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I have a chance to pick up a 12" Wards Powr Kraft tablesaw. I have done a little searching online and haven't found much. From what I can tell it's from mid to late 40s and was made by Mooradian Manufacturing Co. Similar to this saw on page 3.

The saw is really clean and in good shape but other than an upgraded motor (5HP 230v Leeson) the rest is stock including the 3/4" arbor which will be a headache when replacing blades.

Model 74-TMA-2277

This would be my first tablesaw and is definitely a beast. The person I would be buying it from is a good friend who is at an age he needs to retire from the shop. He got it for nothing and has put $250 or so into it with the new motor and blade.

I want to give him a fair price for it but don't have much more than $350 to spend on a saw right now and would have to wait a while to invest in a fence upgrade for it. I told him I would have the $350 when I sell a coffee table I just need to finish and that's what I could offer but would look online for a fair price and if I was too low I would help sell it for what it's worth.

Is it worth picking up and if so what would you pay for it?
 

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I didn't see a 12" saw in that brochure. Just 6" up to 10".
It's a right tilt from the images I do see.
The 3/4" arbor would be a problem for me.
But, if I had a place to put it, I'd love to have a vintage machine like that for $350.

OOPS, I stand corrected. They didn't show a picture of the 12" but it is in fact offered.
Notice the table is aluminum instead of cast iron.
 

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My 12" saw uses a 1" hole blade as standard. You can use a bushing on the 3/4" arbor for 1" blades.
Just for general cutting, the 12" Frued general purpose blade for the sliding saws works good at low cost.
Dado blades, will cost more, or a saw service can bore a standard stack to fit.
 

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From what I can see and what you've said, you'll have another $500 invested in a fence and rails, if you go Biesmeyer (what else is there?) right? Also, there is no big advantage in a 12" saw. You will have less cutting power than a 10" blade at the same HP. Also 12" blades are considerably more expensive.

With upwards of a $900 invested, the expense of the blades, and an aluminum table, I just don't think it adds up.

My recommendation is to pass unless you think you can make the fence work. (The fence doesn't look that bad in the picture. Is it not usable?) At the very most, if you really like the saw and it definitely needs a fence, I would not invest in a fence system unless you can get the saw for basically nothing. But even then, you'll have $4-500 invested and the aggravation of installing it.

For comparison, Grizzly has a 10" hybrid saw for $775 delivered.
Hope it works out.
 

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If it's worth $350 to you AND him - buy it. If it's worth more to your friend let him sell it on his own while you continue your search. I would think $350 could get you an older Unisaw that needs a little love. You don't need to spend $500 on a new fence, lots of used stuff out there.
 

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I would pass. Having a dado set made for that I think will cost you around $300. Do you have the power available for 5 hp? Is it single phase or 3? I think your total spent on that saw to do what you eventually will want to will be more than just buying the new grizzly that someone mentioned. Cheaper than that would be buying a used saw if you can wait for a nice used 10" saw. This being your first tablesaw I doubt you have the need for a 12" saw. Good luck either way.
 

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A local contractor bought one at a yard sale for $100, it had a few blades with it, and no one else wanted
it. The aluminum top is standard thickness and dings rather easily, compared to cast iron or steel table. It
is a project saw being stored in a back corner for now. His main shop saw is a nice 14" Oliver.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for all the input.

The aluminium table and fence is a plus to me here in Hawaii cast iron are hard to maintain and may have been long gone with a saw of this age here. Also good used saws are hard to come by here and usually fetch a higher price than the mainland.

I assumed I would need to upgrade the fence based of what I have read online but like rwe2156 said above the fence doesn't look bad so may be fine for what I'm doing.

I am not in a rush but might pick it up and try it out for a while even if I just hold onto it while something better comes up and resell it later with a new blade on it already I won't have to invest anymore right away to get sawing with it on my next project.
 

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Buy it if you love it. Old machines can be a labor of love but not always practical. They were probably decent machines but still nearer to the low end and most collectors tend to prefer high end. M.Wards tend to attract bargain hunters which keeps resell low. What I'm saying is you could buy it for $350 and still lose money on it in the future, especially if you replace the fence. The motor is probably a good chunk of it's value as it stands.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Yeah Rick you're right about the low end from what I have found online. New it looks like it was about $225 in 1940 something. I think $200 would be more inline with what it's worth now but the guy has helped me out a lot in the past so I don't mind giving him a little more.
 

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No riving knife on one that old but the splitter in the picture is at least reasonably close. If any parts need replacing, they are not going to be available, like the fence parts. The rear rail may have just been a strip of band iron like the front, so you could make one. Otherwise means a new fence which costs more than the saw. An aluminum top would imply very low end but it is a cabinet saw. Older fences tended to be not very accurate.

Belts should be changed every 10 years or so. They are probably standard V belts but check on their size. Some older belts are obsolete. I had a benchtop drill with a belt that did not match any current dimensions.

1 1/2 HP is not much to spin a 12 inch blade. You will find most modern 12s are 5 HP.

FWIW, good cast iron is quite resistant to rust. Keep it waxed. Internal steel parts are more of a problem. Many ways to deal with that. Some new "bearish" brands have been noted to have really cheep steal in them and rust like crazy. Who knows what recycled scrap goes into cheap tools made off-shore. Sure, the assembly factory may be ISO certified, but what about the back yard scrap smelter who is supplying the trunnions? I would not shy away from older Iron tools. Besides, Aluminum corrodes too and it is going to be bolted to iron and steel so it could he hiding corrosion.
 
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