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View ras61's profile

Delta Contractor Saw Upgrades

by ras61
posted 04-20-2014 02:48 AM


38 replies so far

View mikeevens45's profile

mikeevens45

68 posts in 2630 days


#1 posted 04-20-2014 03:01 AM

Russ I have a Rockwell 36-400///link belt is like night and day…lta402 is the cast iron wing numbers for 27 inch table about 50 each on ebay plus 22 shipping…that’s where I got my 2….just ordered a pals set after about 4 hours of fighting for the last 32nd of an inch…ill let you know if 2 sets work better or are needed. the fence bar bolts on the end are left open because the wings are tapered and the bolts line up with air…I did upgrade the switch to a heavy duty push button…peachtree sells the pals for20.99 plus 6 shipping.. let me know if ya need anything else….vintagemachinery.org has parts and owner manuals for a lot of these saws…oh yea I didn’t get the pulleys but mine were nice shape

mike evens

-- as technology progresses, wood workers seem to regress...all my power tools and my favorite is a chisel and a hand plane

View ,'s profile

,

2387 posts in 4601 days


#2 posted 04-20-2014 03:24 AM

The only thing I would consider is replacing what is bad on the saw and then placing a new sharp thin kerf on it and begin bargain hunting for a nice fence and a decent overarm guard dust collection port. My fence choice would be t square type, maybe Delta T2, used bies, maybe accufence. And bies made a nice overarm I keep looking for used.

-- .

View Tooch's profile

Tooch

2013 posts in 2930 days


#3 posted 04-20-2014 03:26 AM

A long time ago I had a Delta Unisaw with a Beisemeyer (spelling) extended fence attached. it was roughly 54” wide, bolted right onto the front of the contractor saw and side table, and had a blade guard/dust shoot that worked well.

there is a pic of the rig, (yes, I know that IS a cabinet saw.) with a little ingenuity amd a sheet of MDF you can fit that onto your contractor saw. Good Luck!

-- "Well, the world needs ditch-diggers too..." - Judge Smails

View woodchuckerNJ's profile

woodchuckerNJ

1466 posts in 2688 days


#4 posted 04-20-2014 03:32 AM

I have a forrest thin kerf… I would recommend the regular kerf blade.
While it cuts nicely, when I want to make tapers or put the blade on angle, it deflects even with the dampner.
Just put the 1/8 on.. When I cut with my other 1/8 the saw still has enough power… mine is a delta contractor saw.. about 2001 vintage.

-- Jeff NJ

View ,'s profile

,

2387 posts in 4601 days


#5 posted 04-20-2014 03:40 AM

The overarm shown in the above pic is the one we have on our PM66 and we love that overarm. I am looking to buy 2 more of those overarms down the road.

-- .

View Adcolor's profile

Adcolor

7 posts in 2552 days


#6 posted 04-20-2014 05:27 AM

I put an old original round tube Unisaw fence on mine. Slight mounting screw/washer/spacer work, but works well. Otherwise mine is a great second saw (nice to be able to leave one set up for second functions—rip with it, use to make jigs with as you go, etc).

Get/make a rolling base for it. —and a couple of tables the same height with locking wheels (in/out feed, or as a table extension). It is an underrated saw that has been replaced by the plastic/lightweight job portable saws.

And it was free!

View NiteWalker's profile

NiteWalker

2742 posts in 3631 days


#7 posted 04-20-2014 10:06 AM

- I wouldn’t bother with machined pulleys. Just get the link belt and align the current pulleys if necessary.

- I’d choose shop-built extensions over cast iron. The main reasons are cost, options and no rust. Cast iron wings will be pretty expensive. A simple oak or maple frame under a sheet of 1/2” or 3/4” formica laminated baltic birch or other high quality plywood makes for a great extension. Hardwood braces underneath will keep it flat. Also, you can put a router in one (or both!) of the extensions. Basically, cast iron wings are nice, but not a necessity.

- Maybe PALS if you have trouble with alignment, but I’d use them as a last resort.
Other upgrades you should consider:
- Zero clearance inserts
- Crosscut sled
- Outfeed table
- Push shoes
All can be made pretty cheaply.
- Skip expensive tablesaw blades. I’ve been using these since I started woodworking. They cut close to a forrest blade supposedly (I’ve never used a forrest) at a fraction of the cost. No need to sharpen. When it gets dull, toss it. Or save it for cutting less blade friendly materials, like aluminum or pallet wood.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View knotscott's profile

knotscott

8415 posts in 4429 days


#8 posted 04-20-2014 11:32 AM

The link belt or other high quality cogged v-belt are a worthwhile upgrade. I wouldn’t spend the money on new pulleys unless they’re they’re dinged up and/or are causing vibration.

Any full size 27” deep cast iron wing can be modified to fit your saw…some drilling may be required. Any full size Delta wing should be a direct fit. You can also build your own wings that are flatter, smoother, and stronger than the stock steel wings.

For $20 I’d add a set of PALS….they’ll make alignment easier, and help hold the alignment better. If the alignment is already perfect, I wouldn’t bother.

I”m not sure what fence is on that saw (pics would help and are mandatory for claims of new tool acquisitions….it’s an “alleged” saw until proven otherwise!), but a good fence is always a plus….excellent aftermarket fences start at ~ $180 for something like the Delta T2 (which should be a direct bolt on).

Saw blade selection and good alignment are the keys to the final performance of your saw. You don’t need to spend a fortune if you’re careful with your blade selection.

Current Saw Blade Bargains
ABCs of Picking Saw Blades

Some good inserts can’t hurt….they should strong, flat, and flush….I like phenolic.

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

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

6922 posts in 3547 days


#9 posted 04-20-2014 12:43 PM

I used one for many years with the stamped steel wings, they work just fine. Use them a while and then see if you can figure a reason to replace them. I did put PALS on mine, I wasn’t able to get it aligned until I did (a problem I created). I’ll also 3rd (or 4th, whatever the count is) to put a link bet on it (the real one from Fenner). Huge difference in smoothness.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View ras61's profile

ras61

129 posts in 2575 days


#10 posted 04-20-2014 01:01 PM

Fred – I was planning to get the link belt from Harbor Freight (they seem to be cheapest), is Fenner different or better?

-- "South Carolina is too small for a republic and too large for an insane asylum" - James L. Petigru, 1860

View Shawn Masterson's profile

Shawn Masterson

1325 posts in 3002 days


#11 posted 04-20-2014 04:31 PM

Here is the bigger picture. A stranger gave you a very nice TS.
1 – I think a thank you project is in order, A cutting board or something similar for previous owner, I would leave it on their porch with a bow and a note.
2 – Just a personal thing I do If there is something of that nature that was gifted to me, If I replace it I would pass the gifted one on to another. It’s just good karma.

View woodchuckerNJ's profile

woodchuckerNJ

1466 posts in 2688 days


#12 posted 04-20-2014 04:56 PM

ras61, either link belt will work. I have used both in the shop and I can’t tell the diff.
I think my saw has the hf… my band saw the fenner, my drill press had the hf but it was too wide to get certain speeds… while the fenner would not fit on the dp…

They are both good quality. The HF unit used to be made in usa, and is now made in italy. Add one of the 25% off coupons and you have a real good deal.

-- Jeff NJ

View ras61's profile

ras61

129 posts in 2575 days


#13 posted 04-20-2014 05:32 PM

Shawn – Great idea, once I get the saw cleaned and tuned up I’m definitely going to try and build a thank you (even if it’s best use ends up being kindling!) ;)

-- "South Carolina is too small for a republic and too large for an insane asylum" - James L. Petigru, 1860

View Shawn Masterson's profile

Shawn Masterson

1325 posts in 3002 days


#14 posted 04-21-2014 12:13 AM

It really is amazing how 1 random act of kindness can warm you right up.

View ras61's profile

ras61

129 posts in 2575 days


#15 posted 04-21-2014 07:32 PM

!
Here’s a picture of the saw. The rail was removed for transport, and will remain off until the top is cleaned of rust:

-- "South Carolina is too small for a republic and too large for an insane asylum" - James L. Petigru, 1860

View Richard's profile

Richard

1944 posts in 3744 days


#16 posted 04-21-2014 07:45 PM

My local CL has one of those listed for $300 and it dosen’t look to be in as good of shape , So I just have to say this YOU SUCK .. :)

View ras61's profile

ras61

129 posts in 2575 days


#17 posted 04-21-2014 07:45 PM

Here are some extras that were included. The Woodhaven miter with fence was a very pleasant surprise. The black Craftsman jig in front is some type of router shaper fence according to the number on it (38413-103), although I have no idea how to use it, or if it even really belongs with the saw. The gray jig in back has no markings that I can find, just “Made by JT Phillips 199” on the box it came in. A web search on that name turned up nothing. Anyone know what these are or how to use them?

-- "South Carolina is too small for a republic and too large for an insane asylum" - James L. Petigru, 1860

View Richard's profile

Richard

1944 posts in 3744 days


#18 posted 04-21-2014 07:50 PM

Hope you have a Drill Press because I think that grey jig in the back is a Mortising attachment for it.

View ras61's profile

ras61

129 posts in 2575 days


#19 posted 04-21-2014 07:54 PM

Richard – yeah, I know, it was kind of like hitting the lottery. All this good fortune makes me think something heavy is due to fall on my head to even things out. I hope my wife doesn’t read this, I don’t want to give her any ideas.

Also, no drill press, at least not yet.

-- "South Carolina is too small for a republic and too large for an insane asylum" - James L. Petigru, 1860

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

6922 posts in 3547 days


#20 posted 04-21-2014 07:55 PM

I, too, would say that’s a mortising jig for a DP….but but IMHO it’s worth about what you paid, zero.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View Richard's profile

Richard

1944 posts in 3744 days


#21 posted 04-21-2014 08:05 PM

I agree with Fred that the mortising jig is pretty much worthless but if you only use it 1 or 2 times a year it is proably worth it as opposed to the cost of a stand alone mortising machine. The problem is that it is a bit of a pain to setup and not very sturdy compared to a dedicated machine and you can’t use your drill press for anything else while it is on.
If I were you I would keep that Football helment on my head for a while. :)

View SCOTSMAN's profile

SCOTSMAN

5849 posts in 4639 days


#22 posted 04-21-2014 08:13 PM

You can’t argue with a saw for nothing, and the thank you gift both spot on in my book. Well done some people make your faith restored in humanity when all you read about is hear about on the news is bad news and brutality.
I wish more people would do this and write about it there are so many really beautiful human beings out there why do we only get to hear about the bad cruel people who only take up good breathing space for others.Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View doitforfun's profile

doitforfun

199 posts in 2661 days


#23 posted 04-21-2014 08:26 PM

I have that same saw, more or less. I also got mine for free and it came with a 52” Biesemeyer fence and table. A buddy of mine bought it many years ago to build out his apartment in Manhattan. When he finished, he had to get rid of it because it was an apartment, after all, so he gave the saw to a mutual friend for work on the house he just bought. Then last year I bought a house and the mutual friend was looking to get it out of his basement so I snagged it. Good timing for me. One of my first projects on that saw was to make a mobile base and close up the sides so sawdust wouldn’t spill onto the floor.

By the way, my mobile base is about as simple as you can find. I made a plywood angle with 2×4 bracing and screwed 2 fixed casters to the bottom. Then, with the wheels just touching the floor, I screwed it to the saw base legs. To move it, just pick up the other end like a wheelbarrow.

Its a great saw. Its a better tool than I am a carpenter, and I’m very happy with it.

-- Brian in Wantagh, NY

View ras61's profile

ras61

129 posts in 2575 days


#24 posted 04-21-2014 09:05 PM

Brian – I also plan to make my own rolling base, but your set up is another alternative I hadn’t thought of, thanks.

Also, great to hear of your good fortune, especially with that Bies fence, now Richard has someone to hate more than me!

-- "South Carolina is too small for a republic and too large for an insane asylum" - James L. Petigru, 1860

View Richard's profile

Richard

1944 posts in 3744 days


#25 posted 04-21-2014 09:11 PM

Russ I don’t Hate you , you just Suck getting that saw for Free and I would have to Pay $300 for it. So I guess Brian Sucks too. :)

View ,'s profile

,

2387 posts in 4601 days


#26 posted 04-21-2014 09:28 PM

That shaper fence has some value to it. Great little haul.

-- .

View ras61's profile

ras61

129 posts in 2575 days


#27 posted 04-22-2014 12:31 AM

Jerry – concerning the router/shaper fence, how do you use it?

-- "South Carolina is too small for a republic and too large for an insane asylum" - James L. Petigru, 1860

View ras61's profile

ras61

129 posts in 2575 days


#28 posted 04-22-2014 12:42 AM

Richard – Before you get too envious, the insides have as much rust as the top. The elevation and angle barely work; just “exercising” them should help free things up, but what is the best way to coat and preserve them, lithium grease, something else?

-- "South Carolina is too small for a republic and too large for an insane asylum" - James L. Petigru, 1860

View ,'s profile

,

2387 posts in 4601 days


#29 posted 04-22-2014 01:31 AM

Not for sure, but it appears you have 2 longated mounting holes. If I were you, I would keep that shaper fence, it would work well with any router table set up you might have or come up with in the future. Since it is a split fence design, as with most shapers, you should have some sort of fine adjustments between the infeed and outfeed fences. I would think that it would work well on a router table. Or it would sell on Ebay easy enough.

-- .

View ,'s profile

,

2387 posts in 4601 days


#30 posted 04-22-2014 01:38 AM

That is a real decent saw you have there. I would think it could serve you well as it sets. Upgrade things like the fence as you have extra mula. Otherwise just use it.

-- .

View Shawn Masterson's profile

Shawn Masterson

1325 posts in 3002 days


#31 posted 04-22-2014 03:16 AM

The shaper fence has nothing to do with the TS. It could be fitted to a router table.

View knotscott's profile

knotscott

8415 posts in 4429 days


#32 posted 04-22-2014 09:25 AM

Wow….free saw with a > $100 Woodhaven miter gauge!

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

View ras61's profile

ras61

129 posts in 2575 days


#33 posted 04-22-2014 09:32 PM

I removed the rails and wings today and cleaned the entire cast iron top down to the bare metal. I’m planning to put Johnson’s wax on the top, but I was wondering if it would be smart to paint the sides instead? I thought maybe paint would seal and prevent rust and corrosion better after the rails and wings are bolted back on, or am I just over-thinking things?

Also, the gears and mechanicals inside for elevation and tilt are very stiff, what if anything should be used to lube and protect? My first thought was lithium grease, but with sawdust that that could be a goopy mess.

Thanks for the help everyone – much appreciated!

-- "South Carolina is too small for a republic and too large for an insane asylum" - James L. Petigru, 1860

View ,'s profile

,

2387 posts in 4601 days


#34 posted 04-22-2014 09:40 PM

I use white lithium grease. And my shapers are painted on the sides of the cast top and it does seal and prevent from rust. Probably would want to use an undercoat primer. Or just wax the sides, wax provides protection from rust also. We also use Johnson’s paste wax.

-- .

View NiteWalker's profile

NiteWalker

2742 posts in 3631 days


#35 posted 04-22-2014 09:56 PM

I use paste wax to remedy all the problems you mentioned. Never an issue.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View bbc557ci's profile

bbc557ci

597 posts in 3128 days


#36 posted 04-22-2014 10:14 PM

Russ I don’t Hate you , you just Suck getting that saw for Free and I would have to Pay $300 for it. So I guess Brian Sucks too. :)

Yup…double suck for sure !! ;o)

But I’m happy for both of you!!

-- Bill, central NY...no where near the "big apple"

View BikerDad's profile

BikerDad

347 posts in 4655 days


#37 posted 04-22-2014 11:18 PM

Don’t bother replacing the extension wings with cast iron wings, unless you happen to fall into some of those for freeeEEEEE also. Well, don’t bother to replace the right (facing the saw) wing. Replace the left wing with the router table (aka wing) of your choice.

Get a mobile base for it. The classic Delta style (provide your own HARDWOOD to connect the pieces) works well for this application, it’s what I have under my Delta CS.

Thin kerf blades & blade stabilizer.

The Delta Uniguard comes with a VERY nice splitter that pops out easy peasy. If you can lay your hands on one, you’ll always use your splitter.

Congratulations on the new saw, that’s one heck of a gloat there.

-- I'm happier than a tornado in a trailer park! Grace & Peace.

View ras61's profile

ras61

129 posts in 2575 days


#38 posted 04-23-2014 01:00 AM

Thanks for the help and suggestions everyone. I have a new blade on order thanks to knotscott and his blog on blade bargains, as well as a new arbor wrench (one of the few things it didn’t come with), and casters from Woodcraft for the mobile base. With any luck I’ll be up and running by early next week.

-- "South Carolina is too small for a republic and too large for an insane asylum" - James L. Petigru, 1860

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