Penultimate Contractor Saw tune up method #2: Cleanup and finishing

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Blog entry by marcb posted 01-26-2009 07:45 AM 3524 reads 1 time favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: 1st steps Part 2 of Penultimate Contractor Saw tune up method series no next part

With the guts removed and on the flat surface


You can detect of the 2 bars are out of alignment by attempting to rock them. This is similar to the Delta method but we rock the bars not a flat piece of wood on the bars.

If they are out of alignment clamp down the bars and loosen the 2 nuts on the rear side.

guts clamped

Once the 2 nuts are loosened, make sure no sawdust is jammed behind them, loosen both clamps then reclamp and double check that the arbor is 90 degrees to the flat surface with a small engineers square.

Once everything is lined up, tighten the heck out of both nuts.

Go back the the saw and clean the front trunnion. Both the U shaped area and the worm gear and the guide surfaces next to the worm gear are the main areas of concern. Get them good and clean and spray them down with a dry lube.

Install your good graded bolts with lock washers.


You’ll notice that the grade 8 1 inch are a tad larger than the originals. This should not be a problem with the lock washer added to the mix. Install new cut washers these are thicker than regular washers and shouldn’t distort (trunnion, cut washer, lockwasher, bolt head)

Loosely install the 2 bolts on the front trunnion. Then reinstall the guts, this takes a little jimmying and watch out for the degree pointer getting jammed up.

Once you have the guts installed in the front trunnion use a clamp to hold it in place, then install the rear trunion and clamp that in place as well.


By keeping everything clamped we can tighten down the bolts to the alignment phase and ensure that we are keeping everything in position, nothing should move after we tighten down the bolts.

Reinstall the motor at this point, alignment without the motor and belt installed is worthless.

Align by whatever your usual means is. I don’t own PALS, or a 100 dollar aligning kit. I simply have a 15 dollar dial indicator shoved into a piece of wood. I get it to about .002ish and that’s good enough.

Be careful when you tighten the trunnions down, the alignment can shift based on the force applied to the bolt head, I mix pulling the wrench with pushing the wrench to minimize the disturbance from this action.

Tighten the heck out of these bolts, my saw will move long before I get to the strip out the cast iron area of torque. While I want to caution you to not strip out the bolt holes, this is the area most people skimp on and is the cause of most alignment difficulties after bevel cuts.

Here is a 45 degree test cut I did after doing this procedure. I only had 1 side jointed so it’s not sitting very well on the table top.

test cut

Re check your alignment after setting to 45 degrees. If it moved you didn’t tighten it down enough. I cannot find a torque value recommend by anyone on tightening them. I would love a real number to give someone without ruining my saw to see what the max value is.

8 comments so far

View marcb's profile


768 posts in 3638 days

#1 posted 01-26-2009 07:48 AM

I want to add that I have a Delta T2 fence and with the large motor mount that I have on my saw I had to grind a little divot on the rear rail to keep the mount from hitting the rail just a hair before I got to 45 degrees.

View cylis007's profile


56 posts in 3433 days

#2 posted 02-16-2009 06:45 AM

Thanks for the info. It reminds me that I need to get that done once I have finished my bench.

-- A life of leisure and a life of laziness are two things. There will be sleeping enough in the grave. ~Benjamin Franklin

View Woodchuck1957's profile


944 posts in 3729 days

#3 posted 03-15-2009 11:15 PM

Marc, thats pretty cool, I’ve never had to take one of my Delta Contractor’s saws apart, but you give me some confidence if I should ever have to, and I’ll know who to ask if I have a problem.

View marcb's profile


768 posts in 3638 days

#4 posted 03-15-2009 11:26 PM


I don’t have a machine I HAVEN’T taken apart. I was that kid that broke his toys to see how they worked and they never worked right again. Thankfully I got past the “never worked right again” part.

View Woodchuck1957's profile


944 posts in 3729 days

#5 posted 03-16-2009 04:12 AM

Marc, I forgot to mention that I couldn’t help to notice all the sawdust inside your saw. Have you seen my solution for that ?

View marcb's profile


768 posts in 3638 days

#6 posted 03-16-2009 04:01 PM

I have but see this

I’m probably not going to be hanging onto the contractor saw much longer.

It will be a sad day when it goes because it is a great saw that has been extremely enjoyable to work with. And a bunch of that is because I would sneak in a cut here and there with out any DC.

View Woodchuck1957's profile


944 posts in 3729 days

#7 posted 03-16-2009 07:20 PM

Oh comeon, you can’t get rid of that old American made saw. Someday when you have a bunch of dadoes to cut you’ll wish you had it so you don’t have to break down the setup on the W-T. I have two Contractor’s saws, a 10” delta, and a 9” Rockwell, the baby to yours, both American made.

View marcb's profile


768 posts in 3638 days

#8 posted 03-16-2009 07:30 PM

Your probably right, however I have limited space and lots of tools.

I wouldn’t mind passing the saw onto someone getting started who needs to know what quality is before he gets sucked into modern tools.

Now I need to get into the shop to make new feather boards, since none of mine reach on the new saw (I knew there was a down side to that huge top)

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