12" Direct Drive vs 10" Belt Drive table saws (Craftsman) - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 26 Old 12-09-2017, 05:42 PM Thread Starter
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12" Direct Drive vs 10" Belt Drive table saws (Craftsman)

I'm trying to cobble together a decent table saw from a collection of Craftsman parts.


The main question at this juncture is should I build upon a 12" direct drive saw foundation, or on a 10" belt drive saw foundation.


I have, over the years, acquired seven (7) table saws for either cheap (less than $100) or free (the majority), none of which are set up and working, and all of which have some reason why they cannot be used as is. Whether it is a missing fence, a poorly functioning fence, too small of a blade (two of my saws are 8"), no wheels/mobility, no extensions... each has it's problems.


I joined the Woodworking Talk forum today, because I found that much of the online links I've read while combining virtues and eliminating sins of the saws I have... has pointed me to forum posts on this website.


So far, I've been putting all the best parts on my 12" direct drive... because I read somewhere that 12" direct has more cutting capacity than 10" belt, which has more cutting capacity than 10" direct, which has more cutting capacity than 8" belt. I'm not aware of any 8" direct drive saws.


However, the more reading I have done, the more concerned I have become of the safety, or lack thereof, with direct drive saws compared to belt drive saws in general. From this general idea, I am inferring that 12" direct drive saws, with more powerful 220V motors and 2 more inches of blade throw, are perhaps more dangerous (prone to kickback and the hazards thereon) than 10" direct drives.


Furthermore, I have read that the actual difference in cutting capacity between 12" direct and 10" belt may not be as large as one might imagine. At no time did I imagine the difference to be 2", but I really don't know what the actual difference is. If the difference were say, 1/2", I might consider that less worth the risk than if the difference were say, 1".


My purpose for the saw would be primarily ripping 2x dimensional stock lengthwise. For example, ripping a 2x6 redwood rough into two 2x3 nominal boards, where I am unable to buy 2x2 rough and have it be the more or less 1.75" by 2.75" size I really want, where the majority of milled 2x2 is actually now LESS than 1.5"x 1.5". Occasionally, I might need to make a 2x6 rough thinner on the wide side, and would want to do a two pass rip on the table saw, to get both halves of the wide side shaved, with some overlap. That's where I thought the 12" blade might be handy. But is it worth the risk?


On the other hand, I very much dislike the motor hanging out the back of the 10" belt drive that I would build up instead. I have two ancient ('40's & '50's) 8 inch table saws with the motors hanging off the back, and the room they take up is greater than the 12" direct drive, from front to back, due to the overhanging motor. I will still keep the 8" TS because they have sentimental value (inherited), but don't plan on using them for the work described in the paragraph immediately preceding.


I am intrigued by Bill's triumvirate set up of 12" table saws (Woodnthings). I believe the saw I have is likely a near exact copy of one of Bill's. I like the all metal crank arms and the cast iron trunion. Most of my other saws have cast aluminum trunions. Anyways, I'm beginning to ramble, so at this point I invite input on whether or not I'm starting out on the right foot (12" DD), or if I instead should start on the left foot (10" BD), if all other things are equal (cast iron trunions, cast iron tables, cast iron wings, metal crank handles, etc). In any configuration, the fence will be substituted, but that is a wholly separate topic.


Thanks in advance for any input.


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post #2 of 26 Old 12-09-2017, 06:07 PM
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Ditch the direct drive and keep the belt drive.

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post #3 of 26 Old 12-09-2017, 06:38 PM
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Safety wise there is really no difference, either can hurt you if you let them, as for the direct drive it would depend on the age and condition of the motor, replacing it will be costly down the road. With the belt drive motor replacement will be much less expensive because they use a standard type of motor, easily found either new or used.

10" blades are used more than 12" so due to the volume sold will be cheaper to purchase, not a deal breaker if the saw is only used occasionally, just watch for sales. If you feel you need the extra capacity then go for it.

To me it would come down to which is the best saw to start with, particularly if the fence does not come into play.
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post #4 of 26 Old 12-09-2017, 08:16 PM
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I am apparently the expert on these 12" saws ...

What you will find is the 12" saws have a 120v/220v motor just like their radial arm saws in 12". I have had no issues with the motors on my saws, but I acquired a 4th for spare parts, if needed. The advantages are several. No motor hanging out the back makes for less footprint if you need to roll it against a wall to save space. Next, the dust collection is better because you can seal off the cabinet much easier than with a belt drive. You need not use a 12" blade, but rather use 10" blades as I do. The arbor is the same 5/8" on the 12" as on the 10" , so If the need arises you can use a 12" blade for more depth of cut. The biggest issue I have is on the blade tilting mechanism where it tends to accumulate crud in the Acme threads after a long period of non-use and you have to manually clean out the threads, a PITA. The table size is the same 27" deep as the belt drive saws, so fences will interchange, BUT now is the time to put on a better fence! You can also use the tables from the 10" saw to increase the width, they just bolt right on. They have no grids to catch stuff or allow thing to fall through, a big plus.

That triple 12" saw I built wasn't just a last moment thought, but rather a lot of serious problem solving over a long period of time.
Extra width is always good and the router extension table not only saves floor space but is very convenient. The outfeed /assembly table makes for a much safer table saw as you don't have to reach over or around a spinning blade to "catch" your off cuts or support your rips out the back. Finally, I rarely change out a saw blade, to make different cuts or rabbets, a task I really like to avoid. I realize not every one has the floor space to dedicate to that size table saw, so I am fortunate in that regard.

I have nothing against the belt drive saws specifically, and I had a 2 HP Baldor motor running 220 V when I last used mine. It ran through 2X rips like butter. It was actually a bit overpowered in my opinion, a bit scary but manageable. I didn't have a decent fence at the time, so that added to the fear factor.

The 12" saws rarely come up for sale, but I would jump on one if I were you. You can take apart the epoxy sealed motor housings like I did if the bearings ever need replacement, as they did on my RAS. A motor repair shop turned down the job, said they were not rebuildable.... heh ...heh . :smile3:
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post #5 of 26 Old 12-09-2017, 08:39 PM
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I've had both the 12" direct drive saw and 10" belt driven saw. The cutting capacity is the same for both machines. While the 12" saw uses a bigger blade since it's mounted directly on the motor you loose a couple inches because the arbor on the motor doesn't come as close to the top as the arbor on the belt drive saw. What's more important on the saw is the HP and the type fence hit has. For safety sake when you have a machine that does what it's suppose to do it's safer than one that you have to fight with. Having a saw with sufficient hp is safer than one that doesn't. I recommend one 2 to 3hp. Less than that or more than that can be more dangerous.

I also had a motor shop turn down fixing the motor on the 12" craftsman saw I had. Not having the time to deal with it I bought a unisaw on the way home from the motor shop. Later I found out just how easy the motor is to get apart.
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post #6 of 26 Old 12-09-2017, 08:49 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Bill. I was hoping you would join this conversation, pretty much due to the fact that you are the most prolific poster on WWT who happens to have the type of 12" direct drive saw that I have.

I should also say that I also have a Delta Unisaw from the 1960's, but that needs complete tear down, hunt for replacement parts restoration, and is not a project I plan to undertake for several years to come.

In the meantime, my need for a table saw is acute, and the most viable candidates in my stable of junk are the direct 12 and the belt 10 C'mans.

My 12 might differ from yours, in that the motor is NOT dual voltage. It appears to be 220v only, with no "rewiring" option on the name plate to convert to 110v at double the current rating. Also, there is no horsepower indication on the motor name plate either. Based on the 7 amp current rating at 220, my best guess is that it might be 1hp, perhaps plus a fraction. Sears did not advertise any HP rating, peak, running, or otherwise, on the saw's face plate.

Sears merely says "motorized" saw. As opposed to what? A hand operated saw? One has to wonder why Sears felt the need to state that an electric table saw that has a cord dangling along with a bright red and yellow on-off switch would obviously be motorized. Anyways...

The Sears part number for the motor in my 12 is 9 62459, The manufacturer code is 376-7. The motor was Made in USA. The motor has another number that says KK48BR-120. The only voltage listed on the motor nameplate is 220, single phase, 7 amps.


On edit, I wanted to add that the motor housing appears to be cast aluminum, as opposed to stamp steel like typical motor housings from the 1970's forward. The motor is not cylindrically shaped however, and appears to be designed to minimize the encroachment of the motor housing on the excursion of the blade rise above the table, thus maximizing depth of cut.


I do have a C'man RAS, 10 inch, with a dual voltage motor, that is somewhat shaped similarly, circa 1983. I immediately wired it to 220.

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post #7 of 26 Old 12-09-2017, 09:02 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Steve for your response. Your comments about horsepower make me even more curious how much HP the rather small and compact sized motor in the 12 really is.


If a one running 1hp electric motor draws 13-14 amps at 110v nominal, then I assume a 220v motor at 7 amps is about equivalent. But one would think that, for a 12" saw, a higher HP motor would be fitted. My RAS is advertised at 2.5 hp, but that was during the era of Sears misleading marketing. I generally assume that the real running HP is about a third of the advertised peak HP, and as such, assume that the RAS really has a 3/4 HP motor. It is rated at around 6 amps at 220V, if I recall correctly.
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post #8 of 26 Old 12-09-2017, 09:14 PM
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brfain fart here

I was thinking of the 12" RAS motor which have dual voltage while the table saw motors are only 220 V. You are correct on the amperage also.


My 12 might differ from yours, in that the motor is NOT dual voltage. It appears to be 220v only, with no "rewiring" option on the name plate to convert to 110v at double the current rating. Also, there is no horsepower indication on the motor name plate either. Based on the 7 amp current rating at 220, my best guess is that it might be 1hp, perhaps plus a fraction. Sears did not advertise any HP rating, peak, running, or otherwise, on the saw's face plate.

It's been a while since I've had mine apart so I can't recall how the trunnions work or what they are made of. I don't think my motor housings are aluminum, rather some sort of plastic and split in two halves about the arbor rather than end to end like most motors.

I have never measured the actual depth of cut on either the 10" blade on a 12" saw OR a 12" blade on the 12" saw, so I can't refute Steve's claim on that issue.... however I do suspect there is a greater depth on the 12" saw than on a 10" saw, maybe not much... I donno?

As far as HP rating, a 7 AMP draw at 220 V is comparable to 14 AMPs at 120 V, about the same as a 1 HP motor. I've never had any issues with power on my 12" saw when ripping with a 24 tooth blade. If you are going to make 2" + rips on a continuous basis, then the Unisaw would be the best machine, but for most woodworking projects I found the 12" to be adequate. I ripped all these 1" Oak boards easily using my board straightening jig:

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 #9 of 26 Old 12-09-2017, 09:15 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeC View Post
Ditch the direct drive and keep the belt drive.

George
Thanks George, for your comment. In 10 words or less, that pretty much summarizes my fears and reason for starting this thread, albeit without any explanation. I would love it if you would elaborate further on the reasoning, so that I may either learn, or further confirm what I've already sort of learned.


I did read all three parts on table saw buying, that are sticky's above this subforum, as well as the fourth and first sticky related to table saw selection. There again, belt drives were recommended, appearing mostly due to the belt acting as a fuse or a cushion between overload and stalling.


One of my Cman saws that I am cannibalizing parts from is the rare 10" Flex Drive. When it stalls, it just sits there making noise. I suppose the flex drive is the fuse.


However, the direct drive RAS and saws all have an overload switch that is supposed to engage under high load stall / bind events. I've had the switch trip on the RAS. I don't have enough experience with a direct drive TS to understand the consequences of a motor trip overload, and how that would feel to me as an operator, and how that would effect the result of the work (ie, ruin a board, etc),.. or how it might generate a kick back event.
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post #10 of 26 Old 12-09-2017, 09:21 PM Thread Starter
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Bill, I already looked in your album for pics. Looks like I'm going to have to put some pics in my album, so we can eventually compare notes. I will say this, there is not one single piece of plastic underneath my USA made 12" TS. I take that back... there is that yellow circle with the words "Exact I Cut" on the table. And there is a small black plastic cap on the end of the otherwise all cast aluminum motor housing. (But the entire trunion mechanism is cast iron). Oh, and the wheels are plastic, along with a small white bushing on the far end of the fence. Otherwise, all metal.
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post #11 of 26 Old 12-09-2017, 09:33 PM
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I'll take a photo of my spare motor, tomorrow

I'll look at my spare motor to see what it all looks like. I don't think it matters whether it's plastic or not. I found the photo series of the whole operation of replacing the bearings:
Attached Images
    

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post #12 of 26 Old 12-09-2017, 09:43 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankC View Post
Safety wise there is really no difference, either can hurt you if you let them, as for the direct drive it would depend on the age and condition of the motor, replacing it will be costly down the road. With the belt drive motor replacement will be much less expensive because they use a standard type of motor, easily found either new or used.

10" blades are used more than 12" so due to the volume sold will be cheaper to purchase, not a deal breaker if the saw is only used occasionally, just watch for sales. If you feel you need the extra capacity then go for it.

To me it would come down to which is the best saw to start with, particularly if the fence does not come into play.

All great points Frank. Thanks for weighing in on this topic. My local blade sharpener sells Tenryu blades, and I saw that Tenryu offers a 12" blade with a 5/8" arbor, which they list as a miter saw blade. Not the correct choice for ripping I know, but I have yet to dig into Tenryu's full line of blades to see what other options they have. I don't like the idea of buying blades made in China, but what are the choices? Blades made in Italy? Still another country, but Forrest blades cost so much more, in both dollars and power requirements to run, it makes the decision difficult.


My blade sharpener has been in business at the same location since he open his shop 45 years ago. And he has taken me through his shop and shown me his tools, tricks, and trade. That kind of kinship almost forced me to buy the blades he sells, and he explained that he will only sharpen a blade that he can true to flatness. I brought him a brand new Bosch blade (made in Italy, as Bosch owns Freud), and I followed him behind the counter to the shop in back where he showed me how the brand new blade wasn't truly flat. He worked his magic using his $300 hammers on his $4,000 blade anvil, along with a bevy of dial indicators reading more zeros to the right of the decimal point than I can count, along with his 45 years of experience trueing my new Bosch blade for me (a 12", for a SCMS).


I say all that to say that he says he cannot true or flatten the blades that have the squiggly little laser cut lines in them. You know, like all those red Italian made blades have, branded Diablo and Freud, as well as the blue "Devil" blades branded by Bosch, who owns Diablo and Freud. The Bosch blade he straightened for me only had radial slice cuts around the perimeter, and a solid center, which is fine. But those squiggly noise reducing slot cuts that begin and end in the middle of the blade disc on the fancier blades? Those he cannot straighten. Which means he won't sharpen them, as he invested a half million dollars in new CNC sharpening equipment that is pre programmed for many of the known blade grinds. I looked at the software... lot's of Forrest grinds in there. Forrest blades don't have the squiggly slots.


My Tenryu blade doesn't have slots either, and man there is definitely more ring to it. Geez, I'm derailing my own thread. But blade selection is part of the decision matrix that goes into what C man saw frame to primp, and which one to dump. While the point is well taken that a 10" blade can be run on the 5/8" arbor of the 12" saw, that depth of cut will be much less, since the 12" motor housing consumes more of the blade's body than a 10" belt driven arbor.

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post #13 of 26 Old 12-09-2017, 10:24 PM Thread Starter
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Bill, based on the photos you posted of your motor during bearing replacement.... if I had to place a bet on whether or not your motor housing is plastic or cast aluminum, I'd have to bet that your housing is black painted cast aluminum. So confident am I that this is the case... that I have dared to post this concludion despite the fact that you are the one who handled the thing, pryed it apart, and assembled it back together. As well as posed it for photos. But plastic doesn't reliably hold a machine screws around bearings. And paint on plastic doesn't chip to reveal silver underneath. I think your housing is cast aluminum, just like mine. Only yours was painted black or dark grey. Mine is not painted at all... just the raw aluminum casting.
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post #14 of 26 Old 12-09-2017, 10:52 PM Thread Starter
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Ok, it took me a while to find a camera, find a card, find that the card had an error, resolve the error, find some lights, illuminate the inside of the saw, take the photo, downsize the photos, upload the photos, and post them... but alas, here they are....



Name plate on silver colored motor under the 12.



Close up of casting dross where the two halves of the casing meet. Note also the machine screws, and the meatier cast bosses to hold the same. Note also the inconsequential casting defects that provide visual indication that this is indeed an all metal motor housing, instead of plastic.


The significance of this point is actually leading to another concern I have about wiring... hot hot neutral vs hot hot ground... when plugging the saw into a dryer plug. If the power entrance to the motor faulted to the metal housing, and there is a continuous path to the saw's frame, what does that mean in terms of equipment grounding in a HHN when the neutral only finds ground at the panel. Another part of my internal debate, when I take this saw to other houses I'm working on (via my liftgate). Which all leads back to which saw should I build up...



View of arbor bearing surround, to try (without removing the motor) to match the viewpoint of casting detail compared with Woodnthing's photos of arbor bearing replacement.


And below, here is a photo of my dual voltage radial arm saw motor, which, in stark contrast to the table saw motor above, does happen to have a plastic outer shroud. Both motors Made in USA. RAS motor is actually 5.5 amps at 220v, not the 6 amps I had remembered. I don't know if there is a metal frame under the plastic motor cover to the RAS, but I have to assume there is, albeit I've never taken it apart in the over 30 years I've owned it.





.
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post #15 of 26 Old 12-10-2017, 12:22 AM
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you have thrown a new wrench into the topic

"... when I take the saw around to the other houses via my tailgate .."
I carried my 10" contractor table saw around in the back of my truck without any side extensions and I could remove the motor and motor mount to make it weigh less, BUT it was still a back breaker.

I don't think it makes a whole lot of sense to carry either type of saw around with any sort of side extensions or with the built in motor on top of everything else. I got me a Bosch 4000-09 job site saw for around $600.00 or so back 15 years or so. It does everything I need of a table saw and has extendable side supports and a outfeed support as well. Decent fence and power for a portable. Fairly rigid stand that folds up. New ones have a built in stand with it's own wheels if I recall.

So that's how I ended up with 5 table saws, well 7 actually.
It's a long story and part of my failure to part with any tool or machine addiction.

If you have a decent RAS, they can serve as a jobsite saw IF you set them up right. I learned to rip 4 X 8 sheets on mine when I framed my garage addition. Ripping is a art and science unto itself, and a subject for furious debates here.
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If I were you after hearing all this, I would rebuild the Unisaw and get a small portable or a track saw for "on site" work. I owned a beautiful Festool 8" track saw and all the tracks and MFT table and all but never used it and sold it for a slight loss because I didn't need the "on site" capabilities of a track saw. I also didn't like the idea of measuring twice, cutting once to set the track. Ripping 2X construction lumber or pressure treated takes some HP, where as plywood and sheet goods does not, so there is a conflict of sorts on which tool or tools should you use.

I will alsoadd that I have a 12" 5 HP Powermatic that will rip 3" stock all day long, but I never use it. My materials are most often 2" thick or 3/4" sheet goods, so the Craftsman 12" saws works well for me. So much of these decisions depend on the style or type of woodworking you want to do, from construction to furniture. There may be more than one "correct" answer... I donno?

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 #16 of 26 Old 12-10-2017, 02:37 AM Thread Starter
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Agreed, no one correct answer. But "in the multitude of counsel, there is wisdom," as the book of Proverbs says somewhere. Hence, I come to woodworkingtalk to seek counsel.


Yes, I thought seriously about getting a new contractor style portable job site table saw with folding cart. I was giving serious thought to the Bosch Reaxx last year, before their final loss in a volley of patent litigation between them and SawStop. I had already purchased Bosch's "gliding arm" dual bevel compound gliding arm saw, complete with their companion "Gravity Rise" stand, and did so despite already owning two radial arm saws (one in use, one ancient one archived for future refurbishment), because the RAS were inconvenient to take down and re-deploy.


However, unlike a busy contractor, I find that my tool deployments at sites away from my main home are not day to day, nor week to week. They are more like one and two year long tours of duty, so the actual tool movement is rather infrequent. This also sort of explains how/why I have so many seemingly duplicate tools... due to managing multiple locations at once.


But getting back to purchasing a new saw, vs refurbishing something I already have on hand... I just can't bear the thought of purchasing a seventh table saw, when I already own six, even if all six needed substantial tweaking/tuning and fencing prior to using again. And even my vaunted Bosch Glide arm saw, the 12" version, was 100% made in China, which was quite a surprise, given that all of my earlier Bosch tools were made in Switzerland and Germany. Granted, it had been 20 or so years since buying a new Bosch tool. Yet I still wasn't prepared for EVERYTHING from Bosch related to this DBSCMS to be made in China. The same would be true for a new table saw.


Admittedly, without a powered liftgate, my plan would be unfeasible.
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post #17 of 26 Old 12-10-2017, 08:54 AM
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I don't have a lot to add, but I will say my older craftsman 10" motorized so far has cut through everything I've put through it with few problems. At first the term motorized seemed redundant and it is actually, but after reading ***x posts about how superior in every way a belt drive is to a motorized saw I began to think I'd made a huge mistake buying it in the first place, but over time I've not had near the problems I had expected..
It's designed for cutting wood. I'm not racing it on salt flats or anything..

I figured it's time to change my signature so hold your breath. This is it.
Impressive, huh?
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post #18 of 26 Old 12-10-2017, 12:14 PM Thread Starter
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Racing on the salt flats.... I know right? "Motorized" implies that connotation. I once took my truck across the salt flats, because I was driving through the area in Utah and couldn't resist the temptation. Now you've got to picture a 2 ton service body truck dropping the hammer in the land of world record rocket racers. Sticking out like sore thumb, you'd think? Believe it or not, there was ANOTHER 2 ton service body truck out there doing the same thing I was. What are the odds?


But after another night of research on Craftsman saws, I can finally see the logic of why Sears described these saws as "motorized". Because they previously sold table saws without a motor. I saw an old Sears catalog page on table saws that said "motor sold separately." Hence, it's bragging rights to make it clear to consumers that unlike some of the saws we sold in the past, THIS saw is motorized, so you don't have to worry about buying a motor. I get it. Makes sense. And while older, I'm not old enough to have encountered the opportunity to buy a table saw brand new without a motor, as they used to be sold in the 1950's.
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post #19 of 26 Old 12-10-2017, 01:22 PM
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motorized VS all the others ....

I could be wrong but The 12" Craftsman motorized cast iron top tables saws were "top of the line" at that time, around 1986? They sold for $600.00 or so when I bought my first one. I like it so much I bought another one, ... they were on sale for $500.00. if I recall. That's when I got the idea to space them apart and bolt them together.

Since then with the advent of aluminum and plastics, the motorized saws have dived to the bottom of the quality curve with exceptions like the Bosch job site saw. Having an integral motor saves cost and weight which makes it a perfect application for the portables. All the current motorized saws are loud and annoying AC/DC universal type motors that use brushes. The older Craftsman is one of the few that used an induction 220V motor that was quiet and smooth running.

Skil has introduced a portable table saw with their worm drive circular saw as the power source. It get great reviews for power as the worm drive makes more torque than the typical sidewinders. It's shown here and If I were in the market for a portable saw with ripping power I would get this one:

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Last edited by woodnthings; 12-10-2017 at 01:29 PM.
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post #20 of 26 Old 12-10-2017, 09:08 PM
EdH
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This looks like an interesting project. I have never attempted it but I have watched a couple of table saw and jointer builds on YouTube. If you check YouTube for "I Build It" on youtube you may get some hints and leads to other sites where others have built or rebuilt saws.
Most of the equipment in my shop is second hand and all required various amounts of repair and rebuild. One things I learned....Cheap is cheap and is difficult to make better.

Good luck on your TS build.
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