I recently received an e-mail from reader Joe Polich seeking help to identify an old table saw he acquired. Before reading the message and looking at the photos, I was thinking it was likely a saw from the 1940s, plus or minus ten years. Boy was I surprised with this beauty. As Executive Editor Megan Fitzpatrick said after taking a look, “You could clean that up and put it in your living room!”
I had few clues to give Joe except to look for information on the Old Woodworking Machines web site and forum. At first I thought it may have been custom-made, possibly in a patternmaker’s shop. But given the hardware for the rip fence and miter gauge, I concluded probably not. I also speculated that it may have originally been set up to be run on a line shaft and belt.
If you have any information or ideas for Joe, drop a comment. I already tried offering him a couple hundred bucks to haul the old piece of junk away, but he wasn’t buying, errr, selling it. Here’s the info and pictures Joe sent.
P.S. If you like looking at old woodworking iron, check out my six-part video series about the restoration of a Delta Unisaw from the early 1940s.
I’m hoping you can help me identify an antique cabinet saw my son found in Chicago and was sure I’d really appreciate it. He’s absolutely right. He paid $100 for it at an auction for a printing company going out of business and cost him more for the shipping. It weighs about 250 pounds.
There are no manufacturer identification marks on it, but I’m sure it was commercially made. It’s solid wood and the table top is 24-1/2″ x 40-1/4″ x 13/16″. The fence is fully adjustable, but the miter gauge is fixed at 90. It runs really smooth and pretty quiet. Because the blade arbor is also fixed, you adjust the blade height by raising the user end of the table by loosening wing nuts on each side and turning a crank on the front of the cabinet. The back is hinged. Someone put a fair amount of thought into it, but it is limited in what it can do, especially on the width of rip – about 8”. That’s why I think it was used in cabinet shops for making face frames or rails and stiles for doors. Rip a bunch of strips from 8” or narrower boards and crosscut them to the desire lengths.
I ran it using the blades that came with it, but they’re pretty dull so I pulled the carbide blade off my circular saw and it cuts great; an amazingly smooth cut. The fence is spot-on parallel to the blade and the miter gauge is spot-on 90 to the blade. With one straight edge, 3 cuts will give you a perfectly square board. Amazing! There were some blades in one of the drawers; a Henry Disston & Sons #32 which is 7 3/8” diameter; a Craftsman #6871 crosscut and rip that is 7 ¼” and a Craftsman rip blade #926 that’s 8”. Seems like someone used quite a variety of blades. I’ve Googled all and have come up dry.
The cabinet has 4 drawers, one on the back and 3 on the operator end and there are draw bolts through the ends and sides. The motor is at the back and is an old Westinghouse motor with a cast case instead of a stamped steel case. There are oil cups on both ends and it runs on 110. The motor is wired into a duplex mounted behind it inside the cabinet. The switch plugs into one side of the duplex and a power cord, ungrounded of course, plugs into the other outlet. It has a v-belt drive that is on the outside of the cabinet, unguarded of course.
There’s an old Ream water heater booklet in one of the drawers that dates to 1947 which is the only date reference I can find. It’s in great condition and all I’m planning to do is clean it up. I won’t refinish it in case it does have some value.
Just wondering if you can help me identify it; who made it and how was it used. The monetary value is secondary to me. It’s real value to me is through my son’s awareness of what it would mean to me.
Thank you in advance.
The difference between stumbling blocks and stepping stones is how you use them