Researching Powermatic 72 cabinet saw with unusual fence before eval/purchase

  • Advertise with us

« back to Power Tools, Hardware and Accessories forum

Forum topic by justahobby posted 03-12-2014 08:33 PM 5234 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View justahobby's profile


19 posts in 2783 days

03-12-2014 08:33 PM

Topic tags/keywords: powermatic model 72 pm72 unusual fence cabinet saw 1980 aftermarket splitter

In my quest for a cabinet saw, I’ve been keeping an eye on CraigsList and local auctions for some time. I recently came accross this Powermatic 72 built in 1980. I’ve been through all the docs at OWWM/ VM and a few others, but a couple things still linger unanswered.

1) In trying to figure if parts are available, are the 72A series saws a minor/ major evolution of the 72 series or completely different (parts wise)?

2) It would seem I can get an original (NOS) splitter/ guard assembly for ~$140+S&H but does anyone have experience with aftermarket models which fit?

3) The fence pictured (detail pic below) does not seem to be referenced in any PM catalog or manual (or web page) I could find. Does anyone have a name/ model number for it? I would guess it’s strong, but not so easy to move repeatedly. By all I could find this should have come with a round or square rail “Accu-Fence”.

This would be my first piece of ‘old arn’, so I am trying to cover all foreseeable issues, and I appreciate any feedback or educated guesses.

10 replies so far

View unbob's profile


810 posts in 2109 days

#1 posted 03-12-2014 09:26 PM

I happen to have a little later 72a gold paint.
The fence that is there is a rack and pinion fence, Those are beyond stout, and most useful when using a power feeder, as they simply will not deflect.
That type of fence, is a bit slow in setting, more or less for production cutting a lot of wood to the same size.
That type of fence has limited center ram movement and must be repositioned using the holes on the table.
However, the adjustments are precise for the ram, but it also depends on the hole locations when moving it. The fence has yaw adjustment for dialing it in square.
For general work, and speed, a regular fence would probably be better, but I wouldn’t give away that fence either.
Parts, I have not had to buy anything, the saw is built well. The photo shows a saw that looks to be in great condition.

View Jeff Heath's profile

Jeff Heath

67 posts in 3275 days

#2 posted 03-12-2014 09:39 PM

Great saw. I completely dismantled and restored one a couple years ago. They are well built, with very stout castings. The trunnions inside weigh almost a couple hundred pounds. You’ve also got the cast iron extension wing, which is as rare as hens teeth. The rack and pinion is also rare, and while I wouldn’t consider it a daily user fence, I wouldn’t sell it, either. If you ever set the saw up with a power feeder, you will be happy to have it. Otherwise, as already recommended ^^^, get yourself a good biesemeyer and you’re set. If needed, the bearings aren’t difficult to replace.

It appears as though its mostly complete, and you can easily clean that top if you want with a scotchbrite pad and some wd-40. I very much dislike people who think a cast iron surface is a bar top.

Here’s mine:

-- Jeff Heath

View AnonymousRequest's profile


861 posts in 1754 days

#3 posted 03-12-2014 10:08 PM

Nice looking saw. WOW, I wonder what the table weighs. I’ve seen similar fences on Oliver and Tannewitz production saws. I have no experience with the saw or fence type but I would certainly take any advice the above 2 guys would give. I follow owwm and Jeff Heath knows his stuff about old arn.

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3853 days

#4 posted 03-12-2014 10:15 PM

Those type fences are usually seen on patternmaker
style variety saws, among the heaviest and most
accurate table saws made. Northfield still fits their
table saws with that kind of fence.

View justahobby's profile


19 posts in 2783 days

#5 posted 03-12-2014 11:27 PM

I did not realize it was rack and pinion, I could only see the dovetail ways, but that explains the handwheel beneath the tightening knob. It really is fierce-looking. I am contemplating a feeder down the road to keep my hands away from the blade, and have read a fair number of people recommend clamping or stopping the back end of a Beise-style fence to avoid flexure when a feeder is in use.

@Jeff Heath
You must be right about the 25” extension…I only observed it on a handful off all the pictures in my various search results. That’s a really nice restoration you have there…was re-aligning the main table to the blade very difficult? I’m debating wether or not to move it myself, which would require removing the table. If this comes to fruition, I hope my restore looks half so well as yours!

I believe the main table and 25” extension are in the 250-300lb range. the 11” sections ~100lbs. I’m looking into a local rigger for an estimate. :-)

With such a rigid mounting/ structure, that would make sense.

View unbob's profile


810 posts in 2109 days

#6 posted 03-13-2014 06:40 AM

I moved the one I have with help from one other old guy like me.
We got it into the back of a full size pickup like this. Pulled the motor- removed the table wings/fence- worked it up on 4X4s to get some height to the bed- Then tipped it on to its top and pushed it in with a piece of plywood to protect the top. Got it out the same way.
I would try to at least block the motor up with wood for transport, so as the weight of the motor is not bouncing in transit on the elevation worm and rack.
Interesting some one here would consider a good saw like that, most are looking at toy like objects that sort of look like a saw.

View justahobby's profile


19 posts in 2783 days

#7 posted 03-13-2014 03:16 PM

I had read of that tip-over technique, but the only 2 people I know with a pickup don’t want to risk any scratchs. Not realy “working” trucks, I should guess. That’s a good pointer on the motor, whichever way I transport, I’ll make sure it’s secured.

I like the 72/A series for the ~21” of table in front of the blade. In my experience, more table/ support (and weight) has always made cuts easier (up to a point, clearly, but more than is generally provided). Besides, who wants a saw that might move during a cut if bumped? :-)

View justahobby's profile


19 posts in 2783 days

#8 posted 03-14-2014 05:31 PM

Hey, all,

I’d like to thank you all for your help with my questions, and with the extra suggestions for moving the saw. Unfortunately, when I contacted the seller to set up an appointment to see the saw, he advised me that he has “not received a reasonable offer so I have taken the saw off the market for now”. I replied with a range I was expecting to work within and my research to back it up, as well as what would increase/ decrease my position, but I am not too hopeful.

Again, thank you!

View TheGermanJoiner's profile


847 posts in 1843 days

#9 posted 03-14-2014 07:40 PM

Sorry to hear that. Keep ur eye out you’ll find something

-- Greg - Ferdinand and Son Construction: Do it right the first time. Like us on Facebook

View wemakestuff's profile


1 post in 864 days

#10 posted 08-06-2016 08:56 PM

I have a 1988 model of same saw. I’ve moved it twice this way. Rent a Ryder 16 foot truck with lift gate. Get two pieces of Masonite 1/8 inch. Slide the saew onto the first piece, then alternate till you get to the outside. It weights about 950 but should slide easily. BE CAREFUL using the lift gate.
I lvoe my saw, only issue is no way for second wrench on the arbor.

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