Tool Clean Up – Table Saw

Thanks to the long weekend, was able to slip in enough time to straighten out the table saw, a Delta TS300 (discontinued).  Unlike my jointer, planer or router table (which I didn’t even document because it just need a bit of a tweak to level the inset), I knew the table saw was going to be some work.

  1. It’s the first major tool I got, so I didn’t know what I was doing when I set it up, and it’s also had the most use.
  2. You’ll find lots of comments on this model out there, and it’s not bad, but it’s not great either.  I’d already stopped using the factory splitter/safety hood (more aggravating than useful, also, I lost it).  The throat plate is meh, etc.   I would also find some fun stuff in this project.
  3. I had various add-ons that I’d bought and never assembled like a new miter gauge/sled, zero clearance insert and splitter.

That said, it still does a decent job, and I hope it will do even better now.  Once again, using the a variety of sources to perform the work – the manual, John White’s The Care and Repair of Shop Machines, an article from Wood Magazine (good ideas on the wings), and info from New Woodworker.  I actually did this over 3 days, and skipped around a little on Day 1/2 (needing a recheck on the items done Day 1), because I was concerned about aligning the miter slots and wanted to do that fresh.

Also, full disclosure, the top was cleaned once before a few weeks ago, it was in pitiful shape with tons of crap on it that should never have been on there in the first place.  So the lousy shape it starts in was even worse.

Day 1

I started by taking off the rails and straightening out the wings using shims.  I skipped aligning the splitter  at this point because I had some other items I needed to do, and I skipped aligning the miter slots as I was worried about the work and wanted to read up some more after looking up in the machine.  So I put the rails back on and got them all adjusted, knowing I’d have to recheck them again after the miter slots.

I then put in a new zero clearance insert I had bought from Leecraft and a new Freud Thin Kerf combination blade.  I’d been using the existing blade for a number of years, and it got some hard usage during the remodel I did, so it was time.  I have another insert for the dado set the next time I use them.  I then checked the blade tilt stop for 90 degrees and found it needed a bit of a tweak.

I’m a bit torn about the 45 degree stop, I haven’t checked it yet.  I haven’t decided what to do about the insert.  It’s got a nice fit right now, and using it for both 90 and 45 degree cuts would reduce that.  So I’m going to hold off til the first project on that.

I gave the tool another solid cleanup after that and got all the stains off it finally.

Day 2

Armed with my Superbar dial and master plate, I went back and checked the miter slots, hoping they would be within tolerance… John White recommends that for a contractor saw, it .005″ should be achievable.  I was pretty disappointed when the one slot came up .014″, almost 3 times and slightly above Delta’s tolerance of .01″.  I was also disappointed the other slot was off by .01″.  Not only were the slots off, they were off from each other too.  Worse was when I looked under the machine.

From everything I read, I was expecting one trunion in the rear of the machine, and one trunion in the front.  Perhaps I misread, but both are in the front in this model.  Worse, between the stand struts, and the equipment, only two of the bolts (one for each trunion) are even modestly reachable with the machine upright.  The other two required such contortion to get to, I couldn’t get any leverage from looking up from the ground.

In the end I had to put the machine on it sides to loosen the bolts.   I then had to contort a piece of wood in via the throat to adjust the them.  I then bolted the two I could get to while upright and had to put the machine on side again for the other two (which I’m sure reknocked them out slightly).  Woohoo!  I was able to get the better slot to within “.005.  The other slot is now .009”.  I’m going to try and use the right slot as much as possible.  And yes, I got pretty scraped up doing this, that’s a bit of me on the master plate.

I re-raised the blade through the zero clearance insert to cope with the mild adjustment and I rechecked the rails and the fence and called it a day.

Day 3

I had bought an MJ Thin Kerf Splitter a while ago to put onto the new insert.  I was feeling a bit nervous since there is not a lot of room back of the insert for the splitter.  It looked like it would fit, but just, but I might have to cut part of the last support off, since it might be on the lip and not have the full depth.  So I followed the instructions and it actually was a little worse.  The issue is that the blade arbor shift back slightly as you lower the blade, so even though there was room at full height, there was not room at all heights.  I decided to shift the splitter back one hole.  It sits on 4 pegs, so I’ll see how 3 pegs works.  The test cuts seemed pretty good, aligned properly etc, and doing it’s job.

Then finally onto the fun stuff.  I ‘new’ miter gauge/sled – an Incra telescoping 1000SE.  Not their latest, grandest option, because, once again, this has been sitting down there for some years for me to setup.  But still better than the chintzy one that came with it, and my crappy board I added to it.  I setup the miter and gave it a try.  I then reversed it so I could use it in the other slot.

Finally, I setup and tried the sled.  I am concerned the sled may be a bit too much.  I liked using it on the test cuts, but I wonder about on a project.  I am also concerned the off-cut support is going to be irritating to install/remove on a regular basis as it uses a very small hex in a deep hole that needs to be very tight to lock in place.  But we shall see.

Did all my test cuts (except the 45 degree check) and was very pleased with results.  Then, at last, one final cleanup and some glory shots.

I still have some work to do to make the workshop usable, as well as tuning up the miter saw, the band saw and the scroll saw.  But I feel so much better knowing the work horse of the shop is in MUCH better shape than it was.

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Posted on January 16, 2012, in Table Saw, Workshop and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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