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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-30-2014, 06:34 AM Thread Starter
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Default Vintage cabinet saw

My interest has been peaked on a vintage cabinet saw.it is a canadian made general
With a 2 up lesson motor.don't know much more about it.what should I be looking for before and while looking at it?owner is trying to get the model number,is ther any genral saws that were better or worse than anouther?
Thanks
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-30-2014, 07:44 AM
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You want to make sure it is one of the ones made in Canada. If it says general International it is made over seas and will not be anywhere near as well made as the Canadian one. The Older general tools were rock solid machines. Make sure it runs, that all cranks work smoothly and you should be good.

Regards Bob
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-30-2014, 08:59 AM
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I'm guessing you meant to say a "2 HP" motor right?

Besides what Bob said, make sure it does not have any backlash in the mechanisms or in the arbor bearings.

For the arbor bearings, put the blade all the way up, with a blade on and gently try to rock the edge side side-to-side. If it does have any play there, that is not a deal breaker, Bearings would need to just be replaced, but could used that for price negotiation.

Look at the condition of the drive belt. If good, start it up and feel for vibrations,. There should not be any excessive vibrations. Cut a piece of wood and see if it is in tune. Also not a deal breaker, more a negotiation point if the tune is off. Truth is, that anything I get, I tune it anyways.

On the mechanisms, if you can move the controls at any point in the travel, where there is excessive variance or freeplay (back-and-forth) where the knobs do not move the yoke... that is more serious and would need costlier parts to repair. On an old saw, where parts may not be available... well you can see where that would end up.

Good luck and tell us how it goes.

"Don't worry, I saw this work in a cartoon once."
"Usually learning skills and tooling involves a progression of logical steps."

Last edited by MAFoElffen; 10-30-2014 at 09:01 AM.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-31-2014, 05:54 AM Thread Starter
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Looks like a model 250?
It's apears very old
Trying to arrange to look this weekend
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-31-2014, 08:30 AM
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The old Generals were supposed to be very solidly built.

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 16 (permalink) Old 10-31-2014, 06:35 PM Thread Starter
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Turns out this saw is about sixty years old,not sure if that is a concern or not.
No doubt it is not a off shore product!
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-02-2014, 10:11 AM
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So the fifties? Not really that much of a concern, if the motor is still strong (or not).

Looking at something from that era (postwar-1960), besides what I mentioned before... Look at the windings of the motor, If shellacked insulation, make sure it it not cracked nor checked excessively. If it was used every so often, then probably not a problem. If it sat for a very long time, then it may be. That may cause shorting in the windings. I always check that on older iron.

If it sat for ages, then it may have a vibration from a set in the drive belt... just from sitting on one position for a long time. That may go away just from it running for awhile (and the belt heating up or running long enough to be pliable again)... or you may decide to replace it. If it were me, I would replace it anyways. Especially if original. Old iron always seems smoother with a new belt, and it will be a known baseline that you know is good to start from (with your use).

Even if that old, the brushes could be found if it needed them. I would check that, once you get it home, while you are tuning the saw... Belts and bearings can still be found. As long as the mechanisms are not worn out. You are not paying for a collectors item, but for a tool... so you may be able to get a great deal with that.

You may end up deciding to upgrade the fence, but anything would adapt to that. It's a common full-sized table (27" deep, 3/4" x 3/8" miter slots)... and has nothing out of the ordinary (no surprises there). Other fences and table extension wings will work with that. You may want to look at adapting an overhead crown and splitter to it. I had to look at that for my old Rockwell. That part of safety was before that was a big thought, like it is today. I also had to look at how to adapt it to to a DC system.

If it fits what you are looking for and what you want to do... I feel like you found a good perspective deal. You just need to understand that hard parts would not be available from General... But that is not a bad thing. You just need to be creative with that part.

Any new (to me) saw, or after moving a big saw, I check and/or tune that saw.(++) Always good to start with things at a known point. Even if the tune was good when you looked at it, things can shift while being moved. A good cabinet saw will keep that tune for a long time. Things don't shift like other saws... but moving one across town could cause it to. I have a couple threads on that here.

Notes: ++ I even do a quick-check on my jobsite saws and miter saws after moving from jobsite to jobsite, and then all my saws at the start of a day. That quick-check only takes less than a minute... That just invokes cutting a piece of scrap with the blade set at 90* at 90* across. Then flip one piece over and put the kerf's together. The edges should look as if it had not been flipped== Edges still continue straight on all planes & the quality of the cut on both sides of the kerf.

"Don't worry, I saw this work in a cartoon once."
"Usually learning skills and tooling involves a progression of logical steps."

Last edited by MAFoElffen; 11-02-2014 at 10:51 AM.
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-02-2014, 10:31 AM Thread Starter
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Getting confusing
Now that I have started looking,old machines are"coming out of the woodwork"
The General 25o has had the motor replaced,a little better than a hou drive,would like to see the price down a bit,needs at least a blade ,insert and the box around the opening at the motor is missing
20 minutes away is a Rockwell labeled Unisaw,complete,slightly overpriced
With a 3 hr drive a bargin priced General 350, add says good working condition
Picture shows rust and neglect,clear pic shows it to be a late sixties machine
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-02-2014, 11:11 AM
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LOL! Yes, too many decisions can make things seem cloudy.

A cabinet saw is an investment. That is how I had to look at mine. Maybe check each one out and not commit to one until you see all three, unless you see one you just can't pass up. Use the things we said to check each out. Use what you find for selling points to talk the price down.

I was partial to my old Rockwell. I loved it, but I outgrew it. I think if I were looking to get another American-style cabinet saw, (IMHO) I would look for a old Rockwell 12-14". It was a saw with a replaceable arbor stub, that you could use 10" to 14" blades on, if you had a stub made for 5/8", then had the other 2 original arbor stubs.

Be sure to tell the seller that "you are an active woodworker... and that is your passion." I can tell you that when I sold my equipment, some equipment, such as a cabinet saw, had sentimental value to me... and I decided that I would rather lower my price to have someone that would use it and appreciate it, be able to own it, than to have it sit around waiting for someone that wouldn't. But I don't know that I am the norm on that.

"Don't worry, I saw this work in a cartoon once."
"Usually learning skills and tooling involves a progression of logical steps."

Last edited by MAFoElffen; 11-02-2014 at 11:18 AM.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-02-2014, 11:18 AM Thread Starter
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Mike
How did you outgrow the Rockwell?
You mean you wanted a larger table,bigger blade?
I am thinking all these saws will be plenty capable for me,and and some worried they may take too much space in my just built shop,that is filling up quicker than it went up
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