Some of you probably have figured out by now that I have a love deep in me for old machines. I love old cars, the engines in particular. I love anything old. However, I can’t stand to see something, just because it’s old, to be put on a wall or a shelf to look at. These old tools, especially, were built to last, built to use.
This leads into my most recent find. I have aquired a scroll saw. I have practically nothing in it besides gas money and time. So here goes.
This is the condition I recieved it in. I know little about it besides it is old, heavy, and has Craftsman on the side of the frame, and on the cover for the gear box. Since cleaning it up, I have found that the tag you normally find on old Craftsman tools with the serial number on it, is gone. So anyone who may be able to shed more light on this saw, I would be deeply appreciative.
I won’t even try to date it since I have seen contrasting information on several websites about saws of this style. From what I can tell though, and this is highly speculative at this time, this is what I’ve learned. The saw was made by Walker-Turner for Sears back in the forties or fifties. One website I visited though dates this saw as no newer than 1943, so I just can’t be sure.
Everything is cast iron or rough ground aluminum. There is no plastic. The dust cover for the lawer shaft was made of denim. The gasket that I had to replace on the gearbox cover was made of leather. It uses 6 3/8” coping saw blades. It has a twenty four inch throat. As per the cover’s instructions, it uses SAE 50 oil in the gearbox.
The only thing I could do was to start tearing into it. First I ran to town and found some blades and the proper oil for it. I found the SAE 50 oil at NAPA, and the blades at my favorite hardware store, Hayden’s Hardware.
I had to replace the leather gasket on the gearbox cover. I really would have like to keep the original gasket, but since rubber would be less prone to leaks, I cut up an old inner tube and made a new gasket.
The denim dust boot on the gearbox shaft was in one piece until I started putting chemicals on it to clean everything, at which time it bit the dust the first time I pulled on it. So I scrounged up some old jeans and some needle and thread from my wife and made a new dust boot.
This is the first scroll saw I’ve ever messed with that has a gearbox. I love the way this thing works. It is amazingly simple. It works almost like a miniature cam shaft. It has a concentric piece on the vertical shaft that rides on another concentric piece on the horizontal shaft. The verticle piece has a little scoop that, each time it dips down into the oil, picks up a little bit and slings it all over everything to keep it lubricated.
I then carefully installed my new dust boot and gearbox cover. Then I filled the gearbox to the fill line with the proper oil and turned it by hand a bit to make sure the seal around the pulley shaft did not leak. It was good, so I was ready to move on.
After much scrubbing, the frame was looking pretty good, but I did see a few rust spots here and there. I sanded the rust spots good and cleaned them up with carburator cleaner, which I have found to be very effective at eating away rust if that’s all you’ve got.
I decided to shoot the frame with a couple of coats of fresh paint to help make sure those rust spots do not return.
Scroll saws do not require a lot of power. It did not have a motor when I got it though, so I figured it may require a little more than what came with it when I got it.
The smallest motor I had lying around was a half horse. It just happens, it has Craftsman on it because it came off of an old band saw I bought long time ago for parts for another band saw I had. The motor is supposed to mount on a saddle assembly, which I don’t have, but I am just interested in getting it running for now. I can come back later and redesign the saddle assembly.
I added a switch. I did not want to actually have to unplug it each time I wanted to stop the motor.
It took quite a bit of scrubbing on the table. I think there was more rust on it than the rest of the saw in its intirety. After getting it all cleaned up though, I decided to paint the edges of it to match the frame. Then, since it was sold old and had had so much rust on it, I applied several coats of Johnson’s Paste Wax to the table top.
I still have to do some fine tuning to it. The blade is not perfectly square with the table. It had gotten to be a long day by the time I made it to this point though. Before calling it a day though, I had to see it cut. So I grabbed the closest piece of scrap wood I could find and played a tiny bit. I may only be proud of my work, but I swear it seemed to me that this saw cuts three quarter inch thick wood at least twice as fast as my modern scroll saws. This thing is a beast.
The only thing I really have left that I feel has to be done is to fine tune the blade to be perfectly square, and I really wish to get one of those paint pens thingies and make that Craftsman raised letters on the frame stand out more. I hope you all have enjoyed seeing my latest toy.