During the week, the primary mobile base arrived, and I horsed it under the saw. It is a Jet model that pops together with spring-loaded buttons, no tools needed. I hate to lose the rock-solid stability of the floor, but I need to be able to move this beast. With some chock blocks under the base when I want it to stay still, it should be fine. (Picture near the end.)
First, today I had to go out and find a replacement part. The unifence mounts with two 3/8” “stud” bolts – bolts with no head, just a threaded rod. One was missing. Thankfully, the local True Value hardware store had a perfect replacement. Not an identical match, but close enough in size and thread configuration to work just fine.
Here is a shot of one mounting hole in the fence rail, and the second shot is me loosely holding one stud bolt in the hole to show that it is a loose fit, not a screw-in fit. More on this in a second.
Here is the problem. See the end of the rail. A nut needs to fit into the top slot inside the rail, and the bolt protrudes through the fence, much like I’m holding it here:
You can’t put an assembled bolt inside the rail and finagle it to the hole. The nut seats smoothly in that enclosed slot, and MUST slide in from the side. The slot is essentially a box that surrounds the nut. How to do this?
This magic piece of cardboard (which came with the original packaging, and the original owner smartly kept INSIDE THE RAIL for future use)!
The cardboard is used to hold the nut and slide it down the inside of the rail, until the not reaches the hole. Then you screw the stud bolt in from the outside of the rail, into the nut. The machined slot inside the rail holds the nut perfectly.
Here is the nut, just as it reaches the bolt hole, sliding along the slot inside the rail:
After screwing the bolt into the nut through the outside of the rail, here is a shot that shows its positioning inside the rail. You can just see one corner of the nut, which is sitting securely in its slot. The bolt is clearly visible both inside and outside the rail.
Here are both bolts installed in the rail, ready to be inserted through the holes in the front of the saw table. The holes also are smooth-bores. The stud bolts are secured on the other side with washers and nuts. This give you some wiggle room to adjust the height of the rail a little bit, if you need to.
Before mounting the rail on the saw, I mounted the steel left wing in its place. The original hardware is still here, some very clever bolts that you can easily grip with your fingers, and then use a slotted screwdriver to do the final tightening once you have the wing level with the top. Very handy, because the wing is heavy and it’s hard enough to hold it up while reaching underneath to install bolts by hand, never mind using a wrench.
This shows 2, but there are three. These bolts thread into the holes on the side of the table, no nuts needed.
Here is the wing mounted, even with the table and ready for the fence rail.
Here is the saw with the wheeled base, left wing and the fence installed. You see how much room I have to do a nice router table for the right wing. A wheeled extension base is already ordered for that purpose, so turn the whole base into a unified, 6-wheel mobile base supporting the saw AND the wing router extension.
Here is a closer shot of the wing, rail and fence. You can see where the previous owner kissed the rail with a blade. :( Should be ok, I’ll just smooth down the ridges with some sandpaper. If I have to install an auxilliary fence, so be it.
Parts on order:
2 vintage metal handwheels that I won on ebay. If the description was accurate, they will fit – they even have T-slots machined into the back to accommodate the pins that I discussed in the last installment.
Zero-clearance inserts, two of them.
MJ thin-kerf splitter
Wheeled base extension
The more I learn about the saw, the more I am convinced that this very early Jet contractor saw was either licensed from Delta, or else was a blatant rip-off of Delta. The insert dimensions are Delta dimensions, not Jet. The design of the handwheel mechanism appears to match perfectly with the design used on early Delta contractor saws. Pictures of the splitter mount seem very similar. I even found pictures of an old Delta contractor saw on ebay that looked IDENTICAL to my saw – even the paint color – except for the design of the legs.