Refurbishing cheap table saws - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 04-10-2018, 05:57 AM Thread Starter
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Refurbishing cheap table saws

Hello folks! This is my first post here, I'm just getting started into woodworking so i went shopping for some tools on a shoe string budget and, well long story short I purchased 2 ryobi rts22 table saws for $25 each. While I know ryobi are about basement level tools, it's what I can afford at the moment. As for the saws, the reason they were so cheap is that they both fell off the loading truck and bent the right hand sides of the tables down. I've managed to "negotiate" both tables back to "mostly" flat. My question to you is this:
Could I remove the damaged tops and replace them with an mdf, laminate counter, or maybe melamine top? I'm hoping to literally unbolt the old and drop on a new one, I figure to cut it a little larger and use blocks of wood to keep it squared while I reattach the saw and frame to the top. Replacing the top will not only give me a totally flat surface, but I'll route full miter slots in place of the pinched slots the ryobi tops have. Anyway, any input would be appreciated.

P.s. I am sure that many replies will recommend tossing these saws and buy something better. While I agree wholeheartedly with those sentiments, my funds are limiting me to what I have right now.

Thanks!
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post #2 of 15 Old 04-10-2018, 06:47 AM
where's my table saw?
 
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sounds like a plan to me

Cheap table saws have been made from circular saws, so starting with 2 table saws is even better. I would use both saws under the same top, somewhat close together. This would allow for different settings and using a common fence, which you will need to make regardless.

You will need to get the blade parallel to the miter bar slots, so I would probably make the slots first using a T square off the front edge and sliding it over for all 3 or 4 slots using a router. I made a very wide saw myself, see my avatar, using 3 table saws and I have multiple slots which come in quite handy.

Your depth of cut maximum will be reduced somewhat by the thickness of the top material, but shouldn't be that much. You can probably use one power supply cord and branch off with 2 paddle switches from it. Paddle safety switches are a great addition to any power tool.

Make your fence so it will lock down on a front rail. No need for a rear rail which only complicates the build and may make for inaccuracies. It will need to be a T square design and lock down parallel to the miter slots. Good Luck and come back for more free advice!

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #3 of 15 Old 04-10-2018, 07:15 AM
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I believe you will have trouble with a wooden top. As best as I can tell looking at a picture of the saw the fence clamps to the top. If this is the case it would wear very quickly to where the fence wouldn't clamp. What I have done with this type fence is to weld a frame out of angle iron and insert plywood in the middle and then cover the surface with formica. What I was using it for is fence extensions though. It didn't have any miter gauge slots. I think if a top had a wooden extensions with miter gauge slots the slots would wear badly too and probably should be omitted.

Another option would be to find someone that had an old table saw that the working parts were bad and use the top for your saw.
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post #4 of 15 Old 04-10-2018, 11:58 AM
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Wearing out the miter slots....?

You could always use aluminum tracks in the miter slots, which are made for that purpose from Rockler. I doubt that much wear would take place in home shop over time and by then the OP will have a new saw OR he will have fallen in like with this one so much he won't want an new one.

The fence ideally would have a steel rail like a Biesemeyer, but that's probably beyond the OP's capability. I would trust a hardwood rail of Maple to last for quite a long time and if kept waxed maybe forever. A piece of HPL or Formica glued under the traveling portion will prevent any serious wear. The top itself may come with HLP laminate if it's a section of counter top. If not, easy enough to lay down a nice sheet as additional protection.

We all started somewhere and my first table saw was an inverted 8 1/4" Skil saw in a stamped steel table about 18" square. I never realized how dangerous that was, because it's all I knew at the time.
It worked OK and then I got a brand new Craftsman 100, gold series 10" table saw and was in woodworker's heaven. Rip fence was gear driven affair but it worked OK. I still have the miter gauge and the table got repurposed in Sawzilla as a spacer between the other saws. Life goes on .........

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 04-10-2018 at 12:14 PM.
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post #5 of 15 Old 04-10-2018, 09:34 PM
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I'm sure if you look around enough you could find someone throwing out a big plate of mild steel or something. I know I've got one that's been sitting in my woodshed for at least five years now that I got for free (Don't worry I cut pieces off it to use all the time, it's not just sitting there doing nothing). If you find one that could make a decent top, couldn't put slots in it but it wouldn't wear or warp nearly as much as a wooden one. I live near a bunch of scrap yards so it's easy for me to say but stuff like that pops up on craigslist or whatnot every once in a while. If you have access to a welder or someone who can it weld then it could get interesting.

"Dreams are stronger than poison and seize more firmly than disease, once captured one can not escape. It's a real curse, but for adventurers who are dedicated to it, body and soul, people without dreams are more frightening than death" (Made in Abyss). The Twenty Seventeen anime of the year, it definitely deserves that award. It's a show you don't expect to throw you off as much as it does. It may be Moe but it's certainly not lighthearted, just the opposite.
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post #6 of 15 Old 04-10-2018, 09:57 PM
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Without actually seeing the saws it is hard to offer a definitive solution. I expect if I had 2 new saws that were damaged in the box I would either part both saws out and use that money to buy a better saw or part 1 saw out and use the money from that to buy a factory top for the other.
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post #7 of 15 Old 04-10-2018, 10:24 PM
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Miter slots without dados ?

When I made the outfeed extension on my Sawzilla, I needed about 10 miter slots. I used 2 layers of 1/2" MDF to create them, one on the bottom and then separate pieces spaced the miter bar width+ on top of that. I glued the separate pieces down when the spacing allowed the miter bar to slide easily in the "dado" .

See the area immediately behind the saw table, about 18" wide with the slots:


A saw top could be made in the same manner, 1/2" MDF for the bottom and separate pieces glued onto the top. ... no router ... no dado blades.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #8 of 15 Old 04-11-2018, 01:31 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the great replies everyone! Woodnthings, that is a beast of a saw (saws?). The thought had occurred to me the keep both saws for different setups, but it never crossed my mind to build a single table, I'm also working in a packed full 2 car garage, work space is a real commodity. Unfortunately, Craigslist in my area is a dying thing, so coming across much to salvage is a lot like winning the lotto. After doing some more research and reading the posts here, I'm thinking of using an aluminum t track for the front rail (may be the same as woodnthings saw in his photo?) And then using the suggested rockler t track for miter slots.

Woodnthings, can you still adjust the angle of your blades in sawzilla or are they always set to 90? I'm trying to decide if I need to cut out an opening in the top for throat plates or just run the blade up through the table and call it good.

This is likely to be a couple of weeks project for me...work third shift with 3 younglings.

Thanks!
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post #9 of 15 Old 04-11-2018, 04:09 AM
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tiltng the blade

I rarely tilt the blade on this saw, but it is possible. The stock throat plate allows for that, but in your case there isn't one unless you make it. Making a removable throat plate is a bit advanced, requiring a pattern and a router, so I would opt for not having one. If you make a lot of small boxes with beveled edge joinery, then you would want that feature.

There's another way to achieve a wider table with your two saws if the tables can be made level. That would be to just bolt them directly together OR use a metal or wood spacer block in between them. My saws had a major motor housing bump on the left sides and would not bolt up directly so I needed a second table in between them.

You are at a crossroads here and need to figure out which approach will work best for you, with your space limitations. A wider saw is a safer saw in my opinion since there is more support for your workpieces. An outfeed support is also a major safety accessory to avoid reaching around a spinning blade to gather up your work and cutoffs. Never reach over or around a spinning blade to catch a cutoff or prevent your work from dropping to the floor!

There is more to using a table saw than just cutting wood. Understanding how wood reacts when a cut is mage down the length as in ripping, is always a bit unpredictable. Keeping the wood pushed against the fence requires feeding it in a manner that will keep it registered. A kickback will occur if the work is allowed to rotate away from the fence at the rear of the blade, rising up and over it and coming back at the operator, forcefully. Blade guards actually help keep your fingers out of the blade, but "safe saw" operators never place their hands in a direct line with the blade path unless there is at least 12" of material needing to be cut, and even then, it ain't a good idea.

You also want a stand and enough footprint that will keep the saw stable. Any movement during a cut will cause you to compensate and will throw you off kilter and may shift the work, causing it to bind and kickback. Kickbacks occur when ever the work is not fed exactly parallel with the blade and the fence. They go mostly unreported since it's often just a nasty bruise, and no blood get spilled, but are more common than most realize.

OK, enough of the saw safety stuff. Good luck with your decision and if you need more advice come on back.
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Last edited by woodnthings; 04-11-2018 at 04:12 AM.
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post #10 of 15 Old 04-11-2018, 05:20 AM Thread Starter
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I wouldn't think it would be too difficult to use the throat plates that came with the saws, or am I mistaken. I figured I would pattern the opening in the new table from the opening in the old and drop the plate in. I have a plunge router for making such cuts.
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post #11 of 15 Old 04-11-2018, 04:10 PM
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I took a look at my portable ridgid table saw for a bit of reference and I can see where I could probably replace the top with a piece of formica countertop or something if I absolutely had to. The concern I see is...the motor and trunnion attach to the top itself so you'll have to figure out a solid way of mounting it where the vibration wont loosen the screws over time. If the ryobi saw is built similarly...then its entirely possible to do BUT and its a big BUT, you will never have the accuracy of a good cast iron table or even aluminum. Expect the cuts to be a little rough...hopefully you're ok with that
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post #12 of 15 Old 04-11-2018, 05:21 PM
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Nice advice but ....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Echo415 View Post
I took a look at my portable ridgid table saw for a bit of reference and I can see where I could probably replace the top with a piece of formica countertop or something if I absolutely had to. The concern I see is...the motor and trunnion attach to the top itself so you'll have to figure out a solid way of mounting it where the vibration wont loosen the screws over time. If the ryobi saw is built similarly...then its entirely possible to do BUT and its a big BUT, you will never have the accuracy of a good cast iron table or even aluminum. Expect the cuts to be a little rough...hopefully you're ok with that
No disrespect, but you are speculating on the quality of the cut. Any runout in the saw itself will tend to make a rough cut and there is no way to calculate that ahead of the build. I would wager a fair sized sheet of 3/4" particle board has more mass/energy absorption than a thin aluminum top, a bet I'd be happy to lose.
As far as accuracy, that would depend on the fence to blade alignment being parallel each time the fence is moved and locked.
There are some design obstacles for sure, but as You Tube proves many others have tried and done similar projects. Ya won't know 'til ya try yourself. I have seen several approaches where the small table saw was surrounded by a much larger support surface and that is another option.

Carriage bolts through the top or "threadserts" would work, even flat head countersunk machine screws, for attaching.
You could use the old top as a drilling pattern by drilling right straight though into the new surface, if you never were to use it again.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #13 of 15 Old 04-11-2018, 09:08 PM
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Many years ago I built a table saw using a circular saw, I used the now common router plate principle where I attached the saw to a 1/4" aluminum plate that fit in the wooden top to get maximum cutting height with only a 7 1/4" blade. Today if I did it with what I know now I would cut out an opening in the plate for a zero clearance insert.

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post #14 of 15 Old 04-12-2018, 12:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodnthings View Post
No disrespect, but you are speculating on the quality of the cut. Any runout in the saw itself will tend to make a rough cut and there is no way to calculate that ahead of the build. I would wager a fair sized sheet of 3/4" particle board has more mass/energy absorption than a thin aluminum top, a bet I'd be happy to lose.
As far as accuracy, that would depend on the fence to blade alignment being parallel each time the fence is moved and locked.
There are some design obstacles for sure, but as You Tube proves many others have tried and done similar projects. Ya won't know 'til ya try yourself. I have seen several approaches where the small table saw was surrounded by a much larger support surface and that is another option.

Carriage bolts through the top or "threadserts" would work, even flat head countersunk machine screws, for attaching.
You could use the old top as a drilling pattern by drilling right straight though into the new surface, if you never were to use it again.
Fair points...I'm speculating because of the nature of the saw itself. Mating dis-similar materials, the vibration of a direct drive motor, etc present variables that are hard to anticipate until the OP tries it and works out the kinks. It's entirely possible to get a clean cut but it will probably take a lot of trial and error in the process.

Edit: No disrespect taken, I'm not the type to get defensive. The entire purpose of sites like these are to share knowledge and how is that possible unless you're receptive to other views/opinions. My posts are merely suggestions and opinion...based on my experience and I'm sure I've done plenty of things that others wouldn't but they work for me. I love hearing others' views...its educational at the very least.

Last edited by Echo415; 04-12-2018 at 12:48 AM.
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post #15 of 15 Old 04-13-2018, 12:31 AM Thread Starter
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So, I ran into some good fortune today. I went looking/calling around for replacement table tops, doing my due diligence, and I called the place of purchase to see if any other saws possibly had bad motors that I could buy for parts. Long story short, they offered to replace my saw and I ended up with a rigid r4517 instead of the ryobi rts22. I still have one of the ryobi saws and will be turning it into a project saw. I figure I will taken woodnthings advice about the 2 layers of mdf, using a 3/4 in as a base with "panels" of 1/2 to accommodate miter slots. I'm thinking that I will route a slot in the top of the 3/4 and bottom of the 1/2 and sandwich the saw between the two and brace across the middle.


Thanks for the great replies!
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