Restoration - Powermatic 66 Table Saw - Router Forums
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post #1 of 52 (permalink) Old 03-10-2017, 09:19 PM Thread Starter
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Default Restoration - Powermatic 66 Table Saw

Ok, here's the restoration story of my PM66. As I said in another post this is something I did a few years ago but just realized I never posted it here at Router Forums. So y'all sit back for an interesting ride and feel free to comment. You can even offer suggestions as to how you would have done things differently although I'm fairly certain I won't be going back and redoing much if anything because the saw is working perfectly and is used daily. Also, this will be almost verbatim what I posted on a couple of other forums in December 2014. There is a lot to read but the little story below sort of sets it all up, so if you read nothing else read this below -



This will be a long post, be forewarned. You may or may not follow along, you may get bored, you may look at the photos only and never read a word of what I write, you may look at this and wonder why I even tried to restore this saw (and jointer but I won't be covering the jointer here), but I can pretty much guarantee you'll like the results of my efforts. So dive in, gander at what you want, offer comments, or just come back once in a while to see what I've done - I took over 300 photos but I won't inundate you with all those. I will post about 70, though.

This post is more about me documenting what I've done to restore these tools and wanting to share the process than seeking guidance or help. You'll see things you may have done differently or not at all but I do hope you enjoy the trip - David

Here's the background and a prerequisite for understanding how all this took place -

Several times I have mentioned in posts that I owned a woodworking business in the mid 80's to early 90's. I partnered with an old friend in the late 80's and we were a good fit together for the work we did. It was a good business and at one time we had about 8 people working for us. In 1990 we bought a Powermatic Model 66 table saw and a Delta DJ-15 jointer. When I decided a few years later to get into the Technology field my partner and I worked out a deal for my exit, for the business I had brought in, and since I owned all the other tools anyway I wanted access to the shop for my own projects.

Well, a year went by and he did decide to close the business but I had no home shop or place to store the saw and jointer. But another friend in the same business needed both and asked if he could use them. He had done some work in our shop before and even rented some space from us at one point. He used our/my tools and took good care of them. So I decided to let this other friend take both tools to his shop and for the next few years I checked in on my tools often. Then it got to the point where I checked on them every few years. Finally, after many years of not seeing them and still not having a home shop, I sort of wrote them off.

Then, a few years ago, a friend at church told me he heard that the guy who had borrowed my saw and jointer had abandoned them in an old building, that the motors were burnt up, and they were likely just boat anchors now. I viewed it as my fault for not checking on them and my fault for even loaning tools like that out - stupid move, really.

I found out where they tools were located and couldn't believe where they were and what I found. A woodworker friend, Adam, went with me figuring we'd find the tools covered in sawdust and just neglected. We were not prepared for what we found.

Looks like a vibrant neighborhood from the front, right? I was concerned about even having my MINI parked there!
Restoration - Powermatic 66 Table Saw-where-i-found-my-saw-jointer-4.jpg

I looked in through the broken glass and iron bars and saw this –
Restoration - Powermatic 66 Table Saw-where-i-found-my-saw-jointer-1.jpg

Driving around back we saw this locked door –
Restoration - Powermatic 66 Table Saw-where-i-found-my-saw-jointer-3.jpg

I couldn't get my phone in very far but I took this shot. If you look closely you'll see a contractors table saw in the dark area to the left. My saw and jointer aren't really visible but they are behind the contractors saw. The sunlight shining in is not from a skylight. The roof is simply missing in several areas, including where my saw and jointer were parked.
Restoration - Powermatic 66 Table Saw-where-i-found-my-saw-jointer-2.jpg

We left and came back in Adam's truck and I had a guy who had worked there meet us because he had the combination to the lock to get us in the back door. Adam and I loaded the saw and jointer into the back of his truck by ourselves - these are HEAVY tools! And I was still in my dress clothes, didn't even take my tie off. We stopped for a bite to eat and I snapped this shot - one guy walked by and asked if we were headed to the dump. Uh, nope!
Restoration - Powermatic 66 Table Saw-pm-66-delta-dj-15-picked-up.jpg

More soon... David


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Last edited by difalkner; 05-02-2020 at 04:16 PM. Reason: spelling
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post #2 of 52 (permalink) Old 03-10-2017, 09:29 PM
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David - I saw a picture of your PM66 in the other thread and after seeing this pic, I can't wait for the rest of the story (and the reason you didn't go original color)
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post #3 of 52 (permalink) Old 03-10-2017, 09:37 PM Thread Starter
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We got the tools home and into my garage where I could really see how bad they were. The saw was directly under where the roof had been leaking, apparently for quite some time. This is some seriously deep rust! I know a lot of people would have just given up at this point but I do like a challenge. One thing I found that I knew I would have to deal with at some point is that the center was about 0.090" below the perimeter of the table corner to corner and about 0.075" across the middle. I couldn't tell if it was rust build up on the perimeter or if the saw top actually dipped that much near the blade. All I could do is clean it up and see what I had to deal with.

Restoration - Powermatic 66 Table Saw-saw-table-rusted.jpg

I started by dry sanding with 80 grit. A LOT of dry sanding with 80 grit.
Restoration - Powermatic 66 Table Saw-dry-sanding-rust.jpg

I switched to finer and finer grits, even using a 1/3 sheet air operated orbital sander with wet/dry paper and WD40 with 3 in 1 oil. After a couple of weeks doing this just about every night and as much as I could squeeze in on weekends, I got it cleaned up enough to move on to the inside. When I got it to this point I measured again and found the dip in the center from corner to corner was down to below 0.050" and across the middle was down below 0.030" so some of that had to be rust build up. That's still not close enough but it's going the right way.
Restoration - Powermatic 66 Table Saw-saw-table-cleaned.jpg

When I took the top off this is what I found
Restoration - Powermatic 66 Table Saw-trunnion-arbor-rusted-locked.jpg

After getting the trunnion to move I felt there was hope after all, that I could get this fine tool back into working shape. Until I tried to get the pulley off the arbor, that is. I used penetrants, mild heat, dead blow hammer, heavy mallet on blocks of wood - basically anything I could think of to get that pulley off. No luck, no success, no movement at all... for over a month. Almost every evening, just about every weekend, I would try to get this pulley off.
Restoration - Powermatic 66 Table Saw-trying-remove-pulley.jpg

Alternately I turned my attention to getting the height adjustment shaft out of the trunnion. I finally got it to rotate but it was bent and would not come out. It would move back and forth a little bit but I couldn't drive it out. I think when it was loaned out they must have dropped the saw or in some fashion bumped it pretty hard, maybe it leaned hard in their truck - I don't know. There was a mark on the handwheel and the knob was slightly bent.

Because I was having to pry/hit/pound so hard to get it to move I figured I'd better give it some support, so I bandsawed this little Maple block to make me feel better about hitting on it so hard.
Restoration - Powermatic 66 Table Saw-shaft-support.jpg

I began trying to straighten the bent portion of the shaft and finally resorted to filing it down so I could remove it from the trunnion. But the first thing I did after that was order a new shaft and worm gear - $14, not too bad!

Next, I took everything out of cabinet
Restoration - Powermatic 66 Table Saw-trunnion-pieces-out-cabinet.jpg

And then every fastener and piece removable came out
Restoration - Powermatic 66 Table Saw-all-pieces-finally-out.jpg

Now over on my workbench I got back on the pulley. Same technique of penetrants, puller, etc. and after another week or so it came off - whew! I didn't want to have to order that assembly 'cause I think it was a bit more pricey than the shaft I ordered.
Restoration - Powermatic 66 Table Saw-pulley-finally-off.jpg

The good thing at this point is that all the pounding had not damaged or broken any piece. Only the bent shaft needed replacing.


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post #4 of 52 (permalink) Old 03-10-2017, 10:01 PM Thread Starter
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The cabinet is now stripped of all parts and cleaned as good as I could get it but there's WAY too much rust to paint over. At this point I figured my only choice was sandblasting. Until I got everything off I thought there might some remote possibility that I could wire brush it and primer heavy but that would never really work.
Restoration - Powermatic 66 Table Saw-cabinet-cleaned-but-lots-rust.jpg

Here's the fence in all its glory
Restoration - Powermatic 66 Table Saw-fence-top-side.jpg

Not really usable as is, I'm thinking.
Restoration - Powermatic 66 Table Saw-fence-underside.jpg

And I can't even begin to see through this cursor. The brown specks are paint although it's hard to see that in the photo. But I figured I could replace the plastic without much effort.
Restoration - Powermatic 66 Table Saw-fence-cursor.jpg

Here's the bottom side of the rail tube. I assume water stood for long periods between this and the angle iron rail. Pretty badly pitted. This is after quite a bit of cleaning, sanding, etc. It was almost as rusty as the top although cast iron has its own look with rust that's a little different from a steel tube.
Restoration - Powermatic 66 Table Saw-bottom-side-rail-tube.jpg

I asked Adam, my friend who helped me retrieve the saw and jointer, if he knew a good sandblaster. Turns out he had used a shop 5 minutes from my house. The guy was really nice and as I described the saw and its parts he just said he'd do it for $100, that he didn't need to know how many pieces.

So I began prepping everything for sandblasting. I can assure you that this takes a long time if you do it right. Each piece had to be thoroughly cleaned with Naphtha to ensure the duct tape would stay in place through the blasting. Prepping each piece with duct tape trimmed precisely where I did not want any blasting - machined surfaces, through holes for shafts, gears, etc. After all, if they blasted an area that I had not intended then it would have been my fault for not protecting it good enough.

I used cardboard secured with duct tape for the top and extension wings. Also, I wanted to preserve as much of the labels and Powermatic markings as possible, so I taped those off, as well.

After two nights working several hours each night and most of Saturday, I had the pieces ready.
Restoration - Powermatic 66 Table Saw-parts-prepped-sand-blasting-1.jpg

Prepped and ready for blasting
Restoration - Powermatic 66 Table Saw-parts-prepped-sand-blasting-2.jpg

We took the saw in on Monday morning and they said it would take 3-4 business days to get to the saw for blasting. That worked out well for my timing to clean up in the garage and get ready for the saw to return. Only thing is they called Monday afternoon the same day about 4 and said it's ready and they close at 5. Oh, and it was about to rain so they suggested I come get it now before it starts to rust again. LOL! Quick service isn't always what you want .

Adam and his truck were in town and available at that time so this all worked out for both of us. He lives 45 miles away and very little of this would fit in my MINI...

Parts back from blasting -
Restoration - Powermatic 66 Table Saw-back-sand-blasting-1.jpg

Another view. I didn't send the plate that the magnetic starter mounts on because I wanted to use that to match the Powermatic Gold paint. The panel under the starter had never seen daylight and was not faded, rusted, or marked up.
Restoration - Powermatic 66 Table Saw-back-sand-blasting-2.jpg

I'll post some more tomorrow, guys and gals - David


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post #5 of 52 (permalink) Old 03-11-2017, 01:20 AM
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Wow David, that looks like it was a massive job. Just curious, did you try the motors first? If they had been fried I might have given up right there.
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Someone I consider a master woodworker once told me that a master woodworker is not someone who never makes mistakes. He is someone who is able to cover them up so that no one can tell.
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post #6 of 52 (permalink) Old 03-11-2017, 05:44 AM
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Thanks David, frugal and tenacious come to mind. Many people today would have thrown it away and bought new.
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post #7 of 52 (permalink) Old 03-11-2017, 05:50 AM
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OH hell with it!!! I'll just give this thread one BIG like!!

My Craftsman hybrid is slowly nearing the end of its usefulness. I don't see the value in investing in restoring it. So, bringing back to life an old standard is an option. Seeing what you started with and what you ended up with is absolutely inspiring. I will be following this thread with a great deal of interest. Thanks David, for taking the time and effort to document your adventure.


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post #8 of 52 (permalink) Old 03-11-2017, 07:39 AM
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Nice restoration thread!

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post #9 of 52 (permalink) Old 03-11-2017, 08:52 AM
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David ----- get rid of that damn Mini and get a real vehicle..........F150, Sierra, Silverado, Ram!!!!! Or get one in addition to. Yup - crew cab - you sure wouldn't regret it after having it awhile.
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post #10 of 52 (permalink) Old 03-11-2017, 11:47 AM
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Very interesting. I didn't see any mention of using electrolysis on the cleaning process or did I miss that?
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