Advice on cleaning up an old table saw

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Forum topic by price posted 01-17-2012 03:14 AM 3356 views 0 times favorited 51 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View price's profile


46 posts in 2286 days

01-17-2012 03:14 AM

Been reading these forms forever now and finally broke down and registered. I recently bought an old Powermatic Artisan table saw off craigslist. It runs fine and the top is rust free but the ‘guts’ are a mess – all gunked up with what I suppose is compacted saw dust. Its pretty much everywhere. I used an old screw driver to get it out of the bevel adjustment track but I’m wondering if I need to take this saw apart and steam clean or pressure wash all the rest of it out of there. Will I be able to get everything all square etc. without getting the 20 years or so of debris out of there? Any thoughts or tips?

51 replies so far

View bondogaposis's profile


4682 posts in 2315 days

#1 posted 01-17-2012 04:42 AM

Can you get an owners manual for it? It would really help if you take it apart to have some diagrams to help put it back together. If it was mine I’d be tearing to it and cleaning and re-oiling and adjusting and tuning.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View devann's profile


2246 posts in 2656 days

#2 posted 01-17-2012 05:49 AM

Here you go .

-- Darrell, making more sawdust than I know what to do with

View William's profile


9949 posts in 2806 days

#3 posted 01-17-2012 05:57 AM

If I got ahold of a saw that old, I would completely disassemble it and clean everything and reassemble it. However, I done mechanic work most of my life. If I disassemble it, I can reassemble it. I guess what I’m saying is, if you’re not very mechanically inclined, I agree that a manual would be helpful.
As for getting everything back square and true afterwards, most old saws were made with even more quality than most of what you buy today. Everything is adjustable so that it can be gotten back true. Actually, depending on how it has been taken care of, it probably needs squaring up anyway. Every used saw I’ve messed with was out of square and had to be realligned.
Luckily, unless you wind up with a pretty rare piece of machinery, manuals for most everything is available through some research online.


View price's profile


46 posts in 2286 days

#4 posted 01-17-2012 05:19 PM

Thanks for the replies. I found a manual for it, and I’m told that a grizzly 1022 is a clone of it, so I can use those parts if I can’t find them from PM. It needs some adjusting for sure now I just need to find the time…

View IrreverentJack's profile


727 posts in 2807 days

#5 posted 01-17-2012 06:47 PM

Price, Don’t use steam or a pressure washer. I would use brass brushes (grill brush-pot brush) and a shop vac to start. WD-40 and finer wire brushes after most of the crud is off. The height and tilt adjustments needs to move freely. A simple cleaning and lube might be all it takes to make this a user. If you steam clean or pressure wash you will probably need to rebuild it. Good luck. -Jack

View StumpyNubs's profile


7578 posts in 2764 days

#6 posted 01-17-2012 07:15 PM

Keep the pressure washer away! Moisture and cast iron don’t mix!

I think you should take some photos and start a blog here on LJ’s. We would love to see the progress as you go through it!

-Jim; aka “Stumpy Nubs”
(The greatest woodworking show since the invention of wood is now online!)

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications:

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3137 days

#7 posted 01-17-2012 07:18 PM

I actually think this is a good place to use WD-40. It cuts gunk and grease pretty well, and won’t promote rust.

Nylon or brass (read: soft) bristle brushes work well, along with compressed air.

-- -- Neil

View Viking's profile


880 posts in 3159 days

#8 posted 01-17-2012 07:23 PM

Once cleaned out, probably air hose and nozzle (dust mask /eye protection) you might try dry lube first. I have had very good service using the PB Blaster dry lube on my table saw’s innards.

Good luck.

-- Rick Gustafson - Lost Creek Ranch - Colorado County, Texas

View Bullhusk's profile


10 posts in 2300 days

#9 posted 01-17-2012 09:24 PM

I completely restored my 1950 Delta Unisaw this summer. I dove right in and tore everything apart, sandblasted, replaced bearings, primered, painted and clearcoated it. My best advice is to make sure you take lots of pictures of each component that you take apart so you have a reference to how it’s supposed to go back together. Also, make sure you have a dial indicator if you replace any bearings. Keep everything organized and you’ll be ok. Also, make sure you tape off everything you don’t want to get painted like the teeth on any gear or any moving parts.

If sandblasting is not an option, any type of the paste type paint remover and a scraper works well. Just takes more time.

-- -- Ryan --

View bbjjj's profile


29 posts in 2295 days

#10 posted 01-18-2012 02:33 AM

It sounds like the saw is in overall good condition. I have cleaned up about a dozen or so Delta model 10 contractors saws in the last few years. Some were very rusty and some not. WD40 will work very well in dissolving the resins that have built up on your saw. Spray all of the moving parts liberally and operate the hand wheels for the blade over and over several times. You will find that it will be much easier to raise and lower and tilt the blade once everything is cleaned and lubed. Most of the 10” contractor table saws have been patterned after the original Delta Model 10 and so was your Artisan which was introduced to compete with the Jet contractor saw. These are very easy to adjust by just loosening the 4 bolts that hold the trunnion assembly, then you can align the blade with the miter gauge slots. If you have a dial indicator it makes it a lot easier. You can use a stiff wire brush on any of the gears on the saw because they are hardened steel.

View Loren's profile (online now)


10250 posts in 3611 days

#11 posted 01-18-2012 02:54 AM

brass brushes. You can get cheap wood-handled ones in the shape
of a toothbrush and they work great for that gunked-up sawdust-and-grease

View price's profile


46 posts in 2286 days

#12 posted 01-18-2012 04:41 AM

OK, so a good spray and scrubbing are clearly in order, maybe that will solve the problem of the blade not quite being square to the table top, but there is so much build up I may just take it apart. When I start I’ll try to document it with pics as much as possible for future blog posts, but with a wife and a 3 year old time is at a premium. I will necro the thread when I start. Thanks everybody

View Tyrone D's profile

Tyrone D

314 posts in 2296 days

#13 posted 01-19-2012 02:29 AM

In which way is the blade not square to the tabletop? Is it not parallel with the miter slots or will it not go perpendicular to the table? All of these things should be adjustable.

-- --Tyrone - BC, Canada "Nothing is ever perfect, we just run out of time."

View price's profile


46 posts in 2286 days

#14 posted 01-19-2012 03:00 AM

Its not quire perpendicular to the table. I know its adjustable, but my thought was there is probably something in the track that is keeping from getting to where it needs to go, this is what started me down the path to a tear down.

View William's profile


9949 posts in 2806 days

#15 posted 01-19-2012 03:04 AM

On a lot of saws, there is a positive stop somewhere that stops the blade at zero degrees. This is sometimes an allen set screw through the table, or some type of set screw below the table. Anyway, these set screws sometimes get buildup on them and prevents the blade from coming all the way up to true zero. I’d check this before going any further if I understand your problem correctly.

I’ve had this problem with my Ridgid so bad that I have backed the set screw all the way out and left it that way. Everytime you change the angle of the blade from zero, it gets sawdust on this screw and you have to get something to blow it off before even attempting to get the blade back to the proper position. I got tired of messing with it and just no longer depend on a positive stop on that saw. I don’t trust them anyway.


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