Fixing up an old Rockwell Contractor's Saw/Jointer combo - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 7 Old 05-31-2015, 07:00 PM Thread Starter
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Fixing up an old Rockwell Contractor's Saw/Jointer combo

Hi folks. I'm looking for advice on fixing up and using some machinery I was recently gifted. A bit about me... I'm new to the craft. Though I have an engineering background (electrical), the only hands-on mechanical experience I really have is from a manufacturing processes class and lab in college. I've been an apartment dweller most of my adult life, but have recently moved out to the country. Now that I've got some space, I've been thinking about getting into woodworking. It was a medium-term future thing until the recent gift. Now I suddenly find myself pretty well equipped, but the stuff needs some TLC.

This thread is going to be about a Rockwell 9" Contractor's Saw/4" Jointer combination. It was used heavily (at least the saw) in the 70s to build the previous owner's home, but has seen only sporadic use in recent decades. I'm not too concerned about the jointer right now (there's a nicer jointer attached to a planer on another piece) and might even remove it if possible. Here's a couple of pics:

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I haven't had any luck tracking down any sort of manual for this.

The top was rather rusty (as the jointer still is). I took a wire wheel to the fence rails and miter gauge slots, and an RO sander to the top surface and fence face. I finished it off with a hand rub of 600 grit and a couple coats of paste wax. It's nice and slick now, and I've already used it to cut a few shelves.

I'm also going to be replacing the saw belt, as it has a nick in it. Does anyone have experience with these funky linked belts? Some folks really seem to like them, but are they worth the expense vs. grabbing an appropriate belt from Tractor Supply?

The blade is actually in pretty good shape; quite sharp with only a little rust on the sides. There's also a dado set that I haven't really looked at yet.

One concern I have is the fence. The back end of it seems to have a decent amount of play. It seems like that may pose a kickback hazard if it ends up angled in toward the blade a bit. Are the mounting holes on table saws at all standardized? In other words, would I stand a chance finding an aftermarket fence that would fit?

Another thing I need to work on is the wheels for adjusting the blade height and angle. It takes quite a bit of effort, especially to start raising the blade. Once it gets up to table height, it gets a little easier. Still, I pretty much need to grab the wheel and turn it, rather than just running the little handle around. I guess I just need to clear any gunk out of the gears and hit the mechanism with a little WD-40 or 3-in-1 oil or something? Not sure how much I'd be able to tear this thing down at my skill level, but I'll see how much I can reach after taking the blade out.

Any other recommendations on general maintenance I should look at? Should I do anything with the motor itself? Seems to run ok. Any suggestions welcome.
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post #2 of 7 Old 05-31-2015, 07:18 PM
where's my table saw?
 
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you have a nice old classic!

You can either restore them to "good as new" by lots of elbow grease and sandpaper and tear down and lubrication of moving parts and make a small, but usable saw and jointer....OR shine them up and just use as is.

You problems with saw are...
The blade is probably not a carbide blade, but it will "work" if kept clean and sharp.
The fence is already a weak point and must be secured at both ends to operate safely. See if you can adjust the play out of the fence at the rear and make certain the rail clamp is functioning properly. There are many aftermarket fences, but hold off on that for a while.
There is not much room in front of the blade to cross cut wider pieces. Table saws do not cross cut long lengths well since there is not a lot of control. They do rip well, and the rip fence is the heart of the saw inmy opinion.
The motor may be 3/4 HP, not enough for ripping 2" or more hardwood.
The belt will work OK with a nick to get started. I don't use the link belts, but other here like them and they are easy to make up to the correct length.
The manual will tell you how to operate it but so will any table saw manual you can down load for free. Parts may not be available except on Ebay.
The 4" jointer is "cool" but not very practical for edging longer lengths, since the tables are so short.

I would just get things working smoothly, read up and watch You Tubes for operation procedures and wear safety glasses and use a push block when working close to the blade.

Always be aware of where your fingers are at all times, never directly in front of the blade and never reach behind a spinning blade to retrieve a workpiece or off cut.

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)

Last edited by woodnthings; 05-31-2015 at 07:23 PM.
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post #3 of 7 Old 05-31-2015, 08:51 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodnthings View Post
You can either restore them to "good as new" by lots of elbow grease and sandpaper and tear down and lubrication of moving parts and make a small, but usable saw and jointer....OR shine them up and just use as is.
Yeah, most likely the latter. I've got lots to learn before I'll feel comfortable enough to do a significant tear-down.

Quote:
The fence is already a weak point and must be secured at both ends to operate safely. See if you can adjust the play out of the fence at the rear and make certain the rail clamp is functioning properly. There are many aftermarket fences, but hold off on that for a while.
There isn't really anything to adjust on the rear. It does go more rigid when I lock the front, though. I guess maybe there's something I can adjust in the front that might tweak the angle? I'll poke around at it.

Quote:
There is not much room in front of the blade to cross cut wider pieces.
Yeah, noticed that when I cut down a couple of 2'x4' plywood sheets. Might have to see about adding an extension to the front if possible.

Quote:
The motor may be 3/4 HP, not enough for ripping 2" or more hardwood.
It's 1 HP... I haven't tested it yet to see what it can handle.

Quote:
I would just get things working smoothly, read up and watch You Tubes for operation procedures and wear safety glasses and use a push block when working close to the blade.

Always be aware of where your fingers are at all times, never directly in front of the blade and never reach behind a spinning blade to retrieve a workpiece or off cut.
Yep, already been reading up on general usage and definitely safety. Bought a cheap plastic push stick, and will probably whip up a homemade one (and a block or two as well) as band saw practice once I get that going.

Thanks for the response!
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post #4 of 7 Old 05-31-2015, 10:41 PM
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I don't know what model that particular saw is but you may be able to find some sort of manual here.

link
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post #5 of 7 Old 05-31-2015, 11:32 PM Thread Starter
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I don't know what model that particular saw is but you may be able to find some sort of manual here.

link
Thanks for the link, I'll check it out. Unfortunately, for the life of me I haven't been able to find a model or serial number for the saw. I can find one for the motor (62-146) and for the jointer (37-290), but not the saw.
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post #6 of 7 Old 05-29-2020, 10:20 PM
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Not sure if you stell need any information on your saw since you posted this several years ago. I have had this saw and jointer since 1973 and the saw is model # 34-607. Mine has a model/serial number plate on the side next to the jointer. The fence is a poor design. The smaller black knob on the top of the front side of the fence is supposed to be a a fine adjustment for the back side of the fence. I always had to measure as it was never accurate. Finally getting rid of this in favor of one of the newer portable models that have nice features and more accuracy.
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post #7 of 7 Old 05-30-2020, 08:36 AM
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I've seen a bunch of these saw combinations on CL here in SC..They usually get snapped up pretty quick. I tried to get the last one I saw, but it was gone immediately..

I figured it's time to change my signature so hold your breath. This is it.
Impressive, huh?
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