years before using it to help modify the saw I employed it as a walking cane during my health-oriented morning walks.) I cut it to fit between the installed extension arms exactly, drilled the ends, and used screws to lock it in place. However, it looked, well, not all that good. I had an old halogen torchiere lamp in storage (you see items like this for sale at big-box stores all the time, and with this one the variable brightness control was shot) and I removed its top pipe section (it had three) and used the remaining two lower sections to make a standard lamp, with standard socket, harp, and shade. It looks good, and the wife likes it.

Getting back to the saw. I took the removed pipe section and sanded off the black paint, and installed it over the wooden dowel. Tightening down the screws took care of the installation. (A fair amount of care was required to get the length just right.) I slightly shifted the screws holding the two arms in place to offset the increase in thickness with the crosspiece, because I wanted the entire piece to be exactly the same height as the table top.

Those arms are standard pine sections, cut from a 2×4, and painted grey. The most tedious part of the operation was setting them up initially so that I could drill the holes in them and in the saw chassis sides to get proper alignment. I first drilled the holes in the arms, then taped them in place, checked the height of the end tips in relation to the table top very carefully, and then marked the drill-point locations. The chassis of the saw at one end is slightly tapered towards the top, so I used a spindle sander and wood file to contour the contact point of one of the arms (where it seats against the side of the plastic saw chassis) to have it extend outward square to the cross piece.

The bar is very solid. I would not exactly advise picking the saw up by the thing, but it easily supports even a fairly heavy work piece and does help nicely with outfeed stability.

Howard Ferstler

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AMMOSHORT

22 posts in 256 days


#14 posted 06-18-2014 12:09 AM

I like your Outfeed bar on this but what is this “flipper” you are talking about?

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ferstler

333 posts in 2174 days


#15 posted 06-18-2014 12:56 AM

Ammoshort. The “flipper” is that nifty support stand made by Ridgid that you can purchase at Home Depot. It can be adjusted to be a fairly rigid support, or else you can set it to “flip” to a flat position when an out-fed board bumps up against it. This makes it less likely for a work-piece to snag the thing and tip it over. There is a link to a listing for it at:

http://www.homedepot.com/p/RIDGID-Flip-Top-Portable-Work-Support-AC9934/100618242

Howard

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