Vintage Table Saw Refinishing




I was given this saw a few weeks ago and although it was in pretty rough shape I couldn't pass up on vintage saw like this. They just don't make them like this anymore. If you're wondering it is a Rockwell/Beaver and I estimate it to be from around the late 70's early 80's.

Step 1: Removing the Rust

This first step I took was to remove the rust that had accumulated on the cast iron top. I was quite fortunate that it turned out to be mostly surface rust with only a few deep scratches and minimal pitting.
I started by scraping the bulk with a razor blade then switched to dry sanding with the random orbit sander. This is quite messy and I suggest using a shop vac and wearing a dust mask.
From there the finish sanding can be done with a light oil, I used WD-40. I moved through the grits hand sanding from 220 to a fine 1200.

Step 2: Disassembly

I disassembled the entire saw, try to keep straight which parts went where.

Step 3: Painting Parts

Since I had everything apart I took the time to put a coat of rust paint on all the cast parts. Although I don't have any pictures of the process. It's really as simple as it sounds.

Step 4: Painting the Cabinet and Base

I painted the entire cabinet and the base, first cleaning out any saw dust that was left. I took the time to add my logo as well.

Step 5: Fence System

The next step was to make sure the fence looked as good as the cabinet. I took it apart and proceeded the same way as with the other pieces. Cleaning, painting and putting it back together, this proved to be beneficial because I was able to gain a better understanding of the cam lock operation of the fence.

Step 6: New Arbor Bearings

Once the saw was in pieces it was quite clear that the bearings in the arbor ( the section that blade is attached to) needed to be replaced. Although usually a relatively simple operation, The parts had rust and were seized quite badly and had to be "pressed" apart with an arbor press. Once back together it is free of noise and runs very smoothly in the bearings.

Step 7: Finishing Up

With everything having a good coat of paint on it, it was time to start putting it back together. This was a lot of fun. And although my memory isn't always that great it went fairly smoothly with no "extra pieces" :P

Step 8: Additional Up Grades

In the future I plan on rewiring the 2hp motor with a 20A plug rather than the 15A. As well as installing a paddle style switch for safety and to be in a more comfortable spot for the operator. The other big up grade would be to add a T style fence system for accuracy. Like the ones offered by

If you have any questions, leave them in the comments and I'll try to answer them.
Thanks for viewing
Wood Crow



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    10 Discussions


    Question 8 months ago on Step 8

    Thanks for the article and great job on the saw. I'm about done restoring a similar era Craftsman (113299040). Quick question, what type of sandpaper did you use on the top? Anything I should know about the sanding process. My top isn't awful but is stained in areas. I'd like to get it to where yours is. I've tried Mineral Spirits and Naval Jelly but there some stuff that just won't budge.
    I have added a Vega Pro 40, Incra Mitre 1000SE, machined pulleys and link belts, as well as the safer paddle switch mentioned. Aligning was simplified by adding PALs. I need to get the top finished off and get to cutting some wood!
    Thanks again!
    Todd M.

    2 answers
    Wood Crowtjmitche

    Answer 7 months ago

    I didn’t do anything special for sanding just regular aluminum oxide sanding disks for the corse stuff and water paper for the finer sanding. The staining may not come out of the top. Although it doesn’t show well in the pictures I still have staining on mine.

    tjmitcheWood Crow

    Reply 7 months ago

    Thank you. I plan to work on it this weekend. So close to done I can taste it . :)


    3 years ago

    This was pretty much a Canadian- marketed saw, and was a respected build. You have metal handwheels, which is a very good sign, plastic handwheels are an indication of lessening quality in any machine tool. You'd be well advised to update the power switch to a current safety design type, allowing a "protected" on and a fast off function.

    2 replies
    Wood CrowBeachsideHank

    Reply 3 years ago

    that's exactly the type of switch I have in mind.
    thanks for your comment.

    pfred2Wood Crow

    Reply 3 years ago

    I made my own for my saw.

    Although my implementation is a special case, due to a couple of unique requirements my specific setup made for me. Which is to say that there is an easier way to go about things, if everything works better together. The contact relay I used has a different coil voltage, than the voltage I needed to switch. So that necessitated using another relay just to latch it. Then I had to pull the fan off my motor, so I could tilt it under my out feed table. That caused me to add a separate cooling fan to the motor, plus another relay to control it too.


    3 years ago

    When faced with the task of doing this exact same thing this is one method that I automatically dismissed as being too destructive. Although a lot of folks do tend to go this route, for whatever reasons. I opted instead for cleaning my cast iron top by hand using steel wool, and oil. It is less abrasive. Sanding the top you're basically wearing it away, to remove the rust. I just wanted to remove the rust, and have the top surface clean again.


    3 years ago

    This is a great looking transformation! I'd love to get hold of an old saw like this. Nicely done; very inspiring! :)

    1 reply

    3 years ago

    Thanks for the tips! I have a similar Craftsman saw I'll try this on. One thing I added was braces at the bottom from one leg to the other. I just welded on angle iron and it helped a lot.