Restoring my Great Grandfather's Table Saw ca. 1950s

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Blog entry by wmixon posted 06-23-2014 02:28 AM 2112 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hi everyone,

I have been a member on lumberjocks for only a few weeks…but have been a reader for a while.

I have recently had the opportunity to rebuild my Great Grandfather’s 1950s era Craftsman 113.xx series table saw. What a journey of historical context and family memories this project was for me!

The saw was given to me by my father when I expressed interest in setting up a work shop (I’m 28). While in working condition, it had much to be done and some improvements to be made.

The first thing I did was disassemble the saw completely—which turned into a great experience in looking at mid century american craftsmanship!

I then sandblasted everything that could be sand blasted..and applied fresh new paint—with a slightly more modern color scheme but sticking with the older craftsman colors.

The table just needed a good bit of TLC through the use of 120 grit sand paper and a palm sander!

I replaced all hardware with stainless steel to ensure it will last for a while.

Being a band director, and pianist, I need my fingers (wait, don’t we all!?) so I wanted to make the saw as safe as possible (understanding that the safest feature is the space between your ears. I added a nice, big shut off switch you can reach with your thigh, if needed. I also added a shark guard splitter system—great product, by the way. Turned out, the gentleman that created the shark guard line of safety solutions, lived 15 minutes away from my house!

Wanting the saw to be a tribute to my great grandfather’s life, I splurged a little and had the original aluminum professionally polished and all the chromed piece, rechromed.

While keeping the saw original was important, I decided to upgrade the fence system with a Vega Pro fence with 52” rails—sure 52 inches is a little much for a garage shop, but lets do things right! Right?

It says a lot about how things were made in the 50s that this saw was able to be turned into a (in my opinion) fine cutting machine.

On the note of its performance, this sucker cuts! 8/4 no problem (woodworker II blade) and with the fence and turnnions adjusted just right, she rips with great precision.

The most rewarding part of the saw is the opportunity to switch it on, hear that 1HP emerson motor start turning, and be transported (if every so briefly) into a different time—the time of my great grandfather, my grandfather, and my father.

I hope you enjoy the pictures!

This is what I started with…

This is after the sandblasting and painting…

And here is some of the chorming…

And here is the upgraded fence…

-- Measure twice, cut once...Throw board away, go back to Home Depot...Measure three times, cut once...Pray.

7 comments so far

View TheFridge's profile


10861 posts in 2459 days

#1 posted 06-23-2014 02:45 AM

Great stuff man. About to refinish my paw paws 50-60 year old jointer.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View wmixon's profile


20 posts in 2436 days

#2 posted 06-23-2014 02:49 AM

Very Cool! Since doing the TS, I also done an 1980s AMT bandsaw that was in a field for about 10 years. It is a fun process!

Hey, some advice…take pictures along the way. There were parts of the TS rebuild that I didn’t document and wish I had.

Best wishes with it!


-- Measure twice, cut once...Throw board away, go back to Home Depot...Measure three times, cut once...Pray.

View Don Broussard's profile

Don Broussard

3980 posts in 3224 days

#3 posted 06-23-2014 03:04 AM

That thing’s gorgeous! I like that you’re now the custodian of a family machine, and you’re doing it proud! The re-chrome and the polishing really dress the machine up. Keep it up, William!

-- People say I hammer like lightning. It's not that I'm fast -- it's that I never hit the same place twice!

View wmixon's profile


20 posts in 2436 days

#4 posted 06-23-2014 03:07 AM

Thanks, Don!

-- Measure twice, cut once...Throw board away, go back to Home Depot...Measure three times, cut once...Pray.

View dbhost's profile


5777 posts in 4205 days

#5 posted 06-23-2014 08:50 PM

I wish that my Dad had held on to his, and my grandfather’s tools… I would have happily paid him for them, just to have a piece of working family history… I guess he figured none of us would have ever taken up the woodworking bug… You are very lucky to have that saw, and I must say, what a great way to honor your family history!

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4307 days

#6 posted 06-23-2014 09:26 PM

Very impressive restore. Nice work!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View changeoffocus's profile


467 posts in 2590 days

#7 posted 06-25-2014 10:18 PM

Great job, I doubt that saw looked that good when it was new.

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