Craftsman Table Saw

Blog / Wednesday, October 17th, 2018

If I haven’t already made this clear in previous posts, I’m not a rich man. I never have been though someday I hope to be more comfortable with my finances than I am now. Because of this, I sometimes need to be creative when I’m looking to get something new. I don’t think the things I do are uncommon, however. Often this means I wait and wait and end up not getting the thing. Other times, I’ll save for it over the course of several months until I can justify spending that chunk of money. The best, however, is when I can get the thing I want to buy for free. I really like when that happens.

I’ve written ad nauseam in the past about my ShopSmith 10ER. It’s a great tool that does a whole lot of things as long as you have the attachments for it. Luckily for me, I got a whole box of attachments with mine and I basically have a whole shop in one machine. However, one thing the ShopSmith does not do very well is be a table saw. I’ve made a number of things using the ShopSmith as a table saw, like my two-person dining table and the shaker doors for the bathroom closet. Every time I use it as a table saw, it feels awkward. The table is too small and the height feels off. Also, it’s weird that you raise and lower the table, not the blade, and you tilt the table, not the blade. I can’t make angled cuts because I can’t find a safe way to do it.

That being said, imagine my delight when I saw someone offering up an old 10″ Craftsman table saw (113.299040), for free. Before I had a chance to think about it, I had responded to the Craigslist ad offering to take it off the person’s hands. What I didn’t have time to think about was, A: will I have space for it? and B: will Ellie mind if I bring yet another massive tool into the house. 

Craigslist is a funny place. People are flakes and they have odd expectations of the people they’re buying from and selling to. Like, it’s 10:00 pm can I come look at your car now? No? Fine, then I am not going to buy it. Or, sure I’ll hold on to it until you get here. Texts them that I’m on my way. Oh, I sold it to a guy ten minutes ago. Things like that just make the people on Craigslist weird.

After I sent an email to the person about the saw, I waited for about an hour before I hear back from him and he says that I can have it, can I come to get it that night? I couldn’t, and I let him know that I could get it in the morning and asked what time would work for him. He tells me 9:00 am. Since I was having dinner with my family, I wasn’t able to respond right away. When I do go to respond, I read my emails and find that he decided to give it to another guy. I hadn’t read that when I confirmed I’d be there at 9:00 am. I email him back and say that if he still has it, I’ll still come in the morning. I was disappointed because I had my hopes up. My disappointment didn’t last long because he emailed back and said the other guy didn’t show and I could still get it in the morning. So I set an alarm that guaranteed I’d be there not a minute after 9:00 am.

Craftsman Table Saw Disassembled

I get there, and he had just gotten home from somewhere and was ready to load it up. We put it in the back of my Tiguan and I drive home. In my rear-view mirror, I start to realize how large it is, filling up nearly the whole back of my car. I also think about how it took two of us to hoist it into the car and even that didn’t seem like enough people. Nevertheless, I was in no position to dump the saw on the side of the road so I drove home. I grabbed my tools and set about disassembling the thing into pieces I could carry down into the basement. It took a while because a lot of the bolts I needed to remove were only accessible from the bottom, which was on the floor of my car. Eventually, I got it into small enough bits that I could carry it all myself. So into the basement, it went.

There, I set about cleaning up the decades old sawdust. Some of it in the blade guard was caked on so thick that it had started to form into a new piece of wood. Most of it came away easily with a paintbrush. Once clean, I started the long process of putting it all back together. I reattached the motor and the trunion to the underside of the table. I attached the legs to that and then very carefully hoisted it upright. It was tedious work of reattaching the table extensions after that and putting the blade guard and rip fence on as finishing touches. 

I now had a table saw. In. the. middle. of. my. shop. 

If I had to estimate, the thing weighs a couple hundred pounds. The table top is cast iron. It’s the kind of beefy table saw that seems hard to come by, for cheap at least, these days. It was a couple hundred pounds that I couldn’t easily move out of my way. So I looked up table saw casters and found a set at the local big box home goods store. Other places sold them for cheaper, but the ones I got were great because they came with metal joining pieces as opposed to the others that required you supply your own hardwood. I don’t have time for that. It took a few tries fo finagling with the proper length of things, but I eventually got the casters to fit the saw. I had to tip it over to bolt them on and then find a way to hoist the saw back up while it was on wheels. I think I blacked out for it because I have no idea how I did it.

Craftsman Table Saw Casters

That’s about where I am with the saw. I did make one test cut and it seems to cut fine. I still need to clean up the surface rust on the table top and then seal it with some wax. I also need to spend a good deal of time squaring up everything about the saw. I want to be able to make accurate cuts, otherwise, I’ll just bother with the ShopSmith table saw. It’s going to be a process, but I think it will be well worth it when I’m all said and done.

Craftsman Table Saw First Cut

To help justify the table saw to Ellie, I’m going to take the old timers’ advice on every woodworking forum I’ve ever spent time on, build her something using the new tool. Likely most of what I use the saw for will in some way benefit Ellie, but I’ll have to make her a special project or two at the beginning.

Do you think I scored a deal or a load of junk?

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