Table Saw Restoration (part 3)

It is finishedAt long last, this beast is done.  Well, as done as it’s going to be for now.  There’s a few modifications I’ll eventually make to it – I’d like to button up the dust collection a little tighter and install a splitter or riving knife and get some kind of kickback preventer thing attached but for right now it works and it works great.

scratch and dentYeah, that’s the legendary Incra LS32-TS high precision fence attached to it.  Yes, I’m well aware that’s like putting a BMW steering wheel in a Plymouth Duster.  I can explain.  You see, my old table saw, also a Craftsman, came with this crappy, wobbly, tilted table saw fence.  Craftsman makes great tools, but their table saw fences are awful.  The thing never got the same distance twice.  It was never parallel to the blade.  It was not at a 90 degree angle to the table top.  It was a piece of crap and I hated it and lived with it for years.  With its help, I made dozens of lopsided pieces.  Every cabinet, every fireplace surround, every desk and table has at least ten flaws thanks to that effing thing.  I told myself this time I was going to treat myself to a nice fence, and my dart landed on that one.

I haven’t used the LS32-TS enough to write an informed opinion on it, but I am very pleased with it, even though I think they over-engineered the thing quite a bit.  And it is very difficult to calibrate.  Nonetheless, I look forward to many years of swearing at it enjoying its use.

miter gaugeAnd here’s a pic of the Incra miter gauge I had from my last table saw.  It sat disused in a corner until the thing rusted out on me, and I had to sand it down and paint it and restore it to usefulness once again.  That took me about two days but it’s better than spending the cash for a new one.  When you live on an island, you really go to great lengths to not waste anything.

nice bucketYou can laugh at my dust collection system all you want, but that 5 gallon bucket will catch a lot of sawdust that would normally just collect inside the thing.  I’ve tried putting a hose and a vacuum on my saw before but it was about as effective as a one legged man in a butt kicking contest.  The bucket is tightly sealed (by means of four bent nails; really high tech stuff!) to a cut piece of 1/4″ laminate on the bottom so there’s no gaps for the dust to get through.  The inside of the saw housing is sealed with enough duck tape to make Red Green proud.  Sawdust can still come out the back end and until I make a housing for it that will continue to happen.  But that bucket catches a surprising amount of debris, and it’s a handy container too.

motor rotation

Yeah, here in this pic you can see the bucket and maybe even some duck tape if you look closely enough.  I had a lot of fun painting and restoring the parts.  Even if the final product looks like a frankenstein saw (yes, it does, I won’t be offended if you say it) it was cool making everything fresh and new.

I put Kreg dual locking casters on the bottom so it can roll around.  Attached directly to the stand, the weight of this beast bent the metal legs (yes, I was very sad and frustrated when I saw it) and made it a little crooked, so I put a sheet of plywood down on the base and damn is that thing sturdy now.  Doesn’t budge at all when I lock all four casters and make cuts.  That thing rolls so smoothly that I just push it around the shop and ride on top of it shouting “Whee!” the whole way.

In the end, this was not unlike restoring an old car.  In fact, my knuckles are about as badly beat up from this project as they ever were from a ’72 beetle.  But unlike an old car, it’s not for show.  This workhorse is going to make a lot of sawdust over the next few years.  I have cabinets to make, and tables, and shelves, and wardrobes, and boxes and drawers and doors and even tools.  It’s been over a year since I’ve had access to a table saw in my wood shop, and I am anxious to crank out some projects.

cadillac of table saws