Overhauling old Craftsman table saw

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Forum topic by JBJ posted 12-23-2011 09:34 PM 5998 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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4 posts in 1770 days

12-23-2011 09:34 PM

Topic tags/keywords: craftsman table saw 11329990 overhaul

I have started to overhaul a late 1950 Craftsman table saw (#113.29990) and need some advice now that I have it in pieces. Originally I decided to take the table top off first which left the trunnion? hanging alone. This project started because one needed 2 hands to turn the blade height adjustment wheel.

So I have 2 questions. 1) – What lubrication would one use for the screw adjusting rod for this height adjustment shaft. I have knocked it apart and found it held together with 2 snap-rings, but rotating “metal on metal”…..
2) – Would it be easier to assemble the saw back together by installing the trunnion or mechanism to the underside of the table and then turn it right-side up and place into housing? Any advice would be most appreciated. Thanks.

11 replies so far

View knotscott's profile


7147 posts in 2799 days

#1 posted 12-23-2011 11:09 PM

JBJ – I think a couple of pics would be extremely helpful in helping us visually what you have going on.

I general I like to use white lithium spray on grease. It sprays on wet and dries like a wax so it doesn’t attract dust.

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

View JohnEinNJ's profile


94 posts in 1771 days

#2 posted 12-23-2011 11:34 PM

Have you looked at the Old Woodworking Machines ( site? There are quite a few discussions about rehabing old Craftsman saws.

View Don W's profile

Don W

17882 posts in 1991 days

#3 posted 12-23-2011 11:46 PM

I just took one of those old craftsman apart. I sold most of the parts and kept the top. After taking it apart, I’m very glad I didn’t have to put it back together. I’d lay the top on the bench, turn the whole thing upside down and reattach it to the top. Either way those last few bolts are going to be a pain.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

View Clouseau's profile


55 posts in 2457 days

#4 posted 12-24-2011 02:07 AM

There is a thread going on OWWM now about putting a 34-500 back together. Same issues. Do it upside down or fab a quick box that will allow you to get to the bolts easier. BTW install the trunnions with at least grade 5 bolts. Just a tip from about 30 years ago. I have never needed to adjust mine since.

-- Dan Coleman, retired Welding Inspector and past IA Teacher

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4 posts in 1770 days

#5 posted 12-24-2011 06:33 AM

Thanks for all your suggestions. I’ll use some white lithium grease for the blade height screw. Sending some pics along too. It appears the blade height stop post is bent but I don’t think I need to worry about replacing or trying to straighten. But I was thinking about replacing the arbor bearings, seeing I’ve gone this far. They don’t seem to have very good rolling resistance, but seem tight with no side play.

Overview taken from the front

Photo taken from the left side of the saw (from front position) showing both blade adjusting screws. The angle adjustment screw always worked good. The blade height adjusting screw is on the bottom, under the large “half-moon” gear with a few broken teeth at the beginning.

View IrreverentJack's profile


724 posts in 2267 days

#6 posted 12-24-2011 04:27 PM

I don’t remember my Craftsman contractor saw (80’s-90’s) looking as robust this one (maybe it’s the dual pulley). Yours looks a lot heavier. I recommend getting a set of PALS and a new switch (maybe wires too). Be sure to blow out all the dust in the motor. I lubricated my trunnions with paraffin wax. After wire brushing the screws I brushed on a mixture of warm paraffin/mineral oil/spirits. It was a recipe I found somewhere and it was a PITA. Now I would just buy a dry lubricant coating – probably made for just that application. I put mine together with bicycle inner tube between the table(top) and the side/case and the side/case and the legs. This seems to have reduced the noise and vibration on the saw but I also changed my (clunkier than yours) pulley and put on a link belt so it’s hard to tell. Does anyone know if the castings on these older Emersons are heavier than the newer ones? Good luck. -Jack

View knotscott's profile


7147 posts in 2799 days

#7 posted 12-24-2011 05:26 PM

Great job with the pics. As others have mentioned, it’ll be a lot easier to install the trunnions with the top laying upside down on a bench.

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

View Skipio's profile


9 posts in 1770 days

#8 posted 12-24-2011 10:50 PM

Looking forward to seeing how this goes for you.

My brother is looking to nab a saw, and there is one near me on CL that looks to be the same as yours. He isnt sure if he wants it, but for the price it may be a good place for him to start.

View JBJ's profile


4 posts in 1770 days

#9 posted 12-23-2013 04:58 PM

Well after 2 years with the saw back and operating very nicely, it’s time to move on. Recently the blade height adjustment wheel only works using 2 hands and a “strong arm” and now doesn’t allow the blade full height. I feel like you need a big wrench to adjust height and I’m afraid the white metal adjusting wheel will break under stress. Sorry I never posted more pictures of the rebuild. I’m getting rid of it and unfortunately going to purchase a modern, aluminum table, roll-up contractors saw. It is sad because this saw was my fathers 60 years ago. Anyway, the height adjustment has me so frustrated I’m giving it to a friend. I just don’t understand what happened and why. I paid meticulous attention to putting it back together like it was.

But thank you for reading this post. Long live the Craftsman contractor table saw !

View Tony1212's profile


108 posts in 1158 days

#10 posted 12-23-2013 07:12 PM

I have a 113.29920 circa 1956 that I inherited from my grandfather. I had similar issues but figured out two simple solutions:

- Keep the internal screws (height adjustment and tilt) clean. I just use some WD-40 and a wire brush when they start getting tight. I was afraid of using any type of grease that would collect saw dust faster. I do the WD-40 about twice a year. I mainly only use it on the weekends, though.

- Loosen the nut holding the motor in place. There should be a nut holding the motor in position to keep the belt tight. The motor needs to move when you set the blade height. When you raise the blade, the motor needs to come toward the saw’s body. If you tighten the nut when the blade is lowered, it is darn near impossible to raise the blade. I’ve forgotten to do that a couple of times.

Now I’ve got the opposite problem. My blade tends to lower by itself as I cut. I need to pay close attention to my dadoes as they tend to get shallower the more I cut. In fact, when I build a new cabinet for my saw this spring, I plan on figuring some way of locking the height when I set it.

-- Tony, SW Chicago Suburbs

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Tim Royal

202 posts in 910 days

#11 posted 05-21-2014 11:49 PM

I picked mine up on a curb about 8 years ago and used a Dayton 2 HP motor and cast iron wings I already had on another saw I hated. That saw has had no work done to it at all other than tuning and it cuts like a dream (I also use WD40). I am currently planning a full saw station build around it. I love that saw!

-- -Tim Royal... Always reminded of this when I see the amazing work LJ's do (I have no choice but to be humble!), "Pride makes us artificial and humility makes us real." -Thomas Merton

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