Ryobi BTS20R

I finally cut some wood with the new saw.

I had had a blast putting it together at first. I love that kind of stuff, following directions from a manual and screwing this to that and whatnot. Like Ikea furniture. Just plain fun. But I had my Freud TK906 blade on Kevin’s miter saw, and I was going to put that eventually on the Ryobi. So I didn’t want to spend any time heeling the blade on the saw to the miter gauge grooves if I was just going to replace the blade and do it all over again. And I had stair railings still to cut on Kevin’s saw, is why the Freud blade was on it, so I had to cut the railings so as to be able to put the Freud blade on the Ryobi saw.


So after cutting some railings on the chop saw, I wasn’t especially happy with the results. It’s so hard to adjust the bevel. I finally decided, hell, the new Ryobi saw is just sitting there, and it’s got a miter gauge and bevel tilt, so why not give it a try? Plus, the chop saw was just spewing sawdust all over the shop. The Ryobi’s got a dust port, 2 1/2″ even, to hook up the shop vac.

So then, after moving the TK906 from the miter saw to the Ryobi, it took me a while to heel the blade to the left-hand miter groove. I started out just using my combination square, measuring to a tooth that I had colored blue with a Sharpie. But then I couldn’t find my feeler gauges anywhere. So then I got out the dial gauge and screwed it to a wooden bar, and then held that assembly on the miter gauge. Worked pretty well. Except that it was hard to measure to the same point on the colored tooth, and the miter gauge is a little sloppy in the groove. Not much, but the dial gauge measures to 1/1000th of an inch, so the slop was throwing it off quite a lot.

So then I had the bright idea to just take the Sharpie and pop a little dot on the flat part of the blade, still out towards the teeth. Easier to put the tip of the dial gauge to that rather than a tooth. And I just held the miter gauge firmly against the right side of the miter channel. And I was able to see that the blade was out of parallel by 0.011″. So I found a 4mm hex key and loosened the two bolts at the back of the motor. Was much easier system than the screws in the table of the Delta that I had, that I had to fit a closed-end wrench underneath the table.

But then for some reason I got it into my head that I had to use a wood board here to pound the blade back. I thought the Ryobi instruction manual said to do this. But after tapping then whacking with a rubber mallet, to no avail, I re-read the instructions and they said to just push the wood board and then, before letting go, tighten the bolts in back when the blade was parallel.

Finally got it to within 0.003″, which I figure is about as good as I can do.

The other cool thing about the dial gauge on the wooden bar is I was able to measure the wobble of the blade while the blade was running. It was exhilarating to do, although hard to read the results. Seemed like the needle was flicking back and forth with a 5 to 10 one-thousandth range. I think digital gauges maybe could save a range or something like that. I don’t even know if they make digital gauges, though. Maybe I’m thinking of digital calipers, which I definitely have seen. Somebody’s gotta make a digital gauge.

I probably should have measured the arbor runout when I had the blade off, now that I think about it. But there’s not a whole lot I can do about arbor runout, except maybe measure wobble with the blade rotated at different points on the arbor. More trouble than I’m willing to take at this point for three one-thousandths of an inch.

And so I cut some railing on the saw, and the cut itself was smooth. Like glass smooth. Like baby’s butt smooth. Like jointer smooth.

I still have to measure the rip fence to make sure it’s parallel. The instructions say to use a framing square. It’s funny that the manual at the beginning says that you’ll need a screwdriver, a 1/2″ wrench, and a framing square to assemble. Then you of course later need a combination square. It’s clearly pictured in the manual, but they don’t tell you up front that you’ll need one. But then maybe I can use the dial gauge assembly that I made. We’ll see.

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