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Delta 34-600 Tilting Arbor Saw Makeover

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

My husband is so good and knows to get me tools for presents.  He tried to get me a drill press for my birthday and when that fell through I asked if I could get a table saw instead - I've been itching to have one ever since we moved into our house 6 months ago!  When I found this little beauty on Craigslist it was love at first sight!

I don't know much about older tools, about the Delta brand or really what to look for in a table saw.  What I was looking for was something well-built, older, on the small-side to fit into my "garage shop" and it needed to feel 'steady'.  I had a Ryobi saw before and it felt really cheap - the table top was aluminum (I think) because it scratched so easy, I could never get the fence to feel like it was 90-degrees to the table or parallel with the blade.

The guy sold it to me for $100 and even delivered it to my door the next day from an hour away for only $20!  It was a dream come true!  It was slightly smaller than what I imagined and the blade adjustment knobs were really stiff.  There was caked on saw dust inside and rusty parts.  The plywood caster base wasn't going to work - really hard to push around and no way to keep it from moving around.

The saw sat in my garage for nearly a month while I waited for temperatures here in North Carolina to cool off and be less humid then I got to work!  It too me nearly a week to disassemble, scrub+sand all the pieces, wipe clean, prime, paint and reassemble.

Two things I was really excited about:
#1 I was able hook this up to my dust collector (another gift from my husband)

 and #2 I found a caster base I could make that allows me to drop the casters for moving but then set the machine back on the ground with only my foot (I'll tell you about it at the end)!

Below are some BEFORE and AFTER pictures!
(I love to see the difference)


The plastic hood came with my dust collector and I was so glad to see that it fit the hole underneath the saw & base... so I drilled holes for the bolts to go through that hold the saw onto the stand.  I love when things work out!

 Here's everything disassembled - time to get to work!

 The arbor assembly (saw 'guts') were really rusty.  I wasn't sure how to keep it from rusting after I cleaned it up so I decided to spray paint the whole thing to protect it (and easier to brush clean in the future with the gloss paint).

 A can of paint must have spilled because I found dried paint everywhere, especially between the motor and motor bracket.

 Miter pieces.

 Fence pieces.

 I was so nervous I'd get all the pieces mixed up and wouldn't know how to put them back together so I kept them in bags until I was ready to deal with them.  Later I used Evapo-Rust to dump into the bags that had rusty parts then used a wire brush to removed any debris.

I used small wire brushes for every single inch of all the pieces and scrubbed the life out of those poor little things - they were amazing to use on this project!  Then I used 220 sandpaper on the stand and saw box pieces.

These are the products I used for the makeover process.  Evapo-rust for rusty small parts.  Paste wax for waxing the table top and miter at the end and Tri-Flow lubricant for lubricating the bearings, arbor and any other metal-to-metal contact that moved alot.

 I used a lot of spray paint for this project.  You could probably say I went overboard with how I painted everything (including bolts) but what I really wanted to do was not just make things LOOK nice but protect the metal from rusting again.  I like paint with gloss in it for stuff like this because it's easier to blow off saw-dust and such.

 I did 1-2 coats of primer for everything and then 2-3 coats of paint.   Everything looked so awesome after and it was REALLY hard for me to wait 48 hours before putting everything back together again.

I used an orbital sander with 220 grit sandpaper for the table top - it was so rusty!  Then I used 320, 400, 800, 1000 and 1500 by hand going in the direction wood would be traveling over the top.  I buffed it with paste wax to protect from rusting and help boards slide easier.


 Alrighty, so now she's back together and running again!  I mentioned how I found a caster base I could make.  I was searching around online for different solutions/ideas and I came across a YouTube video where a cute little man was showing you around his shop and telling about his caster system he invented.

It was remarkable how easy it was - a simple push of a lever and you're on wheels and then a push of another lever you're sitting on the ground steady!

NOTE: I had to modify his entire system to be much smaller for my saw.  I also used 3" casters rather than 4" so that changed the overall height & boards I used.  For the levers, brackets and feet pads I used hardwood and then rest pine.

 Here's the casters raised - you can see there's only a small gap between the floor and the base.  If your garage floor is uneven like mine it can rub in some parts so you may want to make your gap bigger if you're moving yours far distances or over uneven ground.

 This is what it looks like when the casters are raised and the base is sitting on the ground.

 When you want to raise your machine you push down on this pedal with your foot and that lever locks into place... this.


When you want to lower your machine for use you push on the lever bracket with your foot to release and the weight of your machine pushes the caster wheels up off the ground.

Pictures of the build:
(If you want step-by-step instructions & measurements you can purchase plans from Carl
 I fit everything to my table saw, cutting piece by piece to customize.  I attached hardware as I went to make sure the design would work.  Then I took everything apart, sanded and stained.

 Glue the stretcher pieces together and attach hinges.  The screws on the hinges have 2-1/2" screws - long enough to grab onto the bottom stretcher.

 Attach caster wheels to cross boards.

 Attach caster boards to stretchers.

 Attach small arm with dowel to front caster board.

Attach pedal/arm to back caster board.

Because there's such a small clearance between both arms I used a t-nut to bolt the lever lock to.

Lucky for you I'm crazy and fixed up the manual, too.  Download it for yourself if you would like!
8 comments on "Delta 34-600 Tilting Arbor Saw Makeover"
  1. Your saw looks wonderful! I would like to recommend getting some magnetized bowls from the auto parts store for small metal parts. They are used by mechanics to put lug nuts in while changing tires. I got some from Auto Zone for $5 each but sometimes you can find them cheaper sold in sets. I use them at my sewing machine when I change feet or when I take parts off the machine to clean them. It saves a lot of crawling around on the floor! HA!

    1. Hi Deborah! I actually bought several of those from harbor freight and use one for my pins (I have A LOT of pins).. I didn't think to use them for this project though.. great ideas for next time!!

  2. Fantastic job. Love the lifting mechanism. Wish I had thought of that before building the dollies for my new sewing room cabinets. My father had a Delta saw which my mother bought for him. He built many custom kitchens, cabinets, shelves, bookcases, and even a play kitchen set for my sister. He used that saw for many, many years. One thing he always taught me was to clean it after using, from the sawdust on top to that around the motor. Best of luck with your newest acquisition.

    1. Do your sewing cabinets move on casters? I wish I had a dedicated sewing room - right now I have everything in the formal dining room - piles of fabric, bins of notions and sewing machines galore! My poor husband... I dream of what I would like to build to store my things in (but have other projects that require my $ and attention). I hope to use this saw a lot and I'll use your advice and try to blow the dust away after using it each time! :)

  3. Dani, kudos to you for tackling such a wonderful project!

    Ten years ago I inherited one of these fantastic machines from my 97 year old neighbor. A brilliant man that purchased the saw just so he could make a Grandfather's clock from some cherry wood he had collected thirty years earlier after a tornado strike. I now have the most beautiful Grandfather's
    clock and will never forget him.
    The saw has sat in my metalworking shop for ten years and after sitting since 1977 when he finished his clock, my son's father in-law wants to bring it back to a useful life. Him not being mechanically minded can't go through the saw and replace all the spindle and motor bearings. So I volunteered to do it for him. I've been working at rebuilding and making machinery for almost fifty years and am so happy I offered to rebuild the saw. It is one of those mechanical treasures you don't find anymore. All iron and steel construction the engineering was spot on of our American industrial might. I almost want to keep the saw but I don't do wood work and it won't cut metal I'm happy to pass it on to someone that will put it to use.
    P.S., thanks for the attached manual, it will remind me where every piece goes after I receive the replacement parts and start the rebuild.

    1. You are very generous to do the hard work of restoration! I applaud you for that. I love to know the history of the machines I own - and I agree.. things were made so well 60+ years ago! Nothing these days will last as long and be in as good of shape. Same with sewing machines. Best of luck to you! Thanks for the comment!

  4. Wow. Great job. I just uncovered a table saw from deep in a garage and it is in pretty rough shape. You give me hope for it!

    1. Old tools can get pretty grungy looking after sitting around but they shine right up with some elbow grease! They’re little work horses too! Good luck!


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