Tips and Jigs for the Shop #4: Replacing the belt and pulleys on a Delta Contractors Saw

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Blog entry by Jim Bertelson posted 11-08-2009 12:23 AM 1991 reads 1 time favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: Reclaiming old stuff.........guess what this was....... Part 4 of Tips and Jigs for the Shop series Part 5: Large Sled - Sketchup »

I am documenting the following only because I noted posts on the net requesting info on how to get the arbor nut off the Delta Contractors Saw. I am sure there are other ways to do this, but this was simple and worked.

I am slowly upgrading my old Delta Contractors Saw. So I bought the In-Line machined pulleys and the Power Twist Plus 1/2” V-belt 4 foot package. In-Line could not supply the belt, so I bought it separately. It takes 3 & 1/2 feet (42”) of belt.

I wondered if there was anything special I needed to know to replace the pulleys. So I googled around and found some people who didn’t know how to get the pulley off the arbor end, but no answers. The problem with the arbor end pulley, that comes in two halves held in by a nut, is that the nut it is a right hand thread, and the saw blade end, of course, is a left hand thread. There are no flats on the shaft as on my RAS to get a hold of the shaft. So you can’t hold the saw nut to get the pulley nut off, because the motion loosens it.

I put WD-40 on each pulley and let it soak in before trying removal.

The motor pulley has a hex screw that you have to loosen, then you can knock the pulley loose, and remove or keep knocking it until it is off. That pulley had a shaft key that the hex set screw bit into. I saved the key.

The arbor end presented two problems. 1) getting the nut off 2) knocking off the split pulley.

My solution for holding the shaft was to put an old blade, ready for the dump, on the saw. Then I grabbed the blade with a vise grip and let the saw table keep the vise grip from turning. Then tightened the nut down good. The vise-grip gave me a better puchase than the wood to loosen up that old nut. Then using the arbor wrench provided with the saw, I could easily remove the right threaded nut. I tilted the saw to get a better view of the arbor pulley and knocked it off using a hammer and piece of wood.

The halves had a built in key, but the new pulley did not come with one. Fortunately, about 30 years ago I had bought a miscellanous hardware collection, cheapo like, and it came with some shaft keys. And fortunately I had one that fit. So I put on the new machined arbor pulley, and used a key, since the pulley had a hex set screw. I did not put the nut back on, since I could not see not any use for it since the pulley was now firmly held with the hex set screw and key, just like the motor pulley. The nut was superfluous and just a pain to take off,

Similarly I put on the new pulley for the motor end.

I cleaned up any excess WD-40, and the shipping grease on the pulleys with acetone. Then I put the link belt together, and put it on saw. There were good instructions on the inside of the packaging for the belt, including how long to make it for my kind of saw, so I won’t repeat that here. I checked the alignment of the pulleys with each other, and made sure the belt cleared the guard.

I rechecked the front to back alignment of the blade with the miter slot….......of course….....using my handy-dandy Wixey Digital Caliper mount… another use out of that wretched thing….. (-: There was no change in alignment from my hammering and messing around with the pulleys.

The saw is very free of significant vibration. A nickel stayed standing. Couldn’t find a new dime, and the old I had wouldn’t stand… I leaned it up against a nickel, and they both stayed standing from startup through shut down (does that pass the purist’s dime test?). The saw sounds different, no rumble, just some whine…......that’s all I need…... my saw has become a whiner. Next I need a zero clearance insert and a large sled. Then off to my computer cart utilitarian project.

I still have lodged in my brain an innovative saw guard and splitter solution, as well as an innovative dust collecting solution… you can hardly wait…........................(-:

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

3 comments so far

View oldwoodman's profile


137 posts in 3363 days

#1 posted 11-08-2009 05:55 AM


Thanks for the very thorough post of how you worked on your saw. As I read the post, it seemed as if I was standing right there in your shop watching you upgrade your saw. I am glad to hear that your saw sounds as if it is in better shape for woodworking projects.

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4170 posts in 3129 days

#2 posted 11-08-2009 07:34 AM


Thanks for your reply.

I try to write a narrative so that if I was the reader, it would say exactly what what I need to understand the subject. I try to give a blow-by-blow description of anything that is a little finicky, with detail to make it graphic, and interesting. Discoveries die when they stay with the observer, only after passing it on in usable way, and that requires considerable effort, does it become knowledge. Teaching is not easy…....never has been…...never will be…...............

Perhaps that is more dignity than justified for my ramblings, just trying to help…................

best regards to you and your wife…..........Jim

PS….. and perhaps the saw will do an even better job now…..........

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3299 days

#3 posted 11-08-2009 02:15 PM

Great and thorough work description Jim. I’m sure it will be useful for many. As they say “the devil is in the details”.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

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