Delta Contractors Table Saw - How Accurate . . .


I recently purchased a Delta Contractors Table Saw ( 36-451X - last of the American Made ) Biesemeyer 30" Commercial Fence. Running it with 220VAC & Machined Pulleys & Link Belt from Inline. Have a Biesemeyer Splitter from Mikes Tools on the way. Any suggestions on a good all purpose blade or other accessories are very welcome. . . .
After reading post after post & page after page of info all over the net, I have come to the conclusion that my saw is hopelessly inaccurate and under powered to do anything but produce poor cuts on 3/4" softwood to be burned in the fireplace this winter.
I set it up according to the manual. I did not use a "Dial Indicator" or Laser Truing Device from NASA. The fence seems to right on with the miter slot and the blade seems to be also using a metal straight edge ruler (AKA as combination square). The alignment between the blade and the miter slot appeared to be right on out of the box. If high tech alignment tool is needed, who has the simplist & best system . . .
So if someone could please tell me who has used a Delta CS to do some real woodworking, the kind that my skill level will not see for at least a couple of years . . . . what is the capability of this saw in terms of hardwood thickness & just how accurate does it need to be to not burn wood, kickback, etc . . . Can I simply put a larger motor on it. How close does the alignment really need to be. I realize that a lot of you guys are pros building projects that sell for more than my saw, so maybe I'm just reading to much . . .
Except for the workbench I would like to build, most of the projects I'm looking at now are going to be plywood with solid soft and hard for trim. Bookcases, cabinets, entertainment center, etc . . . .
Thanks in advance - I love reading this group . . . Steve
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I've got a Rockwell Beaver contractors' table saw. It's a little over thirty years old. Rockwell eventually became Delta I believe. With it's cheap stock fence, plain steel blade and 1 hp motor, thirty years ago I was using it to build aquarium units which I sold to a friend of mine with a pet store. It did the job then.
In 1992 I added a carbide, combination, 60 tooth blade and an excalibur fence to it for the purpose of building an entertainment unit out of veneered plywood and oak face frame. Other than your not mentioning what horsepower your saw is and if you had a carbide blade, it sounds pretty close to what I've got aside from that fact that I run mine on 120v. If you don't have a carbide blade, that should be your first purchase.
With my setup, I've cut oak, maple, cherry and walnut on it. Not necessarily the hardest woods, but hard enough. From the setup you've done, your saw should be cutting properly. Burning is usually the result of blade and fence misalignment or too slow of a feed rate. Can't think of anything else.
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On Sat, 2 Jul 2005 03:04:07 -0500, "Steve DeMars"

That's one of the more foolish things I've seen in a while... I've got a TS200 (if you don't know offhand, that's one of the little Delta benchtop models) and it will cut 5/4 hard maple all day without any issues- and it's as accurate as I take the time to make it be. 3 or 4 mintues of setup and double-checking will give dead-on results, but 10 seconds using the indicator on the fence alone leaves me with junk. I've seen the saw you're talking about, and it should last you forever, unless you're running a very high-volume business. Don't believe everything you read on the internet, or you'll never be happy with any tool you have- there's always something that someone, somewhere likes better than the one you've got.
About a year ago, I ran into that same wall you're describing- after looking at the glossy pictures in the woodworking magazines, and reading thread after thread about how every tool I had was such junk that it was not only useless, but actually deadly to even attempt to use, I was so skittish about it I didn't do any actually woodworking for several months, and just kept getting more and more worried about it. Then I actually *needed* a cabinet, and went out to the shop, and carefully made it. What I re-discovered was that while I don't have the Cadillac model of every tool made, that didn't actually matter. I don't drive a luxury car, but it still gets me to where I'm going quite well. And even though most of my tools are nearer the low end of the Delta line than they are to the high end, they still can produce very nice work as long as I take my time, and pay attention.

A machinist's square and a cabinet maker's rule works fine for me. Use the square to get your blade angle to 90 degrees and set the positive stop, then measure from the front side of the blade to the miter slot, and from the back side of the blade to the miter slot. When they match, it's parallel to the slot. Use the square to set the miter gauge to 90 degrees, and adjust the positive stop. Then set the miter gauge to 45 degrees on either side (a combination square will work fine) and adjust the positive stops for those as well. You don't need a high-tech alignment system unless you just happen to really want one. People have been making things out of wood for thousands of years, and that's a whole lot longer than Starret has been around. Not all of that old stuff is exactly junk, either! :)

Just adjust it with what you've got, and stop worrying about it. You're reading too much- that's a nice saw, and you'll get the hang of it in no time. Just take your time setting it up- I haven't found any of my Delta tools to be set up correctly out of the box, but they hold their adjustments well after you take the time to do it. If you think the saw is underpowered, get a good thin-kerf blade and try that out before you run out and and buy a bigger motor- but I'd be amazed if you do actually *need* more horsepower than that saw has.

Sounds like you got the right tool for the job- enjoy! And don't fall into the tool-snobbery-caused-by-glossy-advertisment trap. It's fine if you've got the money, but it's not as terribly critical to always have the absolute best as a lot of guys would have you believe.
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Amen!! Most of my tools are on the lower end. TS300, HF jointer & band saw. I'm also new (18mo) at this. But have a very nice new kitchen to show for it. Wife is VERY pleased. Reread Prometheus's comments. It's well put.
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It'll be more capable than you for the next thirty years, if mine is an indication. While I liked the power of a Unisaw at school, I keep my blades in better shape at home, and have not had problems. It'll do 8/4 hardwood, to the limit in soft, and gets rechecked and cleaned every six months, full tune every year or so, though it's mostly a matter of confirming rather than changing.
34-410 at my house.
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Steve DeMars says...

If I understand correctly you haven't used it yet. Buy some Freud blades from the home improvement box store of your choice. Get a ripping blade, a combination blade and a finishing/laminate blade. That's a good saw that should be the last one you ever need. You should be able to build any kind of project with it until you are old and grey. If you ask me, you made a wise choice and bought well the first time so you don't have to do it over again. Just use it, get to know it and if it has shortcomings, find out how to fix them. No tool is perfect and there is always something that does a better job in certain circumstances. I have a Bosch 4000 portable and I find its performance to be perfectly adequate for my present needs. Someday I'll buy a bigger and beefier contractor's saw and the Delta X models are at the top of the list.
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I have a Ridge Carfbde combination bladel. Got a good deal when I bou ght it with the dado. http://www.ridgecarbidetool.com/index.htm
Infinity makes a blade that has gotten great reviews also. www.infinitytools.com
On the lesser end, I have a Freud Dialbo cross cut that is excellent and i\I'd dont ripping of thinck materials with it.

Where have you been reading? Not here. I've cut 3" oak. Sure, it is a little slower than a cabinet saw with 5 hp, bt I don't cut 3" oak every day.

Mine was right on also with no fancy tools to measure. Works for me.

I've done owrk I'm proud of. It is as accurate and cuts as well as you could ever want for 985 of what you will do for a long time. It will be my last saw as I've done everything needed and anticipate.

But why?

I think you have all the saw you will ever need.
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Thanks for the input, comments & info . . . Steve

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Steve DeMars wrote:

Steve,
It's not the arrow, it's the archer. An upgrade you might want for your saw is a good miter gauge. I like the Incra that is made for Woodcraft. I also really like the Forrest WWII saw blades.
I have a Jet 10" contractor's saw. You can see what I've made with it at http://home.earthlink.net/~claypen/id13.html My other equipment is a 8" Delta jointer, a Delta 13" two speed planer, a Leigh mortise and tenon jig, and a couple of Bosch routers.
Clay
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I've got a 1 horse Craftsman. I was just recently ripping some 8/4 liptus with no problems. I'm a professional machinist so I do have the tools and knowledge to align a saw as accurately as it could ever get, though I don't. A dial indicator has never touched my saw. People have been doing this for a very long time before the fancy gadgets became available. A good blade (full kerf), reasonable alignment and good technique are all it takes. Your saw is better than mine, you should have no problems.

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On Sat, 2 Jul 2005 03:04:07 -0500, "Steve DeMars"

Get a good metal rule and set the saw up and start cutting. If you find you cannot get good results then more precise tools may be needed but generally I don't find them necessary. Over the years I've probably set up 6 or 8 Delta (or Rockwell) Contractors Saws with quite good results. I currently have two Delta CS saws on the job that get used and abused daily and another in my garage. You will find that you can rip through oak stock as thick as your 10" blade (cranked all the way up) will go, about 3". It's a pretty reliable saw and the more familiar you become with it the better results you will have. Just a note, all three of the saws have fence upgrades (over the standard fence) and two have mitre gauges from other manufacturers.
Mike O.
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Steve DeMars wrote:

Wellll, a few years ago there was a fellow named Steve Strickland claiming he tuned up his Delta Contractor's Saw to an accuracy of 50 millionths of an inch, or something to that effect. (No, really.)
You can read the threads on Google at http://groups.google.ca/groups?hl=en&q=strickland+saw+alignment+&qt_s=Search

More seriously, a dial indicator with magnetic base is only about $25 and is a real time saver when aligning machines. Well worth the cost.
Tim
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He was proof of the saying, "ignorance is bliss".
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