Rethinking abandonment of my cheap table saw

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Forum topic by Buckethead posted 06-16-2013 12:06 PM 1540 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Buckethead's profile


3194 posts in 1891 days

06-16-2013 12:06 PM

Some of you might have seen me complaining about my cheap (free to me) Ryobi table saw. (BTS20r) As I could not accurately describe the problem, you probably already knew there was likely a software malfunction somewhere in the region of the user interface. Most likely on the user side.

Well… It was really more of a maintenance problem. The direct drive motor is mounted on what they call a locker plate. It rides up and down on this, and uses friction to keep the motor and therefor blade stable. Well, the “wear pads” ........... Wait for it…............ Wore.

This allowed a rocking/pivoting motion of the blade at all times. One look at the spec sheet… Readily available 24/7/365 on the Internet, also told me that there are nylon washers used in conjunction with these (as spacers) mine had no washers. Perhaps, they made thicker wear pads for these, eliminating the need for washers as shims, or the previous owner had done something to the saw but lost them. Not sure.

So off to my local big box manstore to buy 62 cents worth of nylon washers. (I probably overpaid, but a nickel has 6.5 cents worth of metal in it… So value… Well … Is subjective)

It was a bit of a pain to get all the parts back together. Mostly due to my inexperience, but after a minute of growling, I came to my senses and saw an easier way. Let gravity help hold the shims in place.

As I nearly dislocated my collar bone patting myself on the back, I thought to myself; why not tune up the other problems with this saw? Others do it…. Why not me?

So I adjusted the fence locking mechanism, cheap fence still, but. Works far better now, I adjusted the rail with the tape measure to…... Read accurately!!! (Who knew you could do this?)

Yes friends, I have been bragging about how I’m going to buy a new SawStop. I probably still will. There is a feature on that saw which I find priceless. (I’m tearing up as I think about that lovely saw brake)

What I don’t want to do is let ego allow me to think myself above using and caring for the things I already own… Even if they are cheap, and were given to me. Many hours of design and labor (and raw materials, transport, energy, etc…) go into every tool we have. We should honor that by caring for what we have. Was I going to send a working saw to the dump? Give a saw in poor, even dangerous condition to someone else?

I see guys here with ryobi table saws creating fine works… And not complaining about their tools. In fact, carpentry/woodworking is always about utilization.

Thanks for being here guys, and thanks for offering inspiration, even when you don’t realize you are.

-- Support woodworking hand models. Buy me a sawstop.

6 replies so far

View jimmyb's profile


185 posts in 1914 days

#1 posted 06-16-2013 12:17 PM

I too bought a Ryobi (BT3000) saw. Read the pros and cons, joined the BT3 forum and did all the tweaks and maintenance the guys recommended and now it is a great saw doing great things for me.

What I learned is that it takes some TLC and maintenance and if you are good to your tools … they will be good to you.

Have fun and make some saw dust.

-- Jim, Tinley Park, IL

View toolie's profile


2134 posts in 2651 days

#2 posted 06-16-2013 01:44 PM

i sympathize completely. kind of refreshing to see a thread that doesn’t insist that 3 -5 hp cabinet saws are a must for fine woodworking. you are not alone. i got this POS plastic/aluminum 10” c-man for $20 and after tuning it per it’s OM, it’s almost as as accurate as both of my 10” CI contractor saws:

i use it for site work when friends need a hand (never trust anyone else’s tools).

and this guy apparently also uses tools that many woodworkers snicker at, with impressive results:

congrats on adding utility to your saw. i think sometimes we should remember that these things are usually designed to work well and, as the OP stated, sometimes the issue is “a software malfunction somewhere in the region of the user interface. Most likely on the user side.” well said!

-- there's a solution to every just have to be willing to find it.

View josephf's profile


199 posts in 2119 days

#3 posted 06-16-2013 03:00 PM

Well I was in your situation and did get the saw stop .Went from an old delta cabinet saw that was my uncles to a sawstop .It took a bit of time ,the old saw worked but needed repairs and I wanted up grades .Also I really wanted that brake .I have been in the trades along time and feel the odds are increasing that i would need the brake more as the saw gets used more . I love that brake and use the guard most of the time . Just a bit less stressful .Dust collection and no problems cranking the blade up and down .I just go to work .I have plenty of other tools to repair I just did not want to mess with that oldsaw anymore .
Also I have a 50/50 belief about repairing stuff .Doesn’t sound like yours is worth it .50% of the time I have found it would of been better to let it go .
I am hoping you go the saw stop and I think you will really enjoy it

View redSLED's profile


790 posts in 1915 days

#4 posted 06-16-2013 03:16 PM

Sounds to me like your love affair with your saw is on the rocks. Either continued counselling and making it work (forums and fixes), or start a new romance (get another saw) and move on. A new saw will help you forget your old saw.

-- Perfection is the difference between too much and not enough.

View Buckethead's profile


3194 posts in 1891 days

#5 posted 06-17-2013 01:00 AM

I have no real attachment to this tool. I really like more power, precision manufacturing, slick packaging, and the esteem that comes with having a million dollar shop. (A boy can dream) So I’m really just trying to keep myself grounded. That, and why should I spend 2 grand on a new table saw, if I’m not willing to care for a $200 dollar TS?

I’ll still get the new saw, but I will feel better about it if I have demonstrated a willingness to learn about and care for what I already have. Also, it will make a nice tool for the field, or a nice gift for someone without. Had I not fixed it, it would have been destined for the landfill. Actually, it was making decent cuts today. I was pleased.

-- Support woodworking hand models. Buy me a sawstop.

View al1949's profile


4 posts in 1831 days

#6 posted 06-17-2013 01:14 AM

Hang in there, bucket head! I got a cheap table saw($20 at a garage sale, and almost gave up on it, until a fine gentleman named Shawn steered me to new motor brushes for the saw($4 at Ace Hardware). I now have a functioning table saw for a net investment of $24.

-- al1949

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