Table Saw Restoration Progress

Hello Folks!
A couple of weeks ago, I picked up a Craftsman 10″ table saw I found locally on the Craigslist. Here’s the photo the ad featured:

The price was good enough that I didn’t really bother with looking too closely at it, other than to make sure it wasn’t a basket case, before loading it up into the truck and dragging it home. This is it’s story. Click the photos for larger versions.

Here she be strapped into the truck (not seen: the folded moving blanket the table is resting on to prevent the fence rail from getting bent) and right after unloading. Isn’t much of a looker, but she’s got good genes. The stand is a homemade affair, half-bolted, half-welded together, with a compartment underneath made of 1/4″ hardboard, the back baffled off for sawdust. The under-saw cabinet was full of sawdust, and unknown debris, smelled unpleasant, and was generally rather disgusting. Inside it was a whole mess of different sawblades I’ve yet to sort through — Seems like a stack of both trash and treasure.

When I got it home, I pulled out a bottle of Dawn, a nylon brush, a nylon pot scubber pad and a bottle of naval jelly and went to work to see what I’d be dealing with on the top. It didn’t appear to have rusted much, it was just pretty awfully dirty. A whole lot of elbow grease, two scrub pads, and a set of dirty clothes later, I found a saw under all that muck! My suspicions were confirmed. The top seemed to be stained, but in good shape.

I promptly disassembled the saw, removing the handwheels to get the top off. The height adjustment handwheel was reluctant to come off the shaft, so I popped the e-clip off of the worm side of the shaft, and gently removed the entire assembly through the front. With the top free, I unbolted the body of the saw from the base.

I then unscrewed the engine turned panel from the front of the saw. Shortly therafter, I discovered that the turning on it is incredibly fragile. It seemed that breathing on it would remove all of that beautiful jeweling. After a couple of (thankfully mostly hidden) blunders in trying to clean the accumulated grime and oxidization off of it, I discovered a technique that got it clean enough for me. After a good gentle wash with a soft cloth and Dawn to get the grease off, a gentle wipe with the fingertips reveals a somewhat rough surface. a coat of naval jelly on this, watched like a hawk, and wiped down with a sopping soft cloth (wear gloves while doing this) every few minutes to check the progress dissolved a lot of the deposits on it, and made the surface smooth. Compared to the original finish under the tilt scale, and mounting plate for the tilt handle, its rather hazy and milky, but a whole lot better than it was to start. After a coat of wax, it went into the “waiting to be reassembled” pile.

With the front panel off, I drifted out the blind screws holding the logo and serial number plate out and stripped the paint off of the main body of the saw. An application of JASCO did wonders, and turned the old paint to goo in a heartbeat. The only trouble is wiping it off before it dries, and stays on there. After I’d managed to remove all of the old paint, I gave the body a blast of WD-40 and a quick sanding to give the primer some “tooth” to grab on to. After all that, I gave it a wash with simple green, and then a wipe with mineral spirits to prep the surface. I then shot the surface with Rustoleum’s Rusty Metal primer.

I spaced the coats about 45 minutes apart, two coats of primer, and then gave it two coats of Rustoleum Hammered Blue. I’m very pleased with the result. The colour certainly suits the saw, and looks fantastic. After letting the paint cure, I re-inserted the front panel to see what the final look would be.

I then got to work on the trunion assembly. The table had been sitting upside down on my bench since I’d taken the machine apart to repaint it, so I got to work. I unbolted the trunions, and pulled the whole works free. I set it aside and went to work on the underside of the table, with simple green and a brass brush. I managed to get most of the gunk out of the table ribs, and then gave the whole works a coat of wax. The under-table paint was in good shape, so I didn’t repaint it like I’d planned, just waxed it and called it good.

There was some damage to the “bottom” extreme of the height adjustment rack. I didn’t notice it originally, becuase it seems to still work fine, but here it is. I gather that given people’s lack of care with tools, the rack was stripped from years of cranking it to the extreme bottom. When I reassembled it, I adjusted the height adjustment so that it had more “tooth” into the rack, and it seems to grip the broken gear teeth without issue, and cranks the blade up and down without any odd feeling of binding or wear.

I didn’t really get many photos of this process, as my hands were too mucky to do anything with the camera. I set the table aside, and disassembled all I could on the blade assembly. I removed the adjustment parts, cleaned out the tilt adjustment screw (chucked it into my drill press and ran a chunk of cardboard up the threads after a spritz of engine degreaser) and waxed it, then put it aside. I cleaned and waxed the journal for the height adjustment, the height adjustment rack, and the machined surfaces it rides upon. This was all after a run over with the brass brush and engine degreaser. I scrubbed out the trunions gently, and waxed the wear surfaces, then put the whole works back together, now degunked. I flipped the saw cabinet, bolted it to the table, upside down, and then turned the works over to sit where it should.

Now it was time for the wheels and knobs.

I started with the tilt lock handle. I wire wheeled the chrome, but found it was too far gone, pitted, and awful to salvage. I sanded the lever down to the bare aluminium with 60 grit, and then worked up through the grits to 500, then buffed it with jewelers rouge. It came out looking stellar, but was an enormous amount of work, and required more oomph than I have. For the handwheels, I wire wheeled them, and then took a nylon paint remover pad on my angle grinder to get the paint off of the outside rim, and part of the inside, and then a rotary tool with a miniature drum sander to get the rest. The results on the handwheels were less than stellar, with some of the copper electroplating still sticking behind. I declared a “hell with this” halfway through the process, realized that most people wouldn’t notice looking at it, and that it’s a shop tool, to be used as a shop tool, and that the wheels were shiny enough. I then went through the grits as before, and buffed them. The results weren’t as pretty as before, but certainly serviceable, given the difficulty I had in getting the plating off of the aluminium. a coat of wax (noticing a theme here?) and back into the saw they went.

I then cleaned off the aluminium angle scale, nameplate, and model information plate from the back, very carefully, with simple green. I waxed them, and then reattached them. The front nameplate, I used the original blind screws, after buffing them thoroughly. The back plate, I thought I’d lost one of the blind screws for it (I later found it) and so I pop riveted it on. I think it looks better with pop rivets, but that’s just me. I gave the screws for the angle scale a coat of semigloss black and screwed them in.

Now, time to get to work on the table. There were a bunch of nasty stains and general ugly I wanted to deal with, since although they weren’t really affecting the usability of the table, they were just bothering me.

I got out my trusty mineral spirits and stripped the protective coat of wax I’d slathered on after I’d done the initial cleaning, and got to work. I started out with scotchbrite kitchen scrubbies, with WD40 as a lubricant, and an orbital sander, but the stains proved too tough for this. I pulled out the sandpaper, and started at 220. After removing the stains with 220, I wiped all of the muck from the surface, and with a new piece of sandpaper, lapped the top with a piece of plate glass. I then moved to 500, lapped the top again, and while I was getting the 1000 ready, I dropped and shattered my piece of plate glass. I took this as a sign that 1000 was probably overboard for a table saw, shrugged, and cleaned up the muck left over, gave the top a couple of coats of wax, and called it good.

From there, I got to work on the fence rail. I wire wheeled most of the old crud off of it, and then went to work polishing it, without damaging the brushed finish. After some experimentation, I found that after a good wash in Dawn, the application of brasso with elbow grease got it reasonably bright, without doing any surface damage. Satisfied, I bolted it back on.

I then tackled the fence and the miter gauge. Both of them were in good working order, but sorry cosmetic shape.

I disassembled the miter gauge, and gave the runner a treatment with naval jelly, a wire wheel, and some (very) light sanding. I got most of the ugly off, buffed it, and then waxed it. The knob, I found was in good enough shape that it didn’t need to be stripped, I gave it the wire wheel, a buff, and a wax. The scale and fence required more attention. After a soak in dawn, I found a lot of tarnish. I gently wire wheeled and sanded it, then buffed it to a high shine, and then gave it a coat of wax. I’m really happy with how it came out. Night and day transformation.

Next came the rip fence. After totally disassembling it I started with the front housing and rail-grip assembly (for lack of a better term). I gave it a soak in dawn as well, took off most of the grease, and then wire wheeled it. The front steel bar, I had already removed, so I polished it and set it aside after making sure that the spring loaded retaining balls were moving freely. The rest of the body required some more thought. Some of the pitting was too ugly, and I didn’t want to polish it shiny, because it wouldn’t match the rest of the fence. I settled on giving it a “brushed” finish by carefully sanding it by hand to a uniform appearance.

The fence itself, I gave the same treatment as the front rail. Soak in dawn, a scrub with a nylon brush, and then a wire wheeling and a treatment with Brasso. It came out quite nicely, I was quite satisfied with the results. The micro adjust knob and locking bar got a wire wheel and a polish, and the internal lock rod got all of the surface rust wire wheeled off. After a coat of wax, I reassembled.

This is where I am today! This week, I’m going to start on the motor. It’s got a weird stepped pulley on that isn’t running true. One of the set screws is jammed in, and I can’t get it off. I’m going to repaint the housing to match the saw, and go from there. I’ll update this thread as things progress. For now though, I will leave a glamour shot:

They don’t make’em like they used to!


2 thoughts on “Table Saw Restoration Progress

  1. Don PETTUS says:

    Hi there, I have 3 questions about this saw…

    1) What is the Exact Model No. of the SAW?
    2) You keep mentioning WAXING What Kind / Type of wax are you using?
    3) For cleaning the rust off of the saw… Did you ever consider CLR and if No Why???

    One last Question… How far are you at this point in March 2014?

    Have you finished the restoration????

    Inquiring Minds and All……….

    • clinton says:

      For #1, I’ll have to look it up, I haven’t got that written down.
      #2, I use – it’s cheap, and it works really well for the purpose.
      #3, I never really considered CLR, I’ve always just used naval jelly, as it’s fairly easy to apply and works quite well. No real reason I didn’t use CLR, I went with what I knew.

      March 2014? I’m not much farther along – Life’s been happening, and I’ve run out of room in my garage for the time being, so work has slowed to a crawl. I do have other progress updates in the pipe, and I’ll need to put them up at some point.

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