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Delta Contractor Saw Upgrades

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Forum topic by ras61 posted 04-20-2014 02:48 AM 3252 views 0 times favorited 38 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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ras61

92 posts in 988 days


04-20-2014 02:48 AM

Yesterday in my continuing unsuccessful search for a good used cabinet saw, I had some luck in a slightly different direction. I ran across a local CL listing for a “Delta table saw”, which ended up being a 36-430 2000 series contractor saw that the owner was letting it go for the low, low price of … wait for it …. FREE!
That’s right, this guy inherited it from a relative, rarely used it, and just wanted it gone and was happy to give it to someone who would use it. While not a cabinet saw, these are suppose to be very good machines, made in the USA, and maybe all the machine I’ll ever need – and heck, since it was free, what did I have to lose? It’s in very good condition with the exception of a rusty top, and some elbow grease should easily take care of that, but there are a couple other issues I’d appreciate some input on:

- The saw has been sitting a while, so I plan to replace the old V belt. I’ve only read good things about link belts, especially for these types of saws, so this appears to be a natural choice. My question is should I also get the machined pulleys as well? Some say they help reduce vibration, and others say the original pulleys are already machined and they’re unnecessary – what do you think?

- It has stamped steel extension wings which I’d like to replace with cast iron. What options are there, and what are the best sources. I’ve read that unisaw wings will bolt directly to the contractor saw top, true?

- Are there any other upgrades I should consider, PALS perhaps?

Thanks for the help.
Russ

-- "South Carolina is too small for a republic and too large for an insane asylum" - James L. Petigru, 1860


38 replies so far

View mikeevens45's profile

mikeevens45

68 posts in 1043 days


#1 posted 04-20-2014 03:01 AM

Russ I have a Rockwell 36-400///link belt is like night and day…lta402 is the cast iron wing numbers for 27 inch table about 50 each on ebay plus 22 shipping…that’s where I got my 2….just ordered a pals set after about 4 hours of fighting for the last 32nd of an inch…ill let you know if 2 sets work better or are needed. the fence bar bolts on the end are left open because the wings are tapered and the bolts line up with air…I did upgrade the switch to a heavy duty push button…peachtree sells the pals for20.99 plus 6 shipping.. let me know if ya need anything else….vintagemachinery.org has parts and owner manuals for a lot of these saws…oh yea I didn’t get the pulleys but mine were nice shape

mike evens

-- as technology progresses, wood workers seem to regress...all my power tools and my favorite is a chisel and a hand plane

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,

2387 posts in 3014 days


#2 posted 04-20-2014 03:24 AM

The only thing I would consider is replacing what is bad on the saw and then placing a new sharp thin kerf on it and begin bargain hunting for a nice fence and a decent overarm guard dust collection port. My fence choice would be t square type, maybe Delta T2, used bies, maybe accufence. And bies made a nice overarm I keep looking for used.

-- .

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Tooch

1352 posts in 1343 days


#3 posted 04-20-2014 03:26 AM

A long time ago I had a Delta Unisaw with a Beisemeyer (spelling) extended fence attached. it was roughly 54” wide, bolted right onto the front of the contractor saw and side table, and had a blade guard/dust shoot that worked well.

there is a pic of the rig, (yes, I know that IS a cabinet saw.) with a little ingenuity amd a sheet of MDF you can fit that onto your contractor saw. Good Luck!

-- "Well, the world needs ditch-diggers too..." - Judge Smails

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woodchuckerNJ

1154 posts in 1101 days


#4 posted 04-20-2014 03:32 AM

I have a forrest thin kerf… I would recommend the regular kerf blade.
While it cuts nicely, when I want to make tapers or put the blade on angle, it deflects even with the dampner.
Just put the 1/8 on.. When I cut with my other 1/8 the saw still has enough power… mine is a delta contractor saw.. about 2001 vintage.

-- Jeff NJ

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,

2387 posts in 3014 days


#5 posted 04-20-2014 03:40 AM

The overarm shown in the above pic is the one we have on our PM66 and we love that overarm. I am looking to buy 2 more of those overarms down the road.

-- .

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Adcolor

7 posts in 965 days


#6 posted 04-20-2014 05:27 AM

I put an old original round tube Unisaw fence on mine. Slight mounting screw/washer/spacer work, but works well. Otherwise mine is a great second saw (nice to be able to leave one set up for second functions—rip with it, use to make jigs with as you go, etc).

Get/make a rolling base for it. —and a couple of tables the same height with locking wheels (in/out feed, or as a table extension). It is an underrated saw that has been replaced by the plastic/lightweight job portable saws.

And it was free!

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NiteWalker

2735 posts in 2044 days


#7 posted 04-20-2014 10:06 AM

- I wouldn’t bother with machined pulleys. Just get the link belt and align the current pulleys if necessary.

- I’d choose shop-built extensions over cast iron. The main reasons are cost, options and no rust. Cast iron wings will be pretty expensive. A simple oak or maple frame under a sheet of 1/2” or 3/4” formica laminated baltic birch or other high quality plywood makes for a great extension. Hardwood braces underneath will keep it flat. Also, you can put a router in one (or both!) of the extensions. Basically, cast iron wings are nice, but not a necessity.

- Maybe PALS if you have trouble with alignment, but I’d use them as a last resort.
Other upgrades you should consider:
- Zero clearance inserts
- Crosscut sled
- Outfeed table
- Push shoes
All can be made pretty cheaply.
- Skip expensive tablesaw blades. I’ve been using these since I started woodworking. They cut close to a forrest blade supposedly (I’ve never used a forrest) at a fraction of the cost. No need to sharpen. When it gets dull, toss it. Or save it for cutting less blade friendly materials, like aluminum or pallet wood.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

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knotscott

7224 posts in 2843 days


#8 posted 04-20-2014 11:32 AM

The link belt or other high quality cogged v-belt are a worthwhile upgrade. I wouldn’t spend the money on new pulleys unless they’re they’re dinged up and/or are causing vibration.

Any full size 27” deep cast iron wing can be modified to fit your saw…some drilling may be required. Any full size Delta wing should be a direct fit. You can also build your own wings that are flatter, smoother, and stronger than the stock steel wings.

For $20 I’d add a set of PALS….they’ll make alignment easier, and help hold the alignment better. If the alignment is already perfect, I wouldn’t bother.

I”m not sure what fence is on that saw (pics would help and are mandatory for claims of new tool acquisitions….it’s an “alleged” saw until proven otherwise!), but a good fence is always a plus….excellent aftermarket fences start at ~ $180 for something like the Delta T2 (which should be a direct bolt on).

Saw blade selection and good alignment are the keys to the final performance of your saw. You don’t need to spend a fortune if you’re careful with your blade selection.

Current Saw Blade Bargains
ABCs of Picking Saw Blades

Some good inserts can’t hurt….they should strong, flat, and flush….I like phenolic.

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

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

3950 posts in 1960 days


#9 posted 04-20-2014 12:43 PM

I used one for many years with the stamped steel wings, they work just fine. Use them a while and then see if you can figure a reason to replace them. I did put PALS on mine, I wasn’t able to get it aligned until I did (a problem I created). I’ll also 3rd (or 4th, whatever the count is) to put a link bet on it (the real one from Fenner). Huge difference in smoothness.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View ras61's profile

ras61

92 posts in 988 days


#10 posted 04-20-2014 01:01 PM

Fred – I was planning to get the link belt from Harbor Freight (they seem to be cheapest), is Fenner different or better?

-- "South Carolina is too small for a republic and too large for an insane asylum" - James L. Petigru, 1860

View Shawn Masterson's profile

Shawn Masterson

1297 posts in 1416 days


#11 posted 04-20-2014 04:31 PM

Here is the bigger picture. A stranger gave you a very nice TS.
1 – I think a thank you project is in order, A cutting board or something similar for previous owner, I would leave it on their porch with a bow and a note.
2 – Just a personal thing I do If there is something of that nature that was gifted to me, If I replace it I would pass the gifted one on to another. It’s just good karma.

View woodchuckerNJ's profile

woodchuckerNJ

1154 posts in 1101 days


#12 posted 04-20-2014 04:56 PM

ras61, either link belt will work. I have used both in the shop and I can’t tell the diff.
I think my saw has the hf… my band saw the fenner, my drill press had the hf but it was too wide to get certain speeds… while the fenner would not fit on the dp…

They are both good quality. The HF unit used to be made in usa, and is now made in italy. Add one of the 25% off coupons and you have a real good deal.

-- Jeff NJ

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ras61

92 posts in 988 days


#13 posted 04-20-2014 05:32 PM

Shawn – Great idea, once I get the saw cleaned and tuned up I’m definitely going to try and build a thank you (even if it’s best use ends up being kindling!) ;)

-- "South Carolina is too small for a republic and too large for an insane asylum" - James L. Petigru, 1860

View Shawn Masterson's profile

Shawn Masterson

1297 posts in 1416 days


#14 posted 04-21-2014 12:13 AM

It really is amazing how 1 random act of kindness can warm you right up.

View ras61's profile

ras61

92 posts in 988 days


#15 posted 04-21-2014 07:32 PM

!
Here’s a picture of the saw. The rail was removed for transport, and will remain off until the top is cleaned of rust:

-- "South Carolina is too small for a republic and too large for an insane asylum" - James L. Petigru, 1860

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