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I have recently resurrected my Grandfather's 1985 Craftsman Table Saw.  It was in pretty good shape (insert "They don't build them like they used to" comment here) and just needed some TLC.  Now that it's clean and calibrated, I would like to protect the table top.  I have read that some people recommend paste wax on the table top and fence, so long as it is silicone-free.  Any suggestions?  Thanks in advance for the feedback.

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I have a '91 Craftsman contractor's style, and I have replaced drive pulleys, segmented belt, new Delta fence, enlarged the top, built on-board storage, dust bag, plywood cover, numerous jigs, etc. ... and ... btw used Turtle wax on top. 

Each improvement has helped save time and improve quality.

Thanks Rick.  Looks like you have done a lot of work on that saw.  Was there one particular upgrade that you'd recommend over the others?  

Probably the fence.  Can't believe I lived with that old piece of junk for 20 years.

Running a close second was the PALS alignment add-on.  Without that, there was just no way to align the saw blade to the miter tracks.


These two upgrades definitely improved quality, and also safety, since misalignments are a factor in kickbacks.

He Stephen, I see that are interested in table saw tune up.  i see that you have posted this in the beginners section and that indicated to me that you are new to woodworking. I have been doing this for over 20 years and have all my fingers and so far have not had an accident.  I credit this not as luck but because of thinking safety.  Part of this safety is working with properly adjusted tools.  I posted this article over a year ago.  Perhaps you will find something of value in it that makes your interest in woodworking a safe and happy experience.  This was in response to a discussion by fellow member Mike Hugh and was about saws:

 

Reply by Jay Boutwell on May 21, 2011 at 11:54am

Mike, Hugh is very correct in his comment above. Not only is the improperly adjusted saw dangerous but it is not accurate unless the trunnion is correctly adjusted and running free of wobble or slop in the bearings.  Trunnion adjustment is the first thing you need to do to set up an accurate and safe saw.  The trunnion bearings must be tight and smooth in the trunnion housing to perform correctly.  The saw arbor shaft facing (saw blade rests against this in order to tighten with nut) must be at an absolute 90 degrees to the shaft.  The arbor shaft must also run true without wobble meaning that it must be absolute straight and allows no runout out as the shaft spins.  The trunnion housing must be adjusted so that it is 90 degrees to the saw table surface and set so it is square to the miter guide track from the front of the table and extending all along the length of the miter track.   I do this using the guide track on the left side of the blade since i use the left side of the table for all my accurate cuts including my most accurate saw sled.  ( I have several I use depending on what I am doing)  To square the table with the track guides move the table on its mountings and adjust the trunnion to the table for the 90 degree to the table top (vertical) use shims.  All mounting bolts must be of a grade high enough to with stand the pressure generated in the saws operation.  The most critical is the trunnion mounting bolts.  In trunnions the best is the ones with ball bearings are superior to the bronze bushings type found in the cheaper saws.  Once you have the trunnion and table set correctly this is the time to set the miter scale on the saw.

Once the table and trunion are adjusted check the opposite miter track against the trunnion and table settings you have established.  These should match without changing any of your prior adjustments. If they do not match then the difference is the inaccurate maching of the table top and will never be an accurate saw using both miter tracks without making adjustments to that track or the tooling using that track.   If it is off too much then dump the saw for a better one.  It can be used however avoid using the inaccurate miter slide unless you make adjustments to the tooling used in that track. This is why i set up my saw using the side I will use most for my accurate work.  Another reason that I use a sled with only one slide bar. 

Another reason to have a inaccurate saw when using the miter tracks is if they are loose and sloppy to the slide bars used on either a miter guage or on other device used to slide a piece of wood past a saw blade.

Accurace cuts will also demand a quality saw blade of which will remain true even after long cuts in heavy tough material and after continious runs of several minutes without stopping the saw.  A reason that I use the 1/8" thick blades and most often the 40 tooth combination blade.  Heat causes metal movement and the more metal there the more heat it will take before making a radical change.  I also use a blade viberation dampener to reduce the viberations from heavy cutting. The dampners also absorb more heat from the blade.   It is of importance to have and maintain a sharp blade as it greatly improves the all around performance of the cutting.  A tough and jagged cut will become more like a smooth easily cut piece.  Less wear and tear on both the saw and the operator and it will greatly improve the safety of a saw.  Simply put, the more force you have to use on any object the more apt you are to do damage to your self in the event of a sudden change of cutting action.  imagine a crack you didn't see causes the lumber to suddenly explode or a knot suddenly decides to attemtp to flee the saw blade and the once knot there now is a void and you loose control and into the blade you go.

The next important thing in saw preperation is the alinement of the drive system.  The alinement must be set so that the drive pulleys are running true without runout and must be square to the drive motor and trunnion.   The motor must be securely tightened to the mounting and have enough power to operate the saw without bogging down. If multiple belts are used in the drive system then matched belts should be used and replace as a set.

Hugh is again right about the fence cutting accurate even if the blade is not true to the miter tracks.  Since it is supported by the table top it should be the last thing to adjust.   If the table top is alined properly to the blade trunnion assembly the saw will cut accurately and to cut accurately with the fence the fence must be set up using the settings from the blade and trunnion.  This meaning the alinement at 90 degrees to the blade and then kick the rear of the fence open about .002" to allow the material to freely pass the blade without pinching and closing against the blade.  Here again is another safety issue of which every saw doing a ripping of lumber needs a properly alined splitter securely attached to rear of the saw.  This is important feature to prevent the squeezing of lumber against the blade causing kickbacks and also burning of the lumber against the blade. 

               

(Continued table saw accuracy)

Of importance in saw fences never use one of which does not lock firmly each time it is moved and locked.  It must be a ridgid and a strong fence and high enough that material will not climb over it during a cut.  Once the fence is accurately so that it slides square to the blade trunnion that its scale should be adjusted.  Once all this is considered and addressed then you should have a saw that will cut accurately and safely.  About a month ago i posted comments about how I made my table saw accurate and safe to use.  In that post I talked about using a nickel when I set up and tuned my saw .  It is also my test to insure that nothing has changed in my saw from earlier use.  I do this almost daily before I start up the saw.  I know from experience that any change in a saw can be detected by the viberations that it produces.  It might be small enough that sounds do not come from the saw and the saw will not always jump up and down so standing a nickel on its side with a running saw will test it for you.  If that nickel will stand on its edge you have a finely tuned saw and one you can cut with without fear of accidents from a failure of a saw part.

In this post I have talked about trunnions and arbors.  I did not address the direct drive saws.  The main difference is that a direct drive saw does not have a trunnion so to speak as the motor assemble is the trunnion and should be adjusted using pretty much the same type of thinking.  I know they can not be fine tuned to perform like the big cabinet and heavier saws but can be improved in performance and safety using some of the same method I have discussed above.  One of the additional items to consider is making sure the smaller saw is fastened down enough to prevent it from moving while in use.  Alot of force is put against the saw when pushing lumber through and a little movement can often lead to a accident.

Other safety measures to consider is checking the saw blade for missing and bent teeth, bent or cracked blade bodies as well as tightness of the blade to the arbor.  Check the fence for locking simply by moving the fence to a couple different location and locking it down and giving it a quick bump with the hand.  Checking the on off switch and the other safety devices to insure that they work correctly.  Keep the saw table clear of other items including tape measures screw drivers and other tools.  Accidents happen by simple things like a stray nail or screw laying on the saw or even near the saw.  Another item often over looked in table saw safety is the saw blade inserts for the table.  Using a loose fitting insert is asking for trouble, using a datto insert on a standard saw blade is dangerous as well.  Cutting lumber without eye protection is another item of necessity if you want to remain seeing with both eyes.

Firm footing and secure fitting shirt sleeves and clothing is another item often neglected as well as standing directly behind the blade is dangerous.

Another safety item is working on a saw while it is still plugged in is double dangerous.  Avoid alcoholic beverages as well as working with a saw while tired and or on medications.  Avoid any distractions when sawing might keep your self or others safe .

Maybe I get carried away with all this but I have has the misfortune of having to be involved in the investigation of a death caused by a table saw.  This has been years ago and I still see the blood everytime I turn on the saw.

This death was caused by carless operation of the normal inocent looking home type table saw.  Remember a saw is only as safe as you make it be.  PLEASE !!!! think and work safe before you flip that switch..........

 

Jay, thank you so very much.  I am new to woodworking; I started last fall at an adult school taking a cabinet making course.  I really appreciate the post on table saw tune-up.  I spent a great deal of time squaring up the blade to the miter slot.  Because of the age of the saw, and the fact that it had sat unused for years, I took everything apart, cleaned and reassembled as if it was new.  

Your passion for safety is commendable.  I have seen family members and friends either have near misses, or missing fingers.  I cannot thank you enough for the thorough repost.  I will refer back to this one often.



Jay Boutwell said:

He Stephen, I see that are interested in table saw tune up.  i see that you have posted this in the beginners section and that indicated to me that you are new to woodworking. I have been doing this for over 20 years and have all my fingers and so far have not had an accident.  I credit this not as luck but because of thinking safety.  Part of this safety is working with properly adjusted tools.  I posted this article over a year ago.  Perhaps you will find something of value in it that makes your interest in woodworking a safe and happy experience.  This was in response to a discussion by fellow member Mike Hugh and was about saws:

 

Reply by Jay Boutwell on May 21, 2011 at 11:54am

Mike, Hugh is very correct in his comment above. Not only is the improperly adjusted saw dangerous but it is not accurate unless the trunnion is correctly adjusted and running free of wobble or slop in the bearings.  Trunnion adjustment is the first thing you need to do to set up an accurate and safe saw.  The trunnion bearings must be tight and smooth in the trunnion housing to perform correctly.  The saw arbor shaft facing (saw blade rests against this in order to tighten with nut) must be at an absolute 90 degrees to the shaft.  The arbor shaft must also run true without wobble meaning that it must be absolute straight and allows no runout out as the shaft spins.  The trunnion housing must be adjusted so that it is 90 degrees to the saw table surface and set so it is square to the miter guide track from the front of the table and extending all along the length of the miter track.   I do this using the guide track on the left side of the blade since i use the left side of the table for all my accurate cuts including my most accurate saw sled.  ( I have several I use depending on what I am doing)  To square the table with the track guides move the table on its mountings and adjust the trunnion to the table for the 90 degree to the table top (vertical) use shims.  All mounting bolts must be of a grade high enough to with stand the pressure generated in the saws operation.  The most critical is the trunnion mounting bolts.  In trunnions the best is the ones with ball bearings are superior to the bronze bushings type found in the cheaper saws.  Once you have the trunnion and table set correctly this is the time to set the miter scale on the saw.

Once the table and trunion are adjusted check the opposite miter track against the trunnion and table settings you have established.  These should match without changing any of your prior adjustments. If they do not match then the difference is the inaccurate maching of the table top and will never be an accurate saw using both miter tracks without making adjustments to that track or the tooling using that track.   If it is off too much then dump the saw for a better one.  It can be used however avoid using the inaccurate miter slide unless you make adjustments to the tooling used in that track. This is why i set up my saw using the side I will use most for my accurate work.  Another reason that I use a sled with only one slide bar. 

Another reason to have a inaccurate saw when using the miter tracks is if they are loose and sloppy to the slide bars used on either a miter guage or on other device used to slide a piece of wood past a saw blade.

Accurace cuts will also demand a quality saw blade of which will remain true even after long cuts in heavy tough material and after continious runs of several minutes without stopping the saw.  A reason that I use the 1/8" thick blades and most often the 40 tooth combination blade.  Heat causes metal movement and the more metal there the more heat it will take before making a radical change.  I also use a blade viberation dampener to reduce the viberations from heavy cutting. The dampners also absorb more heat from the blade.   It is of importance to have and maintain a sharp blade as it greatly improves the all around performance of the cutting.  A tough and jagged cut will become more like a smooth easily cut piece.  Less wear and tear on both the saw and the operator and it will greatly improve the safety of a saw.  Simply put, the more force you have to use on any object the more apt you are to do damage to your self in the event of a sudden change of cutting action.  imagine a crack you didn't see causes the lumber to suddenly explode or a knot suddenly decides to attemtp to flee the saw blade and the once knot there now is a void and you loose control and into the blade you go.

The next important thing in saw preperation is the alinement of the drive system.  The alinement must be set so that the drive pulleys are running true without runout and must be square to the drive motor and trunnion.   The motor must be securely tightened to the mounting and have enough power to operate the saw without bogging down. If multiple belts are used in the drive system then matched belts should be used and replace as a set.

Hugh is again right about the fence cutting accurate even if the blade is not true to the miter tracks.  Since it is supported by the table top it should be the last thing to adjust.   If the table top is alined properly to the blade trunnion assembly the saw will cut accurately and to cut accurately with the fence the fence must be set up using the settings from the blade and trunnion.  This meaning the alinement at 90 degrees to the blade and then kick the rear of the fence open about .002" to allow the material to freely pass the blade without pinching and closing against the blade.  Here again is another safety issue of which every saw doing a ripping of lumber needs a properly alined splitter securely attached to rear of the saw.  This is important feature to prevent the squeezing of lumber against the blade causing kickbacks and also burning of the lumber against the blade. 

               

(Continued table saw accuracy)

Of importance in saw fences never use one of which does not lock firmly each time it is moved and locked.  It must be a ridgid and a strong fence and high enough that material will not climb over it during a cut.  Once the fence is accurately so that it slides square to the blade trunnion that its scale should be adjusted.  Once all this is considered and addressed then you should have a saw that will cut accurately and safely.  About a month ago i posted comments about how I made my table saw accurate and safe to use.  In that post I talked about using a nickel when I set up and tuned my saw .  It is also my test to insure that nothing has changed in my saw from earlier use.  I do this almost daily before I start up the saw.  I know from experience that any change in a saw can be detected by the viberations that it produces.  It might be small enough that sounds do not come from the saw and the saw will not always jump up and down so standing a nickel on its side with a running saw will test it for you.  If that nickel will stand on its edge you have a finely tuned saw and one you can cut with without fear of accidents from a failure of a saw part.

In this post I have talked about trunnions and arbors.  I did not address the direct drive saws.  The main difference is that a direct drive saw does not have a trunnion so to speak as the motor assemble is the trunnion and should be adjusted using pretty much the same type of thinking.  I know they can not be fine tuned to perform like the big cabinet and heavier saws but can be improved in performance and safety using some of the same method I have discussed above.  One of the additional items to consider is making sure the smaller saw is fastened down enough to prevent it from moving while in use.  Alot of force is put against the saw when pushing lumber through and a little movement can often lead to a accident.

Other safety measures to consider is checking the saw blade for missing and bent teeth, bent or cracked blade bodies as well as tightness of the blade to the arbor.  Check the fence for locking simply by moving the fence to a couple different location and locking it down and giving it a quick bump with the hand.  Checking the on off switch and the other safety devices to insure that they work correctly.  Keep the saw table clear of other items including tape measures screw drivers and other tools.  Accidents happen by simple things like a stray nail or screw laying on the saw or even near the saw.  Another item often over looked in table saw safety is the saw blade inserts for the table.  Using a loose fitting insert is asking for trouble, using a datto insert on a standard saw blade is dangerous as well.  Cutting lumber without eye protection is another item of necessity if you want to remain seeing with both eyes.

Firm footing and secure fitting shirt sleeves and clothing is another item often neglected as well as standing directly behind the blade is dangerous.

Another safety item is working on a saw while it is still plugged in is double dangerous.  Avoid alcoholic beverages as well as working with a saw while tired and or on medications.  Avoid any distractions when sawing might keep your self or others safe .

Maybe I get carried away with all this but I have has the misfortune of having to be involved in the investigation of a death caused by a table saw.  This has been years ago and I still see the blood everytime I turn on the saw.

This death was caused by carless operation of the normal inocent looking home type table saw.  Remember a saw is only as safe as you make it be.  PLEASE !!!! think and work safe before you flip that switch..........

 

Rick

Can you provide more info on your replace fence.

I bought the Delta 36-T30, 30 inch T2 Fence system from Tools-Plus in CT (800-222-6133) for $154 (includes shipping) which was the best price I could find.

Since my saw was a Craftsman, I had to drill new mounting holes, which required careful machining with a good drill and twist drills for metal.  I searched online and found a guy who did the same thing and documented it with pictures ...

http://www.instructables.com/id/Retrofitting-A-Delta-T2-Fence-to-a-...

Stephen,

To answer your original question, paste wax is always a good bet. There are many other products out there that may work even better, but I think a can of Johnsons is a must-have in the wood shop.

Hugh,

Thank you very much!  I appreciate the input.

Hugh Clare said:

Stephen,

To answer your original question, paste wax is always a good bet. There are many other products out there that may work even better, but I think a can of Johnsons is a must-have in the wood shop.

Hi Stephen,

I like Collinite Insulator Wax for my table saw. It's easy to apply and works great.

http://www.autogeek.net/collinite-insulator-wax-845.html

Regards, Steve

The guy at the detail shop said Collinite Wax is the best car wax available.

Got to be great for table saws!

Steve Osterday said:

Hi Stephen,

I like Collinite Insulator Wax for my table saw. It's easy to apply and works great.

Hey Steve,

Many thanks for the feedback.  

Steve Osterday said:

Hi Stephen,

I like Collinite Insulator Wax for my table saw. It's easy to apply and works great.

http://www.autogeek.net/collinite-insulator-wax-845.html

Regards, Steve

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