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I've got a Betamax table saw

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Forum topic by steiner posted 03-29-2009 06:56 AM 6321 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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steiner

281 posts in 2813 days


03-29-2009 06:56 AM

Hey y’all! I’m just getting into woodworking. It all started with a decent miter saw that I used to install paint grade crown chair rail and baseboard with (and I have to say, I did I great job too). I’m in the process of making one of those Wood Whisperer end grain cutting boards, from rough stock that I milled at a friend’s shop. I love doing this stuff.

And a while ago, a friend gave me an old Rockwell 9” contractor’s table saw! Little rust to clean up. I’ve been reading all your helpful posts about dealing with rust. I was able to find a new 9” blade for it (but they cost a small fortune). This Betamax of saws seems to be a great piece of equipment! The blade seems to be true to the miter slots, and I’m actually waiting for the glue to dry on a crosscut sled that I’m making for it.

The one thing I really need to do for it is get a good fence. I’m a newbie, but even this newbie knows that this old thing just ain’t workin’. So my question is, how do I go about doing it? Will there even be fences out there that will fit my old Betamax? I notice that the fence is fastened to the saw with three bolts that appear to be spaced about 6 1/4” apart. Is this this pretty much standard? Or is it just standard for 9-inchers?

I’d also be interested in knowing if any of y’all (yeah I wasn’t born here, but I’ve pretty much been Texafied) have ever seen 9” saws or when they came into existence. Don’t know what year this is, but maybe one of you lifetime jocks can help me with a little history on the 9-inch saw. If I can get a decent fence for it, I’ll definitely keep it while I get other stuff like a band saw or planer next.

Thanks!

-- Scott - Houston, Texas


15 replies so far

View Woodchuck1957's profile

Woodchuck1957

944 posts in 3227 days


#1 posted 03-29-2009 07:05 AM

This is a 34-608 Rockwell Model 9 inch Contractors saw that I picked up last fall. Going by the serial number, I’d say it was built in 1984. The Unifence is a fairly easy install, as with most things, if you take your time and have a some patience and common sense it goes pretty well, it’s a great fence in my opinion, and perfect for the saw. Rockwell also made a couple earlier versions of the saw, the 34-600 Rockwell 9 inch Builders saw, and the 34-643 Rockwell 9 inch Deluxe table saw. they had what I would describe as a retro style cabinet and handwheels, the guts of the saw were pretty much the same if not identical. If you look around, there are some reasonably priced 9 inch blades out there, Freud has a few in Amazon.com starting at $25.

View steiner's profile

steiner

281 posts in 2813 days


#2 posted 03-29-2009 06:31 PM

Thanks Woodchuck. Very helpful info. Found the serial number and model on mine last night (should’ve seen right away, but never did). Mine is the 34-607. And if the last two digits of the s/n indicate the year, then mine’s an ‘83. Mine has an enclosed base, but the back is missing. Might be one of those retro saws you mentioned. Looks like if I make a back panel for it, I can use a dust collector. There’s a port at the bottom. All I have is a shop vac with a good filter right now, but that would be better than nothing.

I have the same opinion of my saw. Seems like it’s well built. Good info about the fence. I’m going to start looking for one.

Thanks for the tip on blades. The gen purpose one I got locally at a very good shop in Houston was about $75. In fact, I see that this shop was the original seller of this saw – Their badge is still on it. I need to get a fine toothed blade for it.

-- Scott - Houston, Texas

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Woodchuck1957

944 posts in 3227 days


#3 posted 03-29-2009 07:07 PM

Steiner, here is a website incase you need more information on your saw, or would like to look at other old machines in the future. OWWM.com The dust collection hood that I added under the saw, plus the sheet metal work that I’ve done on the back of the saw cabinet work pretty well, even with a shop vac it doesn’t do too bad. I just added a 4” to 2 1/2” reducer to hook it up to a old Craftsman 16 gal, shop vac. Here is a link to the dust collection setup that might expain it all a little better. As far as a fine tooth blade goes, I’m guessing you want to do alot of crosscuting on the saw, I find in most cases if the board isn’t too wide that a compound miter saw is really the best machine for the purpose. I mostly do ripping on the table saw, and that a full kerf 24 tooth or 40 tooth blade meets my needs.

View EEngineer's profile

EEngineer

1061 posts in 3076 days


#4 posted 03-29-2009 08:00 PM

I have an old “Betamax” table saw, too. It’s a 1950’s Craftsman 8” table saw. I upgraded to a “newer” 10” table saw(only 40 years old instead of 50+), but I just couldn’t throw the old one away. I am in the process of fixing it up for my brother. I got the new bearings in it and fixed the tilt mechanism this weekend.

Fences are a real problem for these smaller sizes. Most of the aftermarket fences are designed for the 10” saws. Although woodchuck did a decent job retrofitting the Unifence to his saw, I elected to build a fence for this one before I turn it over to my brother. Inspiration was brianinpa’s homemade fence. He got it from “Shop Tested Woodworking Tools You Can Make”, a book from the editors of Wood Magazine. I started on the fence today, should be finished in a week or 2 (yeah, right! I’m a part-time woodworker). I intend to post it when it is finished.

When I was looking for blades, I found that some manufacturers make blades for these Betamax saws but few people stock them. Woodchuck mentioned Freud and everyone’s favorite, Forrest, makes their WWII in both 8” and 9” sizes. CMT makes an 8” which is what I ended up with. I had more trouble with the arbor size of my saw, 1/2” instead of the more common 5/8” but lotsa places seem to stock adaptors.

-- "Find out what you cannot do and then go do it!"

View Woodchuck1957's profile

Woodchuck1957

944 posts in 3227 days


#5 posted 03-29-2009 11:22 PM

Why I recommend the Unifence for these saws is that they don’t require a back rail, and the fence can easily be cut to length. On these saws the distance the cast iron top from front to back is about 5 inches shorter than a 10” Contractor’s saw. I also like the Unifence because it can be slid back to the begining of the cut for cut off operations without worrying about geting the cutoff caught between the blade and the fence, plus it’s a good accurate fence system.

View steiner's profile

steiner

281 posts in 2813 days


#6 posted 03-30-2009 07:09 AM

Woodchuck, thanks for the OWWM link. Didn’t take long for me to find one machine on there that’s just like mine. The owner said that machine was probably built in ‘77. That’s a good site. I’ll have to spend some time there. Amazing what resources there are out there.

Spent a couple of this evening sanding the table. I used 180 grit, spraying WD-40 to keep it wet. Went through lots of cycles of “spray, sand, wipe”. The initial rust came off fairly quickly, but I still have a little more to go to get rid of rust created by what looks like a coke can ring. For the miter slots, I’ll just have to slightly undersize a strip of wood to put sandpaper around, I suppose. I ran out and snapped a couple of photos of the saw just now, but I can’t get them uploaded for some reason. Does this site allow uploads? Or just links to photo sites? Good info on the fence.

Woodchuck, your saw stand sure looks great. Did you repaint it? That’s the one thing that I’m a little worried about with this saw. I’ve got some rust taking over in a couple of spots.

EE, didn’t know they made anything smaller than a 9-inch. The fence building thing looks like a pretty good challenge. I’ll have to look into it. It may just come down to how much the unifence costs. I’ve read all about Forrest blades, so it’s good to know they make them in my size. Fortunately, I don’t have the arbor issue. Was relieved to see 5/8”. In fact my friend that gave me the saw had a 7 1/4” circ saw blade in there at the time. I can see that I really need to just disassemble the whole thing and clean and lubricate it. Then maybe I’ll find out what a trunnion is. Have to say, I was dreading doing this, but I’m loving it. I think I can actually restore this to a very nice saw (and I’m already thinking about an extension, building a cabinet around it, an outfeed table…

Newbie question of the day: Woodchuck, what’s the bearing-looking thing beside the fence that’s hanging over the table?

And, what to do when I’ve got it all sanded? No auto wax, I’ve read. Probably won’t go for Johnson’s Foor wax, because of conflicting stories about it. Britwax maybe?

Thanks guys,

-- Scott - Houston, Texas

View Woodchuck1957's profile

Woodchuck1957

944 posts in 3227 days


#7 posted 03-30-2009 02:29 PM

Steiner, there is a new product ( liquid ) out there that is supose to remove rust fairly easy, but I can’t remember the name of it now, maybe someone here will jump in and tell us. I would either use that or use a wire brush in the miter slot, I think sanding is a little too agressive, especially in the miter slot, you don’t want to take so much out that a miter gauge becomes slpppy in the slot. Steel wool or a Scotch Brite pad and WD40 are another option. I did repaint the stand on my 9” saw with Rustoleum Smoke Gray, the saw cabinet I didn’t have to. The thing that looks like a bearing laying flat on the table is part of the fence, it keeps the fence from draging along on the saws top surface. It’s like whats on the bottom of some chairs so the chair doesn’t mar the floor, the bottom side of it is a poly dfisc. This is why the Unifence does not need a back rail to keep the fence off the saws top. At one time you could pickup a Unifence at Lowes for $150 so you should be able to find one eventually on the net for around that price. I use the Minwax paste wood floor wax, only because I couldn’t find the Johnsons paste at the time, never had a problem with it.

View Eduardo Rodriguez's profile

Eduardo Rodriguez

37 posts in 2834 days


#8 posted 03-30-2009 04:17 PM

Hi Steiner, I built my table saw fence, after the original broke. I live outside US, and is very difficult to access an aftermarket fence like Biesemeyer, Delta or Vega, so I decide to build my own. Off course, I know a little bit of metalworking (welding and drilling) and the challenge was good. Surfing in the web i found many people who decide to build a TS fence. Mr. Joe Emenecker (http://joe.emenaker.com/Table-Saw%20Fence/Building%20Your%20Own%20T-Square%20Style%20Table-Saw%20Fence.htm) had a detailed process and you also can contact him, in order to clarify any questions.

-- Tempus fugit...better work wood!!!

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8523 posts in 3111 days


#9 posted 03-30-2009 05:02 PM

Eduardo – thanks for the link, this is good info!

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Eduardo Rodriguez's profile

Eduardo Rodriguez

37 posts in 2834 days


#10 posted 03-30-2009 10:00 PM

Mr. Emenaker really did a good job, is hard to do but worth every minute.

-- Tempus fugit...better work wood!!!

View Woodchuck1957's profile

Woodchuck1957

944 posts in 3227 days


#11 posted 04-01-2009 05:31 AM

Steiner, you have to upload a pic from a photo site like Photobucket. It’s kind of a hassle, but it’s worth the extra step I guess, this is a good website, more pluses than minuses.

View steiner's profile

steiner

281 posts in 2813 days


#12 posted 04-01-2009 03:57 PM

Thanks Woodchuck. That’s what I was thinking. It would sure cut down on the size and cost of the website to have links rather than all those space-hogging pixels. Makes sense.

And thanks Eduardo for the link. If I get brave enough someday, I may try it.

-- Scott - Houston, Texas

View interpim's profile

interpim

1158 posts in 2921 days


#13 posted 04-01-2009 07:11 PM

I saw one of these yesterday on Craigslist for $50… (San Diego Area)

If I didn’t just buy the Ridgid saw, I think that would have been a great deal.

-- San Diego, CA

View HokieMojo's profile

HokieMojo

2103 posts in 3191 days


#14 posted 04-01-2009 07:33 PM

woodchuck may have been talking about evaporust for the liquid rust removal.

View Woodchuck1957's profile

Woodchuck1957

944 posts in 3227 days


#15 posted 04-01-2009 08:09 PM

Yes Hokie, thankyou.

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