Fixing things

My father, uncle and my grandfather made their livelihood in large part by fixing things. My grandfather had a sign in his store:

We fix anything but a broken heart

My father was a watchmaker and when I was ready to go out into the world, he advised me not to become a watchmaker because in the future, watches would be electric and the movements in them would be replaced and not repaired. He was of course right.

My uncle repaired televisions, a dying business. I have a very nice but 10 year old Sony flat screen TV that failed. An internet search suggested one particular circuit board was the likely problem, but one on eBay would cost $250 and there’s a chance it wouldn’t work. New TVs of that size don’t cost all that much more, and newer ones have far more features — apps and things, plus a warranty. It’s not worth repairing (and not easy to dispose of either).

I have a cordless vacuum that died. I took it apart and determined that the problem lay in its circuit board. I’m sure I could get a new vacuum for less than replacing the circuit board.

Given my history and upbringing, it really galls me to throw stuff out rather than fixing it.

So, I’m going to try. I have a Ryobi P515 Reciprocating Saw and the blade has started falling out. Over time it fell out more frequently. I disassembled the saw and didn’t find anything immediately wrong, and concluded that it most be wear on the clamp that holds the blade. I tried new blades and that made no difference.

Ryobi P515 One+ Reciprocating Saw

This is far on the low end of reciprocating saws that usually run $100 and up (not including batteries). By the time I add batteries and a charger, a replacement might be $150 – $200. I already have a Ryobi One+ battery set, so I’m biased to try to keep with that ecosystem.

There’s no way anybody is going to repair my saw for $69, but I thought I had a chance to do it myself and I think I found the part that would have to be replaced, an ASSY SLIDING ROD AND BLADE CLA that costs $15.26 (plus $9 shipping).

Ryobi TTI-300309044 Assy Sliding Rod and Blade Cla

I was encouraged by the fact that Ryobi says this is a superseding part, so maybe the new part will last longer than the old one.


I received the new sliding rod/blade clamp assembly, and was presented with a new problem, installing it. The process required removing two retaining rings:

Ryobi P515 Retaining Rings

I actually have a retaining ring tool, but it’s too large for these rather small and very stiff ones. I ended up grinding and filing down my tool until it fit and I actually got the rings off. Perhaps an hour later, the installation was complete and I was able to saw through a piece of rebar with the same blade that fell out after a few seconds before. SUCCESS.

Photo showing P515 opened, motor center, power switch and safety guard upper left

What still bothers me is that I put a blade in the old part and I couldn’t pull it out. Oh well.

About Kevin

Just an old guy with opinions that I like to bounce off other people.
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2 Responses to Fixing things

  1. Kevin says:

    Hey, good to hear from you. My saw is 5-6 years old.

  2. Keith Latham says:

    DOC! I haven’t visited in ages.

    Good to see you are still typing away.

    When my Ryopi reciprocating saw falls apart I’ll send it to you for repair. I suspect mine is years older than yours.

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