Thursday, July 4, 2013

Getting Started: Table Saw Repair, Part II

I might as well admit it right now, when I got an old table saw for free, I didn't give any thought to maintenance. It worked, and worked better than the crappy circular saw I had at the time, so I figured that was a win. I wasn't until I started to consider my need to do more precise work than cutting 2x4's and trim molding for home remodels that I started to think about the idea that a table saw might need maintenance.

Getting a pulley reinstalled was just the first step. When I mentioned it to a friend at work, he got me pointed in the right direction for tuning up my saw. I started with a good cleanup. I hit the rusted cast iron top with 500 grit wet or dry sandpaper, then Bar Keeper's Friend and a green scratchpad, and finally Naval Jelly. The change was pretty impressive. It actually had a bit of luster. I gave the whole thing a shot of rust inhibitor.

Working my way down, I hit the undercarriage with a dry parts brush and a shop vac. After things looked respectable again, I gave it several liberal shots of dry spray lubricant.

Then I started truing things up. The throat plate (that red part that the blade sticks through) was visibly out of place due to decades of fine sawdust built up under it. I cleared out that mess an reset the adjustment screws. Next was the pulleys. I laid s straight edge across the face of the motor pulley and drive pulley, and immediately noticed that while they were more or less in the same plane, the motor pulley was at a cockeyed angle. Hmmm... this is not good. A bit of investigation revealed that the motor mount was bent.

Adjusting the motor mount consisted of clamping it down in the vise and whacking on it with a sledge hammer until it seemed straight-ish. I had to fine tune it a bit more by putting two washers under the the side of the motor mount nearest the pulleys, then measured and straightened and measured and straightened until everything lined up.

Finally, I tightened everything down and turned it on. The saw immediately seemed quieter. The rumble and vibration were largely gone. It looks like I might have a working table saw again!

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