Converting old 5/8" miter to 3/4" - Router Forums
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-24-2013, 08:18 AM Thread Starter
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Default Converting old 5/8" miter to 3/4"

Hi All,

I need some advice and assistance. I know this is a router Forum, but I'm guessing many of you have table saws as well.

My neighbor, also a woodwooker, has an old Craftsman benchtop table saw. He wants to convert the 5/8" miter slides to a 3/4" universal slide. He is thinking of "widening" the current slot and then placing in a 3/4" aluminum miter track and setting it with either epoxy or having it welded in place.

Has anybody done anything like this before? I'm not a welder, but I would think that aluminum would melt and disintegrate fairly rapidly.

Any help would be appreciated.

Thank you!
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-24-2013, 09:42 AM
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Howard, aluminum can be welded. However I don't think that it would be worth it to modify the saw in that manner. It must be done very accurately to maintain the miter slot parallel to the blade. Even if it is done successfully, it only solves one of the several shortcomings of that type of table saw. Just my humble opinion, but time and money would be better spent upgrading to a better saw!

I have found that hand tools are the best choice when I want to make mistakes at a slower rate of speed.

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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-24-2013, 09:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hrbmd22 View Post
Hi All,

I need some advice and assistance. I know this is a router Forum, but I'm guessing many of you have table saws as well.

My neighbor, also a woodwooker, has an old Craftsman benchtop table saw. He wants to convert the 5/8" miter slides to a 3/4" universal slide. He is thinking of "widening" the current slot and then placing in a 3/4" aluminum miter track and setting it with either epoxy or having it welded in place.

Has anybody done anything like this before? I'm not a welder, but I would think that aluminum would melt and disintegrate fairly rapidly.

Any help would be appreciated.

Thank you!





Sure, it can be done.

Aluminum can easily be routed out to wider dimensions.

Make sure the router cannot spin out of control, and destroy the cutter, or you.

Harrison
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-24-2013, 09:51 AM
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I agree with Duane. I bought an old Rockwell 10" from a friend for $100 for a second saw. He would be way better off to try and find one like it and then upgrade it with a better fence, miter gauge, etc. IMO those aluminum top saws aren't worth putting time, money, or effort into.

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 #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-25-2013, 07:45 AM
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Tell him just to buy a new table saw as by the time he screws around with this one and screws it up or pays someone to do it properly he can buy one with the features he so desires. The other option is to just leave the track alone and bond 2 pieces of aluminum together for slide pieces of the proper size. Epoxy is great for this and a lot cheaper - did this for the Jet bench top bandsaw and tablesaw before I junked them for real equipment.

Good luck - Baker
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-25-2013, 09:02 AM
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I have seen this done on a different brand of saw. The saw was dismantled and then the table was taken to a machinist who laid out the table. He machined a perfect 4/4 miter slot. He did not charge much to do the work, as he was a hobbist woodworker. I know it can be done. It just depends on how badly you want to use this old saw.

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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-25-2013, 11:25 AM
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Hi Howard. How much material is available to cut, on each side of the existing slots? If there is enough to take a 1/16" off each side, and still have the strength you need, just set up the fence the correct distance away and use a 3/4" plunge bit to wallow out the existing track. Take it down about 1/8" at a time, to the 3/8" required. Do the set-up correctly and it should go just fine (I'd suggest a test piece in plywood, first)
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-26-2013, 09:29 AM
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Have it done at a machine shop. I had mine done by a machinist using a Bridgeport and it turned out fine.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-26-2013, 11:47 AM
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I can see both sides of this. Mixed.

You might think that you don't have much money or have an emotional attachment to the saw. That with an aluminum table, it is light and portable. That you want to use that saw... instead of replacing the saw, whatever it takes. Or that whatever it takes., you want to modify that saw, just for the sake of mod'ing it.

- You could see how much meat is there to mill out the slots. Like mentioned, from 5/8" x1/4" to 3/4"x3/8" is 1/16" each side of the slot (1/8" total) and 1/8" deeper...

And some saws that have tabs in them where the slots are 5/8" wide with the tabs and 11/16" to 3/4" wide below the slots... I've had friends that have routed out those slots, creating a 3/4"x1/4" slot. Then they used 3/4"x1/4" flat bar stock for the miter bar.

Funny thing about that, is that if you are going to replace a miter gauges miter bar with 3/4"x1/4"... they could of just as well replaced that 3/4"x3/8" bar to a 5/8"x1/4", right?

Going deeper from 3/4"x1/4" to 3/4"x3/8" presents another problem. Usually you are going to cut right through the bottom. So you'all think that by welding in a piece of jig miter slot might take care of that... That slot material, being made to go in wood to add a miter slot to a jig... is very thin and soft. It could be TIG'ed. But that jig miter slot material, again, is soft aluminum and the original slot is a structural part of the table, so would have to be braced with additional materials.

Here's more factors. The table needs to remain flat and square. The 2 slots needs to remain square and parallel to each other. The slots need to be within a semblance of parallel to the trunion axis, so they can be adjusted in to tune. If jig miter slot material is used, it will have to be braced with additional material to regain structural strength. If not, it will not remain flat, square. etc. The trunion and housing bolt pattern (measurements and layout) must remain the same... So in reality, It would be just like using parts from a saw to create another table.

Welding and machining costs vs. Pay-back in pride of workmanship.

Or you could sell that saw and buy another used one that suits you.

Yes, I can see both sides... I bought an extra parts saw for my jobsite saw ($25)... the mechanism was stripped in the parts saw. Besides using some of the parts in my saw and saving some of the other parts-- I also took the aluminum table and cut it in half- to use as extension wings For my saw... It's good for what it does and is very light and portable... I've tuned it beyond it's intended expectations... but it has to be checked and re-tuned... Because I don't expect it to keep a tune forever.

Heck, it's a portable saw, Right? It gets thrown in the back of my pickup to go to other jobsites. It gets set up when needed and put away each night. Being mobile and portable "is" it's job. I don't expect it to be anything more than it is. It's resale for my portable saw itself (without the stand/which is worth more than the saw) is probably only $50 to $75 (used).

"Don't worry, I saw this work in a cartoon once."
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Last edited by MAFoElffen; 05-26-2013 at 12:18 PM.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-27-2013, 07:02 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone for your quick input. I showed my neighbor a few of the posts and he has decided to sell his table saw and "upgrade" rather than fool around with the 5/8" miter slot. (That's what I told him up front!)

Thank you!

Howard
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