LumberJocks

Craftsman Table Saw Modification

  • Advertise with us

« back to Safety in the Woodworking Shop forum

Forum topic by Ripper70 posted 12-01-2015 12:02 AM 720 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Ripper70's profile

Ripper70

183 posts in 373 days


12-01-2015 12:02 AM

Hello All,

Thank you Lumberjocks for a terrific website. I’ve been lurking for a while and decided to join in hopes that I might get an answer to a question.

Though it’s been many years since I’ve done any woodworking, I used to work in a commercial shop making furniture from reclaimed lumber and have handled a variety of commercial machines including 12” and 20” table saws.

I recently made a Craigslist purchase of a small Craftsman Table Saw as I’m about to start some home improvement projects. I guess it’d be considered a contractor’s type saw and it was in very good condition and I got it for a very good price.

Because I’m quite a bit rusty I’m trying to use extra caution and getting back into it slowly. Which brings me to my question. The throat plate on the machine is one of those rectangular shaped metal inserts. It’s almost impossible to get it flush with the table top and, of course, the stock blade guard/splitter is so difficult to properly align, it makes it virtually useless. Actually seems to make the machine less safe to work with while attached than when removed.

There must be thousands of these machines being used all over America and I was wondering if any of you all have figured out a way to modify the throat plates and blade guards to make them safer and achieve a better fit. Anybody ever seen/crafted a zero clearance insert for one of these saws?

Any advice or suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance and thanks again for an amazing resource like Lumberjocks.com.

Ripper70

Attached image is identical to mine:

-- "You know, I'm such a great driver, it's incomprehensible that they took my license away." --Vince Ricardo


5 replies so far

View MrUnix's profile

MrUnix

4226 posts in 1663 days


#1 posted 12-01-2015 12:10 AM

That isn’t a contractors saw… it’s a portable model with a sort-of direct drive universal motor. I’ve made throat plates for them, and used rubber or fiber washers to bring flush with the table top. The saw originally used fairly thick rubber washers that would place the insert above the table top, and you cranked down on the screw to squish the washer until it was level with the top.

Can’t help with the splitter/guard – I just tossed them.

One other suggestion I’d make is to get a dremel tool or other grinding method and get rid of those stupid little tabs on the miter slots… they make it impossible to build sleds and other stuff that fits in the slots.

Oh – one more :) Don’t push it too hard. That motor has a plastic housing that the rear bearing is supported by. Push it too hard, you will wind up either paying through the nose for a replacement motor, or just tossing the thing on the side of the road!

Cheers,
Brad

PS: I actually got lucky and found some guy giving one away on CL – he had backed into it with his car and broke the plastic cabinet from the stand. Motor was fine though, so I swapped it out with another identical saw I had, but with a melted motor housing (which I was using purely as a router table previously). I then used the stand to mount a miter saw on, and put the now motorless saw out on the side of the road, and it was gone in less than an hour :)

-- Brad in FL - To be old and wise, you must first be young and stupid

View SawSucker's profile

SawSucker

110 posts in 393 days


#2 posted 12-01-2015 12:29 AM

Benchtop or jobsite saw.

View ChefHDAN's profile

ChefHDAN

808 posts in 2314 days


#3 posted 12-01-2015 01:26 AM

Ripper welcome to LJ, Unix, nailed it, if you got that saw for $50 or less it might be worth keeping, but with your previous experience I think you’re going to quickly realize how and where it’s lacking. Your profile just lists New York which could be vary different between up or down state, so maybe you need to stay small for storage, but I think you should keep watching for a contractors saw at 27” with a belt driven motor that you could get for $100 to $250 and have a MUCH better saw with far fewer headaches, and then sell this saw likely for what you paid for it.

For inserts on my saw I make a plate that will fit the opening and get it thicknessed at the tabs with a forstner bit and then insert hex set screws below the surface where they will hit the tabs, then just adjust how far each screw projects below the plate to flush the top to the saw.

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

View MrUnix's profile

MrUnix

4226 posts in 1663 days


#4 posted 12-01-2015 01:47 AM


For inserts on my saw I make a plate that will fit the opening and get it thicknessed at the tabs with a forstner bit and then insert hex set screws below the surface where they will hit the tabs, then just adjust how far each screw projects below the plate to flush the top to the saw.

- ChefHDAN

LOL – that would work IF the thing actually had some tabs to use :)

There isn’t any support on the left side of the opening at all, and only two mount points on the right – one is just deep enough to make the insert flush (front), and the other is much deeper and uses that rubber washer thing so you can squish down the back of the insert to make it flush with the table. To make the insert, you need to trim to the proper thickness so it sits flush in front, and use the rubber thingie in the rear to bring it flush. The mount points have threaded holes to accept a screw, which is about the only way to keep an insert in place:

To make the insert, you need to make it thick enough so it won’t flex, but thin enough on the edges so it rests on the little ledges, along with providing some countersunk holes for the screws to fit into without being too high to catch the wood or fence. It can be done though if you are creative. Here is a picture showing the ground down tabs on the miter slots, and you can see part of a homemade insert (from tempered hardboard) with the countersunk screw:

If I had to do it again (which I don’t plan on), I’d probably try something like HDPE for the insert as it would flex less. With the hardboard, you need to add considerable support on the bottom to keep it from flexing too much. I really just use the saw as a router table (using a home made router table extension sitting on the wing extension bars), and the occasional cross cuts (using a sled). For that, it doesn’t matter what kind of insert it has.

Cheers,
Brad

-- Brad in FL - To be old and wise, you must first be young and stupid

View Ripper70's profile

Ripper70

183 posts in 373 days


#5 posted 12-01-2015 03:34 AM

Yes, Unix. The rubber washers are the only means of height adjustment for the throat plate. Thoughtless design when you think about it, really. I like the idea of removing the tabs from the miter slots. Hadn’t thought about how they’d limit the saws ability to use custom sleds, etc. Maybe Chef’s right and it’d be better to get a more capable tool. I’ll take your advice on going slow so as to not strain the motor in the meantime.

Chef, I’ve already been scanning the trusty Craigslist for a saw that would be a step up. I got this one cheap and knew that it’d suffice for the home projects I had in mind but after spending some time perusing the LJ site I’m already thinking about the cabinets we need in the laundry room and the work bench and tool racks I’d like to add to the garage shop along with the deck box that’d be nice to have out back. Would love to get focused on some challenging stuff to tackle beyond the routine fixit chores that are pressing. ;-)

Brad actually nailed it twice in pointing out that there are no tabs in the throat to support the plate on the left side. That’s why I’ve been staring into that hole scratching my head wondering what I could possibly do to modify the plate. Might be better to just sell the thing and resist any modifications that would make it less attractive to a potential buyer. It really has almost no use on it at all so I should be able to flip it fairly easily. I’m realizing that I’d rather have a better quality saw simply for safety’s sake. There is a guy nearby selling a Grizzly 1022 on CL for $300 bucks that I’d like to snag if I could. Not really sure what a fair price would be for that though. Seems in good shape with just some minor surface rust and a decent fence. (Pictured below.)

Anyway, thanks for the input and valuable advice. I’ll be back again soon for more I’m sure.

-- "You know, I'm such a great driver, it's incomprehensible that they took my license away." --Vince Ricardo

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com