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Should I replace my Craftsman contractor table saw?

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Forum topic by TopamaxSurvivor posted 07-19-2010 10:33 PM 6291 views 0 times favorited 31 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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TopamaxSurvivor

17669 posts in 3138 days


07-19-2010 10:33 PM

Topic tags/keywords: craftsman contractor table saw fence replace

With all the great saws showing up on Craig’s List at dirt cheap prices I am temped, but…….. It does everything I have ever wanted it to do. I am not going to be making furniture or cabinets except for maybe an occasional project just to try it. The biggest issue is the tune up. My old Craftsman is as perfectly tuned as it could ever be right out of the box in the mid 70s. Lots of the newer ones are thrown together for the first owner to tune if he bothers with it.

Now, the temptation; it is the rip fence. It gets the job done, but it sure would be nice to have it square without out having to double and triple check. I know there are a multitude of good aftermarket fences, but they cost as much or more than a good saw on CL ;-((

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence


31 replies so far

View lilredweldingrod's profile

lilredweldingrod

2495 posts in 2569 days


#1 posted 07-19-2010 10:38 PM

If it works, don’t fix it. You probably have more saw than you will find out there now. Get you a delta T2 fence for less than $200.00 and stay happy.

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

115202 posts in 3040 days


#2 posted 07-19-2010 10:41 PM

If you can afford it and it makes you happy go for it Bob. Like you say there are tons of bargains out there.
I’m not a craftsman fan but for those that like them more power to them. They’re coming out with the new Ridgid saw in september. They past model had a good fence.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View Sawkerf's profile

Sawkerf

1730 posts in 2531 days


#3 posted 07-19-2010 11:01 PM

Around 1990, I did a total overhaul of a mid-80’s Craftsman including building a cabinet with a collection chamber to connect my DC system.

The overhaul included machined pulleys, a link belt, a Craftsman XR2424 fence, and the most meticulous dial-in that the saw had ever seen. When I was done, it was like a brand new saw and I used it until last year when I finally bit the bullet and got a Jet cabinet saw. During the last four years, it was the backbone of my shop as I went from hobbyist to full time cabinet and furniture building.

The old Craftsman saws were fundementally pretty decent tools, but needed some “tweaking” to get them past the hobbyist level. For a couple of hundred bucks, you might be able to turn a “so-so” saw into something pretty good.

-- Adversity doesn't build character...................it reveals it.

View knotscott's profile

knotscott

7210 posts in 2838 days


#4 posted 07-19-2010 11:47 PM

There are valid arguments on both sides of this discussion Bob, but there’s little debate about how much nicer a heavier more powerful saw with good dust collection and a great fence is to use. I’ve had several older Cman contractor saws here that I’ve refurbed and parted out. Like any saw, once aligned and adorned with a nice blade, they’ll cut fine and are nice accurate saws, but there are drawbacks…a fence upgrade is obvious improvement that you’ll never regret, but the sheer weight of a heavier saw adds a noticeable element of stability that I think is often overlooked. My GI 50-185 contractor saw with cast wings and a Biese fence was around 300# (most of the Emerson Cman saws are ~ 250#)...the weight difference in my Cman 22124 hybrid @ ~ 425# was really noticeable. Most 3hp cabinet saws are in the 500-600# range and are incredibly stable, smooth, and powerful.

While my 1-3/4hp 22124 hybrid was a great saw that was stable, had a great fence, was easy to align, and could cut just about anything to full blade height at a reasonable clip, the satisfaction of owning and hitting the start button on a 3hp industrial style cabinet saw (Shop Fox W1677 in my case) is something I’d like every passionate woodworker and tool lover to experience. I’ve never regretted finding a way to make it happen. Financial justification for such a purchase can be a tough sell from a rational cost perspective, but add the ease of alignment, long term reliability, unquestionable power, smooth operation, and resale value to the equation and it’s not such a stretch when you look at the cost over the life of the saw. If it’s a hobby you enjoy and have can swing it, owning a really great tool can sure raise the bar on the enjoyment scale. Might as well make that one “great tool” the TS!

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

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27251 posts in 3284 days


#5 posted 07-20-2010 12:19 AM

I agree with Shopguryl. I fought with my Craftsman saw for over a decade so I can well understand where you are coming from. After replacing it I have often wondered why I did not do it sooner.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

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NBeener

4808 posts in 2636 days


#6 posted 07-20-2010 12:29 AM

Knotscott:

Yer killing me ;-)

What a wonderful way to make a case for a true cabinet saw.

-- -- Neil

View richgreer's profile

richgreer

4541 posts in 2537 days


#7 posted 07-20-2010 12:39 AM

Yes

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View knotscott's profile

knotscott

7210 posts in 2838 days


#8 posted 07-20-2010 12:49 AM

”Knotscott: Yer killing me ;-) What a wonderful way to make a case for a true cabinet saw.”

I do what I can…..:D

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

View CryptKeeper's profile

CryptKeeper

132 posts in 2413 days


#9 posted 07-20-2010 12:58 AM

I am kind of like the character Tim Taylor from TV show ‘Home Improvement’; “More Power!” and I wouldn’t give up my 5hr Delta and I don’t even try to make excuses anymore.

But in all seriousness if it gets the job done, why upgrade? If there is a problem with your existing saw or you think there is going to be now is the time upgrade.

I hate to say it but with the current economy cash is king and there are some serious deals to be scored. A co-worker of mine just picked up a 3hrs Powermatic less than 2 years old for $1200 the guy was asking $1500 but the house note was due.

-- Ron - Any day that I don't learn something new is a wasted day.

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3809 posts in 3484 days


#10 posted 07-20-2010 01:03 AM

You’ll be a long time dead. Treat yourself, you love woodworking so make the experience as intense as you can.
Give up tobacco,golf and lent, make your big mac at home but get the tools that let you be who you are.

Apologize to no one.

-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View ClayandNancy's profile

ClayandNancy

511 posts in 2478 days


#11 posted 07-20-2010 01:06 AM

Check the For Sale forum, Don has a General for sale and he’s in your area.

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

5176 posts in 2657 days


#12 posted 07-20-2010 02:50 AM

Greetings Bob, You’ve probably heard me talk about my old Sears saw on here before, but I’ll do it again….. I have a 1984-85 Sears 10” full 3 HP(so they claim) contractor saw that I bought new…... Shortly after I got it, I replaced the fence on it with a Delta Saw Guide, and threw the old fence out to to the pup. It was (is) dead-on accurate, and to this day I still have it. A few months ago I built a cabinet system for it, and now it is my second saw….. I use it for dados and rabbits mostly…. I have a Delta 5 H.P. X5 now, and this thing is a beast… nothing gets to it, or slows it down…. Same way with my old Sears. It still has the original belt, pulleys, and motor, all I did was build the outfeed tables to the left and right after I put on the new fence system… still going strong today… I guess what I’m getting at is that altho I didn’t need a new saw, I always wanted a nice cabinet saw with much more of everything that the Sears didn’t have… I’m glad I made the move. So, if you are happy with your saw, I sugesst upgrading the fence, do a little tweeking on it, make a couple of improvemenmts; or bite the bullet for a new one.. the choice is your, and yours alone….But… we’ll be happy for you either way…. Here’s what you can do to improve an old workhorse….........

-- At my age, an "all--nighter" is not having to get up and pee...!!!

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile

TopamaxSurvivor

17669 posts in 3138 days


#13 posted 07-20-2010 06:24 AM

Thanks for the thoughts and encouragement. Forgot to mention I don’t have room for a 50” wide saw, trying to make room to setup my lathe in the “warehouse”. :-))

Rick, What kind of fence is that on yours?

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

5176 posts in 2657 days


#14 posted 07-20-2010 06:52 AM

Hey Bob,
The fence is an older Delta Saw Guide….. It’s just a step down from the Unifence, and is only 30” rip capacity. I’m not even sure that they make it anymore…. I think maybe the T2 has replaced it, but not sure. It mounted easily to the saw, and is made to mount to any saw besides the Delta….. I bought it about 1988-89, but don’t remember exactly when…..It’s dead-on the money…...

-- At my age, an "all--nighter" is not having to get up and pee...!!!

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TopamaxSurvivor

17669 posts in 3138 days


#15 posted 07-20-2010 06:58 AM

I’ll google t2 and see what I find. Thx:-)

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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