1972 Craftsman project, Opinions Welcome #1: Some "shop" pics too!

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Blog entry by JimDaddyO posted 12-31-2009 08:00 PM 8918 reads 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of 1972 Craftsman project, Opinions Welcome series Part 2: Clamping and T Square Fence »

Let me start out by saying, that this saw belonged to my Dad, who is now 85, in reletively good health (thankfully), and still driving. The saw is sentimental, and still serves me well.

I have asked on some forums about this project, there is a bow in the top and I want to flatten it. I may also be adding a home made T square fence, seeing as I have most of the parts. I will try to tell the story in pictures, as it may help in understanding.

First of all, this is going out to my “shop”, and it leaks, so I am not about to go spend $1000 on new one to put it in here. It gets it’s power from running an extension cord out there, after hauling the tools onto the lawn, which isn’t going to happen any time soon.


A few inside pics with some of my tools:

My makita thickness planer is under the upside down sink (another project, but it keeps it dry for now):


The saw, my 4” Rockwell jointer, Router table on the cabinet, some clamps, yard tools, BBQ, it’s a muti function storage area.

looking in

Looking the other way, you can see the saw and jointer, my mitre saw on it’s stand, my little compressor. The screen door for the patio doors is on it’s side behind for the winter.

looking out

My work bench, vacs, storage for all kids of stuff I like to keep handy, like the 18 ga. nail gun that is in the basket on top.

other side

Finally, the last corner that is taken up by shelves full of air conditioners, my sanders, camping equipment, etc.


So, here is the top of the saw, I think the extensions are cast aluminum, I have to figure out how to make better throat plate inserts for it too, I tried one out of lexan once but it shattered as I was putting the kerf cut in it. The top of the saw itself is cast iron (cast steel?, it rusts)

Saw top

The throat plate removed, ever seen them like this anyone?

throat plate

Inside, you can see that the blade attaches directly to the motor shaft.

blade mount

Torn down, you can see it is more or less a portable saw that has been expanded on

getting to the saw

The underside, showing the mechanicals of the beast.


The top is off, you can see the tabs with 2 holes each that mount the motor to the top. I believe that it is 30 years of the motor hanging there that has caused the top to bow, and the reason for this project.

top off, under

The bottom of the top.

bottom of top

Again, only closer and cleaner.

more bottom of top

A view of the warp in the top. I just used the edge of a piece of angle to show it. The angle is part of the fence that came with the saw


A closer view of the warp in the top


And of course, the ever present helper and foreman, Aggie the gulunga mutt!


So, what do you think about flattening this thing and getting it more functional. I am open to comments and suggestions. My first thought was to clamp angle iron to it with shims to the bottom, but the shape makes that a bit hard. Maybe trying to do that on the front and back edges would work. OR, is it that close I should see about getting it ground. That may be overkill as I am willing to settle for “better” instead of “perfect”. Of course, if perfect can be easily and cheaply gotten, it will be.

Thanks to all of you for your help and suggestions.


-- my blog: my You Tube channel:

11 comments so far

View PurpLev's profile


8645 posts in 4656 days

#1 posted 12-31-2009 08:34 PM

I’d start by taking a feeler-gauge and measuring just how deep that hollow is. sometimes looks can be deceiving. and although this is not perfectly flat – it might still be within margin. I have a few spots that are 0.004” deep. they do show light through them, and that light make it look worse that it really is.

other than that. it’s a hard call. either get it serviced, or replaced.

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

View SteveMI's profile


1167 posts in 4301 days

#2 posted 12-31-2009 08:56 PM

Since you have the top off anyway, take it to a couple local machine shops and get quotes on surfacing it. Not being in a hurry and the economy being what it is, you may get a real good deal. They should ask, but make sure to let them know about the mounting bosses on the rear that you would like the table top to reference to. For a shop with the right size equipment this is a real easy job.

Make sure you also let them know the minimum depth on the miter slot.


View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4341 days

#3 posted 12-31-2009 09:17 PM

Jim, it was interesting to see your “shop” You are not the only woodworkers who isn’t lucky enough to have something larger and with all the bells and whistles. I do admire you not letting that stop you though. Your dog reminds me of “Stubby” my grandmothers dog who lived 21 years. I Hope yours does too.

That tablsaw top looks pretty off to me and it would probably be a bug bear to straighten up. If I were in your shoes I would probably fabricate a new top from Plywood. You could laminate two 3/4” thick pieces together and glue a melamine top on it. That way it would also be thick enough to take a zero clearance insert as well. You would lose a lot of cutting height though. You would have to decide if the trade-off is worth it. I don’t know if this is a good solution, but I haven’t any other ideas.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View WhittleMeThis's profile


125 posts in 4380 days

#4 posted 12-31-2009 09:23 PM

Seems to be a fairly significant gap. your best bet is to do as Steve suggest.

View johnnymo's profile


309 posts in 4213 days

#5 posted 12-31-2009 09:54 PM

I would go with Steve’s suggestion as well. I would probably make a cutting sled for the tabletop for now. That would at least keep the parts your cutting level.

-- John in Arizona (but it's a dry heat!)

View JimDaddyO's profile


663 posts in 4086 days

#6 posted 12-31-2009 10:23 PM

WOW! Thank you all for the comments.
Where do I begin to respond. I will take the feeler guages to it and a straighter straight edge and give you a measurement. Accurate informaition is always better.
I did think of doing a ply top on it and it is not out of consideration.
Could be I end up bringing it too a machine shop. For now, I am going to put some angle iron or similar across the front and back and clamp it tight to try and gently bend it back. I may have to shim it in the middle to get it to go. The home made fence that I am building has the front rail made up of angle iron and square tube. I hope that will hold it after it is flat. The fence is longer than the saw so I would like to add a short rear extension, if I use a piece of angle iron there too, I hope it will aid the front fences angle iron/square tube do the job.
The fence itself is an aluminum extrusion 88×44 mm and has another piece of angle for the T square part (I have to put in some nylon bolts for squaring adjustment) and the far end has 2 bearings on it to glide on. The aluminum extrusion will be about 2mm off the top itself. I will add sacrifical faces to it.

Again thanks and I will try to keep up!

-- my blog: my You Tube channel:

View Gary's profile


1474 posts in 5331 days

#7 posted 12-31-2009 10:29 PM

Not only would I go with Steve’s suggestion, I’d also take the miter gauge with me.
That way, IF the top needs to be reground to a depth which makes the gauge too tall, they can
regrind it to fit too.
However, being it’s an old direct drive saw, I’d also keep an eye on the local Craigslist. Lots of good saws
are sold cheap there AND although you have a sentimental attachment to this saw, there may be a point where you spend more than even that value.

Good luck.

-- Gary, Florida

View daltxguy's profile


1373 posts in 4921 days

#8 posted 01-01-2010 12:03 AM

I’d first double check the flatness of the top using something that’s reliably flat. The angle that you used could be off as well. The issue could be the angle, not the top. I have a saw that I still use ‘everyday’ that is a similar design ( I bought mine new in 1985) and it does not seem to have sagged – or even if it has, since i haven’t checked, I don’t know the difference

You said that the saw serves you well – so why bother doing anything?

-- If you can't joint it, bead it!

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 4680 days

#9 posted 01-01-2010 01:40 AM

Thats a nice start.

View a1Jim's profile


118161 posts in 4584 days

#10 posted 01-01-2010 01:56 AM

Hey Jim
If this were not your dads I’d say toss it. Sorry to be so blunt. If you going to do bird houses and trellises
this will be ok. But if you want to do more than that keep your Dads saw for smaller projects and get a used contractor saw. Your Dads saw can be taken off the base and be stored in your loft area. Saws like your dads saw are around the $100-$125 new and are poor examples of table saws. many beginners on the forum have talked about buying a direct drive saw and replacing it as soon as they could. The repairs are not easy nor do I think for the most part will not be totally successful once the effort is put forth. I loved my dad when he was still with us and still do. But I don’t think he would suggest you used his old straight edge razor now there are safer and easier razors available. Again please forgive how blunt I have been but I think it’s best to tell you the truth.


View ajosephg's profile


1895 posts in 4568 days

#11 posted 01-02-2010 02:38 AM

I think a1Jim is right. Having a machine shop try to straighten the top would cost more than the saw is worth, and there is no guarantee that it wouldn’t sag again after you reassemble the motor to it.

-- Joe

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