Revamping my Delta Contractor Saw #1: Motivation and Goals

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Blog entry by Mark Colan posted 08-17-2010 01:59 AM 3043 reads 2 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Revamping my Delta Contractor Saw series Part 2: It's Here! »


I have been using my Delta 36-444 Contractor Saw, 2000 Edition, for almost 10 years. It has been working well, though I want much better accuracy, and I want to spend less time getting accurate cuts.

I have a Delta Unifence, which is an excellent fence, but it requires repeated cuts to get the accuracy I crave. There is no micro-adjust available, and I cannot figure out how to add one easily. Also, unless I am willing to drill holes into the Unifence, it does not lend itself well to auxiliary fences and other fence accessories.

Repeated cuts as a path to greater accuracy has several problems:
  • more of my time
  • more electricity
  • more wear on my blades
  • Also, the more time I use my saw, the greater chance of an accident.

I have not given the saw a proper alignment in awhile; it’s overdue. In the past, I have found that the blade was not as parallel to the miter slots as I would like. Loosening the trunnion bolts and adjusting the alignment with a block and a hammer is crude and hard to get precise results.

Separately, I recently built my first router table. I see many benefits, but I see a lot of room for improvement. In particular, being able to micro-adjust the fence would be nice.

I noticed that Peachtree had a replacement fence arm for Unifence that makes it easier to add attachments, and it’s a bit longer. This fence upgrade is not too expensive, but it got me thinking that this saw does not owe me much, and it could be a lot better if I upgraded it.


I plan to make the following improvements in the saw:
  • Link Belt replaces original belt for less vibration
  • Add micro-adjust capability for aligning blade to miter slots
  • Total tune-up / realignment for table saw
  • Replace existing right-side extension table (shop-built, and a bit worse for wear) with a new one that is about eight inches longer. This new table will be made to be very rigid, and will accommodate a router plate.
  • Replace Unifence with Incra LS32-TS-WF table-saw / wonderfence router combo

Revamping my saw should go a long way to reaching my goals for a better table saw.

Today I learned that Incra shipped the new fence last Thursday, and the new one should arrive Wednesday this week! Yikes! I better get started building the new extension table.

An Additional Challenge

I upgraded the original blade guard with a Delta Uniguard. I am mostly happy with it, though in retrospect I wish I had bought one with dust collection, that mounted from the side instead of the back. But I plan to keep it.

The problem is that the Uniguard brackets are designed to use the same holes as the Incra fence. However, talking to Mark at Incra, I believe it is possible to mount the Incra fence first, then mount the Uniguard fence to the bottom of the rails for the Incra.

This series

This is my first blog on Lumberjocks. In this series, I’ll post my progress. I welcome ideas, comments, and support from you all! This is an experiment in part to see if anybody reads blogs.

I have 45 days to decide to keep the Incra. It is likely to be only a question about whether I can make Uniguard co-exist with the fence. I’ll find that out when I install the rear rail, so that will be the first thing I do in installing the fence.

But there are already projects in progress! I started a major redesign of a corner of the basement into a kitchen pantry extension. I have to at least get that to a stopping point where I can return the basement into some semblance of order.

-- Mark, hack amateur woodworker, Medford (greater Boston) MA

2 comments so far

View ClayandNancy's profile


519 posts in 3036 days

#1 posted 08-17-2010 03:06 AM

Check out for the uni-t fence replacement. More versatility to the unifence. Get Pals to get a more precise adjustment blade to slot. I have the same table saw and once set up with them I haven’t had to make any adjustments to it.

View Ampeater's profile


440 posts in 3769 days

#2 posted 08-17-2010 02:34 PM

I also have that same saw and I am very interested in your progress. Thanks for doing the blog.

-- "A goal without a plan is a wish."

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