Craftsman table saw tuning semi-saga.

Or bringing road debris back from the dead.
Well once again, I got sick of burning wood on my old table saw (actually it is somewhat new to me) and decided to do something about it this morning. For the third time since spring I begin to loosen the trunion bolts to adjust the blade camber to the miter slots. Got the back three bolts loose easily. Okay now for the front three. All of a sudden I remember why I hate this job; It is nearly impossible to get to the front three bolts. So I start looking. Well, I figured that the sheet metal directly in front of the bolts isn't bearing any weight so off it comes. I removed (jigsaw/file) enough metal to either side of the blade tilt lock so I could swing a wrench. Boy did that make things easier.
Okay, so now all the bolts are loose. I measure the distance to the same tooth at the front and back with a small dowel and the miter gauge. Beat trunion with hammer. Measure. Repeat. Problem. Trunion will not move. Check to make sure bolts are loose. Yep. Try again. Nothing. Remove a bolts and make sure there is room for play in trunion casting. Yep.
Huh?
Contemplate situation over a large glass of RC.
Oh.
The trunion screws have an integral star washer. This washer has been over tightened into the aluminum (?) trunion and has imprinted itself into the metal, thus effectively removing any allowance for play. Solution: put flat washers between integral washer and aluminum (?) trunion to span imprint.
Don't you love the feeling you get when you figure something out, but hate yourself for not thinking of it sooner?
Tap, Tap, Use dowel to measure, Tighten, Done.
Next comes the fence. Adjust the fence to the miter slot. Easy. Done.
Test on MDF. Still burns. Measure front and rear distance to fence. Wow, off by almost 1/16". So I checked the miter slots for parallelism using one of them fancy INCRA rules. They were parallel. Therefore the blade is not parallel to the miter slot. I get to start over.
However, this time around, I already have access to the front three trunion bolts. Also, this time I used the INCRA rule to measure the tooth distance from the miter slot. Done in a few minutes. Then I reset the fence to the miter slot. The test cut was flawless!! I might be able to hold off on getting one of those discontinued Beisemeyer fences. http://www.biesemeyer.com/specials/index.htm
Moral of the story: If you find a Craftsman table saw on the side of the road and want to get it running, expect to spend some time and money (the bearings/arbor assembly was around $80). However, it is better than nothing if you like to tinker. And if you upgrade to a bigger saw one day, someone else starting out just might find it serviceable.
-ghe
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Buy or build a set of "PALS" .. .. .. makes setting up contractor saws a breeze .. .. .. AND your adjustment CANNOT slip .. .. ..
"George Eversole Jr." wrote:

-- I AM NOT PARANOID .. .. .. but EVERYONE thinks I am !! !! !!
<<<__ Bob __>>>
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On Sun, 19 Oct 2003 13:56:37 GMT, "<<<___ Bob ___>>>"

yep,,,installed the PALS on my C'man saw two years ago and have not needed to re-set it since. and trust me, my saw see's more than its share of moving around and getting bumped in my shop.
Traves
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Sorry for the newbie-type question but, what's a PAL?
Traves W. Coppock <newsgroups-AT-farmvalleywoodworks-DOT-com> wrote in message Crawled out of the shop and said. . .:

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On 19 Oct 2003 18:32:21 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net (Tom Wojeck) Crawled out of the shop and said. . .:

here is a link that will explain all for you Tom :)
http://www.in-lineindustries.com/saw_pals.html
Traves
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I actually contemplated a PALS for quite a while. However, it seems like it wouldn't be very useful for wide settings (over 18" or so). Finally getting the saw properly adjusted has made a world of differnce though. Definately worth the time. -ghe
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snipped-for-privacy@vt.edu (George Eversole Jr.) wrote in message

silly me. I was contemplating a Paragague not a PALS. that's what I get for posting before my brain is in gear. I've never seen a PALS before. interesting idea... -ghe
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On 19 Oct 2003 00:25:41 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@vt.edu (George Eversole Jr.) wrote:

I think calling it road debris is a bit strong.
I've had my Craftsman TS for quite a long time. I define long time as around 15 years. My particular saw has held it's adjustments quite well. I think the last time I did the adjustment was around 5 or 6 years ago. Just today I checked my saw with a caliper and note that it's parallel with the miter slot by 0.001"
My saw has had all the usual upgrades (fence, link belt, ect.) In spite of that, I'd like a cabinet saw just for more power. The contractors saw really struggles going through 3" thick maple or oak. Why don't I? It isn't the money, it's the weight of the cabinet saw. I work in the basement. Even if I slide it down some boards into my shop, someday I'll have to bring it out. And I'm not getting any younger. I think I'll wait until I either move or build an outbuilding for a shop.
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Comments like that are usually made by people who need to generate self importance because of their own insecurity. Sure there's junk around, but why make someone feel bad about it?
I have TWO C'man TS and they do all I need. They are old, so probably better than current production. Measurements show they are straight, within my ability to measure, and they don't drift! The fences suck, but I don't use any fence on one, since it's the crosscutter. The other fence, on the ripper, is fine, IF I push it up against the rail each time I set it.
I like being able to move between ripping and crosscutting without having to mess with the fence or blade. Maybe someday a cabinet saw and combo blade will take their place, but I'm in no hurry.
At my level of use/skill, these saws are fine. If I did a lot of heavy cutting, I'd put on a HF motor. I can even imagine a better fence someday, but that's about it.
Enjoy and make some nice stuff.
BTW, the ripper came from a garage sale, alomst unused since 1972!! I even got the stand and book!
Wilson
(George Eversole Jr.)

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I was not trying to make anyone feel bad about their saw or anything else. Hell, this saw has treated me wonderful so far, and should for a long time. It was far from junk when I got it (even though the previous owner didn't agree). It just needed some TLC which I was happy to give it.
I was just trying to help anyone else who might be getting discouraged with tuning their saw. It is a frustrating process to learn, especially if those darn little integral stars become embedded in the aluminum trunnion. This problem is not obvious at first (at least to me it wasn't), and I am hoping to save others some aggrivation.
Hope this clears things up a little.
-ghe
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Same here. I bet most of us took someones cast off junk and applied some TLC and used it for quite a while. I know I did and lots of others have also. I suspect that most of us had a Craftsman tablesaw for our first saw and I would love to get an honest survey of that!
On 20 Oct 2003 13:02:21 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@vt.edu (George Eversole Jr.) wrote:

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" I suspect that most of us had a Craftsman tablesaw for our first saw and I would love to get an honest survey of that"
First saw? I bought mine some 48 years ago and still going strong after building 3 houses plus constant use for other things. Did discussed me when I had to put in new arbor bearing 2 years ago.
Walt Conner
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(George Eversole Jr.)

Actually it was found on the side of the road awaiting the garbage man. Good eye dad! The only real problem was that it had a blade w/ a 1" hole on the 5/8" arbor. This tore up the arbor and bearings, hence a replacement. Other than that and adding some machined pullys, guard/splitter, and a link belt the saw was in great shape.

Thank you. Last night, I just read the Lee Valley technical manual which had the article about checking ruler accuracy this way. I never thought to use it for measuring blade parallelism though. Thank you very, very much. I'm willing to bet that it is much better than an INCRA rule.

I am in exactly the same boat. My shop is a spare bedroom in a rented basement apartment. Heck, getting the contractors saw down there was bad enough. I think I'll hold off on the cabinent saw until I get to ground level AND can run 220.
-ghe
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On 20 Oct 2003 08:05:34 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@vt.edu (George Eversole Jr.) wrote:

So the fact that the arbor was junk is really a result of the former owner abusing it, not a flaw of the tool.
I've done my share of Craftsman bashing in the past. But that's always been their power hand tools which seem too lightly built for what they're claimed to be able to do.
But I can't bash my T.S. it's been fine. Not great, but adequate for a hobbyist. That's key - a hobbyist. Advanced or otherwise, a hobby guy isn't likely to work the tools as hard as someone using them to make a living. And if one does, well, there's always a sale at Woodcraft to buy the big iron.
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....I might be able to hold off on getting one of those discontinued Beisemeyer fences........
Don't hold off for long if you plan to keep the saw. Wonderful upgrade.
John
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