Monday, August 25, 2014

Craftsman Table Saw from the 80's


So I've officially stopped working on the Harbor Freight saw. I picked up this mid-80's Craftsman contractor's saw for $65.

I couldn't beat the price. The top was straight, the motor was good and strong, and it actually ran. Of course I knew it would take lots of work...






So let's start with the "Bad."

  • Rusty top:  To be expected. 
  • Rusty bolts and fasteners: Ditto.
  • Derpy casters: The saw has obviously been rolled on rough ground, the caster mount points on the stand have all bent in.
  • Bad belt: Shaped like a sausage due to memory and needs to be replaced.
  • Wrong motor: Not so bad, as it's a superior motor to the stock one this saw shipped with. However, it's much larger than stock, so it's causing problems.
  • Terrible fence: Well, this goes for all these old CMan saws.
  • Missing a wing: Only one came with it.
  • Throat plate screw snapped off: Someone went gorilla on it.
  • Missing front crank handle: Hey, the shop made one is functional, if ugly.
  • Crap blade: The blade was actually warped.
  • Difficult to change angle: Due to the motor. I'll explain below.
  • Bad power cord: Converted 3 wire to 2 wire. Ugh.
Here's more pics:

Rough top.



How do you shear off a screw that should never be super tight?

Derp.

Is that a block of wood supporting the motor?


Let's look at what's good.
  • Top is flat.
  • Motor is a Dayton TEFC 1.5hp dual cap model. Sweet!
  • Nothing broken or cracked underneath.
So I got my $65 worth even if all I use is the motor. But with a flat top and solid guts, I can make this baby hum!

First thing I did was scrub the top with ammonia and a green weenie. This removed the grunge and  rust.

You can kinda see the difference here.
I followed that up with a used 220 grit disk on the ROS. There were some gouges in the cast iron hidden by the surface rust. Some of them had small burrs that rose above the top's plane. After the 220 smoothed the rough edges, I polished by hand with 1000 grit paper. Super smooth when I was done!

To protect the top, I sprayed it down with dry lube. When the carrier fully evaporated I applied 2 coats of wax.

Gouges after sanding. Still there, but the edges are smooth now.
Looking good!
I love that we can still see the machining marks.

It didn't come with a miter gauge, but I didn't list it in the "Bad" list since I don't care. They're junk, and I had my nice Incra from my previous saws.

So now the top is clean, polished, and very smooth. Woot!

Next is the motor.

1.5Hp Baybee!
It's a Dayton TEFC (Totally Enclosed Fan Cooled) dual capacitor motor making 1.5 horsepower. It's significantly larger than the original 1 horse Craftsman motor. But whoever installed it didn't adjust the mounting frame to accommodate the larger motor. So to keep it from hitting the body of the saw, they wedged a block of wood in place. I'm surprised the saw top wasn't distorted by this.

I adjusted the frame to give the motor clearance to move freely through all the adjustment ranges. Once that was done, I replaced the old belt with a link belt. They're $20 at Harbor Freight if you use one of the ubiquitous 20% off coupons. Plenty of places online have them for $20-50. At In-Line you can get the belt and new machined pulleys for $50. I just didn't want to wait for shipping...

Linky link link. And green!

The last thing is to align the blade to the miter slots. Considering how old and abused this saw was, I expected it to be way off. Using my clamp-on dial indicator attached to my miter gauge, I found only .05mm change from front to back. I can live with that for now. I may want to get it closer at some point, but I suspect the whole assembly will flex more than that during a cut.


So with everything dialed in, I ripped a piece of redwood. It takes ages to get the fence true, so that's definitely on my wish list. But even so, it cut pretty clean considering this is a crappy 7 1/4" circular saw blade with a stupid stick-on label.





I'll spend some time trying to get that fence improved next week. But I don't expect much out of it. I really just need to get some $$ together and buy a better one. The Delta T2 runs around $200 and is far superior to this. Or a Vega for about the same money.

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