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Table Saw Fence is fine, but can I replace the rail?

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Forum topic by MoshupTrail posted 03-07-2012 10:56 PM 2598 views 0 times favorited 28 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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MoshupTrail

296 posts in 1166 days


03-07-2012 10:56 PM

Topic tags/keywords: tablesaw question adjusting

I few years ago I bought the Ridgid saw with the Granite top. Steel City makes one just like it. Might be the same for all I know. But the rail that guides the fence is split into two pieces. (probably for shipping) The piece of plastic that like a pipe nipple joins the two bars is not machined perfectly and where the two bars meet (see picture) there’s a very slight offset – maybe 10-15 thousandths. Here’s a pic:

So when you slide the fence back and forth you can never get a perfect angle all the way across. Either you get it parallel to the blade when it’s fully to the right, or fully to the left, but you can’t get both. The fence has two screws that adjust the angle of the fence relative to the bar. As long as they both brace against the same rail you’re fine. You can get it adjusted. But if one is on each rail, then the fence angle is off slightly. Or when you go from one rail to the other the angle changes. I’ve done my best to get the rails lined up with a straight-edge and it’s pretty good now, but because of that slight offset it’s impossible to get it perfect.

Bottom line: I’d like to find a replacement rail, some way to fix this.
Anyone have any ideas?

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


28 replies so far

View DS's profile

DS

2131 posts in 1106 days


#1 posted 03-07-2012 11:00 PM

Maybe just remove the funky plastic part and use metal plates inside with threaded and countersunk holes to align it better.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

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DIYaholic

13752 posts in 1360 days


#2 posted 03-07-2012 11:05 PM

I don’t know if a one piece replacement rail is available. Perhaps a local welder can weld the two rails together, then have the faces machined for coplanar???

That’s all I got. I’m sure some one with a “good” brain will be by shortly.

Good luck.

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procratination a bad thing?

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Bill White

3496 posts in 2646 days


#3 posted 03-07-2012 11:14 PM

I have the Shop Fox Aluma Classic from Grizzly. Might be an option if ya can’t get yours fixed.
Bill

-- bill@magraphics.us

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knotscott

5512 posts in 2061 days


#4 posted 03-07-2012 11:35 PM

You should be able to buy a piece of steel tube from a steel supplier that’s the same dimensions as the original.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

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MoshupTrail

296 posts in 1166 days


#5 posted 03-07-2012 11:58 PM

@DS251 – that’s a pretty good idea. These rails are extruded aluminum with a square cross section. But the wall thickness should be very consistent. I’d have to use self tapping screws and just line it up before drilling pilot holes.

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

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ShipWreck

536 posts in 2438 days


#6 posted 03-07-2012 11:59 PM

You can cure this problem very easily with brass shim stock, telescopic gage, micrometer, and by sanding the plastic guide piece on all 4 sides on both ends. Before you even start…...make sure the wings ends are perfectly flush to the blade deck. Sand the plastice guide enough to give each rail end some wiggle room (slight). Bolt the both rail pieces back the the table. Use your telescopic gage to take measurements about every 6 inches between the square part of the rail and the edge of the granite. I am not sure what the gap is between the rail and the edge of the granite, so you will have to figure that by yourself. The narrower end will get the shims. Just keep playing with it until the rails are square along the entire length.

There might be a simpler way to go about this, but I have done this about 6-7 times that I can remember.

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MoshupTrail

296 posts in 1166 days


#7 posted 03-08-2012 12:00 AM

Question: Are other saws made this way? Or do the good ones have a single straight rail?

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

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ShipWreck

536 posts in 2438 days


#8 posted 03-08-2012 12:06 AM

Yup….......Craftsman zip code saws. I have played with a few of them with your same problem

View Sawkerf's profile

Sawkerf

1730 posts in 1754 days


#9 posted 03-08-2012 12:12 AM

The rail might be two pieces of exrtuded metal (Al?) A bit of searching might lead you to someone who could sell you a single piece with the same profile.

-- Adversity doesn't build character...................it reveals it.

View jcwalleye's profile

jcwalleye

291 posts in 1758 days


#10 posted 03-08-2012 04:49 AM

I know the problems you are encountering. I ditched the Ridgid stock rails, tube and fence about a year and a half ago for a Biesemeyer and it was a great upgrade.

You might think of buying stock steel for the rails and guide tube and then purchase a Bies Fence.

Just for a reference, the two Bies rails are 2” x 3” 1/4” angle iron. A 6 foot piece of mild steel cost about $20. The tube is also 2” x 3” but I don’t know what guage, probably 1/4” tube. The tube does have a special coating where the fence contacts the tube and the measuring tape. I don’t think that will work with the ridgid fence though.

-- Trees, a wonderful gift --Joe--

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jcwalleye

291 posts in 1758 days


#11 posted 03-08-2012 05:05 AM

A simpler option is to do as others have suggested and just replace the guide tube. But that won’t solve some of the other problems with the Ridgid fence system; no wings for a router table, and an uneven fence face caused by Ridgid making holes on the fence face with punches.

Here is a writeup on a the fence upgrade.

The technical problems on this website are starting to get irritating. I’ve tried to edit my previous post twice and got locked up.

-- Trees, a wonderful gift --Joe--

View Sawdust4Blood's profile

Sawdust4Blood

348 posts in 1707 days


#12 posted 03-08-2012 05:09 AM

Have you spoken with Ridgid customer service? A couple of years ago, I had a problem with a part on my Ridgid drill press and all I had to do was send them an e-mail with digital pics of the part in question. In less than a week Fedex delivered a replacement free of charge.

-- Greg, Severn MD

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MNJackofAllTrades

13 posts in 989 days


#13 posted 03-08-2012 06:29 AM

knotscott gave the best advice. Go to your local metal supply and get a one piece tube with the same dimensions. Drill it, tap it, and you are good to go. A little paint wouldn’t hurt either. Best solution at the lowest cost.

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MoshupTrail

296 posts in 1166 days


#14 posted 03-08-2012 09:54 AM

@jc – interesting upgrade you did there. Not sure I need (or want) to replace the angle-iron supports, but the guide tube might be replaceable. It’s extruded aluminum with a square cross section with rounded corners. It would be nice to have a single piece. I’m not interested in the router combination – I have a stand-alone router table and no shortage of space in the shop.
And your comment on the fence is right on – about the dimples caused by punching the holes – arrrgh! They ruined what might have been a serviceable fence.

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

View Paul Stoops's profile

Paul Stoops

322 posts in 1246 days


#15 posted 03-14-2012 01:51 AM

I have the same saw. I think you will find that the guide tube is steel, not aluminum. As Knotscott suggested, you should be able to find a square steel tube with the same outside dimensions and the same or heavier wall thickness. In my estimation, that would be the best fix.

-- Paul, Auburn, WA

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