Restoring a workhorse

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Project by Timbot posted 08-20-2009 10:08 AM 3613 views 3 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a late 50’s Craftsman 10” Floor Model Saw. I actually bought this off my brother, who got it from a friend’s dad. When he received it, it had significant rust damage to the table top, and essentially everything else. He cleaned all the rust off the top, cleaned the rip fence, and waxed the table. By the time I bought it, it was in the exact condition as he left it, as seen in one of the pictures. I used it multiple times, and it performed wonderfully. When I first started using it, I had no idea what run out was, or whether or not the blade was square to the table. After doing some research into how old the saw was, and how to properly align it, I managed to produce some passable tongue and groove joints. As summer approached, I decided it was time to give this beauty the overhaul it deserved.

I first started by removing everything off the saw, except the table. I then spent a good two weeks sanding, scraping, and eventually wire brushing all the old paint and rust off the sides. Thankfully, it was all surface rust, so the damage was minimal. After thoroughly cleaning the entire exterior, I wiped the whole thing down with mineral spirits. After this, I primed and painted the exterior. I don’t generally like red, but something about fire engine red is really appealing. That, and I realized it matched my Craftsman tool chest after I had painted it. Eh, go figure.

Once it was painted, I had a friend help me flip the whole table saw onto its top, so I could remove the entire arbor assembly. The whole thing broke down into essentially three parts, with the front and rear trunnions, and the massive arbor assembly itself. I removed all the parts that I could, scrubbed them with wire brushes, then doused the height and angle adjusters with WD-40. This removed all the built up grease and grime from it’s long life. After this, I remounted the assembly, flipped the saw back over, and started focusing on the top itself.

There was almost no rust, thanks to my brother’s previous work. However, I noticed some starting to develop along the table’s edge. I went over the whole top with 150 grit sand paper mounted on a backer pad with a corded drill, then went back over the top with 220 grit by hand. I wiped the whole thing down with mineral spirits again, and applied a generous coat of paste wax.

I threw everything back onto the saw, replacing the stock belt with a flat link belt (man that thing works wonders!). I also repainted the numbers on the angle scale by hand, as they were pretty faded. I’m done with the basic refurb, but I still have several upgrades to consider. I’d love to get my hands on a good miter gauge and rip fence, as the adjuster and track for the stock rip fence is shot. I’d also like to upgrade to a more powerful motor, and replace the power switch. That switch is on the top of my list, as hitting a tiny light switch while trying to hold a piece of wood on the table is ridiculously dangerous. I gotta thank my brother and friend for all their help and support through this whole endeavor.

-- Timbot, So Cal

17 comments so far

View jerryz's profile


164 posts in 3880 days

#1 posted 08-20-2009 10:40 AM

Well I suggest that for the switch you go to this page and order one from them:

You will only need a Surface box that you can get at you HD or Lowes make yourself a bracket and you should be in business.

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 4274 days

#2 posted 08-20-2009 11:50 AM

Congrats on a nice job, you is going to enjoy your new saw.

View BigFoot Products Canada's profile

BigFoot Products Canada

711 posts in 3994 days

#3 posted 08-20-2009 01:38 PM

That is really cool. I love restoring the old relics. They were definitley built to last back then.

View sedcokid's profile


2737 posts in 4200 days

#4 posted 08-20-2009 03:12 PM

Great Job, I too have a Old Craftsman TS. My father bought it in 1949 or 1950. I did a rebuild on the arbor replacing the bearings and cleaned it inside and out. Mine however is a contractor style not a cabinet saw like yours. I would like to replace the rip fence too but not sure if it is worth it on this saw or if I should wait until I buy a new saw? I did however while doing my rebuild of the arbor, reworked the miter gage and it works as good as new.

If you decide to buy a new riip fence keep me posted on what you used and if it adapted easily.

Thanks for sharing,
the SedcoKid…

-- Chuck Emery, Michigan,

View Albert's profile


534 posts in 4191 days

#5 posted 08-20-2009 03:57 PM

The saw is nice but how about a picture of the lovely girlfriend?

View a1Jim's profile


117901 posts in 4178 days

#6 posted 08-20-2009 04:16 PM

this saw looks great super job


View knotscott's profile


8351 posts in 3977 days

#7 posted 08-20-2009 06:05 PM

That’s a beautiful looking old saw. Great restoration project! It does my heart good to seem something like this come back into service. The red paint job looks great. Excellent project!

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

View CharlieM1958's profile


16284 posts in 4819 days

#8 posted 08-20-2009 06:21 PM

Nice job. She’s a real beauty!

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View MedicKen's profile


1615 posts in 4063 days

#9 posted 08-20-2009 06:40 PM

Nice job!! I too am restoring a couple of saws. I have a 1944 Walker Turner 1180B that is almost complete.I am still trying to locate a few parts ans a ‘68 delta unisaw that should be done next week. If you are looking for original replacement parts, ie switch, fence, etc you might look at The giuys there are wonderful and extremely helpful

-- My job is to give my kids things to discuss with their [email protected]

View thebaldguy's profile


22 posts in 4188 days

#10 posted 08-20-2009 07:14 PM

Great looking saw. Hard to imagine something lasting for over 50 years these days. They sure new how to build them back then.

View Will Mego's profile

Will Mego

307 posts in 4313 days

#11 posted 08-20-2009 08:17 PM

great job refinishing! Any man who refinishes an old tool into great working condition for today is a good man.

-- "That which has in itself the greatest use, possesses the greatest beauty." -

View Hunterastin's profile


52 posts in 3892 days

#12 posted 08-21-2009 03:50 AM

my uncle had an old table saw like this and told me last week that if i can get it i can have it, the catch is its in the front of an old 53’ trailer and its loaded with a bunch of other junk so needless to say i wont be gettin it anytime soon if ever but he said it was $3500 new and the best table saw he has ever used

View HarleySoftailDeuce's profile


320 posts in 4021 days

#13 posted 08-21-2009 01:28 PM

Very nice restoration! It looks brand new! Craftsman doesn’t build them like that any more; now there’ all from China or some other off shore place. The company I work for (A. T. Cross Pen Co.) has also moved to China, and its’ just another example of our decline in our economy.

-- Paul, Bristol,Rhode Island

View EEngineer's profile


1120 posts in 4214 days

#14 posted 08-21-2009 02:14 PM

Nice restoration! I restored a 40 year old Craftsman I use. The 50 year old Craftsman it replaced went to my brother recently.

I second the choice on the Grizzly power switch, but make sure you get the right one. There was a previous thread (here) that suggested that switch is only momentary.

I used this one, I know it is latching…

I think the equivalent with paddle is…

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

View ShakerBoxMaker's profile


31 posts in 3983 days

#15 posted 08-22-2009 02:03 PM

Nice work! If you’ve not already checked out the Old Woodworking Machines website, head there for inspiration do go save another old machine. They would enjoy seeing what you’ve done with this one.

-- -- Mark in Fort Wayne, IN

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