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Using the Delta T-2 to replace the Ridgid 4511 fence

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Review by MoshupTrail posted 03-26-2012 01:55 AM 6661 views 4 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Using the Delta T-2 to replace the Ridgid 4511 fence Using the Delta T-2 to replace the Ridgid 4511 fence No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

A few weeks ago I started a forum topic about fixing the lame fence system that came with the Ridgid 4511 Granite top table saw.

The problem with the Ridgid’s fence is that the guide tube is split and joined in the middle with a cheap plastic part. The plastic part forces one of the tubes to be slightly offset from the other making it impossible to adjust the fence angle. When the fence slides from one tube to the other the angle will change slightly.

Initially I was thinking to simply replace or repair the guide tube. And that might have worked. But I also looked into replacing the whole fence system and came across the Biesmeyer fence system. Nice, but I wasn’t prepared to spend over $300 fixing a saw that cost less than $500.

From my forum post, Cato suggested I look into the Delta T-2. I did, and found that for $150, I could get a pretty nice fence as well as fix the split guide tube problem.

However, if you’re thinking of doing this, you can, but it’s not a slam dunk. I’ll explain why…

The Delta T-2 came in a large box, well packed in Styrofoam and neatly laid out with directions right on top. The tube is exactly the same size as the Ridgid tube (cross section) but it’s a full length tube, no joint in the middle!
I laid the parts on top of my saw and immediately began to see some issues. First, the holes would not line up. Well, OK, I didn’t really expect them to. Second, the rails are a completely different size. The Delta rail (1) are about 1 1/2 inches by 1 1/2 inches. The Ridgid rail is almost 3” high by 1 1/2 inches out. This is not a “fault” of the Delta fence system, just a fact that complicates the installation.

Here’s a compare picture of the two rails:

So part of what’s going on is due to the granite top. The granite top is 1 3/4 inches thick, and the screw holes for the rail are in the middle, 7/8” below the table surface. Probably the average table top is only 1” thick and the holes would be only 1/2” below the table surface. Also, the two fences are different:

The bottom of the Delta fence is designed to sit 2 1/2 inches above the bottom of the tube.

The bottom of the Ridgid fence is designed to sit 2 3/4 inches above the bottom of the tube.

So after making a lot of careful measurements I determined that I would need to mount the Delta rail about 3/8” lower than the pre-drilled holes would do. That would mean 4 new holes, and VERY close to the top of the rail. But it works! Here’s what it looks like:

The problem is, while the Delta fence is sold as a replacement fence, it’s not a universal replacement, and there are not suitable adjustments to raise and lower the fence to accommodate different table saw dimensions. So you, as the installer, need to make all the measurements and adjustments or the fence will sit 1/4” to 1/2” above the table top! Not good.

The other problem with using the default holes is that the Delta rail could end up blocking your miter slots. That’s what happened with the rear rail. It doesn’t affect my sled, but a standard miter gauge won’t make it. I’ll need to grind out a small channel about 1/16” to allow that.

I was not able to lower the rear rail like I had the front so without modification the fence would have ended up 1/4” above the table surface.

Luckily, Delta used a rather thick nylon cushion block. I ended up slicing 1/4” off the block, re-countersinking the holes so the screw heads would not protrude and scratch the rail, and then re-attaching it.

With the modified block re-installed it was dead on; the space under the fence being a good deal thinner than my combination square.

Here it is, finished. I was able to level the fence face by taking advantage of a little bit of play in the attachment of the fence face to the fence tube. It’s not much, but enough.

Tuning:
Tuning the T-2 is easy. There are basically two adjustments (after setting the fence height), setting the fence angle parallel to the miter slots, and perpendicular to the table surface.

To set the angle, there are two hex head screws on the back of the piece that grips the guide. Adjusting those slightly changes the fence angle. I use a simple technique of setting my combination square in the miter slot. The edge of the face pressed against the right side of the slot as shown below. Sliding the combination square up and down the miter slot, you can just listen for the end of the ruler to brush against the fence face. You can also see the tiny gap between the ruler and the fence – it should remain constant from one end of the table to the other.

To set the vertical fence angle there are two nylon set screws in the top of the piece that grips the tube. You can see one in the picture above. I just used a small marking square like this:

Having completed these adjustments, I used the saw several times the next day. The biggest difference is the solid tube – no bump in the middle. The horizontal angle stays constant!! But the fence itself is much nicer than what I had before. It’s nice to see no spaces in between the fence face and my work piece. It’s straight and true.

Summary:
The fence is great. For the price, it’s a good upgrade for this table saw. However, if you try this upgrade, plan on spending more time than the 1 1/2 hours estimated by Delta. The one complaint I had with this kit, is it’s not really a universal replacement kit. The instructions don’t give any indication what to do when things don’t quite fit. And the fence doesn’t have it’s own adjustments to compensate.

On the other hand, if you do want to upgrade your saw, this is a good, economical way to do it.

-- Some problems are best solved with an optimistic approach. Optimism shines a light on alternatives that are otherwise not visible.




View MoshupTrail's profile

MoshupTrail

295 posts in 1147 days



10 comments so far

View NormG's profile

NormG

4208 posts in 1670 days


#1 posted 03-26-2012 05:27 AM

Maybe, it is partially due to the Granite top

-- Norman

View dpop24's profile

dpop24

115 posts in 1236 days


#2 posted 03-26-2012 06:04 AM

Thanks for the great review and fantastic write up. I’m planning on doing this same upgrade to my R4511 as well. This is a great instructional and I’ll be sure to check back when I do mine.

-- If it ain't broke, take it apart and find out why

View 6t5Goat's profile

6t5Goat

71 posts in 1678 days


#3 posted 03-26-2012 05:33 PM

I too had problems with my R4511 fence rail being two pieces.. But I just replaced the problem part..
the 2*2 square tubing.. I hate spending $$$ when I don’t have too..

Check out the below website for all your fence upgrading metal..

http://www.onlinemetals.com/

I’m not affilated in any way other than being a happy customer once..

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1359 days


#4 posted 03-26-2012 05:39 PM

Strong work! I had to tap my vintage JET rails. Not for the meek:)

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View jobott's profile

jobott

27 posts in 2028 days


#5 posted 03-26-2012 05:48 PM

Thanks for the writeup. I have the same saw as well and have considered replacing the fence. Myabe this is the answer. By the way, I noticed a Rikon band saw in the background of one of the photos. I am very close to ordering one. How do you like yours?

-- Joe B

View MoshupTrail's profile

MoshupTrail

295 posts in 1147 days


#6 posted 03-26-2012 06:20 PM

@6t5Goat – agreed. That’s a nice site. But in my earlier post someone pointed out that the Ridgid fence has 3 nice dimples where they punched the holes for a fence face. And yep I had the same problem. I was using a nylon fence face and it just conformed to the 3 dimples so I had kind of a wavy fence. And you can only face one side because there are no access points under the tube to reach in with a wrench. At the end of the day, I wanted to change out the fence too.

@Bertha – I thought about that. I might have used the Ridgid rail if I could have drilled and tapped the Delta guide tube. I would have also needed to shim it up or it would have been too low. Too much for me though.

@jobott – I like the Rikon bandsaw, but I have nothing to compare it too. Some of the adjustments are kind of squirrely – in the tension and upper wheel in/out adjustments. Everything else is fine.

-- Some problems are best solved with an optimistic approach. Optimism shines a light on alternatives that are otherwise not visible.

View dmorrison's profile

dmorrison

146 posts in 1928 days


#7 posted 03-29-2012 04:11 AM

Thanks for the good review.
Any fence not sold with the table saw will have to be “modified” to install. I ran across a Biesemeyer 36-B30 Commercial fence the day after Christmas. I installed it on my Powermatic 63a Artisan contractor table saw.
And yes I had to drill new mounting holes in the front and rear to mount it.
an interesting note. The “commercial” fence does not use the rear rail. The rear rail just supports the right wing and table extension. The fence glides on the table top on UHMW installed on the bottom of the fence. So you could consider installing UHMW plastic on the bottom to slide on the table and remove the rear rail if you want. Of course unless its needed to support the side wings.
I did have to cut an additional slot on the rear rail to allow the motor to completely tilt to 45 degrees.
I also cut off the 2 inches of rear rail that went beyond my right 2 wings. I have both open grate wings ( covered with laminate ) on the right side of the table saw since I have a solid router wing on the left side.

Now an interesting note.
Since I cut and ground smooth the rear rail I had to paint it. I found Rust-Oleum Professional Primer (7582 Gray Primer) to be as close as I could find, just a touch darker. Since it is a primer I sprayed the rail with Rust-Oleum Crystal Clear Enamel (7701 Crystal Clear ) I’m happy with the results. As I said just a touch darker but with the rails separated you can’t see the difference.

I have considered bringing a part of the Powermatic saw to a jober and having a single stage paint mixed for my 1988 saw. Then painting the complete fence Powermatic metallic Gold 1

Your saw looks great and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.

Now I have to go to Riverhead NY to install my old Vega fence on my Father-in-laws Sears table saw.

Dave

View ONi7734's profile

ONi7734

6 posts in 1348 days


#8 posted 04-06-2012 01:31 AM

I just put this fence on my TS too… It’s a delta so I didn’t have the issues that you did. It was used but in great shape. After a light cleaning and a coat of Ballistol on the rails and fence itself and it slides with minimal effort…

Good Review!

View noweyrey1's profile

noweyrey1

20 posts in 1435 days


#9 posted 04-15-2012 03:19 AM

Good review, this is exactly what I was thinking of doing to my 4511. Question: Are the front and rear rails the same length on the T2, and on your saw, how many inches does the angle iron stick out to the right? Im wondering if there is enough room to add a small router table wing on it? Thanks

View MoshupTrail's profile

MoshupTrail

295 posts in 1147 days


#10 posted 04-15-2012 08:17 AM

The T2 rails are actually a bit shorter. So you will get a full 30” cut on the right, but only about 12” on the left. So there is ample room on the right for a router table (others have done this) and the rails are beefier so it will be good and sturdy. The T2 rails do not extend beyond the table surface at all on the left. One less thing to run into while moving about the shop in my opinion.

You’ll need a good 3/8” drill bit, and a 3/4” countersink for all those new holes in the rails. That was the toughest part – measuring for and drilling those holes. Fresh batteries for your drill! Be sure to use a center punch to mark them because they need to be dead on. Not much room for error. I think I pre-drilled them with a smaller drill – maybe a 3/16 if I recall.

-- Some problems are best solved with an optimistic approach. Optimism shines a light on alternatives that are otherwise not visible.

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