Table saw quandary (long)

Hello,
I have 'inherited', more or less, a 10" Sears contractors saw, circa 2001 or so. Pretty much a dead ringer for the Ridgid TS2424, if that helps anyone picture what I'm talkng about. The saw had been kind of abused, and I'd been fixing it up while tool-sitting for the owner. Long story short, I ended up w/ the saw. It has new link belts and machined pulleys from WoodCraft, and a new cabinet/housing around all the gears. Some of miscellaneous plastic doodads, like on the end of the rails are missing.
Right now I'm in somewhat of an unusual spot. Keep the saw, and fix it up further as I go, or sell it for what its worth (about what I've got into it, honestly) and put the money towards something else that is less decrepit?
The Align-A-Rip fence system has been badly abused, in more ways than one. Right now its about as useful as a piece of channel and some C-Clamps. The miter slots (the left one for sure) seem to have wide spots and narrow spots in them, as I have a heck of a time getting any kind of runner to work consistently over the entire length of the slot. The factory guard and splitter are crap, though that seems to be the norm w/ most contractors saws.
Is it feasible to *carefully* file down the 'high' spots in the miter slots, and get them to work better? It appears, after measureing w/ a digital caliper (Mitutoyo) that the left slot goes 0.746-748-744 (front, center, back) and the right slot goes 0.745-0.761-0.752. Or is this something that is more likely to end up FUBAR if I mess w/ it?
So it is looking like ~$100 for a Merlin splitter, which seems to be about the only aftermarket splitter available for this saw, and $250-300+ for a Vega or Biese fence system for it. So possibly $400 to upgrade a saw that definitely wasn't my first choice to begin w/.
Other options seem to consist of sell it, and put the funds towards a small saw like a BT3x00, which honestly, seems to do everything I need, and more. Just concerned about it holding up to the everyday rigors of life around my shop (btwn teenagers w/ vehicles, motorcycles, their friends over, and then finally myself, who has been likened to a 'bull in a china closet' in the past ;p ). Other possibilty is sell it and put the funds plus some portion of what it would cost to upgrade it towards a better contractors saw, probably of Grizzly persuasion, that's still a ways out so not a big issue.
So what would you do, in this situation, given these options? I'm somewhat open to other options, but some (like go buy last saw first i.e. cabinet saw) are pretty unlikely at this point for a variety of reasons.
I realize that ultimately, since it's my money, and I'm the one that hase to work w/ the saw I end up with, it's my decision and no one can really make it for me. But I am curious what others would do (or have done) in this scenario.
TIA,
nuk
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out of the shop and said. . .:

snip
in short. . . an aftermarket fence and splitter if you want one are a cheap alternative to getting a new saw. the BT3K or 3100 are alright systems for those who are into glorified portables. if you spend the money on a saw that you have very little into, you CAN make a "faux silk purse" from a sows ear. its never going to be a Unisaur or a PM66, but a decent machine none the less. i own the exact same saw as you describe, and after replacing the pulleys, belt, fence, and miter gauge, i have a GREAT TS that will suffice my needs for many years to come.
always remember, the aftermarket fence you buy can always come off, and be put on a new TS. that goes for the miter gauge, pulleys and belt also. . .
hope this helps, , , Traves
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Three things to think about:
Easy one first. What is the practacality of refurbishing the current Align-a-rip fence? If it would satisfy your needs in a repaired and functional state. Talk with the mfr about repair/refurbish or maybe the parts so you can do the work yourself.
Second. The miter slots are "fixable" and there are several solutions available. Probably the best fix would be to remove the table and take it to a machine shop where the slots can be recut straight, constant width and parallel to each other (you could also have the top ground very flat). The do-it-yourself approach requires careful attention to detail and plenty of time. It is smart to work slow and measure often. You can use a file to remove offinding metal or you can use a product like Moglice to build-up the low areas. The DIY approach may be fun if you are interested in tool repair or restoration, otherwise check into the machine shop availability.
Third. There is an option that you didn't mention. Use the saw as it is while you enjoy making things with it. Do repairs that are reasonable and maybe upgrades as the need arrises. Build a sled for miter cuts and forget the distorted slots. It sounds like the saw still has a lot of life left in it - Work with the positives and work around the negatives.
Good luck
Bruce

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It's belt driven, hence my upgrading it to the link belts and machined pulleys

The saw was purchased originally as part of a business venture involving furniture restoration. The people I got the saw from were the backers for the deal. After the first deal fell apart, the saw was lent to some cabinet makers using the facilities. Neither the first nor the second users put more than minimal effort into fixing/maintaining the saw. I ended up tool-sitting the saw after the cabinetmakers went under. The 'owner' was the step-kids grandparents, and the grandfather is getting past the point of doing much in the shop anymore, and would prefer a RAS (what he's used to) anyway, so he told me since I'd put that much time and $$$ into the saw (fixing it up under the impression he might use it some day) I could have it or do what I wanted w/ it. So I put $35 in a new cabinet housing, $30 in a miter guage, $75 in fixing the table top, $55 in belts and pulleys, all before I found out what the thing is actually worth. A learning experience in more ways than one.

The miter guage I purchased doesn't seem to fit snugly at the handle end even w/ peening. I'm about ready to mount it in the drill press and put several of the ball bearing inserts like you mentioned in it.
Thanks,
nuk
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I got one of their aftermarket fences for my old Emerson TS from Sears and it works wonderfully so methinks it's how it's adjusted and/or assembled. The one on my FIL's TS had problems locking down square but I loosened the 8 allen head screws (front & back) and readjusted it and now his works fine too.
If you decide to go another route email me offline, I'd be interested in the trunion for an old [project] saw.
Cheers, Gary
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On 9 Aug 2003 06:54:10 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@gator.net (Gary Greenberg) Crawled out of the shop and said. . .:
snip

Gary: i doubt the trunions on this saw would fit yours. unless i am mistaken, the OP stated his was a 2000 or so saw. i have a brand new set of trunions from an older (late 70's early 80's) craftsman TS, and they do NOT fit on my 2001/2002 model c'man saw.
if you need trunions for an older TS, find the number from the c'man parts web site, and email me direct. . . the ones i have may be of use to you.
Traves --- email works for reply
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Just a couple comments,
On the math: If you are stuck on getting an aftermarket splitter, you can add that to the cost of both the new saw option as well as the refurb option.
Same for a new mitre guage.... But I would just build a (or several) sled(s)
Been there Done that on adding the Vega to a crapsman. IMHO, the fence is THE most important part of getting a well-functionaing saw. The Vega served me very well for 6 or 7 years until I bought my cabinet (last) saw.
YMMV, but if your goal is to eventially get the cabinet saw.... I say go ahead and refurb if you think you will work with this setup for a few years.
-Steve

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Good point. I thought about that after I posted last night. Might end up just going w/ home-made splitters in home-made ZCTP's.

I've been working on that... Got a couple Incra Miter-Sliders and have been working on a one-runner sled so far. Problem seems to be that I end up w/ too much slop in one area, and too little in another as I slide the sled from front to back. Not entirely sure that a two-sled system would be significantly better in that regard.

Eventually, yes. Doesn't everyone *want* one ;) Might be a while before my ability level gets to where it'd be justifiable.
Thanks,
nuk
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and not nearly enough to do very many useful things.
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I would do this. Take the $400 you are considering for an upgrade and set it aside. Use the saw in its current state (with minimal necessary repairs) while I put aside another $30 or $40 per month. After say 6 or 8 months I would sell the saw for whatever I could get ($150 to $250? I don't know what it might be worth). At that point I would have say $850. Now I would probably try to scrounge that last $100 or so to get a Grizzly cabinet saw and enjoy it for the rest of my life. However, if you aren't really into woodworking, that $850 would still buy a nice Griz contractors saw, a good blade and have a little change.
Dave Hall
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OK, let me get this straight. You inherited Aunt Minnie's Plymouth Reliant, the one with the scratches on the door. You just put new tires on it and found that the transmission slips,, there is some rust in the trunk, and the brakes are worn. I think you know what to do, you are just looking for our blessings.
Head over to Woodcraft and get that Delta contractor saw with the Beis fence and be done with it. Ed snipped-for-privacy@snet.net http://pages.cthome.net/edhome
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I've upgraded my Craftsman circa 1956 contractors saw. I almost left it for dead when I moved but went back and picked it up later. I did some upgrades to it, such as link belt, machined pulleys, align-a-rip fence, good blade & blade stabilizers. I think for my use I did pretty well. I spent about $320 on it and had to put another $77 into getting the motor fixed when the switch burned up. I still like the saw, but I probably should have sold the saw for $75 or so. Then I would have had $475 towards a good contractors saw, like a Jet ($700) or similar. I'd still have to come up with $225 but I could have probably done it. At the time I didn't know any better. I had been looking at the junk they sell at the BORG's which in my opinion is all crap. I looked at the BTS3xx saws and decided that my Craftsman was better built and bigger and beefier. That's why I went with some upgrades. I'm renting a home at the moment so having heavy shop equipment is not a good idea for me. When I own a home again I'll probably go ahead and buy that "last saw". If I were in your shoes I'd try to dump that Craftsman. Mostly because of the bad miter slots and fence. But do it only if you can afford a decent replacement. Don't get something cheap that you'll find at the BORG's or it'll fall apart on you. Look at the small table on the BTS3xx and how unsturdy the slide out extension is. Do yourself a favor and stay away from anything that isn't sturdy and solid. Good luck and let us know how things turn out.
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