Scroll Saw Restoration

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Project by Tim Gates posted 04-11-2010 07:00 PM 11516 views 7 times favorited 22 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I have been impressed with some of the restoration work I’ve seen on this site and others and decided to give it a shot. Although I didn’t really need a scroll saw, this old Delta was available locally and seemed like a reasonable size project to start with. It does not have a serial number plate but the Delta label includes a zone code vice a zip code so I figure it was made no later than 1963.

I’ve included one Craigslist “before” picture and to say this saw had been run hard and put away wet was an understatement. It had a “State of Louisiana” property tag on it so you know it didn’t get much TLC over it’s life. Lot’s of rust, no evidence of cleaning (ever), and an old paint job that looked like it had been sprayed on from across the room. I broke this thing down to the last bolt, cleaned and wire brushed everything, painted it all, and amazingly, it all went back together.

If you are considering something like this, check the availability of parts. This saw was manufactured for years so many parts are available new. On the other hand, some of the key items are not available and the bidding for them is fierce when they come up on Ebay (e.g., Delta 882 light). When I take on another similar project, I’ll watch Ebay to get a feel for what parts really need to be included for the project to be worthwhile. It’s also interesting to note that these saws are so heavy, shipping is prohibitively expensive. As a result, you see a lot of folks parting them out on the internet. The parts are worth more individually than the complete saw.

Finally, the guys at Old Woodworking Machines ( were an invaluable resource. One piece on my saw was so bound up that I started to get concerned that I really didn’t understand how it went together and was afraid I would break something. I reached out to an OWWM member who called me on the phone and then DEMONSTRATED the disassembly on his own saw over the internet via Skype. Amazing.

I still don’t need a scroll saw but I won’t be getting rid of this anytime soon.

22 comments so far

View MedicKen's profile


1615 posts in 4006 days

#1 posted 04-11-2010 07:35 PM

Nice job. OWWM is a great place. They are a weath of knowledge and help as you have seen. I like to see these restorations as well and have done a few myself.

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

View Chris Pond's profile

Chris Pond

63 posts in 3591 days

#2 posted 04-11-2010 07:41 PM

Nice work. Some old brought back to live, there also fun to work on as there is no manual to go to get from the library.

-- Chris, Fernie, BC

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3852 days

#3 posted 04-11-2010 07:48 PM

You did a great restoration job on your scrollsaw. A lot of work but great results.
Back in 2002 I did a major restoration on an ols 1947 Unisaw I had. More work than I thought but happy with results when I finished. 3 years later it was underwater during Katrina. I miss that old saw but it was wat too medded up to consider another restoration.

View bigike's profile


4057 posts in 3832 days

#4 posted 04-11-2010 08:11 PM

very nice job, it looks new.

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop, http://[email protected]

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3659 days

#5 posted 04-11-2010 08:47 PM

congrat´s you did a very fine restoring on that scrollsaw
to me it´s looking brandnew
I hope it will serve you well for many years


View noahsdad86's profile


28 posts in 3536 days

#6 posted 04-11-2010 08:54 PM

awesome job on the restoration. Makes me want to get some older tools to fix up.

-- Anything worth doing is worth doing right.

View jsquared's profile


61 posts in 3580 days

#7 posted 04-11-2010 09:46 PM

That is a fantastic piece of work that took a tremendous amount of effort on your part. I think it is amazing and almost, but not quite, looks too good to use. Being one that uses a scroll saw, I would be itching to try it out. Let us know how it runs.

-- Jsquared, Texas

View Maveric777's profile


2694 posts in 3620 days

#8 posted 04-11-2010 11:48 PM

This is almost like tool porn!

You did an outstanding job Tim. I may have to start looking for some of these older gems.

-- Dan ~ Texarkana, Tx.

View kweenbee's profile


40 posts in 3755 days

#9 posted 04-12-2010 12:56 AM

Tim, I have the same saw sitting out in the garage awaiting the transformation yours has enjoyed.
Recently purchased the belt cover off ebay for about what I paid for the saw!! I fear the light is probably beyond my financial reach.
Curious about your motor, did you rebuild the original or purchase a replacement?
If you went the replacement route, what did you buy??
After seeing all the amazing LJ rebuilds, perhaps my summer project will be the Milwaukee Delta rebuild.
Thanks for sharing.

-- "The Artful Bodger"

View Abbott's profile


2570 posts in 3847 days

#10 posted 04-12-2010 01:06 AM

That sure looks nice Tim.

-- Ohh mann...pancakes and boobies...I'll bet that's what Heaven is like! ♣ ♣ ♣ ♣

View rozzi's profile


323 posts in 3865 days

#11 posted 04-12-2010 02:03 AM

I just bought one like or very similar to yours yesterday at an auction. Mine looks real similar to your original picture. Was thinking of re-selling, but, after seeing what you have done it perks my interest. Nice job!

-- Duane, Iowa

View Broglea's profile


687 posts in 3634 days

#12 posted 04-12-2010 03:17 AM

Good looking scroll. You did a great job.

View Jimi_C's profile


507 posts in 3778 days

#13 posted 04-12-2010 03:23 AM

Tim, the paint job looks fantastic. I posted the other day about my own restore, and was debating today how best to paint it. I was considering using appliance enamel, but it comes in a very limited amount of colors (from Rustoleum anyway). The other option would be to use regular spray paint, and bake it at low temperature in order to make it cure a bit faster (not sure I want to do this though, in case it stinks up the whole house).

How did you paint yours?

-- The difference between being defeated and admitting defeat is what makes all the difference in the world - Upton Sinclair, "The Jungle"

View Abbott's profile


2570 posts in 3847 days

#14 posted 04-12-2010 03:33 AM

You can dry the paint in the shop with an electric heater and a fan.

-- Ohh mann...pancakes and boobies...I'll bet that's what Heaven is like! ♣ ♣ ♣ ♣

View Tim Gates's profile

Tim Gates

38 posts in 3587 days

#15 posted 04-12-2010 03:47 AM

The paint is (mostly) “professional” Rustoleum in dark machine gray. Of course when I needed more and couldn’t find the professional version, I used regular old gray rustoleum. I couldn’t detect a difference. In our brief period of low humidity here in So. Louisiana before summer, the paint dried plenty fast.

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