Craftsman Table Saw Restoration #1: First Impressions & Disassembly

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Blog entry by JackC posted 08-27-2012 03:07 AM 14425 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Craftsman Table Saw Restoration series no next part

We had a new family move in on our street a few weeks ago, & since they were downsizing from their previous house, they had a lot of stuff they just didn’t want anymore which they ended up just putting in the garage. So, one thing led to another and I got a old table saw.

It’s a 1973 Craftsman saw with a 1.5HP 3450 rpm hp induction motor. The top has a moderate amount of rust, most of which was removed in about 10 mins with a wire brush. There’s still some left, which I’ll probably go at it with some steel wool and WD40. The inside of the saw is almost completely coated in thick sawdust. I removed about half of it with a leaf blower, and I’ll probably remove the rest with a wire brush and a shop vac. Aside from the rust on the table and the dust, the saw is in really good shape. I’m amazed with how solid this is. They just don’t make ‘em like they used to ; ). It also runs really quiet, which is really nice especially since the Delta saw I have now has a universal motor (which runs at 5500 rpm, a little fast if you ask me). Hopefully I can replace the Delta saw if all goes well.

The pictures show the saw before I did any work on it. It also came with some extension wings (Cast Iron!) that I took off so I could fit it through our gate.

Thanks for looking.

-- Jack; Tigard, Oregon. 16 y/o.

6 comments so far

View DeLayne Peck's profile

DeLayne Peck

479 posts in 2074 days

#1 posted 08-27-2012 07:02 AM

Love your strong interest in woodworking. You will get a lifetime of satisfaction from the hobby. Ya gotta start somewhere. I am still using some of the tools I bought 50 years ago.

Try Evapo-rust on that saw top. It’s worked on heavy rust for me. And search this site for advise.

-- DJ Peck, Lincoln Nebraska. Lord, keep your arm around my shoulder and your hand over my mouth.

View libraryman's profile


45 posts in 3617 days

#2 posted 08-27-2012 12:47 PM

I inherited the very same Craftsman from my Dad many years ago. I used it for 25+ years and did some nice work with it. I replaced the old belt with a Link Belt w/ a balanced machined pully, installed a zero clearance plate for a new thin kerf blade and bought a good fence on sale. The Link Belt made the saw pass the nickel test.
The trunions are easy to adjust with the cast iron extensions off. Make sure the blade and table slots are spot on. I still use the original miter on my homemade router table. I built a new stand out of welded angle iron after stressing out the originals. Keep working on the saw and you will get much better results than with a screechy direct drive one. Oh, by the way, get a spliter for your zero clearance insert – keep kick back away – Your saw will kick you senseless if your not prepared. Of course you can guess how I know this.

View Dwain's profile


501 posts in 3732 days

#3 posted 08-27-2012 03:03 PM

Congrats on your new find. Those saw can do some great work if they are updated properly and used patiently. I sincerely hope you keep us apprised of your progress. As suggested, get a better fence, and get some PALS. They make adjustments a snap. Also, spend a little and get your self a large safety switch. It makes a big difference when you are working with large sheets of plywood. Enjoy the journey.

-- When you earnestly believe you can compensate for a lack of skill by doubling your efforts, there is no end to what you CAN'T do

View barecycles's profile


256 posts in 2201 days

#4 posted 08-27-2012 10:30 PM

Nice find. Good luck on the restoration.

BTW, saw your band saw featured on WoodGears…congrats!

-- Sweeping up sawdust in Texas

View ihmserv's profile


34 posts in 3642 days

#5 posted 08-28-2012 03:40 AM

I have that same saw, bought it over 25 years ago for $50 bucks. its still in great shape and I will match its accuracy to most saws sold today. since I do a lot of segmented turning it gets a lot of use.
good luck with the restoration.


-- woodturners keep things spinning.

View EEngineer's profile


1089 posts in 3486 days

#6 posted 08-28-2012 10:06 AM

Congratulations on your new (old) saw. That is one of the Emerson saws that Emerson made for Sears like… forever! I have a late 60’s to early 70’s model of it that I use in my shop. The table started out almost as bad as yours but cleaned up very nicely (see it here).

You can find a wealth of information about these saws at The Wiki on their site gives a lot of tips on restoring old machinery, including this advice that I used to clean the majority of rust off of my table:

OWWM member Keith O’Boyle turned me onto a great trick of scraping the surface using a single blade razor in a handle. This will take up the paint chips, stuck on stuff and rust. It will leave behind a very smooth usable surface. It will not take out pitting though.

If your table is not badly pitted this may be all you need.

These saws are extremely easy to work on, solid as a rock and dependable – well worth the effort to restore and use!

-- "Find out what you cannot do and then go do it!"

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