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R4511 - Shop Fox Fence or extend rails?

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  • R4511 - Shop Fox Fence or extend rails?

    This week I finally got my hands on an R4511 after trying to buy one for over a month (for $239 no less!). My question is regarding fence upgrades. I'm wondering if it's worthwhile to extend the rails like many of you guys have done to increase the rip capacity, or should I just go ahead and upgrade to something like the Shop Fox Classic w/ 7' rails like others have done. I can get 2x2 tubing for just over $1/ft here, so extending the rails would be cheap but would require some work. OTOH the Shop Fox is only $250 with the rails and legs so it isn't terribly expensive either. I'd like to hear from both sides. I'm not terribly impressed with the stock fence, but I don't think it's terrible either. What do you guys say?

  • #2
    Re: R4511 - Shop Fox Fence or extend rails?

    Too many other things higher on my list than the fence on the 4511 in my shop, but when it bubbles up to the top of the list, I'm thinking of what I don't like about the stock fence, and that is:

    It has no faces. Easily fixed.
    It glides terribly. Thinking of chroming an extended front rail.
    Do I need the rear rail if I have UHMW faces for it to sit on? I think not, presently.
    It doesn't have the magnifying lenses of the 3660. Could probably fix this.

    In all, I think maybe $150 to give me a Rolls-Royce solution. But could it be $150 thrown away if the front rail isn't as good as I hope...

    I'm on the fence over this issue

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    • #3
      Re: R4511 - Shop Fox Fence or extend rails?

      I think I'd spend the few bucks on a new rail, and a few more on fence faces and see how you like it....wax the rails so it'll slide better. It'll probably never be quite on par with the Shop Fox fence, but it just might do the trick....you'll only be out a few dollars and a couple of hours even if you still decide to upgrade. You could save well over $200 for a new blade(s), other tools, and/or wood.

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      • #4
        Re: R4511 - Shop Fox Fence or extend rails?

        Clearly you can make some fence upgrades inexpensively. I think I might look at it like this: The Shop Fox is a significant upgrade in both rip capacity and fence quality. The fence is even longer than the stock Ridgid fence. It looks like you will have less than $500 invested in that 4511/Shop Fox setup which is less than most paid for the saw alone. Depending on the type of person you are, you might like the challenge of fabricating your own fence and rails but since you got such great deal on the saw, the Shop Fox makes sense to me.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: R4511 - Shop Fox Fence or extend rails?

          One thing I didn't mention was that at the moment I don't own a tap & die set. So that will be an added expense if I decide to fabricate my own rails (and may be needed if I go with the Shop Fox too?). I've been wanting a tap & die set for a while, so it would be a good excuse to buy one anyway if I can find one for a reasonable price.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: R4511 - Shop Fox Fence or extend rails?

            Maybe I'm the exception, but I don't see a problem with the stock fence. Yea, the front rail is in 2 pieces...so what. If you set it up properly it is straight and level and you get accurate cuts. Mine locks down exactly where I set it and it glides smoothly down the rail (OK a little bump at the seam). I did add a UHMW face to get a little less friction, but only because I had it in the shop. If you are really unhappy with the fence, go with the best and get a Biesemeyer, otherwise spend the mony on a premium blade and accurate miter gauge. Good luck, Mike.

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            • #7
              Re: R4511 - Shop Fox Fence or extend rails?

              I tried for weeks to get the front rail aligned properly. But after I mic them out, I found they were different widths by .018" or so. So anytime I tensioned the fence across the gap it would misalign. Very annoying. I bought a slolid 2" square rail an it works great now. Still have not added a new rear but I have started making a router table so I suppose that is next.
              Last edited by Millipede; 03-24-2010, 11:15 PM.

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              • #8
                Re: R4511 - Shop Fox Fence or extend rails?

                Originally posted by mike65072 View Post
                Maybe I'm the exception, but I don't see a problem with the stock fence. Yea, the front rail is in 2 pieces...so what. If you set it up properly it is straight and level and you get accurate cuts. Mine locks down exactly where I set it and it glides smoothly down the rail (OK a little bump at the seam).
                Mike,
                The difficulty I have had (and I still am having, but ignoring it at the moment) is making the two rails parallel. This causes aligning the fence to the blade a difficult thing. I have gotten the fence well-aligned when it was close to the blade. Once I moved the fence to the far right, alignment was off. That is the only complaint I have about the fence, in fact, about the whole saw. I haven't replaced the front rails with a single tube yet, I probably will soon.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: R4511 - Shop Fox Fence or extend rails?

                  When you say after moving to the right, the fence is "off"...what do you mean?

                  Even if your rail is at an angle to the edge of your table, that has no impact on the fence face being parallel to the miter slot or blade.

                  Only a bow in the rail can make that relationship change over the length of the rail.

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                  • #10
                    Re: R4511 - Shop Fox Fence or extend rails?

                    Originally posted by tomapple View Post
                    When you say after moving to the right, the fence is "off"...what do you mean?

                    Even if your rail is at an angle to the edge of your table, that has no impact on the fence face being parallel to the miter slot or blade.

                    Only a bow in the rail can make that relationship change over the length of the rail.
                    With the split rails, that is essentially is what happening - the two rails are at a bow. I have not checked each of the rails to see if they are bowed themselves or not.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: R4511 - Shop Fox Fence or extend rails?

                      All you have to do to align the two sections is clamp a staight edge across the seam (say a 3 or 4' level) then tighten the mounting screws. Make sure to sand the raised boss on plastic coupler so it is flush or below the surface of the tubing first.
                      Last edited by tomapple; 03-25-2010, 10:32 AM.

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                      • #12
                        Re: R4511 - Shop Fox Fence or extend rails?

                        Mr. Tomapple, thanks for that great, yet simple fix. I did this yesterday and after a lot of clamping and playing with the hex bolts I now have a perfectly straight and plum rail. I can put a straight edge on it now and shine a light from underneath and no light shines through between the two rail pieces!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                        THX, Big G

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: R4511 - Shop Fox Fence or extend rails?

                          Originally posted by tomapple View Post
                          All you have to do to align the two sections is clamp a staight edge across the seam (say a 3 or 4' level) then tighten the mounting screws. Make sure to sand the raised boss on plastic coupler so it is flush or below the surface of the tubing first.

                          That's exactly how I aligned mine (using a 4' level)...works like a champ.

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