Who has/had an older Craftsman TS?

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Forum topic by Tedstor posted 07-18-2011 11:47 PM 3253 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1643 posts in 2599 days

07-18-2011 11:47 PM

I’m thinking its time to upgrade my TS. The current model is a 1950s Craftsman/King Seely 8” (103 series). It was my first TS, which I bought a year or two ago. At the time, I already owned a band saw, and figured I’d use a TS sparingly for ripping an occasional board. As it turns out, I use it all the time, and wish I could use it more. At $40 and in mint condition, I’m glad I bought it. Its a good saw all things considered, but it has too many limitations.
- 1/2” arbor. I have bushings, but dado blades can be problematic
- Its 1hp. Usually enough, but not always.
- The fence SUCKS. Almost useless. And I’m not spending any $$ to upgrade a fence on a $40 machine.

But there is also some features that I really like about the saw which I hope my next saw will also have.
- Small footprint. Even with both extenstions installed, its pretty compact. I simply don’t have room for a large TS.
- Cast iron top. Very durable and solid feeling. A joy to work with. I also have a few magnetic jigs and featherboards. Aluminum won’t do.
- Belt drive. The direct drive saws I’ve seen/used were loud and had a lot of vibration.

It seems that most modern TS that feature cast iron and are belt driven are too big. I’m thinking a 113 contractor series Craftsman from the 70s or 80s might be a better machine for me. I see them on craigslist all the time for a song. i see similar Delta and Jet machines too from the same era on occasion.

Any thoughts or opinions??

11 replies so far

View saddletramp's profile


1180 posts in 2604 days

#1 posted 07-19-2011 12:20 AM

I’ve had a couple of older (weren’t older at the time, LOL) craftsman table saws and if you can get over the fact that the fences are crap, they were pretty darn good saws. Most certainly you would have to do a fence upgrade but if you can get a good runing older crfmn saw at a resonable price you will be happy with it. One caveat though, IMO do not under any circumstances buy a newer craftsman saw.

-- ♫♪♪♫♫ Saddletramp, saddletramp, I'm as free as the breeze and I ride where I please, saddletramp ♪♪♪♫♪ ...... Bob W....NW Michigan (Traverse City area)

View Tedstor's profile


1643 posts in 2599 days

#2 posted 07-19-2011 12:39 AM

Thanks Bob. My plan was to get a good, inexpensive saw; then immediately slap a Delta T2 fence on it.

And I agree about the newer Craftsman saws. I like the craftsman brand as a whole, but they don’t currently make a bandsaw or tablesaw that I’m overly impressed with.

View knotscott's profile


7980 posts in 3341 days

#3 posted 07-19-2011 01:07 AM

Have you guys been keeping up with the newer line of Cman table saws made by Steel City/Orion?

I’ve owned several older Emerson made Cman contractor saws, and the SC/Orion made Cman 22124. While the Emerson era contractor saws can be tuned to do the job well, and they can often be had for a song, in absolute terms IMHO the 22124 was a far better design from the start than any of the older Emerson or Ryobi made contractor saws I’ve seen. The 22124 had a stouter fence (Biesemeyer), wider solid cast iron table surface, cabinet mounted trunnions, inboard belt drive induction motor with a shorter belt with better power transfer, it had a smaller footprint, better dust collection, and a full enclosure. It weighed in at 425#, would cut to full blade height without much struggle, and ran like a top. Mine wasn’t an isolated case either…these saws enjoyed a lot of success and had a large happy following from 2004 until around 2009 when the 22116 became the updated replacement of the 22124 (also made by SC/Orion).

With that out of the way, any traditional full size contractor saw with an outboard motor has a bigger footprint than a cabinet saw, hybrid, and newer contractor style saw with an inboard motor.

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

View Camper's profile


232 posts in 2822 days

#4 posted 07-19-2011 06:19 AM

Tedstor, the other day I took apart a model #113.27610 (50s-60s) and put it back together just to see what the guts were like and clean it up a bit. It is not a user and I may restore it one day maybe or find it a good home. In any case, I was very impressed with how solid it was. Mostly cast iron and solid parts. I agree that if you put on a good fence it would make a very nice saw.

-- Tampa-FL

View superstretch's profile


1531 posts in 2659 days

#5 posted 07-19-2011 08:04 AM

I have a 113.27521 that I’ve had in my shop for a couple weeks now. I put a ZCI in it and it had a 10” dewalt blade. The saw has been an heirloom and far outpaces my plastic craftsman 10” from a couple years back.

That old saw tore through 3/4” plywood with 0 bog down of the motor.. And the blade sings!

-- Dan, Rochester, NY

View JimDaddyO's profile


543 posts in 3045 days

#6 posted 07-19-2011 04:19 PM

I have a 1972 Craftsman direct drive TS that I inheirited from my dad. There is a blog on it’s restoration. I put it on a cart and made my own fence for about $50. With new Freud thin kerf blades it does a really good job.

-- my blog: my You Tube channel:

View Carl Webster's profile

Carl Webster

82 posts in 2764 days

#7 posted 07-19-2011 06:46 PM

I own two of the old Craftsman 113 series table saws with belt drives. I agree with the other “posters” that with the proper fences these saws can be very serviceable. I have used mine for general carpentry projects, cabinet work and for building furniture. One of my saws was bought new over 30 years ago and the other saw was purchased off of Craig’s list in the last couple of years.

-- Carl in SC

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

5807 posts in 3160 days

#8 posted 07-19-2011 08:47 PM

Hiya Tedstor,

I have an old Craftsman t.s. that I bought in 1985. It’s a 113.298. It’s a full 3 h.p.and belt drive. If you want to see what you can do to improve these old saws, go to my Blogs, and read “A new look for an old workhorse” with full explanation and pixs. I’ve still got this saw, and use it now only for making dados and rabbits. I have an ‘09 Delta Unisaw X5 for all other work, and I have these back-to-back in my shop. You can see it also in my shop pixs. Fixed up and taken care of these are real workhorses…..Good luck in finding one…they are out there…just keep looking…...

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

View Don W's profile

Don W

18685 posts in 2533 days

#9 posted 07-19-2011 09:17 PM

I’ve got this one.
Here is what I bought. It was $60.

Here it is today.

I’ve obviously upgraded the fence – I decided to build my own. I added a new 3 hp Leeson woodworking motor. Added the router table with lift. Dust collection (that the threaded rod coming out of the front)

Its served me fine. I haven’t had any new thoughts of upgrading.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View RibsBrisket4me's profile


1554 posts in 2471 days

#10 posted 07-20-2011 02:38 AM

Knotscott always gives good advice on this topic. Lots of other good advice here as well.

I have a 113. era Emerson C-man saw, with a Ridgid fence and I love it.

View RibsBrisket4me's profile


1554 posts in 2471 days

#11 posted 07-20-2011 02:40 AM

BTW., there are saw like mine on CL daily for 125-175. Clean it up, add fence, link belt and nice blade and you’re in business :-)

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