Restoring My Nonno's 60ish Year Old Table Saw

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Introduction: Restoring My Nonno's 60ish Year Old Table Saw

About: Woodworking, sports, games, music, food. I love it all. Wishlist includes home with a bigger workshop, a laser cutter/engraver, and planer. I also wish I could wrap my head around electronics and computer ...

I decided to take on the challenge of restoring my Nonno's Table saw. I searched High and low for information on the saw and eventually found a similar looking one in the 1956 Eaton's Catalogue. This is the first time I've ever undertaken a project like this and I really enjoyed myself! Hopefully you guys enjoy the journey through the pictures.

FYI, Nonno is Italian for Grandpa. He moved out of his home recently and the grandkids and uncles inherited his tools. I picked up the table saw and other miscellaneous tools that I used to clean this saw up.

Step 1: The Before Shots

This is the best before picture I could find. It's pretty beat up and has a lot of overspray and years of grime on it. It weighs a ton and was very difficult to move at this point. My plan was to make it mobile by adding some casters.

SKF Bearings. This is the only marking on the saw. I searched high and low for info about this saw an wasn't able to find anything about it. I asked for help at www.owwm.org and they were pretty knowledgeable. If you have old tools that need identifying, hit them up!

Step 2: History Lesson

With the assistance of the fine folks at owwm.org, I was able to find this page from the 1956 Eaton's catalogue which has a saw that closely resembles mine!

The body of the saw and the legs are not meant to be a pair. The legs were made by Beaver around 1953 ( the year beaver was bought by Rockwell).

Vintagemachinery.org actually had the instruction manual for the legs so I was able to use it as a reference. A little more on this later as I forgot that the saw and legs were not made for each other....

Step 3: Tear-down Time

Now that we have the history lesson out of the way, lets TEAR THIS MOTHER DOWN! I tried my best to be organized and I labeled everything appropriately. I figured this would be a good way to make sure I knew where everything was when putting it all back together. Originally I was going to clean up all the old nuts, bolts and fasteners but decided to go new and shiny. This was a good decision because some bolts were missing/Nonno has replaced some.

Step 4: Stripping Off the Old...

I can't say enough about paint stripper. I've never worked with it before, but it was AMAZING! I picked up the gel paint stripper at Walmart, applied it, waited 5 minutes and then I could easily scrub off the paint with a wire brush or one of those green 3M scrubbing pads. It literally fell off! I was blown away.

The second picture is a stripped leg on the left, with an original leg on the right. you can see due to the fact that it didn't have any feet, it was subject to some rusting at the bottom. I used a flapwheel sanding drill bit and went to town.

Step 5: Put Your Back Into It!

A little more elbow grease applied here. For cleaning the majority of the parts I used vinegar, baking soda and water and scrubbed my little heart out with these pads.

Step 6: REALLY Put Your Back Into It!

On to the heavy duty scrubbing. The actual table was pretty rough. I googled around and apparently, a penetrant is the way to go. I sprayed this on the table and went to town with the scrubber pad.

The second pic is just watching it soak in.

The 3rd pic is with one side scrubbed. Holy smokes!! Look at the difference! I was blown away with how clean it got. 60 years of grime, melted away.

The extension wings were a bit more difficult to clean up but I'm satisfied with how they came out.

Step 7: Let's Prime!

Everything has been stripped and is ready for a coat of primer. I masked off the parts that are staying bare and went to town.

Step 8: On to the Woodworking Portion!

This is my trusty circular saw. a handy tip is to mark on the saw how far the edge is from the blade. That way, if you set up a straight edge for cutting, you know how far you have to clamp it in order to actually cut on your line.

The second picture is my clamping setup. So in this instance, I marked a line 32mm past where I needed to cut, and clamped my level/straight edge to match that line. Now I can run my saw against the level and make a perfectly straight cut on my desired line. Just make sure you know where your sawhorses are... more on that later.. WHEN DISASTER STRIKES.. DUN DUN DUN! Anyways.. this picture is of my set up to cut the "walls" of the saw base.

The Third Picture is the walls of the saw base. Here I have all of the walls clamped together so I can notch them out. Originally the walls only went down about 3/4 of the way down the legs. I am going to be making a saw-lifting mechanism that I want to hide, so I have to make the walls longer so you won't be able to see the lifter. They eill now go almost to the floor.

Step 9: Nonno Had High Standards, So I Do Too.

Inside the leg, there is a metal flange that the inner shelf bolts to. I had to notch around these flanges to make the walls fit. As seen in the previous step, I clamped everything together and made my notches. This was my attempt. Nonno always had a very high standard for the projects he did and this was just not going to cut it. These would get redone later and they fit much better now.

Step 10: Working on the Top of the Base

Here I am using the tube from my shop-vac to get a nice radius for the corners of the top of the saw base.

And here I am struggling to hold this piece next to the running sander while taking a picture. Gotta prove I actually did it....the sander probably didn't need to be on.

Step 11: DISASTER WEEKEND!

Now do you remember my earlier foreshadowing about how the saw wasn't built for the legs.. but I had the instruction manual for how to build the legs? Well, I built the legs exactly to spec.... for a different saw. That meant that my saw didn't fit. This would also be redone later and is pretty damn crisp now! This, however was the beginning of DISASTER WEEKEND!

Remember my second bit of foreshadowing? Always remember where your sawhorses are. I was cutting the walls again here because I was upset with my previous effort. I put a nice notch in my steel sawhorse... not bad, but more disaster to come!

Here I was attempting to reattach the blade lifting mechanism. I had mislabeled a couple bolts and used 3/4" instead of 1/2". When I felt a bit of resistance, I should have known better... but I pressed on and sheared it off. Thinking that I had encountered a bad bolt, I simply moved on to the next one and sheared that off too. I spent the next 2 hours extracting the sheared bolts and retapping the holes. DISASTER number 3... but that's not all....

Step 12: DISASTER WEEKEND CONTINUES

Hey, that's starting to look like a real saw base! But wait. Disaster weekend is not over yet. Everything seems to fit nicely, so i think I can start to take this apart and begin the paint/staining process! Time to remove the clamps...

I knocked a leg onto the ground and it broke. a 60 year old antique... busted. Come on! Be more careful!!!!

My uncle says we can braze it.. more on that later. When I started writing this up I hadn't take that on yet, so stay tuned to see if it worked!

Step 13: Just a Couple More Disaster to Take the Cake.

This pesky guy was my nemesis. I had set up on my side of the garage so my girlfriend could still park inside and this was in the way. THE ENTIRE DAMN TIME. I started this project in November and finished in March... I didn't want to take it down and have to re-position it later. I whacked it numerous times.

Annnnd To top off DISASTER WEEKEND, these gloves suck

Step 14: Ooooo Lifty!

Ooooooo lifty. This is a scissor jack with a couple boards screwed to it. It will get mounted under the inner shelf of the saw and have casters mounted to the bottom. It will push the casters into the ground, thus raising the legs off the ground and I'll be able to move the saw around easier. and I don't have to worry about losing traction when I'm sawing because the saw won't be sitting on the casters, but it'll have 4 legs on the ground. It is pretty handy that I can use my drill to make it go up and down instead of hand cranking it.

Here is the completed lifting mechanism. Nearly completed, I should say. I added some steel rods to keep it on track when lifting and lowering.

Step 15: Dry Fit Time!

Hey now we're getting somewhere!! It is looking good. You can see I redid the walls and the top. No more gaps! Still a busted leg though! Still have to round off the corners of the top.

Hey, nice switch! That's an improvement in function and safety over the old one. Big thanks to /r/electrical on Reddit for helping me wire it all up so that I wouldn't burn my house down! I put my hands in that mud puddle about 75 million times. One drawback of doing this sort of work in the winter.

Had to dig out a bit more metal to fit the larger switch. Fits like a glove and the face plate covers the old switch cutouts perfectly

Step 16: Stain Application!

Mmm satisfying. Staining wood is one of my favourite tasks. I used Varathane Provincial and some triple thick clear coat. It has a nice shiny and smooth finish! I laid the clear coat on pretty thick and sanded the first couple coats with 150 grit (I think) and then the last couple coats with 600 grit and a bit of water.

Step 17: Fixing DISASTER WEEKEND

Here's my Uncle, brazing the leg that I dropped and broke. He did a great job and everything went back together smoothly!

First time mixing Bondo. The goal is to add enough hardener (rust coloured stuff) to the paste (whiteish stuff) so that the colour matches the little spreader. I just dumped some of each and pretty much nailed it. I was pretty pleased with myself.

This is my attempt to apply Bondo to the crack after the brazing. I'd never done this before but it actually wasn't too bad. I sanded it down and now the untrained eye can't pick out the busted leg!

Step 18: Safety First, Kids!

I'm about to use a paint sprayer so always make sure you're wearing the proper PPE for the task you're doing.... Umm.. yeah.. PPE :)

Step 19: Paint Night!

I set up the legs in my ghetto paint booth and went to town.

Legs are sprayed! Another first for me was using an air powered paint sprayer. I actually really enjoyed it. It's tough to lay down just enough to make it look good and not run. Plus I'm a bit impatient and need to learn about spraying lighter layers.

I thought I picked a blue/grey but it appears to be pretty blue. I'm not disappointed, but I was expecting it to be different.

Time to make that logo pop! This was a tedious task. I started out dabbing paint on with a rolled up paper towel per this tutorial http://www.shanewhitlock.com/blog/?p=272
Unfortunately for me, it did not go as smoothly as that. It started out Ok but I felt like there wasn't enough white coverage from the paper towel method, so I pulled out a brush and mangled it. There was white everywhere. I was a bit discouraged but then I pulled out another brush and touched up the blue and all was right with the world again.

Slapped on a couple coats of clear and we're almost ready to start reassembly.

I ran into some paint dripping problems with the base colour and the clear coat on this body so I had to do a lot of repainting. In the end, I'm satisfied with how it came out, but I definitely need more practice in this department.

Step 20: A Bit More Elbow Grease

While the paint was drying, I decided to clean up the fence. Damn, you clean up nice!

Step 21: Still Watching Paint Dry

The paint still isn't dry. Better make sure my motor actually works. Phew! It does. This was the most worrying thing about the project for me. I'm pretty uncomfortable with electrical things but again, thanks to the /r/Electrical community on Reddit for walking me through this.

Step 22: Finally Time for Reassembly!

Time to put it all together. Here you can see bottom shelf in place, with the lifting mechanism attached to the casters. The steel rods are there to keep everything on track. They sort of do nothing though. I'll need to revisit this at a later date. It does what it needs to for now.

Step 23: Finishing Touches

Being that I couldn't find out who actually made this saw and there were no brand names on it, I decided to make my own logo and honour the man who gave me the saw and who taught me a lot about building/crafting/creating. This is me cutting out the shape in some stainless steel.

Here is the logo plate cut our. I was pretty impressed with how steady my hand was when filing the beveled edge. Not perfect, but i like it.

I designed this logo with my Nonno's name front and centre. I printed it off on waterslide decal paper and adhered it to the stainless plate. The decal paper was transparent so the whole logo is semi-transparent. It's a bit lighter than I would have wanted, but overall, I'm happy with it.

Step 24: Glamour Shot

This was a hell of a process but I love how everything cam out. Thanks for having a look!

If you think it's worthy, give it a vote in the GIFs contest! Thanks!

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    40 Discussions

    Hey! Great Job! How did you do the logo and transfer it to the aluminium plate? I saw you have have an laser cutter/engraver and wondering if its possible to use for any metal-things at all?. Will probably receive my first laser tomorrow, just a small one.
    Regards
    Gustav

    1 reply

    Hi Thanks! If you go to youtube and type in "How to Create and Apply Water Slide Decals", it'll tell you how to do it. The one where the guy is making the Highway Patrol Car is a really good one. I tried to link that video but it didn't work.

    I don't have have a laser cutter. it is on my wishlist, so I hope to get one one day! What type of Laser are you getting? Is it affordable?

    good job do not know how you did it looks great

    james

    1 reply

    Thanks! It's my favourite part of the build too!

    Has Nonno seen the finished saw? Has he been kept up on the project as it progressed? Any comments?

    1 reply

    He has seen photos of it. The unforunate thing is that hes battling a bit of dementia and doesn't really realize that it used to be his saw. He gets frustrated when he can't remember. He does really enjoy the fact that I love to make and tinker like he always did. That always puts a smile on his face despite not being able to remember names and events.

    nice job! looks great! I bought a Shopsmith markV built in 1954 it was pea green! yuk!! took it apart & repainted in gray & looks like brand new!!

    1 reply

    Beauty! I love the colour schemes from back in the day. They really scream what era they came from!

    Now this is a great instructable! Excellent work and detail. Good luck on the fixit contest. Voted, favored, and cheering on the side.

    Sam (burningsuntech)

    1 reply

    Thanks Sam! I really enjoy the projects and writing up the instructables. The contests are an added bonus!

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    Gofish

    10 months ago

    Are you sure this was a first time restoration? Beautiful job and great to see a nice machine put back in action.

    1 reply

    Thanks for the kind words. This was my first time tacking anything like this. a few bumps in the road, but a great learning experience.

    Nice job! I have one just like it in the storage shed at the cottage. Definitely from the early 1950s. My dad bought it from Beaver since we lived in Guelph at that time. Also got a Beaver table jig saw as well from the same era. Both still working well. Original colour I have is gunmetal gray.