Old Delta Contractors saw vs Craftsman

  • Advertise with us

« back to Power Tools, Hardware and Accessories forum

Forum topic by Tom posted 03-13-2014 01:33 AM 4156 views 0 times favorited 33 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Tom's profile


185 posts in 2781 days

03-13-2014 01:33 AM


I got an opportunity to buy and old Delta contractors saw, the saw is right tilt, cast iron center and steel wings – What I like about this is the motor 1.5HP and it has a vega fence. I recently picked up a Craftsman 113 and it cleaned up real nice and has cast iron wings, it has a 1HP motor. I can pick up the Delta with some extras for $185. Problem is I like the left tilt and wings better on the c-man… Does anyone know if the motor can transfer? I would like to pick it up, swap motors and put the vega on the cman (the delta also comes with the original fence) and I would either keep the Delta as a spare or sell it, the two look a lot alike but I do not know if the motor will transfer over. All might be a mute point if the Delta is a superior saw in some way, I could move the wings over if that would be possible…

Would not consider but I can get that entire saw for less than the cost of a replacement fence for the c-man but would want to build the best saw out of the 2, just need to know if some of the parts can be swapped out.


-- --Tom - Saint Francis, WI

33 replies so far

View mantwi's profile


312 posts in 2957 days

#1 posted 03-13-2014 02:20 AM

I’m sure both saws will have motors with the same frame the problem is will the Delta’s motor be reversible. If it is you simply wire it opposite to achieve reverse rotation. Honestly I think I’d go with the Delta, it’s a much better built machine in my experience and though the left tilt is convenient most cuts can be accomplished on a right tilt saw by moving the fence to the left of the blade. I have a Vega fence on my old Grizz G1023 and it has 12” capacity to the left. By the way I really like my Vega fence system and you will too when you use it.

View Tom's profile


185 posts in 2781 days

#2 posted 03-13-2014 02:25 AM

cool, thanks. why would the motor need reversed? the belt is on the same side / orientation as the cman… I was mainly concerned with mounts and shaft size. Only thing about the vega I don’t like is the things is 78” long… so I might have to chop it off somehow I don’t have that kind of room right now

-- --Tom - Saint Francis, WI

View Tom's profile


185 posts in 2781 days

#3 posted 03-13-2014 03:20 PM

Does anyone know if the delta’s miter slots are under-sized like the cman?

-- --Tom - Saint Francis, WI

View bandit571's profile


28331 posts in 3744 days

#4 posted 03-13-2014 03:59 PM

I’ve used both saws, prefer the 113. Delta’s fence with that tilt, just limits things too much. Miter slot on the Delta is a “T” slot, and seems a bit shallow. I have a larger motor on the 113, with a dual belt system. The trunion on the saw cracked one year ( bought the saw NEW) and found a similar one for $25 at the construction company I worked at. Swapped out bad parts for the “new’ parts. Motor is now a ture 1 hp. Added the extra stamped steel wings to the original ones. Now have one one the left, and three on the right side. had to add a leg under the long side.

Left index finger is 1/8” shorter than the right one, thanks to Delta’s free-wheeling blades.

Just my $0.02 worth…

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View Tom's profile


185 posts in 2781 days

#5 posted 03-13-2014 04:29 PM

Thanks bandit, I think I read your story on another site.

I like the cman better as well mainly for the left tilt and cast iron wings… on the delta I like the fence (upgraded with a vega with micro-adjust) and the 1.5hp motor…

-- --Tom - Saint Francis, WI

View JayT's profile


6421 posts in 3271 days

#6 posted 03-13-2014 04:33 PM

For that price, I’d buy the Delta, swap the fence over to the Craftsman, put the original fence back on the Delta and resell it. Even if you took $100 less, that is a darn cheap Vega fence.

Heck, if you do that, try both saws and see which you like better. I don’t think there is that much difference between them, but like you I’d prefer the cast iron wings.

-- - In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.

View Tom's profile


185 posts in 2781 days

#7 posted 03-13-2014 04:37 PM

Thanks Jeff, that’s the way I am thinking as of now.

I could wind up with 3 saws as I think I am also going to pick up a PM65 which I will not be able to use until this summer once I get 220… but I can then put the vega on the PM and I will have a lifetime saw… only bummer is no riving knife, but I think splitters will work out just fine.

-- --Tom - Saint Francis, WI

View knotscott's profile


8415 posts in 4436 days

#8 posted 03-13-2014 04:49 PM

If the Delta is right tilt, the rotation (and pulley) should be opposite of the left tilt Cman… unless it’s reversible you won’t be able to swap motors. But that Vega would be icing on the cake for the Cman! You can always sell off the parts you don’t use….

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

View Tom's profile


185 posts in 2781 days

#9 posted 03-13-2014 04:54 PM

thanks Scott,

I am not getting the rotation thing, I did not look super close at the Delta just enough to know the motor and pulley were on the same side as the cman, in my mind that means it would rotate the same way… not end of the world. I am going to pick the Delta up for the fence then will probably sell it for whatever I can get.

-- --Tom - Saint Francis, WI

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

9866 posts in 3389 days

#10 posted 03-13-2014 05:15 PM

IMO, tilt concerns are over-rated and no basis to choose one saw over another.

I’ve moved the blade on the right tilt Jet cabinet saw I got used and refurbished ONCE in the past year.

Was I concerned about trapping the stock between the blade and the fence and having it burn or shoot back at me?


It aint’ that hard folks.

On a cabinet saw, you really benefit from having a right tilt, as the arbor flange is on the same side as the fence normally is, and you’re fence scale holds true for thin kerf, fat kerf and dado stacks…..

-- Matt -- I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam

View Tom's profile


185 posts in 2781 days

#11 posted 03-13-2014 11:28 PM

Well I went for it and got the Delta – picked it up for $160, so now I have to figure all this out.

How do you tell if a motor is reversible? I don’t think this one is since it states CW Rotation…

The fence on the Delta seems really nice, 1.5HP and zero rust

Temporary Fence on the Craftsman…

The original Delta fence looks far more substantial than the Craftsman…

I want to put together the best saw out of these 2 possible, first thing is the motor reversible – then take it from there, they are both in really nice shape. Since I don’t think I can motor swap it’s either try to fit the cman wings on the delta and vise-versa or put the vega on the cman. Either way the original delta fence is better than the cman fence so that will go on whatever I decide not to keep.

-- --Tom - Saint Francis, WI

View mikeevens45's profile


68 posts in 2636 days

#12 posted 03-14-2014 12:19 AM

the steel wings on the delta I think are better than the cast cman ..I may be Rockwell delta biased tho

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

View Tom's profile


185 posts in 2781 days

#13 posted 03-14-2014 12:32 AM

Thanks Mike,

seems like your in the minority on that one…

For me I just basically have to decide which machine to put the Vega pro on because upon looking I think that is the only part that will swap out easily… The Cast wings might be moveable but that could be a lot of drilling and tapping which would need to be fairly precise.

So the differences are

Craftsman Pro’s:

- Cast Iron Wings
- Easier to move around
- Left Tilt
- runs super smooth and quiet

Craftsman Cons:

- 1HP motor
- Slightly under sized slots ( a little less than 3/4” when I measured).
- Thin insert slot (I think I would have to put a rabbit on homemade inserts – just extra work)
- bad fence, would have to put the vega on it.

Delta Pros:

-1.5 HP Motor
- Already has the vega fence on it
- 3/4” Miter slots
- Deeper insert slot (I think 1/2” so making inserts would be easier)
- probably worth more to re-sell due to larger motor and it looks like the stock fence was not to bad compared to the cman fence

Delta Cons:

- Steel wings
- Right tilt
- does not run smooth unless I put a fair amount of pressure on the motor to tension it – could this be bad bearings? (see next)
- No current way to tension the belt, it just hangs there by it’s own weight – something would have to be added for tension.

I think the delta is a little bit beefier under the hood, longevity wise there seems to be a ton of the craftsman out there so I would think parts might be easier to find if needed but I could be wrong, the Craftsman runs much smoother probably could pass a nickel test, no way the delta could but maybe that’s just some tuning?

It’s a hard choice, but 1 will have to go, I don’t have room for both.

-- --Tom - Saint Francis, WI

View Paul's profile


721 posts in 2625 days

#14 posted 03-14-2014 01:52 AM

My vote is for the Delta, IF you can reverse the motor. Right tilt vrs left tilt would be a definitive no for me. Can you swap out the cast iron wings on the cman to fit the Delta? A new belt might fix the tension problem, who knows how old that belt is and how much flex has given out since it was new.


View JayT's profile


6421 posts in 3271 days

#15 posted 03-14-2014 01:59 AM

Whichever works better, you should have a pretty good setup when you are done for not a lot of monetary investment.

Also, the Craftsman miter slots should be standard 3/4×3/8, just not T slots.

-- - In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.

showing 1 through 15 of 33 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

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