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I love my 12-inch Ridgid sliding miter saw, even though it is now out of production. However, for the kind of work I do it has limitations that are common with just about all miter saws, particularly sliders. While I use the work for typical large-scale work at times (why else by something as big as this?), much of its use involves cutting small pieces for use in my collage-art projects.

I have done several things to modify the saw for my particular use.

1. I installed easy-to-remove mdf boards to the existing fence to make it easier to cut small pieces. The boards make it easier to hold workpieces tight against the fence surface close to the blade. Wing nuts on the back can release the boards to expose the stock fence in quick time. (And, yes, I know the dangers of having fingers too close to the blade; hey, I am careful!)

2. I replaced the stock throat-plate pieces with a zero-clearance job to reduce tear out with standard cross-cutting work. Note also the roll-around stand I built for the unit - in combination with the top section of a Wolfcraft stand that is fitted to it. I store the saw in the shop, but I roll it out onto my adjacent work deck for cutting work. Note also that I have, for cosmetic purposes only, replaced most of the factory plastic knobs with home-built wooden versions. One of those can be seen in the photos.

3. I cut a thick work-surface plate that (from 3/4-inch mdf) allows me to cut REALLY small pieces without them being snagged because the standard throat plate tends to flex when cutting small pieces right up close to the blade, tilting the piece into the teeth. It allows for snag-free, danger-free cuts at zero and 45 degrees with even very small pieces, my main cuts with my collage work. (Photos of the fence boards and thick board arrangement in 1 and 2 are attached.) Note that "danger free" also means that you have to use a blade that is in very good condition.

4. I installed a removable deflector, cut from a piece of plastic sheeting, in the air-vent opening to allow my dust collector to more effectively suck dust out of the work area. This plate (reinforced with black duct tape to stiffen it) is too large to use with the slider feature, but for that I have several smaller plates (some plastic; some sheet metal) that can clear the fence without being pushed up into the blade. (Photos of both the large deflector and a smaller sheet-metal type are attached; with the larger deflector I set the saw to just do standard, non-sliding chop work, so unlike what we see in its photo it is normally _behind_ the fence.) The plates are held in place by a wing nut that attached to a small hole I drilled in the bottom of the air opening. Swapping out takes only seconds.

The mods that allow for small-piece cuts for my collage art projects can quickly be undone to allow the saw to do typical larger-scale woodworking operations.

Howard Ferstler
 

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