Need advise on used table saws

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Forum topic by SteveMI posted 09-03-2009 05:38 AM 23614 views 1 time favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1100 posts in 3316 days

09-03-2009 05:38 AM

I have an older Craftsman 137.218760, 2.5hp, 5,000RPM aluminum top with terrible fence. It will stall at times and is generally not very reliable. Aligning the fence with blade is the most annoying. Maximum material distance to blade from fence is 12” and really restricts me.

On local craigslist and ebay (local) there are a number of Craftsman table saws that by picture are larger than mine (24” rip), direct drive and a different type fence. They range from $75 to $200. This is currently at the top of my discretionary budget to replace my table saw right now.

First, is there anything worthwhile in the older craftsman table saw lines?

If so, what about models 113.226886 ($125) or 315.228110 ($200)?

Is there any way of translating the craftsman model numbers to what they are?

My major use will be cutting down plywood sheets to more manageable size.


17 replies so far

View scrappy's profile


3507 posts in 3452 days

#1 posted 09-03-2009 08:58 AM

You can search on then go to Parts Direct and search for model #

The First one would not come up, but the second one is here!retrieve.pd?modelNumber=315.228110&pop=flush

Hope this helps.

-- Scrap Wood's the best...the projects are smaller, and so is the mess!

View ajosephg's profile


1880 posts in 3583 days

#2 posted 09-03-2009 12:14 PM

1. I don’t think using a table saw to cut down plywood sheets is a good idea. It is difficult to almost impossible to handle a full sheet of plywood on any table saw in your price range. This leads to safety issues as well as poor accuracy. A better way is to use a circular saw with a guide, on the floor with a sheet of styrofoam beneath the plywood. There are many posts on the site on how to do this. (I usually have the plywood supplier cut the sheet down for me so I don’t have to manage anything larger than a half sheet.)

2. While I am generally biased against Craftsman power tools, for sure I wouldn’t buy any brand with a direct drive motor or an aluminum table top. Let me know if you want to know the “whys and why nots.”

3. Finding a good used table saw will be like finding a needle in a hay stack. Most of what I see around here are junk, and stuff at auctions go for almost new (sometimes higher than new) prices. IMHO the good stuff is never sold or passed down to the kids/grandkids when the owner is through with it. Bottom line – if you are in a hurry to upgrade, take a deep breath and buy a new one, but try to make it the last saw you ever buy.

-- Joe

View EEngineer's profile


1103 posts in 3635 days

#3 posted 09-03-2009 01:36 PM

Although I agree with Joe about cutting plywood on the table saw, there are times when I find it necessary. With proper support (outfeed table and two people) I end up doing it a lot to rip long shelves, etc. If it is at all possible for the project, I also have 4X8’s ripped in half by the supplier to make handling easier.

I also agree about direct drive and aluminum tables – NO!

But I strongly disagree about finding a good used table saw. The older Craftsman 10” saws, those made by Emerson in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, (the mid-80’s started “value engineering”; translate – cheap to the point of unusability) are readily available, easy to rebuild if necessary and I see them all the time for anywhere from $50 to $200 on ebay and the local Craigslist. Good, solid cast-iron, belt drive and a decent fence if you get a later one with the “align-a-rip” fence. In fact, these saws are virtually identical to the Ridgid 3650 and 3660 table saws (Emerson made them, too) that got rave reviews for contractor saws. I am biased – I like the old iron.

OWWM has a lot of info on the old Craftsman saws, including how to interpret the Sears stock number for manufacturer. For instance, the 113-XXXX models were made by Emerson; the 315-XXXX models were made by Diehl Manufacturing – this from the OWWM site.

-- "Find out what you cannot do and then go do it!"

View pirate's profile


19 posts in 3209 days

#4 posted 09-04-2009 01:59 PM

I also agrew with No direct drive or alum. tables, and that the older 60’s saws are the best of the lot.
A relative had what I think was an 80’s saw and the fence should have been against the law! It was that bad and dangerous.
Look for an older one with cast iron wings.

View miles125's profile


2180 posts in 4028 days

#5 posted 09-04-2009 03:32 PM

I’ve never seen a Craftsman table saw i thought was of much use. Shoot for an older industrial model like unisaw. Must say i’ve never heard this idea of not cutting sheet goods on a table saw. Thats what they’re made for! I do concede a good surrounding support table that you can whip out in an afternoon certainly helps.

-- "The way to make a small fortune in woodworking- start with a large one"

View Big_Bob's profile


173 posts in 3731 days

#6 posted 09-04-2009 06:32 PM


Just sit tight and keep looking. I looked at replacing my broken Craftsman tablesaw for a long time. One day I saw a Delta Unisaw with a Biesmeyer fence on eBay for a buy-it-now price of $250. It was only 30 miles away. It needed some work but I jumped on it like a rooster on a June bug. (What ever that means) So relax and keep looking the right saw will come along. Also, after I got the Unisaw I must agree with miles125 Craftsman makes great wrenches I like their 19 volt cordless drills but that is about it.

-- Bob Clark, Tool Collector and Sawdust Maker

View MedicKen's profile


1615 posts in 3484 days

#7 posted 09-04-2009 07:29 PM

I recently sold a newer Crapsman TS, 1 1/2hp hybrid model. I upgraded to a Delta unisaw, 1968 version with cast trunnions and 2hp 3 phase motor. The saw needed a complete teardown and restoration but it was fun and now cuts a looks like new. I would look for an older machine that might need a little work. They are a dime a dozen on craigslist and can be picked up fairly cheap, $50-$200. I would most definately stay away from the direct drive, bench top saws. They are toys.

-- My job is to give my kids things to discuss with their

View WibblyPig's profile


172 posts in 3296 days

#8 posted 09-04-2009 07:50 PM

If you just need to cut down plywood, I’m in the sawhorse and circular saw camp. Get a nice straight edge guide like one of these

As for an older saw, keep looking on craigslist. If it’s a craftsman, get an older 113 or a 103. Here’s what the older quality Craftsman saws look like:

-- Steve, Webster Groves, MO "A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in."

View miles125's profile


2180 posts in 4028 days

#9 posted 09-04-2009 08:30 PM

Lol I don’t get this circular saw thing….Circular saws and clamped straight edges are for someone who doesn’t have access to a table saw. Been there done that. Not even close in labor intensity between the two methods.

-- "The way to make a small fortune in woodworking- start with a large one"

View ajosephg's profile


1880 posts in 3583 days

#10 posted 09-04-2009 09:04 PM

I have a table saw with an outfeed table, but I can barely lift a 4×8 sheet of plywood, let alone get it up on the saw without gouging the veneer someplace. Assuming I get it up there, there is no way that I can successfully keep it aligned against the fence by my self while pushing it through. Get it cockeyed during the cut and you hae a recipe for disasters as well as damage to the wood and possible the saw blade. Getting a skilled helper can be problematic also. The problem is magnified if your shop is space limited, as most are.

I am willing to bet that this is typical for the majority of hobbiest Lumberjocks. Also remember, that time is not of essence for us non-professionals.

So, why fight a full sheet of plywood to begin with. Cut it down with a circular saw, with the pieces slightly oversized, taking care to maintain an accurate reference edge, and then do the final cuts on a table saw.

-- Joe

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

5908 posts in 3216 days

#11 posted 09-04-2009 09:06 PM

I have a Craftsman t.s. that my wife bought me for my birthday in 1985. Serial # is 113.298761. This was my first time to ever use a t.s.. It had the”diamond shape” cast iron wings that would pinch your finger every time you looked at it! The fence on that thing was the biggest piece of crap that was ever made. So—after much thought and looking around for info, I decided to make my move. I stripped it down to just the saw box and stand. I took off the c.i. wings and built a left wing out of MDF and laminant(same size as the old wing), and braced it up with aluminun angle and bolts. Worked great. Then I built a right wing the same way, but it was 30’’ long and same width. I s.c’d that crappy fence,rail, and everything that went with it. I bought a Delta Precision Saw guide fence and rail system and mounted that sucker right on there. It’s a full 3 horse, 10 in. belt-drive, and to this day I still have it, and it’s dead-on accurate with every cut. It’s still got the same belt on it that came with it. All I’ve ever done to it was put a couple drops of oil in the motor. It cuts a full 30 ” to the left—none to the right. I’ve ripped everything from plywood to hard woods on this thing, and never stalled it once. But—after23 years, it was time to upgrade, so I just bought a 2009 Delta Unisaw, 5 hp, witha Biesemyer 52” rip fence. I love that saw!!!! I have my old Craftsman back up to the Delta, and use it dados and rabbits.
So if you could find a older Craftsman for the money, restore it, and you’re in business. But I agree with the others—hold off till the right one comes along. That’s my story, and I’m stickin’ to it!.... Rick from Laveview, Ar.

-- " At my age, happy hour is a crap and a nap".....

View SteveMI's profile


1100 posts in 3316 days

#12 posted 09-12-2009 11:46 PM

Update – I just came back from a Craigslist buy. Bought a 113.298721 Craftsman with the “align-a-rip” XRC fence, extensions and other options. Included the universal jig, taper jig and miter gauge hold down clamp.

This is a belt drive and cast iron table machine to replace my direct drive and aluminum table machine.
Also, now have 26” to left and 30” to right instead of 10” to left and 12” to right.

In my little part of the world this is a great improvement. So much I couldn’t attempt due to size and fence accuracy. It may not be world class, but awesome to me.

Made a minor cut of 1/2” board with no effort and significantly quieter than my old one.

Now I need to do some disassembly and maintenance before getting too carried away.

Bad news is that someone had to pass away to make it available. It was at the sister of the spouse that died which made me feel a little more comfortable.

Joe – I may have misspoke on the plywood sheets. I have the mill cut them down for me. Main reason is the primary vehicle to go there can’t carry a full sheet. My older pickup can get to the local big box stores fine, but is not the best vehicle for the longer trip to the mill.


View ajosephg's profile


1880 posts in 3583 days

#13 posted 09-13-2009 12:43 AM

Sounds like you got a keeper. I know it will feel like coming in out of the cold compared to your old one.

After some time you might want to consider a miter gauge upgrade – I recently bought an Osborne and it is so much better with the “stock” gauges that the only thing I’m sorry about is that I waited so long to get it.

I don’t know anything about the XRC fence, but if you get dissatisfied with that a Delta T2 fence is easily adapted.

If you want to tune up your machine check this out::

-- Joe

View knotscott's profile


8055 posts in 3398 days

#14 posted 09-13-2009 01:21 AM

Great acquisition Steve! If that saw is left tilt, you’re not likely to ever need rip capacity to the left of the blade, so you can actually slide the fence further to the right for more capacity on that side.

Get that saw tuned up and put a decent blade on it, and it’ll serve you well for years. It’s basically got the same guts as the more recent Ridgid contractor saws.


-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View startingfromscratch's profile


69 posts in 3214 days

#15 posted 09-14-2009 06:22 PM

For what its worth, after the fact is seems, I have the 315.228110 and love it. I got it second hand from a woodworker who was upgrading. I got it for $200 with a forrestor woodworker II blade, zero clearance and dado inserts, an upgraded fence, and a couple feather boards, push sticks, and push pads. A really sweet hookup! And, that table saw has taken all of my newbie abuse and keeps coming back. I agree that you can buy junk on Craigslist…but you can also get hooked up if you are scrutinizing.

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