I've a couple of older (40-50 yrs) Craftsman contractor's saws, one of
which I have been using for a couple of years with few complaints
(after installing new arbor bearings, machined pulleys, link belt,
custom extensions, and a decent fence). However, I am not pleased
with the legs the thing sits on. The way the saw is attached allows
for a lot of wobble on shut down/wind down. So I'm gonna build some
new legs, and am hoping to find a way to make the box itself stiffer
(the screw for the arbor tilt tends to distort the sheet metal and I
don't trust it to keep a set). I've also been thinking of trying to
mount the motor so that it hangs below the table (if I can get enough
swing for the tilt), instead of hangin' off the back. Anyone have
experience with these kind of modifications, or
suggestions/warnings/incantations I should heed (short of shelling out
for a new saw--that's not in the budget)? I have some steel, and a
friend who welds (a future skill).
BTW--I'm an inveterate tinkerer: if I can build it with scrap I
couldn't be happier! (Does that make me a cheap bastard? <g>)
It has been done (commercially) but in those applications
the mount was shoved way up inside the saw cabinet close to
the arbor. I would mock the whole thing up in wood first.
In my head and with my limited arm chair injineering I'm not
seeing it being too successful but you never know.
No. That makes you a woodworker.
UA100, who, like all other woodworkers, is also a cheap
email@example.com (Dan Cullimore) wrote in message
This is a good link to help you do what you want to do.
I have a 60's era Craftsman 10" contractors saw that I inherited from
my Grandfather. The sears fence was no good so I replaced it with a
30" Delta Uni-fence. I also put the Delta overhead guard on it. I
also mounted the saw on a big heavy plywood cabinet that I built. I
put a link-belt on the saw and this made a HUGE difference. I also am
using a thin kerf WWII saw blade. All of these up-grades could be
moved to another saw, if you ever wanted a bigger saw in the future.
I am real happy with this saw, and dont see a need to change at this
time. I may get a cabinet saw someday, but I will always keep this
firstname.lastname@example.org (vmtw) wrote in message
<snipping old stuff>
Thanks, Scott. I enjoyed Rod's philosophy about saws most of all, as
it confirms the assumptions I've made. When I get to build the
climate controlled shop I want I'll get a "real" saw. In the mean
time (and probably for some time to come) I'll be quite happy with
this old "crapsman" that cuts boards straight and true as I need.
I've already done most of the retrofits Peterson recommends (not the
PALS yet, but it's on my list; a Forrest blade is still a dreamed-for
What I really need is advice on the construction of legs, ways to make
the short metal cabinet that came with the saw more rigid, and moving
the motor into position below the arbor/trunion/table assembly. I do
plan to make a mock-up of these retrofits, but would like to hear from
anyone else who has tried them, especically the last.
I'd even appreciate someone talking me out of it. My reasoning about
moving the motor is not at all firm, just a thought that the saw might
suffer fewer stresses were the motor not hangin' out the ass. I know
most cabinet saws have the motor below the table/trunion assembly, and
can't see the reason contractor's saws were built differ'ntly, except
to make them portable, which mine is not nor will be. (If I ever need
a portable table saw, I'll buy one of those little guys with the
Thanks to the comments so far. I'll keep (dare I say it?) "trolling"
for more experience.
I suggest the motor hanger design handles the stresses quite well: when was the
last time you heard of a contractor's saws cabinet or table failing?
Consider, too, that you'll have a choice of making modifications to that
already flimsy cabinet if you place the motor inside. The motor has to have
some place to go when you tilt the arbor assembly, which is the reason it is
hanging out the back on ligher duty saws. Bring it back inside and you need a
motor cover to one side or the other (depending on tilt: probably to the left
on your saw).
If it was me, I'd build a box stand (cabinet in other words) to set the saw on,
add some storage in the form of a drawer or two and a shelf, bolt the cabinet
that exists to that, and stick with what I've got otherwise.
"A judge is a law student who marks his own examination papers." H. L. Mencken
With all due respect to Rod's philosophy, a saw that cuts straight and true
is a real saw. Many a Craftsman Model 100 has long served its operator well
over many a year. Wanting a different saw is one thing, but finding
something remarkably better in another saw is something entirely different.
Don't sell your Craftsman short - the old ones are good saws. Very good
saws. They are very stable, easy to adjust (although you'll only have to
adjust it once) and with a good fence they are very accurate. Again, with
the caveat that sometimes "wanting" something is plenty justification
enough, do not expect that any "real" saw is going to make a better
woodworker out of you than an old Craftsman - the true measure is in the guy
behind the saw, not the saw.
My recommendation is to forget the PALS. Your Craftsman will adjust to
within .001 without them, and after you get it adjusted it's all set unless
you drive your car into the side of it. Setting yours up as it is should
not take more than an hour of your time. So - what's the need for add ons?
I think you're worrying about things that time has proven there is no need
to worry about. These saws are still in use reliably some 30 or 40 years
after they were manufactured. Do you really expect a design flaw to show up
now? The saw does not suffer stresses from the rear mounted mouter. That
weight and the stresses associated with it are carried by the stand that the
saw is mounted to. Just go ahead and align the saw and have some fun with
it. Unless you are really talented with this type of thing - and it does
not sound like this is your forte based on your questions, then you are more
likely to create a bigger problem with any modifications you make than any
problem you fear might pop up now.
Now, go make some sawdust...
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