Restoring an old craftsman table saw - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 38 Old 01-08-2014, 11:48 PM Thread Starter
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Restoring an old craftsman table saw

Recently I picked up an old craftsman table saw off craigslist, along with a pile of clamps and blades, all for $100.

The specimen
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Accessories that came with the deal
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Upon inspection, it is contractor series, belt drive motor, 6.5/13 Amp draw on 220/110 V respectively. It also has a Beismeyer fence unit installed (bonus!), but the fence rails are heavily rusted and pitting in some spots. The table top has some surface rust, but nothing too serious, and there is a broken bolt in the motor mount. Also seems to be missing the entire blade guard assembly, and the belt is cracked and dry so it needs replaced as well. Significant amounts of elbow grease will be required the breathe life into this saw, so lets get started.

First thing's first, I want to know what I'm dealing with, so I checked the data plates and found the model number. A quick google search led me to a downloadable owners manual on the Sears website, which details instruction for setting up, squaring, and adjusting all aspects of the saw. This gives me great confidence to begin disassembly, so with that in mind, lets start tearing things apart!

I started by removing the motor and digging out what was left of the bolt that serves as the pivot guide. There was not enough left to grab it with a pair of vice grips, but there was a bit protruding which meant I could get at it with a hacksaw. I used a chisel to start a groove, then proceeded to saw a slot just deep enough to get a flathead screwdriver in. It had blue Loctite on it, but wasn't too hard to get out.
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Next up I removed the motor back plate and moved the links into position for 110V operation, as well as removed the 220V plug.
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Gross! I Blew out the gunk, and used a Philips screwdriver to loosen the link screws, and change them to the 110V position(separated).
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post #2 of 38 Old 01-09-2014, 12:06 AM Thread Starter
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part 2

Next I removed the fence rails and tube. The tube is the worst, with heavy rust near the end, the metal measuring tape is even rusted over so badly it started to peel off. The rails themselves aren't too bad.
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With my parts disassembled as far as I was willing, I made myself a list and took a trip to the hardware store.
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Wiring prepped for new plug, make sure to cut back enough to get some clean, shiny wire for good connection. I had to use a little solvent and a brush to get the corrosion off.
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New plug installed, yay!
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Next I got started on the painstaking process of stripping the fence tube. If I ever do something like this again I WILL use chemicals or something more abrasive, but I did it the hard way. Using a cup wire brush and a surprisingly durable harbor freight corded drill, I removed ALL rust and paint, down to the bare metal on the entire tube. It took me a few hours. Below you can see the tube is nice and shiny, but I decided to spend a little time sanding to take care of some of the pitting. I made a couple makeshift sanding blocks and proceeded to sand with 100, 220, and 400, then finish with some steel wool until I had a nice smooth surface.
Restoring an old craftsman table saw-2014-01-06-23.34.06.jpg
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post #3 of 38 Old 01-09-2014, 12:28 AM Thread Starter
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part 3

With the tube stripped and sanded, I cleaned it thoroughly with alcohol. Three sides have bare metal strips that the pads on the fence ride along, so I used painters tape to mask them off.
Restoring an old craftsman table saw-2014-01-07-00.18.06.jpg

When it comes to painting I'm no expert, so I just took the guy at ACE at his word. He said "this is paint and primer in one," but after sprayed a few coats of the ACE rust stop enamel on the tube, I read where it said "for best results use a primer..." nice. I left it for the night when I realized a needed a better system to paint all sides at once.

I started in on the table top with some naval jelly rust remover.
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If you use this stuff, don't let it dry for too long. Once its caked on it leaves a nasty white haze that you can only remove by putting more on or using something lightly abrasive. First apply liberally, then rinse with water and dry quickly. Then I took off the haze by going over the whole top with some steel wool. Now that its rust free, its time to wax.
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Tada!
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Lets just take a quick break and observe the garage explosion that is happening.
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On the left you'll see the radial saw with table I picked up for $150, haven't even gotten started on it yet, but doesn't need much work other than adjustments.
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post #4 of 38 Old 01-09-2014, 01:07 AM Thread Starter
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part 4

My answer to paint the tube came in the form of some scraps quickly screwed together to create a stand.
Restoring an old craftsman table saw-2014-01-07-11.48.01.jpg

Here it is getting numerous coats of paint
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At first I wasn't going to paint the other rails...but they needed it. I didn't take all the paint off them, just got rid of any rust and pitting, then gave them the same sanding and steel wool treatment. To paint them I made them into wind chimes :)
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With those left to dry I went to work on the internals of the saw box. No pictures, but basically I crawled under it and went to work with a wire brush on all the gears and adjustment screw threads until I was happy, and then sprayed lube liberally. I told the guy at ACE I was looking for a dry lubricant, and he zealously recommended this can of TRI-flow. The first ingredient ended in hydrocarbon...so I'm not completely sure, but its on there now. Hopefully it doesn't gunk up too bad.

With everything moving freely I got my replacement bolt and washer stack, put some blue Loctite on it, and lined up the motor as best as I could.
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Following the manual, I adjusted belt tension (I don't know why, I'm sure I'll have to do it again once I get the new belt). Then I followed the procedures for adjusting heel, which involved loosening all 6 carriage bolts on the front and rear trunnions, and tapping around with a hammer until the blade was in line.
Restoring an old craftsman table saw-2014-01-08-17.02.01.jpg

I also squared the blade to the table, and set the 90 and 45 degree stops. I do have a problem that I haven't come up for a solution for yet, which is that the tilt adjustment mechanism will cause the box side to deflect up to an inch when encountering resistance. By the nature of the mechanism this leads to extreme difficulty making adjustments and not very accurate readings. I guess I'll just have to check my blade angle with a square and cinch down the lock before doing any cutting until I come up with a better system.

My wind chimes and standing tube have been drying for 2 days now, but paint still just rubs right off. Really wanting to move forward and get the fence rails put back on and aligned, but can't do anything until they cure. Part of the directions say "for greatest durability, spray another coat after 2 hours OR wait 5 days." Interesting options, but I guess drying time is 5 days, so to be continued...
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post #5 of 38 Old 01-09-2014, 05:09 AM
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Wow....great deal, great refurb effort! Excellent documentation too.
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post #6 of 38 Old 01-09-2014, 07:58 AM
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Great work on the restore and I loved reading the thread. Can't wait to see the final product. Those old Craftsman's are great workhorses.

I can only dream right now of warm and sunny to be able to paint outside. Sigh.
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post #7 of 38 Old 01-11-2014, 12:55 AM Thread Starter
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I got the rails back on and I'd like to say I'm pleased with the outcome, but the paint I used just didnt work out. After 5 days of drying, and an entire day in a ghetto bake box make of cardboard and a space heater, it rubs right off and scratches/chips easily. I just ran out of patience and slapped them on. They look pretty decent until you get close, but for all that work I expected better. The process of aligning the rails was fairly straightforward, so maybe if they deteriorate quickly ill just take them off again and use quality primer and paint. Whatever, now I need to find a new measuring tape to stick on the tube, grab a new belt, and get to sawin'!
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post #8 of 38 Old 01-11-2014, 01:04 AM Thread Starter
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Oh, and this came with the saw but I cant figure out what it might have been used for, any ideas?
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post #9 of 38 Old 01-11-2014, 02:39 AM
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It looks like a router table fence. Maybe the last owner had a router mounted to the saw, or else he already sold the router and forgot the fence.

Nice rehab on the saw.

If Woodworking is so much fun why isn't it called WoodFUNNING?

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post #10 of 38 Old 01-11-2014, 03:15 AM
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Agreed, its a router fence.

Can you go into more detail about the table top clean up? Im getting ready to start the same restoration. I had planned to go the electrolosis route but that is going to require a build some type of tub and require I carry the tops in and out of my basement to my garage. Yours came out really nice.

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post #11 of 38 Old 01-11-2014, 06:07 AM
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Looks good! The biesemeyer fence is worth the price you gave.

The manual said to tighten that bolt? On my older craftsman it says to leave that bolt loose to allow the motor to move. Something about when you change angles or raise it, it needs to move. Plus motor weight is used for tension on mine.

I used a link belt works great. They probably changed the instructions for the newer saws but your set up for the mounts and such looks identical almost to my 50's era saw.

It shouldn't be hard to find a blade guard on ebay or maybe even sears parts direct. Part of the bracket is still there above the motor mount.

Is the motor at a little angle or is it an optical illusion?

After looking at your pictures and seeing the yard the first thing I thought was Phoenix without even looking at your location! lol (lived there for a couple years long time ago)
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post #12 of 38 Old 01-11-2014, 07:22 AM
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That's a great deal with what you got. Restoration came out nice. You can pick up a tape measure here.






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post #13 of 38 Old 01-11-2014, 10:49 AM
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Nice job with the restore and documentation. I have a similar vintage machine that's not quite up to that level (I have stamped steel wings and the stock fence, soon to be rectified).

I will note that I never change the blade tilt from 90 because the stops don't guarantee getting it back perfectly. That part is not a good design.

Dave in CT, USA
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post #14 of 38 Old 01-11-2014, 11:34 AM
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Nice. Looks like you have some good blades also. Great deal.
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post #15 of 38 Old 01-11-2014, 12:07 PM Thread Starter
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I hadn't even considered it could be for another tool, router fence definitely makes sense. Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by BassBlaster View Post
Can you go into more detail about the table top clean up? Im getting ready to start the same restoration. I had planned to go the electrolosis route but that is going to require a build some type of tub and require I carry the tops in and out of my basement to my garage. Yours came out really nice.
Absolutely. As long as the rust is just surface rust, you won't need anything more abrasive than some 00 or 000 steel wool. I used Loctite Naval Jelly, found at my local ACE hardware, according to the instructions on the bottle. I bought some cheap foam brushes to slather it on, and you want to use gloves as well. As with any product THOROUGHLY read the instructions and warnings, this stuff will eat paint so avoid painted surfaces! Wipe all loose dirt and debris off the table, I use alcohol for any cleaning as it dries quickly with no residue. Slather on your naval jelly liberally everywhere there is bare/rusted metal, and wait about 5 minutes, any stubborn spots may take a little longer. To get it off you need to thoroughly rinse the surface with water, this can be accomplished with a small bucket and rag/sponge, then quickly dry. Anywhere this stuff sits for long enough to dry will look white and hazy after a bit, which is because it has hardened onto the metal. It does not form a protective layer of any sort, so you'll want to get it off. The bottle says to apply more, but I simply used the steel wool to take care of any hazing and tough spots that need a going over as well. After you're done giving it the steel wool treatment, again thoroughly clean with alcohol. At this point just use any wax you prefer according to the directions. Usually something to the tune of rub in with a clean damp cloth, let sit for a few minutes, then buff out the haze with a clean dry cloth. I recommend applying two coats to make sure you get the surface completely, and pay special attention to the miter slots as they will receive a lot of action. You don't want the wax caking up in there. Good luck!

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Originally Posted by Parkerdog View Post
The manual said to tighten that bolt? On my older craftsman it says to leave that bolt loose to allow the motor to move. Something about when you change angles or raise it, it needs to move. Plus motor weight is used for tension on mine.
Sorry for the misunderstanding. No it does not say to tighten it, nor is it tightened. The blue Loctite is to ensure that it stays exactly where I put it, since I didn't torque it down all the way. I could have removed it and adjusted my washer stack a little, but its just a guide so the Loctite should work fine. I left a little clearance on each side and sprayed lubricant on the pivot point to ensure smooth action, the motor moves in the slot as you raise the saw blade up or down. Normally there is a spacer that comes with it, but in my case the bolt head had snapped off so I had to improvise.

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Is the motor at a little angle or is it an optical illusion?
At first glance I thought so too, but when I sight the pulleys they appear to be dead on. I'm not sure if its just playing tricks on my eyes or what, I'll take a straight edge to them later and make sure. I ran it for a bit and watched everything move and I don't see or hear anything that looks problematic, so I think its good.
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post #16 of 38 Old 01-12-2014, 01:32 AM
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You may as well replace those manhole cover extensions with shop built ones. Extend the right side to match your fence. You could hang a router on it if you did. Plus wood and fixtures will slide better.

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post #17 of 38 Old 01-12-2014, 05:48 AM
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just use old "tables" from EBay

Quote:
Originally Posted by Al B Thayer View Post
You may as well replace those manhole cover extensions with shop built ones. Extend the right side to match your fence. You could hang a router on it if you did. Plus wood and fixtures will slide better.

I used parted out "tables" from saws that were no longer servicable between my "good" saws. They shop up on EBay occasionally. Or find an older saw on Craigs list. The table sizes are all the same, 27" long, if a Craftsman. Sometimes you can get one for $50.00 or so, maybe rusty, but you can fix that.

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 #18 of 38 Old 01-13-2014, 04:51 PM
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Nice work! It looks great, looks like brand new.
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post #19 of 38 Old 01-13-2014, 07:34 PM
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That's not automobile wax that was used to protect the saw table top, was it? The silicone in the wax can get on the workpiece and adversely affect the finish that is applied to the workpiece surface.

there's a solution to every problem.....you just have to be willing to find it.
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post #20 of 38 Old 01-15-2014, 11:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toolguy1000
That's not automobile wax that was used to protect the saw table top, was it? The silicone in the wax can get on the workpiece and adversely affect the finish that is applied to the workpiece surface.
I use WD40 on my cast tops. Got the idea from test results in Fine Woodworking. The only thing silicone is good for is boobs.

Al

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