Delta saw rebuild

  • Advertise with us
Review by Luke posted 01-26-2012 02:06 AM 5733 views 1 time favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Delta saw rebuild Delta saw rebuild Delta saw rebuild Click the pictures to enlarge them

I bought this saw on craigslist from a guy for $650. It was in really rough shape. Things were taken apart and it was covered in some sort of overspray from what seemed like flocking material. I had to scrub it all down with goof off and then buff it with auto compound. Luckily the factory decal covers were all still on the aluminum plates so those peeled off easily and it looked almost perfect underneath except for some scratches on the front plate.
The motor cover was missing the attachment hardware all together so I got some hinges and painted everything black then mounted those with weather stripping in between and rare earth magnets as a catch to hold it shut (awesome idea my brother sam gave me). The top, fence, rails and almost any metal exposed was covered in small amounts of rust so I cleaned all that up. I made a custom dust extraction port to fit the opening out of some .040 aluminum sheeting. It took a while to get the cuts all right to make it a one piece with just a few folds to create the flanges and the bend backs so the dust doesn’t just sit in there against the sides. This type of dust port is impossible to find online! I searched everywhere and couldn’t come up with anything so I figured why not just make one. The bottom of it is actually bent uphill so that the dust is more likely to go into the chute than just collect at the bottom.

One of the fences ( the one on the blade side in the pics) was trashed so I had some 1/2” MDO that I used to make a new one and laminate with formica and covered the edge with black melamine. This gave it the same look as the factory but a little different construction. It is dead flat too so no problems there. The Biesmeyer logo was missing on the fence top so I cut a new one from black vinyl at our sign shop, guessing as close as I could to the size.

The power cord was missing so I got some new cord and a plug and took the magnet box apart on the back and rewired it so now it’s got an 8’ reach. I put a zero clearance insert in and my MJ splitter steelpro behind. The blade was perfectly aligned with the miters already so that was wonderful. I used a gauge to line up the fence to the miters with a 2 thousands angle away from the blade in the back for less chance of kickback. The saw cuts very well on anything you push through it no matter the thickness or species. In fact I don’t even notice a slow down at all. Of course, my blade was just resharpened so that helps.
The extension table was destroyed, full of holes in the laminate, not aligned whatsoever and a little warped. It had zero support underneath so I just rebuilt it. It now is a new 3/4MDF with white formica top and an aluminum angle frame I made to fit it custom that bolts perfectly to the rails front and back. The legs I also made from 1” .125” wall aluminum square tubing that I happened to have around the shop. The only problem with them was they were about 2 inches too short. So I cut some hardwood pieces to fit inside the stock and give it the extra length I needed to bring them level to the top. I used standard leg levelers with steel bottoms from home depot in the end of the wood for dialing in the level. I painted the entire assembly black once I had it all right.
I’ve got three problems with the overall experience, only one of which is serious. The serious one is that the power switch is on the right side of the blade. If I need to shut down for any reason it takes some acrobatics, meanwhile the blade is screaming away…. Not good. If anyone has a suggestion how to fix this problem please tell. I could just mount the switch to the rail on the other side because there is plenty of cord, but it would kinda be rigged so I’m hesitant. Problem two, and not very serious, is this sucker weighs a LOT. Problem three is the length of the Biesmeyer fence. I really don’t need all that length. I would love to have a 36” instead because I’ll just never use it. The table space is fine but I will probably cut something that long once, ever. So if anyone has a 36 and want’s this one let me know.
It has plenty of power, it now looks nice, it is easy to clean out if dust does collect inside and the cuts always come out perfect so I absolutely love it. I just dread when I have to move…

Thanks for looking.

-- LAS,

View Luke's profile


546 posts in 4065 days

11 comments so far

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3945 days

#1 posted 01-26-2012 03:11 AM

Looks like a great resto, to me !

May you have many 000’s of safe, happy board-feet with her :-)

-- -- Neil

View buffalosean's profile


174 posts in 4158 days

#2 posted 01-26-2012 03:43 AM

good buy, nice job fixing it up

-- There are many ways to skin a cat...... but, the butter knife is not recommended

View cabmaker's profile


1745 posts in 3580 days

#3 posted 01-26-2012 05:08 AM

Looks good, you ll enjoy it. If you have some concern about the switch you can hang it from the rail to the left. I ve always had one on the right so its anon issue for me anyway. You said you would like a 36 inch fence, 42 is the shortest i ve ever seen but it may exist. never mind, I re- read your post, your talking about the rail, not the fence. Make a user out of it.

View Dusty56's profile


11859 posts in 4459 days

#4 posted 01-26-2012 06:26 AM

Nice Rebuild. Where did you post the ”Review”?

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View Moron's profile


5048 posts in 4664 days

#5 posted 01-26-2012 10:01 AM

sweet work for a life time of zero regrets

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View Luke's profile


546 posts in 4065 days

#6 posted 01-26-2012 05:33 PM

Sorry, my Review part to this is a little weak. I figured plenty of people have done reviews of this product since it’s not new to anyone. I had a lot of thought go into how to make the table and the dust extraction port so I thought I’d post here to help anyone every doing something similar.

-- LAS,

View Fallon's profile


96 posts in 3899 days

#7 posted 01-26-2012 10:15 PM

That’s pretty much exactly the same path I went down. 80’s vintage Unisaw in need of some TLC for $500-600. I’m pretty happy with it, except for dust collection. I did basically the same as you, hose in the bottom, which helps a bit, but the cabinet is nowhere near air tight.

If you have tinkering skill, I think it’s a very cost effective way to get a great saw with a weekend or 2 of work at about half the cost of a modern new saw.

View NEFFCONCEPTS's profile


10 posts in 3088 days

#8 posted 01-26-2012 10:26 PM

Hi Luke, I’ve seen a home-made shut off assist made from plywood before that might solve your problem. A rectangular piece of plywood is constructed which is hinged from the underside of your fence rail. With a quick poke with your knee, you can shut the saw off from anywhere in front of your saw. There is a hole drilled in the plywood to allow for turning the saw ‘ON’. I have the same saw so I was looking at constructing something similar. Great job on the restoration! I’ve been struggling trying to find a dust port myself. A friend of mine suggested using a 3”x10” floor duct to 4” round piece so I’m looking at fitting that on my saw. Good luck and great post!

View NormG's profile


6506 posts in 3775 days

#9 posted 01-27-2012 06:57 PM

Great job

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View Swede's profile


191 posts in 3789 days

#10 posted 01-28-2012 12:16 AM

After my father bought, sold and traded several table saws he ended up with a new unisaw. We have used it for decades and see no reason to buy another. I would like to put a Biesmeyer fence on it but my father dosent want to spend the money even if I buy it.

-- Swede -- time to make some sawdust

View ic3ss's profile


392 posts in 3548 days

#11 posted 02-04-2012 04:18 AM

Nice build, Luke. It will serve you well for many years to come. I too rebuilt a Craigslist find unisaw last year and wrote a blog about it here. It was great fun and now I have an awesome table saw that only cost me $400.

Happy sawing!!!


-- "I am endeavoring, ma'am, to construct a mnemonic memory circuit using stone knives and bear skins."

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics