Decked Out Ridgid Model R4511 Table Saw #12: The Unveiling -- Before and After

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Blog entry by Paul Stoops posted 01-02-2012 12:16 AM 19273 reads 18 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 11: The Final Upgrades Part 12 of Decked Out Ridgid Model R4511 Table Saw series no next part

This final chapter winds up our journey— Decked Out Ridgid Model R4511 Table Saw.

Where I Started

The Changes I Made

Here is the baker’s dozen of additions and modifications I made to my Model R4511 to transform it from a great tablesaw to an even greater one – and more importantly, into one which fits the constraints of my small shop and my own personal preferences.

• Improved Mobile Base
• Internal Baffling
• Improved Dust Collection
• On-Board Storage
• Rear Extension Table
• Downdraft Side ExtensionTable
• Upgraded Rip Fence
• Relocated Tilt Handwheel
• Digital Tilt Angle Indicator
• Zero Clearance Inserts
• Upgraded Miter Gage
• Upgraded Power Switch
• Conversion to 240VAC Input

Where I Finished — My Decked Out Model R4511

Is it okay if I say I’m really pleased with the way this project turned out? Dads should be proud of their kids, right………….!!

Closing Thoughts

This has been a wonderful, creative, adventure for me. This is the first time I have made major modifications to a piece of woodworking equipment. I am especially pleased that I was able to make significant improvements to a machine that was already well-engineered, to make it better fit my needs and preferences.

In retrospect, I can only think of two changes I would make if I were doing it again:

• Make the Rip Fence Rail Support Angle from ¼” steel stock
• Mount the Mobile Base on 5” diameter casters.

I hope the information I have presented – in a lot of detail, intentionally – will encourage others to reevaluate their equipment and look for ways to modify or adapt it to meet their unique situation and personal preferences. How many times have you said, “Gee, I really like this tool, but I wish this _ feature was different”? The big picture may look daunting, but if you break it up in little pieces (and maybe those into even smaller pieces) it is probably doable far easier than you can possibly imagine. Go for it!!

There are lots of experienced folks here at LJ and other forums like it, who are always ready to offer suggestions and share their experiences. I am retired, so I have a lot of time to putter, and offer “sage advice”, whatever that is. If I can help, please don’t hesitate to ask. I have made most of the possible mistakes over the years, so maybe I can steer you around some of them…………… :-)

Thanks for following patiently along with me. I hope to hear some feedback from folks who have used this information to modify their Model R4511 or other equipment to better suit their preferences. I hope you will post pics of your adventure!

So long— for now…………… :-)

-- Paul, Auburn, WA

16 comments so far

View Lance's profile


428 posts in 3772 days

#1 posted 01-02-2012 12:19 AM

Blood, sweat, and hopefully not tears in that project, well done!

-- Lance, Hook'em HORNS! ""V""

View doncutlip's profile


2832 posts in 4802 days

#2 posted 01-02-2012 12:19 AM

Wow you really put that saw on steroids!

-- Don, Royersford, PA

View DIYaholic's profile


19921 posts in 3921 days

#3 posted 01-02-2012 01:03 AM

Are you sure you don’t want to raffle that saw off? I’ll take two raffle tickets!!

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

View deleteme's profile


141 posts in 3852 days

#4 posted 01-02-2012 01:08 AM

Amazing job Sir! Thanks for the inspiration!

View David Grimes's profile

David Grimes

2080 posts in 3886 days

#5 posted 01-02-2012 01:14 AM

You done good !

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

View Paul Stoops's profile

Paul Stoops

358 posts in 3807 days

#6 posted 01-02-2012 01:15 AM

Hi Folks,

Lance—Thanks, no tears—just a fun adventure!

doncutlip —Well, not really, but boy it sure is a lot more fun to use!

Randy—Sorry, I just ran out of raffle tickets! And you wanted two!!??

hybridhelix—Thanks, Paul. I hope some of you will get inspired while I enjoy my ”new” saw…....... :-)

-- Paul, Auburn, WA

View Matt Przybylski's profile

Matt Przybylski

583 posts in 3624 days

#7 posted 01-02-2012 07:10 AM

Amazing work! I have a question about (of all things) your ZCI. What are you going to do about the riving knife? I don’t see an opening for it in your insert and I’m about to make some inserts for my R4512 so just curious how you’re going to solve that.

Again, incredible mods and you now have me thinking about what I can do to my saw :)


-- Matt, Arizona

View Paul Stoops's profile

Paul Stoops

358 posts in 3807 days

#8 posted 01-02-2012 07:51 AM

Hi Matt, did you take a look at the section in the blog where I talked about the ZCI? I don’t currently have a riving knife for this saw, altho I may make or purchase one in the future. The stock metal insert has a slot cut clear to one end to accept the guard/splitter or a riving knife. I haven’t looked into it carefully, but it appears that it would weaken the open end of the insert. The phenolic material is very stiff, so maybe that wouldn’t be a problem. Another option that I haven’t looked into seriously is the type of aftermarket splitter that mounts to holes in the end of the insert —not as effective as a true riving knife, but probably useful. So far, I haven’t had a problem with the saw kerf closing up on me, but it is possible with some woods that may have extreme stresses in them. That may be a blessing in disguise to have a lower powered saw which might stall in that circumstance, unlike the 3HP General 350 cabinet saw I used to have.

I think the R4512 would lend itself to many of the improvements I made to this saw. But of course your saw isn’t nearly as heavy without the granite top, so maybe your existing mobile base is okay, tho it does waste a lot of space. Even tho your tilt handwheel is on the right side, it could be mounted on the front as I discussed in the blog. You would need to invert the sketch to visualize what it would look like for a right hand tilt wheel. If you make any changes, be sure to post some pics.

-- Paul, Auburn, WA

View Matt Przybylski's profile

Matt Przybylski

583 posts in 3624 days

#9 posted 01-02-2012 08:23 AM

Ah, I just re-read the ZCI portion. There was a lot of info to take in so I forgot some of it :)

-- Matt, Arizona

View SignWave's profile


472 posts in 4281 days

#10 posted 01-02-2012 08:50 PM

Thank you very much for sharing. I also have this saw and want to address several of the concerns that you have. I also find the saw to be top heavy, and having a “less-than-perfect” floor plus the need to move the saw around, the base that comes with it doesn’t work so well for me. A new base is definitely in the plans. I hope you don’t mind if I borrow some ideas from yours ;)

I also find the stock fence to be acceptable, but not particularly accurate or stable (the split rails seem to shift just enough to be annoying). I am installing the Incra TS-LS on mine. I am debating which side to put a router on the left side (and contend with the tilt handwheel) or on the right (and contend with the access door). Seeing how you moved the handwheel sure makes the left side mount more compelling.

I am also planning on creating my own riving knife out of some sheet stock, using the blade guard as a template.

Thanks again for the inspiration!

-- Barry,

View Paul Stoops's profile

Paul Stoops

358 posts in 3807 days

#11 posted 01-02-2012 09:24 PM

SignWave—Thanks for the response and your positive comments.

Borrow away, my good man! That’s why I posted this project—to give other owners some things to think about and maybe some solutions to quirks of the original design that could be improved upon. And hopefully other folks will come up with some ideas that will leapfrog mine into a better design yet! Ah, the fun of sharing ideas!!

I have heard that the Incra fence is a dandy! It should be a huge improvement over the stock fence!

I have noticed that some folks have posted information about after market riving knives—both shop made and commercially made. I have also seen some discussions about using (adapting?) the ones available for one of the comparable Steel City saws. I don’t know if the comparable saw at Sears (also made by Orion) would offer a compatible riving knife as a spare part—might be worth checking out. Go for it!

-- Paul, Auburn, WA

View knotscott's profile


8431 posts in 4622 days

#12 posted 01-02-2012 09:28 PM

As stated on another forum, this is awesome and inspired work. It’s not only functional, but is extraordinarily well done….very cool looking upgrades!

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

View Paul Stoops's profile

Paul Stoops

358 posts in 3807 days

#13 posted 01-02-2012 09:48 PM

Thanks knotscott, it was a fun project that did turn out pretty well.

I see you have a lot of wonderful projects on your home page. I have a lot of catching up to do!

-- Paul, Auburn, WA

View noweyrey1's profile


20 posts in 4015 days

#14 posted 01-03-2012 05:46 AM

HI Paul, I’m glad to see the ZCI made it onto your saw. That is an impressive machine and gives me lots of ideas for my 4511 that I never thought of before. Great job detailing all the modifications you made as well. Very Inspiring. If you do decide to add a riving knife, there is a guy on ebay selling one that works pretty well. Just flip your ZCI end for end and extend the cut for the blade. it lined up pretty well for me. Since I’ve gotten one I’ve stopped using the factory guard all together.
I Look forward to your next projects.


View Paul Stoops's profile

Paul Stoops

358 posts in 3807 days

#15 posted 01-03-2012 06:26 AM

Hi Jeff, thanks for the nice comments.

That phenolic material I got from you for the ZCI’s is really nice stuff. It really is hard, isn’t it! They should last a long time, especially putting two slots in them.
Thanks for the info on the riving knife. I may try one out some time in the future.
There is a risk not using the guard, but I would much rather see the blade area than have it obscured. The responsibility is on me to keep my hands out of harms way.
I still have a router table cabinet to build for the top, lift, and fence I bought. I have it partly designed, so now I need to get back to it.
The LOML is anxious for me to get a Murphy bed built for our combination computer room/guest bedroom/craft room. I will be designing the bed with a fold down table and room for storage, so it should be an interesting project—that will show up here on LJ someday….. Good to hear from you!

-- Paul, Auburn, WA

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