'54 Craftsman TS Restore Project

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Blog entry by Neodogg posted 05-21-2009 04:56 PM 6175 reads 0 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Well, I was able to dig my grandpa’s old TS out of his shop which has been dormant for the better part of 30 yrs. and drag it to Ohio It is a 1954 Craftsman 1 HP 10” left tilting contractor TS. Here it is after getting off the truck.






The inside shot shows how they used to make them to last, all cast iron & aluminum.

It was going to need some TLC, I started by removing the saw from the base and started to sand everything.



After sanding everything for a couple hours, I then taped off area’s and started to paint. I used some good old Ace Farm/Machinery “Ford Grey”. It took about a can and a half for the whole project.



I had to paint it in the horse’s barn and had several interested parties or we’ve just got stoner horses?



I think the painting went well, my only concern was how to clean up the aluminum on the face plate and hand wheels, I tried some “polish” but didn’t get the results I was expecting? Any suggestions?

Once the paint dried I lugged it back to the garage/”shop” for reassembling. You might notice the ugly switch, which I replaced. I also made a little mobile base so it can park against the wall.



For the top I just used a fine grit sandpaper and applied Johnson Paste Wax for a smooth finish.



Once reassembled & proper set up I was able to get my first cut in!


After reading all the horror stories of people who have Craftsman TS and the trouble they have with the fence I had little expectations for this one. Well, I must be a curve buster, cause the fence works great! within 1/32”, can’t really ask for too much for the age? My only problem is the fence only goes so far to the right/left, but haven’t ran into an instance where I can’t cut something. I wasn’t happy with the switch that arrived with it, so I got a new one from Grizzly(also got a very nice feather board from them). Since I was replacing the switch I also rewired the motor for a longer cord, the original was cracking. I think all I need for it is to make an out feed table & maybe a side wing or buy a wing? All in all I am happy for what I have. I believe I have less than $50 in it. (Paint,belt, switch, wire) It should serve me well for several years to come. And if that day ever comes where I have a shop and upgrade saw’s I might use this for dado’s?

Well here is the final shot with new switch, looks pretty good for being 55 years old!

It’s kind of funny, I never knew my g-pa, he passed in ‘79(at the age of 84) when I was 1, but some how restoring this saw and using several of his other many many tools, I get this funny connecion feeling cause I know he has used them also? I just hope this isn’t the saw he cut two fingers off with!


-- If you can't fix it with a hammer, you've got an electrical problem!

13 comments so far

View Splinterman's profile


23072 posts in 3174 days

#1 posted 05-21-2009 05:08 PM

Your Grandpa would be very pleased to see his saw reclaimed…........good job.

View a1Jim's profile


116497 posts in 3390 days

#2 posted 05-21-2009 06:00 PM

A great restoration and a cool family history.

-- Custom furniture

View Bureaucrat's profile


18339 posts in 3465 days

#3 posted 05-21-2009 07:14 PM

Great restore. I think most of the comments about lousy Craftsman fences are on newer vintage machine. The rails on your saw look more substantial than mine (circa 1980). I like that handy slot for the fence in the saw base.

-- Gary D. Stoughton, WI

View Greg Wurst's profile

Greg Wurst

793 posts in 3645 days

#4 posted 05-21-2009 07:17 PM

If you really like throwing money at old tools you can do what I did and add a Vega fence, PALS, machined pulleys, and a PowerTwist V-belt to an old $100 Craftsman table saw. Heck, my blade alone cost more than the entire saw! Oh well, it cuts nice now and I built my cabinet around it so I’m sticking with it. Nice job on the restore!

-- You're a unique and special person, just like everyone else.

View Neodogg's profile


94 posts in 3240 days

#5 posted 05-21-2009 07:42 PM

Nice work yourself, something to think about

-- If you can't fix it with a hammer, you've got an electrical problem!

View brianinpa's profile


1812 posts in 3536 days

#6 posted 05-22-2009 03:51 AM

The wing extensions also have a fence rail extension that allow the fence to provide a wider cut. You started with a good candidate for a basket case and now it is looking real nice.

As far as the wheels go, I found that the turning knobs can be punched out of the wheel. (most are just a tight fit) This helps with the cleaning of the wheel. Start polishing and don’t give up till you like what you see. The knob can be chucked up in a drill press and that makes sanding/polishing very easy and simple. When finished, push the knob back into the wheel.

Careful, soon you will find yourself doing nothing but working on restoring old machines.

-- Brian, Lebanon PA, If you aren’t having fun doing it, find something else to do.

View tinnman65's profile


1347 posts in 3227 days

#7 posted 05-26-2009 03:47 AM

Great job!! I have an old Craftsman TS put away that my Cousin gave me after my Uncle died a few years back. It doesn’t have the stand anymore but from the pics above from Mr. Wurst that doesn’t seem to be a problem. He used it to build his house I think in the late 50’s or early 60’s. Thanks for the post you have me thinking twice about that old saw.

-- Paul--- Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. — Scott Adams

View hairy's profile


2565 posts in 3345 days

#8 posted 10-13-2009 03:27 PM

Nice job on the restoration.

-- stay thirsty my friends...

View Tim Dahn's profile

Tim Dahn

1556 posts in 3378 days

#9 posted 12-06-2009 02:38 PM

Don’t know how I missed this, thanks for the post and Great job it looks new! How does it perform?

-- Good judgement comes from experience and experience comes from poor judgement.

View souichiro's profile


369 posts in 3159 days

#10 posted 03-30-2010 03:07 PM

Awesome restore! You did a really good job on it.

-- Dale, Oregon

View justinwdemoss's profile


148 posts in 2708 days

#11 posted 04-12-2011 10:33 PM


I just saw a craftsman TS similar to yours on Craigslist in Goshen. I didn’t think it was yours, but thought that you might want to take a look at it for parts. I think they are asking around $100.

-- Justin in Loveland, OH

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13347 posts in 3486 days

#12 posted 09-10-2011 04:42 PM

Nice job on restoring the saw.

View emart's profile


444 posts in 2441 days

#13 posted 06-29-2013 06:50 AM

nice work I just bought that same model today.

-- tools are only as good as the hands that hold them

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