Table Saw on a budget: Restore Contractors or shop around for Cabinet?

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Forum topic by meestajack posted 09-18-2017 03:37 AM 6385 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View meestajack's profile


33 posts in 3448 days

09-18-2017 03:37 AM

Topic tags/keywords: restore table saw tablesaw vintage refurbishing

As I’ve mentioned in my workshop thread, I’m setting up a workspace and I’m on a very tight tool budget.

I have an old cast iron 8” tilt arbor contractor table saw in the garage that I’d been thinking about restoring for use. The more I read into the subject of table saws though, it becomes less cut and dry of a question. Factoring in the expense of restoring (link belt, machined pulleys, bearings, splitter, quality blade, fence and rails) plus the time needed to undertake such a project I’ve started to wonder if this particular saw is worth the trouble.

details on the saw in question:
Atlas Press Company
8” Tilt Arbor Saw
Model# 9310
1/2 HP Craftsman motor

$300 Could probably turn this saw into something better than much of what is available in stores anywhere near my price range, BUT if I am going through the expense and trouble should I start off with a 10” cabinet saw rather than spend my time polishing a handyman quality tool?

would a $150 cabinet saw off Craigslist be a better place to start? or should I save my money and work with what I have for now until I afford something more substantial… I’ll at the least make a zero clearance insert and check everything for square before using it.

what do you think?

10 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile


118066 posts in 4353 days

#1 posted 02-09-2011 11:45 PM

Wow A $150 cabinet saw ? If it were me I would not waste my time or money on an old 8” saw. I don’t know where you can find a $150 cabinet saw or even a $150 contractor saw . I think your better off buying a used saw in the $500 up rang . Most saws you can get for $150-$ 250 are not always good saws but there are always exceptions. Putting $ 300 in an old timer might make it like new but you still have and old saw with hard to find 8” blades with a poor fence and small table top. I know there are folks that use these type of saws but they have their limitations.


View gary351's profile


97 posts in 3572 days

#2 posted 02-10-2011 12:15 AM

I restored my dads 8” vintage ts…I did it for my memory of my dad. I really don’t like the throat plate it’s only .100 thick and splitter had to be hand fabricated. If you can fine a ts with a 10” blade i would put my money in that instead,Throat plates and misc parts, etc..etc..etc…might be hard to find. “a 1 Jim is correct in saying those type saws have there limitations” IMHO save up for a better table saw.

-- A poor man has poor way's

View IrreverentJack's profile


728 posts in 3619 days

#3 posted 02-10-2011 12:24 AM

Jack, Even if it looks as good as this one, I’d hold off on the new fence and even machined pulleys. Don’t spend a lot of money on it. If you can make it functional for a few dollars and elbow grease, go for it . -Jack

View meestajack's profile


33 posts in 3448 days

#4 posted 02-10-2011 12:34 AM

”Wow A $150 cabinet saw ?”
Ok, I was being a “bit” optimistic… more like $300 heavy duty contractors saw.

What would I look out for in seeking a good deal? Any make/model I should snap up if I come across them?

View a1Jim's profile


118066 posts in 4353 days

#5 posted 02-10-2011 12:52 AM

I would not buy a sears but there won’t be a big selection for $ 300 . The heaver saws are better, many of the inexpensive saws are light weight sheet metal . If you can find any of these brands in this order I would consider them Pomermatic, Grizzly,Delta. Many of the better saws run on 220 volts so you have to check on what kind of power you have. All said and done If you can bump you budget up you would be better off with a new saw.
Take a look at these.
I would still stay away from lite weight portable saws. If you find something your interested in PM me or post it here and we can help.


View meestajack's profile


33 posts in 3448 days

#6 posted 02-10-2011 01:00 AM

I’d say my saw looks about that good or better, but it has only one wing extension.

minimal outlay to get it working (if the bearings are decent) would probably mean a new belt and polish/wax the table, surface the arbor… maybe a decent new blade from Dewalt or Freud.

save my pennies in the meantime.

View a1Jim's profile


118066 posts in 4353 days

#7 posted 02-10-2011 01:03 AM

View teejk's profile


1215 posts in 3461 days

#8 posted 02-10-2011 01:17 AM

quite a dilemna…quality stuff that meets the “buy it once” standard is pretty rare. My guess is a used servicable Delta contractor saw with a Unifence or Bies fence might bottom out at $400, Unisaw in single phase a few hundred more. So it comes down to how much you will be using it.

As for your upgrades, on a limited budget you don’t need the $100+ blade; I have had good luck with Oldham blades in the <$20 range. Shoot me but I’ll add that I rarely use the splitter (only when ripping a piece of wood that may want to do funny things when it gets sliced). I understand the link-belts/machined pulleys are nice but quite frankly I’ve seen the need to balance a nickle on a table saw anyway.

Key IMHO is a flat table (cast iron preferable) and a quality fence system that aligns true and stays there.

View Planeman40's profile


1499 posts in 3537 days

#9 posted 02-10-2011 01:34 AM

If you are willing to spend $300 and put in some work, here is what I would do.

I would look at some of the government auctions for woodworking tools. Very nice light industrial table saws from school shops and the like come up fairly often and are often within the $300 area. If you got one of these and refurbished it and then sold your present old saw you could add another $100 to the effort.

I have a shop with many of these types of tools that are of light industrial nature and here is what I know after 50 years of tool collecting.

1. If the castings are good and no parts are missing any bearings can be replaced if necessary with off-the-shelf items.
2. As long as rust on the working surfaces is superficial (not pitted), you can easily remove it.
3. A little clean-up, painting, and adjustment will give you a wonderful saw, usually much better than anything you could buy retail at anything close to that price.
4. Be careful NOT to buy anything requiring 3 phase electrical current. 220-240 volt is easy to add to a shop as long as it is single phase. All homes have 220-240 volts single phase available to power stoves and ovens.

Some places to look are:

The first one is especially a good place to find what you want.


-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

View IrreverentJack's profile


728 posts in 3619 days

#10 posted 02-10-2011 02:31 AM

Jack, Teejk is right, flat tables are key- IMHO that means becareful looking at Craftsman saws.
These might be good deals from CL in eastern NY Walker Turner cabinet and a Jet Contractor Good luck. -Jack

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