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Nick Boehm
08-10-2016, 10:27 PM
Hey guys,

I'm new to the wood working world but I am not new to using power tools. My fathers used to have me help him a lot when I was a kid when he would make things using his shopsmith Mark IV. Long story short I biught a house and throughout the process of renovation work it has sparked my interest in fine woodworking. I currently have a craftsman 10" EVO table saw but it just doesn't cut it. The miter guide is wobbly and the fence rarely sets square. So before I go and drop a ton of money on a new saw I'd like to modify this one and get my feet wet first. Can anyone point me in the right direction to try to make my own top for it? What kind of materials should I use? Where should I buy my t-track etc. Also, I've read were people just create and overlay for their current saw top but I want to take mine off and completely build a new top. Any advice or links to how tos would be greatly appreciated.

Bruce Page
08-10-2016, 11:37 PM
Nick, you would be much better off upgrading to a better table saw than trying to turn the EVO into something that you can rely on to make fine woodworking with.

Joe Kieve
08-11-2016, 8:33 AM
I agree with Bruce. Check Craigslist in your area. You can probably buy something better than what you have for less money than it would take to modify the top on yours.

Nick Boehm
08-11-2016, 10:05 AM
Thanks for the comments but I don't see any reason to completely move away from this saw. The guts of the saw are great and it has plenty of power. The only thing I don't like for what I am currently doing is the fence and the miter gauge. I bought a new miter gauge "the incra v27" to try to remedy the situation but it doesn't fit the current track system on the saw top. hence why I want to modify the top.

Thomas Bank
08-11-2016, 10:33 AM
The problem becomes how to manufacture a more accurate tabletop with the tools that you have…

I agree with the others, start watching craigslist to see what comes up. My latest score was a Laguna bandsaw for less than 1/3 the price of new. I turned around and sold my Craftsman bandsaw for about half what I paid for the Laguna and am well beyond what I could have ever done to upgrade the Craftsman and at a lot less cost than buying new fences and such for it.

Nick Boehm
08-11-2016, 10:37 AM
I've got plenty of tools between the other tools I have and the tools available in my dads shop. Just looking for a point in the right direction as far as what materials are best. I can figure out what I want to make from there.

Adam Herman
08-11-2016, 11:59 AM
if i understand these cheaper direct drive saws, the motor/trunion is attached to the table. to put a new t slot on top you will either have to remove the current table and remount the trunion or put something over it that is at least 3/4 thick. remounting the trunion to a sheet of plywood or similar sounds like a safety issue to me. this will reduce your total height of cut by that thickness. you will spend more than the price of this saw on a new fence, and it is unlikly to mount to this saws table. I am really not sure how you would mount it to a second table that is over the original table and keep everything aligned. whatever you end up doing, good luck and welcome.

glenn bradley
08-11-2016, 3:02 PM
I think you may be having a hard time getting a good answer because there really may not be one. The direct drive and table mounted trunnion nature of the saw's design make building your own top problematic. I don't think we are trying to avoid helping, it just isn't a very realistic idea IMHO. Maybe someone who has done something similar will chime in.

Thomas Bank
08-11-2016, 4:06 PM
I've got plenty of tools between the other tools I have and the tools available in my dads shop. Just looking for a point in the right direction as far as what materials are best. I can figure out what I want to make from there.

Are you thinking of a wood top? Or does your father’s shop have metalworking equipment?


I think you may be having a hard time getting a good answer because there really may not be one. The direct drive and table mounted trunnion nature of the saw's design make building your own top problematic. I don't think we are trying to avoid helping, it just isn't a very realistic idea IMHO. Maybe someone who has done something similar will chime in.

Pretty much this. I couldn’t find a Craftsman EVO tablesaw, but did find the Evolv:

342197

Is that what you’re talking about?

As Glenn says, you’re going to run into issues replacing the table as the trunnion is mounted to it. Further, the cabinet is pretty lightweight - I’m guessing plastic - with a stamped sheetmetal table. It’s pretty lightweight all around and as you beef up one part, you’re going to start running into the limitations of the next.

I did a quick search for Craftsman tablesaws on my local craigslists and turned up a dozen of them ranging from $50 to $300. The older ones like this:

342196

That’ll get you a solid steel table and cast wings, better fence system, and more solid base. Spend some time cleaning and truing it up and you’ll be lightyears ahead rather than trying to cobble together something.

Nick Boehm
08-11-2016, 4:39 PM
I looked at craigslist but not a whole lot to choose from in my area. Anyone have any ideas for widening the existing track to fit the incra miter gauge? The craftsman track is about a a 32nd too narrow

Scott DelPorte
08-11-2016, 4:59 PM
Hi Nick,
I have never seen a shop built table saw before, but a quick look on youtube shows a bunch of people who have built them. Many bolt a new plywood top to an existing saw, like you mentioned, but a couple of them built a full cabinet and top and fence from plywood and MDF. I cant vouch for the accuracy or safety of these saws, but you are not alone in wanting to build one. Search youtube using "make tablesaw top" and there are several videos that might give you the information you are looking for. I hope that it is helpful.
Thanks
Scott

Thomas Bank
08-11-2016, 5:00 PM
Is your saw the Evolv? It would help those attempting to provide answers to know what you’re dealing with.

SearchTempest is a good way to go through any nearby craigslist postings: http://www.searchtempest.com/

It’s probably easier to machine down the miter gauge than try to machine out the tracks.

Robin Frierson
08-11-2016, 6:14 PM
Just make your own miter gauge to fit the size of the slot you already have. Use a hardwood runner and attach it to a shop made fence. You could also make a sled.

Gerry Grzadzinski
08-11-2016, 7:21 PM
Anyone have any ideas for widening the existing track to fit the incra miter gauge? The craftsman track is about a a 32nd too narrow

Craftsman saws have always had smaller than standard (3/4") miter slots.
The best thing to do would be to take it to a machine shop.

If the top is aluminum, though, you could use a router and straightedge to widen it. Just make very shallow passes, and make sure you have a very straight straightedge.

Marvin Hasenak
08-11-2016, 9:37 PM
What are you planning on making? Furniture? Cabinets? ???

Nick Boehm
08-11-2016, 10:20 PM
Yes the saw is the Evolv

I plan to make frames, drawers, and cabinets.

I looked at the saw today. Modifying the existing track would not work. It is around an 1/8" thick and to have the gauge sit flush I'd have to take about that much out of the existing track. So I think I'm gonna have to bite the bullet and buy a new saw. Hopefully I can sell my Evolv for 100 bucks or so. Haven't used it much since I had been learning stuff on my dads machines. Any recommendations on a good all around entry to mid-level saw that has standard tracks etc?

Phillip Mitchell
08-11-2016, 11:28 PM
For entry level and close to the budget you're talking about, I would recommend a Delta contractor saw (older or newer), build your own extensions/outfeed tables around and behind it, put a Biesemeyer T style fence on it and call it a day. Probably looking at $100-$250 for the saw and another $200 (new) for a fence. You can build the out feed tables and extensions wings pretty easily yourself and it will be a great project to break in the table saw and build some stuff with it.

I personally feel like trying to do anything repeatable and accurate would prove frustrating and annoying with any less of some variation of that setup.

Of course, if you look long and hard enough you may be able to stumble across an old Unisaw for $500, which is a whole other class of potential than a contractor saw, but you know what they say about the slippery slope...

Bruce Page
08-11-2016, 11:35 PM
Nick, a lot of us...most of us, started out with lesser equipment and progressed from there - I think it is a natural part of the woodworker's evolution. As you get into more advanced woodworking projects you will value the accuracy and reliability of better equipment. "What table saw should I get?" is a frequently asked question. A little forum searching will bring up tons of info but don't hesitate to ask questions.
Good luck!

Nick Boehm
08-11-2016, 11:59 PM
The search on the forum is pretty fussy. It won't let me search terms like "best saw" etc. I'm basically looking for a saw that will accept my incra v27 ( love it! Used it in my dads shop today) and has a 3/4" standard miter gauge track and makes accurate cuts with a decent fence. I'd like to buy one new for $300 or less. Right now I'm mostly making a lot of the same cuts so I guess consistency is most important as well as being able to accept other add-ons

Thomas Bank
08-12-2016, 8:48 AM
So I think I'm gonna have to bite the bullet and buy a new saw.

I think you’re going to be in a lot better position doing this. You don’t have a location in your info - that could help people make suggestions for any saws they know if in the area.

Marvin Hasenak
08-12-2016, 1:59 PM
With your budget I would recommend watching your local Craigslist and pawnshops. The right deals don't come around everyday, but every so often a real steal of a deal can fall in your lap. Set your budget and have cash ready, check several times a day and be ready to meet at a moments notice. There are most like others looking for the same deal, first with the cash wins.

Nick Boehm
08-12-2016, 9:51 PM
Well guys, I'm not sure it was a huge step forward but I was at an "open box store" near where I live and I found a Kobalt KT1015 for $120. I put it together and even though it had been opened it didn't appear that it was ever put together. All the part bags were still sealed and everything was there. I know it isn't the best saw but it should allow me to work a little easier and do more than my craftsman saw could. Any opinions on this saw? The rolling base it came with isn't very stiff so I guess my first task will be to try to make it a little more sturdy.

Frederick Skelly
08-12-2016, 10:32 PM
Nick, you did just fine. I looked over the ratings and they are positive-enough to take the plunge. This seems like a noticeably better idea than modifying your old saw.

Is it perfect? No. It's a direct drive jobsite saw. Is it good enough to start with? At that price, HECK YES.

Will you want a nicer saw one day? Sure you will. But I started on a brand new delta direct drive saw that I paid $100 for. I used it until I learned what I really wanted and then sold it for $50. (The $50 "loss" was well worth it because it helped me get educated.) In its place, I bought a 20 yr old delta contractor saw with a 52" biesemeyer fence. I paid $400 and it has done everything Ive asked it to do. Not everyone needs a $1000+ tablesaw. (Though I bet a $5000 slider would be a joy to use. ;) )

Go slow. See what you like and dislike about it over time. Then upgrade to what you've decided you want. At that price, you'll get most of it back when you sell it.

Enjoy!
Fred

Steve Schoene
08-16-2016, 9:52 AM
The OP indicated he wants to make cabinets, with drawers and face frames. He will need more than a table saw. For cutting the sheet goods to make cabinet boxes, a track saw will work dramatically more efficiently that trying to wrangle such panels on a table saw. It need not be a Festool, though those are nice. He should also make a crosscut but for his table saw to dramatically improve the precision of cross cuts for face frames. And, of course a Kreg jig is going to be the cheapest satisfactory tool for joining cabinet parts.

Brice Rogers
08-16-2016, 6:53 PM
Nick, you said that there wasn't much on Craig's list. If I were you, I'd give it some time - - perhaps a few months. Another poster mentioned the low prices for a Craftsman table saw on CL.

I saw an ad for a Harbor fright table saw. Before you cringe, I might say that it has a heavy cast iron table with some sheet metal wings and a useable fence. The guy selling it said that the motor wouldn't spin up very fast and said that it was related to his garage wiring and that I could rewire for 220 (blah blah blah). I bought it for $75 as it had good bones and a new carbide fine tooth blade. When I took it apart at home, I found that the centrifugal switch contacts were the problem. I ran some polishing paper through them, and re-adjusted the position and it works great.

So, even though there may not be a decent table saw available today, perhaps you'll find one in the near future. I took a look at Craigs list for Richmond, Va. and was surprised that there were several (IIRC, 58 saws), with many in the under $250 area that I would consider to have decent bones.

Ray Newman
08-18-2016, 4:51 PM
Since this is a new saw, the first thing to do is check that the miter gauge slot is parallel to the blade and that the rip fence is adjustable to be parallel to the miter gauge slot/blade and will hold its settings through its travel. Checking the miter slots and adjusting the fence will save you time and frustration when you work with the saw. And it is not uncommon for saws to need a bit of tweaking as a result of shipping, handling, etc., to work right.

Also check to see that both miter gauge slots are parallel to each other and do not taper in or out. Especially important if you ever think you will need/make a dual runner sled or any other jig that has/needs two runners. With a dual runner sled, if the slots are not parallel, the runners will bind, making it difficult -- if not impossible to -- use the sled/jig.

I am not familiar with how to adjust the top/saw mounting on a this type of saw to correct any misalignment, but your owner's manual should have this information.

You may feel the need for a dado set. But before buying a dado set, determine if the arbor is long enough to accept the dado and its various cutters. I have been told that some saws of this type have arbors too short arbors to accept a dado blade and cutters. Again, check the owner's manual or contact the manufacturer.

Mason Truelove
08-29-2016, 5:25 AM
if its intended for wood furniture or cabinet then i believe wood top is great choice with that. Try to check in Ikea site.

Patrick Walls
04-17-2017, 9:20 PM
Thanks for the comments but I don't see any reason to completely move away from this saw. The guts of the saw are great and it has plenty of power. The only thing I don't like for what I am currently doing is the fence and the miter gauge. I bought a new miter gauge "the incra v27" to try to remedy the situation but it doesn't fit the current track system on the saw top. hence why I want to modify the top.

Check on Youtube for some fence video's. There are some pretty neat ones that folks build and post on youtube. Also take a look for saw table extensions and that kind of stuff for ideas.
Pat