Last year, you may recall, that I was fed up not having a table saw and decided to make one. As it so happens, I now have an actual table saw.
It’s not perfect, as you will see in a moment, but it was free so I’m not complaining. Technically speaking, I traded a big cherry burl for it as the guy who gave it to me does fun artsy things with wood. What is a burl, you may ask? Let me show you.
If you’ve ever looked at a tree trunk that looked normal, but there was one section that was bulging out, like the tree had a tumour, that’s a burl. This particular one was huge compared to the size of the trunk. The tree was dead, so the burl had many cracks in it. I’m not sure how usable it will be, but I didn’t have any uses for it (except fire wood) and if someone can create a snazzy piece of wood art with it, they are welcome to it.
In any event, that is what I traded for this.
Yup, it’s a beast of a table saw. Completely cast iron, weighs a tonne. Here is a picture of the brand plate.
Originally it was guessed that the table saw was from sometime in the 70’s, but I did a search on the Beaver Power Tools company and came across this link. According to their timeline, shop machines produced with the “Beaver Power Tools” name were made between 1946 and 1953. That would make this table saw quite the vintage.
The saw blades that came with it were quite old too. You don’t see packaging like this any more.
This was the blade that was installed in the table saw. It looks like it has seen some wear and tear.
Here is a close-up of the teeth on the blade. They could certainly use some TLC, in terms of sharpening, I’m sure.
I was thinking it would probably be a good idea to get a new blade for it. The blade size is 8″ (203mm) diameter. It turns out that 8″ circular saw blades are difficult to find, especially if you want one for doing fine cuts. They do still make them, but good luck finding one in a store. I thought an 8.25″ blade might work as they are more available, so I tried that first. It wouldn’t fit. I could mount the blade if it was either all the way up or all the way down, but I couldn’t move it after that. Not very functional, to say the least.
So I ended up searching specific blade manufacturer’s websites for 8″ circular saw blades for doing fine cuts. Fortunately, I found one at Freud Tools. I took the information I found to my local Timber-Mart and asked them to order it. They already deal with Freud blades so it wasn’t a big deal. Unfortunately, the one I picked from the website they no longer make. They did give me two other options: one that was pretty close to what I had picked from the website and another one that was supposed to be super advanced, the latest tech, and give amazing results.
I looked up both blades, himmed and hawed for a moment and decided to just try the fancy, advanced blade. The order was placed and a few days later it arrived. Here it is, still in its packaging.
Shedding that protective outer layer, we get a glimpse at the inner goodness.
Moving in closer, we can see the huge difference between the teeth on this blade and the one that came with the saw.
It fit very nicely in its new home.
Of course, after going to all of that trouble (and shelling out nigh $125 after tax for the blade), you better be sure that I was going to try it out. I picked a scrap piece of 19mm (0.75″) plywood with red oak veneer on both sides as my test piece. This is the stuff we have been using to make our cabinets, so it was a pretty good test.
Here is the result.
That, my friends, is a very nice super clean cut. I must mention, however, that the saw does have a few drawbacks.
First, the fence has a small wiggle to it. That’s the big arm piece that sits over the table that you use to set the size of your cuts. You have to take the time to be sure that the fence is square to the blade, especially with that fancy blade I installed. If the fence isn’t square, the blade will burn one side of the cut (i.e. it will leave scorch marks on the wood). This isn’t any different than what I was doing with my home made table saw, but it is a bit more frustrating because this is an actual table saw, albeit a 50-60 year old one.
The other major drawback to this saw is it rusts. I have it out in the truck shelter with my work table and other tools and I can’t keep it from not rusting.
I have tried various different covers over it, but the humidity in there just isn’t conducive to keeping that saw clean. I could put it in our shipping container, but then I wouldn’t be able to use it, which would defeat the purpose. It’s not easy to move either, as it probably weighs in around 90kg (200lbs). It does have casters on the one side so you can tilt and roll it, but they don’t work so well over the dirt driveway. You really just end up leaving trenches.
It was mentioned to use some oil on it, but I don’t know what kind of oil to use so if any of you have any suggestions, please feel free to leave a comment.