Table Saw – Out With The Old, In With The Older

I know it’s supposed to be “in with the new”, but the replacement table saw is older than the one it’s replacing.

I finally got tired of the Craftsman table saw that I had bought shortly after moving in to the house (in 1990) and decided it was time to replace it. So I bought something older. 🙂

I bought an older (40 plus years old I’d guess) Delta/Rockwell right-tilt saw at Tried and True Tools. It’s in pretty good shape, but since it’s a “contractor” style with no legs I had to build a base for it.

This post is long and picture heavy.

First off, here is a shot of the old saw in situ. And yes, my basement is a disaster area. I’m working on that.

20+ year old Craftsman Contractor Saw

You might also notice that there is a depression in the floor. Here’s a shot of that after the saw was removed.

Depression in the floor.

It’s about 3-1/2″ deep. I’m sure it’s where the original furnace was. The basement floor is a major mess – different levels all over, thin concrete and one section where the coal bin was is just boards and linoleum over coal. (The house was built in 1893 and I imagine the basement was a dirt floor for a long time.) You can sort of make out where I patched the edges of the depression in the past. I sort of built up a curb. Like many of my projects I got far enough that it was “good enough” and stopped. You can see on the right where about a bag and a half of concrete would finish the job, and there is actually a bag of concrete by the dust collector. 🙂 Maybe in the spring I’ll pour the last section.

Anyway, the saw sits in this depression, and that actually made the old saw a little too low. So I decided to make a platform to put the new saw cabinet on. Since the depression is about 3-1/2″ deep a 2×4 frame with 3/4″ plywood on it should be about perfect.

2 x 4 Framework

Ta-da! That was fun to layout and build.

Plywood Deck

Next up was building a cabinet to put the saw on. I made a quick bar napkin sketch of a box with a divider in it and a dust collection section. Then it was time to cut the plywood.

I had bought the plywood when it was still reasonable outside. Then it rained on the weekend and then it got bitter cold and snowed a bit. There was no way I was going to cut plywood up outside. Luckily I can get a 4 x 8 sheet down into the basement and with the table saw out there is just enough room to cut one up. Barely.

Full sheet in the basement.
Cutting up the plywood.

I managed to get all the pieces cut out, then it was time to cut the hole in the top. Luckily I had already taken the saw apart for cleaning and to replace the bearings, so I could just bring the base in to the basement.

Laying out the bolts and dust collection hole.

Drill a few holes for the T-Nuts to hold the base down, cut out the hole with a jig saw and we have a top.


I decided to use biscuit joiners to line up the sides and center divider, so I had to cut a bunch of biscuit slots next.


Then I drilled and countersunk some screw holes between the biscuit slots and started assembling.

Starting to assemble.

Unfortunately it turns out that my circular saw base plate was not completely perpendicular to the blade, so the edges of the plywood were not quite square. Also it turns out that my carpenter’s square wasn’t. It was out by about 1/8″ on the long leg. This made the cabinet into a bit of a parallelogram. I got it mostly square by putting a pipe clamp across the corners when I put the back on. And I bought a new square.

Sorta square.

Adding the shelf and front baffle for the dust collection box squared up the front of the cabinet enough so that it will be usable. But I’m still annoyed about it.

Here you can see the dust collection baffle as I start to clean and reassemble the saw. The other bonus to putting the cabinet on the platform is that I can put drawers in and they will open without hitting the “curb”.

Cleaning and assembling.

Next up was cleaning up the saw and putting it back together. A bunch of brake cleaner (made the basement smell pretty bad) and new grease and we are back in business.

Putting it back together.

I had my daughter and wife come down and help me flip it over. That saw is heavy when you put all the cast iron back in it. 🙂

Flipped and bolted down.

I had to get a little creative with the motor mount. The back edge of the cabinet and the dust collection attachment was fouling the motor. (Poor planning on my part.) I ended up buying longer bolts and some nuts to use as spacers and moving the motor mount out about an inch.

Next I bolted on the right wing and fit the fence guides. I had an aftermarket fence on the Craftsman and I kept it when I sold the saw. The guides had existing holes in the correct locations so it pretty much bolted on. After I added the router table on the left, and realized that the right-tilt meant that I would have to cut bevels on the left of the blade, I ended up moving the rails over to the left about 16″. The front rail already had the appropriate holes, and I only had to drill one new hole in the rear one.

Fitting the fence rails.

Next was mounting up the router table. I had to drill new holes in the angle iron  to mount it to the saw and slot the bolt holes for the router table but after that it was just a matter of bolting it up.

Router table mount.
Router table mounted. (Fence rails have not been moved yet.)

Next up was an outfeed table. I decided to mount it lower than the table so that I didn’t have to slot it for the miter guides. The rear rail had some holes in it for mounting a support plate, but of course they were not in the correct location. So I ended up drilling and tapping two new holes.

The table is just a piece of 3/4″ MDF I had laying around, but I decided that instead of legs I would build a little shelf unit out of leftover plywood from building the cabinet. I can use all the extra storage I can get.

I also finalized the dust collection by attaching a support to the shelf unit.

Front view of the saw. Rails are in final position.
Rear view of saw. Sturdy support for the dust collection components.

I also spent a bunch of time squaring up the saw and trying to reduce the runout on the arbor. There is about 0.0015″ of runout on the face still and I want to try and reduce that some more.

Squaring up the saw was a hassle – partly because I didn’t want to have to take it all apart again. I ended up needing to open up the mounting holes in the rear trunnion so I could get it within 0.001″ of square.

Checking the runout.

As you can see my basement shop is pretty cramped. I can manage about 24″ wide on the right side of the saw and 30″ on the left. I can get an 8′ board though the saw with no problems though, so it makes a great platform for the planer. I can also get an 8 footer on the jointer you can see in the photo above. I can’t wrestle a 4 x 8 sheet of plywood onto the saw, but that’s okay, I don’t do large sheet goods much and when I do I usually slice them up in the garage with my circular saw (which I need a new guide for.)

I want to do a couple more things to the saw still – I want to make a wider wing on the right and try and cover up the opening in the rear to help with the dust collection. I also need to make some drawers for the cabinet. Projects, always projects.

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