Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Rehabbing the Table Saw

When you buy a used table saw from Craigslist for less than the cost of a new router, you can be reasonably sure you'll need to put some work into getting it ready. Especially when the owner has left it sitting in a shed for years on end after treating it kind of roughly. As long as it was going to be less work than the old Craftsman that I flipped to get the money for this one, though, it was a no-brainer.

I expected far worse than I got, however. There was some surface rust, of course, and that needed to be sanded out. I used 320 grit sandpaper and mineral spirits, then cleaned it up with WD40 to keep it from rusting again.

Before sanding (left) and after sanding.

The original blade was shot, so that had to go. Factory blades are crap anyway, so no sweat.

Apart from a little paint and poly overspray, though, there was surprisingly little that needed to be done apart from scraping off the gunk.

Within an hour or so, I had the rails reinstalled, a new blade, and a freshly sanded and waxed table top. Time for a test cut!

Dead. On. Square.

That's right: my ten-year-old table saw -- abused, neglected, and forlorn its whole life -- cut like a champ. The fence was rigid and straight. The rails were true and smooth. The blade was perfectly perpendicular. Talk about a score!

The only downside, of course, is that the owner did not have the blade guard and splitter, so I have to be extremely careful. Fortunately, I work primarily with plywood, pine, and soft hardwoods, so I'm not extremely concerned about a blade-pinch kickback (though I'm always vigilant). Once I scrape up the pennies, though, I'm in the market for some after-market safety gear.

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