I have felt the need for a good table, however my budget did not permit purchasing a new saw, or even a used saw in excellent condition. So I haunted Craigslist for the last several months. I found a Craftsman contractor style saw with cast iron table and cast iron wings. The seller wanted $125, but when I saw the condition of the unit I said no way. We finally settled on $90. I knew that I would have to completely disassemble and clean up the unit. It was quit rusty. However the saw ran fine, and the blade would raise and lower (stiffly) and tilt. The seller had the miter gauge, fence, blade guard and inserts.
When I got back home and started to disassemble I started to think what have I gotten my self into! Unfortunately I did not take a picture of the saw as it was. However here is a picture of the table top before cleaning:
When I finally had everything apart and started to clean it up, I realized that mechanically the saw was in excellent condition, perhaps I didn’t buy a pig in a poke.
In cleaning up this saw I had a lesson in rust removal. I tried chemicals, electrolysis and mechanical removal. The best is mechanical removal. I wore out a 4 1/2” wire brush on my angle grinder. Of the chemicals I tried, vinegar works the best. However you have to soak the parts for several days, and change out the vinegar.
In the end I have a nice looking saw that is in excellent condition. Here are several pictures of the cleaned up saw:
The table cleaned up quite nicely, and the original machine marks are still visible. However the two side extensions sag along the 27” dimension. They sag about 25 thousandths in the middle. The front and rear ends of the extensions are true and square and line up with the center table. This actually looks like a manufacturing defect as the machining marks are still visible. I do not know how much this will affect the operation of the saw.
The fence was set up to rip 24” on either side of the blade. I really wanted to have 30” rip capacity to the right of the blade, so I move the rails (which are actually angle iron) to the right 6” or so. I had to drill some new hole in the angles and also in the extension tables. After some adjusting the fence lines up to with 0.010” of parallel to the miter slots.
The electrical switch was mounted on the right hand side of the saw, however I moved it to the left side and replaced it with a paddle type switch.