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Couldn't figure out how to make them so I bought them

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Review by lumberjoe posted 06-19-2012 02:17 AM 2765 views 4 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Couldn't figure out how to make them so I bought them No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

Since the Ridgid R5412 is such a popular saw, I figured I would review these. They are available everywhere online – woodcraft, Amazon, rockler, etc. Woodcraft has them in the store as well. Because of the design of this saw’s throat insert, it’s really hard to make your own. After seeing how these are crafted, I don’t think I could safely make one.

Likes
Both of these are very well made. The instructions included are clear, and I don’t think they are outrageously expensive.

Once you get them in properly, they fit really snug. The back has a tab that fits under the cast iron. There is also a screw in the back that you can adjust to get a snug fit. It is a really snug fit also. No side to side or front to back movement at all when all dialed in.

The tops appear to be HPL and are slick. The initial cut is super smooth and doesn’t leave burrs on the top. Sendit a dado stack through the top initially was a bit scary due to the amount of material being removed, but it cut easily and cleanly.

Dislikes (and the reason for 4 stars)
I wish they were identical! Getting them aligned is not hard, it just involves messing around with the 5 leveling screws on the top of the saw. The problem is I need to change that alignment when I change from my standard blades to a dado blade, making the already arduous process even more so. I guess this is a minor annoyance that really cannot be avoided, however it is still annoying.

Ridgid does not make a ZCI (that i am aware of). They do sell a dado insert for around the same price, but I think the zero clearance is worth it for cleaner cuts – especially in plywood.

If you have an R5412 – get one. You will be amazed at how much cleaner your cuts are. It actually quiets down the saw a lot too, even tough it is already pretty quiet. If you get a dado blade, get both. Much better value than the standard insert. Just keep a Phillips screwdriver handy.

-- www.etsy.com/shop/KandJWoodCrafts




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lumberjoe

2842 posts in 939 days



16 comments so far

View nwbusa's profile

nwbusa

1017 posts in 977 days


#1 posted 06-19-2012 04:08 AM

Thanks for the review, Joe. I ended up making my own ZCI and dado inserts for my R4512, but the ones you review certainly look nice. Hope they serve you well!

-- John, BC, Canada

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lumberjoe

2842 posts in 939 days


#2 posted 06-19-2012 11:44 AM

mwbusa, can you post some pictures of how you made them? I tried a few with some UHMW I had and could not get them to stay snug

-- www.etsy.com/shop/KandJWoodCrafts

View don1960's profile

don1960

213 posts in 1378 days


#3 posted 06-19-2012 02:50 PM

I have the ZCI for the regular blade for my R4512. I thought the same way as you, in that they are inexpensive enough that it wasn’t worth the time to make one. (also, due to the cutouts you have to do.) I agree that they are very well made, and well worth the $25 or so.

When I get around to getting a decent dado bladeset, it may be worth the time to make a couple for different sizes of dados. If you are going to make 3 or 4 at a time, there is probably some sort of setup that would make it go pretty fast.

Also, right now, one has to put in the OEM insert to make an angle cut. It’d be nice to have a couple ZCI’s for some standard angles.

Of course, with the money saved by buying the saw itself over some $1500 monster, you could buy a lot of these. :-)

-- -- Don from PA

View nwbusa's profile

nwbusa

1017 posts in 977 days


#4 posted 06-19-2012 10:30 PM

I wish I could post pics from my iPad… I’ll try to get on my computer later to post pictures. But I made my inserts from 1/8” hardboard (Masonite). I used the stock insert as a template, and stuck it to the hardboard with some double sided carpet tape. Then I used a pattern bit in my router table to cut the new insert to shape. That’s about all there was to it.

-- John, BC, Canada

View Mike's profile

Mike

302 posts in 1378 days


#5 posted 06-20-2012 03:45 AM

I have the same brand for the craftsman clone. I like it too. I still am unsure of the best way to cut the insert for the riven knife.

-- look Ma! I still got all eleven of my fingers! - http://www.termitecrafts.com

View Bobmedic's profile

Bobmedic

302 posts in 1493 days


#6 posted 06-20-2012 04:11 AM

I did the same thing nwbusa did using ⅛ hardboard. The only thing I did differently is counterbored a small recess in the hardboard plate where it meets the magnet on the saw and glued in a washer and the magnet holds the plate down great.

-- Save lives, ease suffering, reduce morbidity and mortality, stomp out pestilence and disease, postpone the inevitable, and fake compassion. The Paramedics Creed

View nwbusa's profile

nwbusa

1017 posts in 977 days


#7 posted 06-20-2012 06:48 AM

Mike—after I made the initial cut for the blade, I just set the fence and ran the cut from the rear of the ZCI to the blade opening. In other words, the opening in the insert extends from the the front of the blade all the way to back of the insert. Hope that makes sense.

Bobmedic—that’s a really good idea about the washer. I made the counterbore to provide clearance for the magnet, but just left it empty. I’ll be adding a washer tomorrow!

-- John, BC, Canada

View Mike's profile

Mike

302 posts in 1378 days


#8 posted 06-20-2012 11:54 AM

nwbusa – do you have a photo of the underside of the ZCI?

-- look Ma! I still got all eleven of my fingers! - http://www.termitecrafts.com

View lumberjoe's profile

lumberjoe

2842 posts in 939 days


#9 posted 06-20-2012 11:58 AM

I’d be very interested in pictures also. I have a full 4×8 sheet of hardboard I want to chop up. I have a lot of different blades. I cut the ZCI initially with my full kerf blade. When I use my thin kerf combination or cross cut blades, it’s not really zero clearance anymore. Also I would like a few for miters.
Great idea on the washer Bobmedic!

-- www.etsy.com/shop/KandJWoodCrafts

View hong's profile

hong

15 posts in 972 days


#10 posted 06-20-2012 05:10 PM

those zero clearance insert are not hard to make ,I made about 15 of them for my unisaw and it came out exactly like the one I bought from Lee Craft .All I did was clamp the original to a piece of hardboard and use a straight bit with a bearing .You know what work really good is laminate floor ,is really hard ,flat and the same thickness as the Leecraft one ,I can post some picture as soon as I figure out how to do it .

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lumberjoe

2842 posts in 939 days


#11 posted 06-20-2012 06:01 PM

I made ZCI’s for other saws, this one has a funky insert and leveling system. These are also about 1 1/2” thick so they make contact with the leveling screws

-- www.etsy.com/shop/KandJWoodCrafts

View nwbusa's profile

nwbusa

1017 posts in 977 days


#12 posted 06-21-2012 01:56 AM

Here’s a pic of the ZCI that I made… sorry, don’t have a pic of the underside handy, but it’s basically a mirror image of the top.

-- John, BC, Canada

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lumberjoe

2842 posts in 939 days


#13 posted 06-21-2012 02:00 AM

wow, nice! I’d be interested to see how you goth the leveling screws to work. Do they back out far enough, or did you have to install longer ones?

-- www.etsy.com/shop/KandJWoodCrafts

View nwbusa's profile

nwbusa

1017 posts in 977 days


#14 posted 06-21-2012 05:51 PM

The stock screws are long enough. I ended up replacing them with square drive screws, as the Philips head versions that came with the saw were starting to strip from frequent use. 8-32 screws if I recall correctly.

-- John, BC, Canada

View Matt Przybylski's profile

Matt Przybylski

457 posts in 1069 days


#15 posted 06-22-2012 01:42 PM

I’d also love to see the underside of the insert if possible.

-- Matt, Illinois, http://www.reintroducing.com

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