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Thread: Delta Table Saw Modification

  1. #1
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    Delta Table Saw Modification

    I have a Delta 36-480 10" contractor saw with a 52" Biesemeyer fence that I bought in 1999. I thought I would use the large rip capacity but over the years that hasn't happened and the saw takes up a large amount of floor space.

    I have been thinking about "converting it" to something like a 30" saw to regain some of the garage floor for other stuff.

    Any suggestions for ways to accomplish this without breaking the bank?

  2. #2
    Google "shortening biesemeyer fence rails". There are some posts and articles on this that could give you ideas.

    Good luck!
    Fred
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
    - Sir Edmund Burke

  3. #3
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    I have a different make and model of table saw, but am in the process of doing a major rebuild, which includes doing exactly what you are contemplating, since I want to regain floor space and have never, ever used close to the 52" capacity of the saw. My track saw does all the plywood panel cutting now. After looking your saw model up online, it does appear that it would involve cutting down the front and back steel rails, narrowing the extension table, and moving the support legs in. My rails are aluminum, and a local shop will cut them for me on a vertical bandsaw for a small charge. Most of the time and effort would involve disassembling the saw and then reassembling and setting it back up. Unless there is something I am missing (and there may be), I would think you could do most of this yourself, save for cutting the steel rails to length, which I think would involve a small out of pocket cost. You will enjoy the extra space you gain.

    Regards,

    Joe H.

  4. #4
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    Lots and lots of folks have either cut down or replace the fence rail to make their table saws more compact. If you don't care about having the larger capacity available for a future owner, just cut it down.

    And for the record, I'm all for this kind of thing. So many saws have 50-52" capacities and are never used for cutting; rather, that extra space ends up being "storage", both short term and sometimes, um...long term.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  5. #5
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    And I should say that one Jim Becker's sage advice/guidance was key in my decision to buy a combination machine, which further contributed to my quest to save space and migrate my "storage shop" back to a "workshop"... the tools always seem to grow to overtake the space available to use them...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Becker View Post
    Lots and lots of folks have either cut down or replace the fence rail to make their table saws more compact. If you don't care about having the larger capacity available for a future owner, just cut it down.

    And for the record, I'm all for this kind of thing. So many saws have 50-52" capacities and are never used for cutting; rather, that extra space ends up being "storage", both short term and sometimes, um...long term.

  6. #6
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    Back when I was starting out with this woodworking thing in the late 1990s, i bought into the "all the tools" thing and space suffered as you mention, Joe. Over time, I learned that workflow matters a whole lot and as I made changes to my workshop environment, including tools, I kept that in mind. I also started to re-think a lot of the "standard responses" to "what tools should I buy" or "what tools do I need and what kind" thing. So many folks take the path of least resistance and just get things and do things the same as many folks did a decade or three ago. Those are certainly not invalid choices, either, to be clear. But we owe it to ourselves to explore the alternatives, too. The J/P combo is one of those things. Wide capacities for both flattening and for thicknessing in the same space. What's not to like about that, especially if you're not running a production shop where that whole minute of changeover would matter? Ok, big separates handle length better, but most people don't need to handle long lengths of material if they actually think through the process.

    I feel the same way about table saws. I did the progression from a benchtop (what a mistake!!) to a contractors' style saw to a cabinet saw...and then bought a slider. I truly wish that there were more choices on the market for a short stroke slider in price ranges that are competitive with the North American design cabinet saws. More and more folks would likely own them then. I'd never go back to a regular old cabinet saw if I have the choice. While I currently have a longer wagon, if I had to downsize, I'd go right to a short stroke from SCM/Minimax or Felder/Hammer no question.

    But again, space matters....if one doesn't actually use that wider table saw setup for cutting or to house something like a router station, it's a waste of space, IMHO. That's space that could be available for assembly or finishing or another useful tool.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  7. #7
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    I wish I knew then (when I was first setting up my shop) what I have learned since that time, I can tell you. I started out with a large serving of enthusiasm and barely a pinch of knowledge/experience, and have come to suffer the downside of poor organization and lack of clarity about the type of work I was interested in/most likely to actually do. After I got my planer/jointer, which was by far the most costly and beneficial major purchase I have ever made, I began to rethink how I use my shop space and tools, and quickly came to the realization that multi-functionality can be applied to all manner of the horizontal surfaces I have. I can say that this website and the great expertise and assistance of those that post here has been an enormous benefit to me. I am very grateful to be able to avail myself of it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Becker View Post
    Back when I was starting out with this woodworking thing in the late 1990s, i bought into the "all the tools" thing and space suffered as you mention, Joe. Over time, I learned that workflow matters a whole lot and as I made changes to my workshop environment, including tools, I kept that in mind. I also started to re-think a lot of the "standard responses" to "what tools should I buy" or "what tools do I need and what kind" thing. So many folks take the path of least resistance and just get things and do things the same as many folks did a decade or three ago. Those are certainly not invalid choices, either, to be clear. But we owe it to ourselves to explore the alternatives, too. The J/P combo is one of those things. Wide capacities for both flattening and for thicknessing in the same space. What's not to like about that, especially if you're not running a production shop where that whole minute of changeover would matter? Ok, big separates handle length better, but most people don't need to handle long lengths of material if they actually think through the process.

    I feel the same way about table saws. I did the progression from a benchtop (what a mistake!!) to a contractors' style saw to a cabinet saw...and then bought a slider. I truly wish that there were more choices on the market for a short stroke slider in price ranges that are competitive with the North American design cabinet saws. More and more folks would likely own them then. I'd never go back to a regular old cabinet saw if I have the choice. While I currently have a longer wagon, if I had to downsize, I'd go right to a short stroke from SCM/Minimax or Felder/Hammer no question.

    But again, space matters....if one doesn't actually use that wider table saw setup for cutting or to house something like a router station, it's a waste of space, IMHO. That's space that could be available for assembly or finishing or another useful tool.

  8. #8
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    Hi Jerry
    You can also gain space if you slide the SS Delta to the right until it hits the wall. You will almost never need to move it out.

  9. #9
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    OK, I'll take a contrarian view...

    In the vein of multi-purpose combo machines, my unisaw w/52" unifence does triple duty: table saw, router table (left end), and temporary assembly table/light duty bench (right end).

    Yes, early in a project, the right end has to be cleared off for rough cross-cutting from long stock, but after that, I don't often need the far right end for sawing.

    The extra space on the right end also is very handy for staging stock for sawing.

    Also, while I rarely rip anything wider than 32", I also use my unifence for a calibrated cross-cut stop (pulling the fence extrusion forward of the blade), which works for up to 52" crosscuts. I use that for >32" fairly often.

    -- Andy - Arlington TX

  10. #10
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    I made my own fence rails (64" long!) and use a VSCT fence. As opposed to most, I have the left side of the saw against a wall and a router station with a lift on the right end. This arrangement allows for the rare occasions I need a really wide rip and offers lots of support when doing long crosscuts. A 2nd VSCT like fence with micro adjustment is placed on the rails and acts as the fence for the router. This allows me to make profiles on the edge of a wide board, rip off and then make a another pass thru the router and rip again without having to move the fences. Though different then many, this setup really works for me.

  11. #11
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    Jerry Unifences are aluminum . You can cut it yourself with a carbide blade in a miter saw,I have cut 2-3 of them down this way.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Kees View Post
    Jerry Unifences are aluminum . You can cut it yourself with a carbide blade in a miter saw,I have cut 2-3 of them down this way.
    Is the fence rail also aluminum? I forget...
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  13. #13
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    Sorry my bad. Somehow reading this I thought the OP stated it was a Unifence. Now I see it is a Biesmeyer,therefore steel rails. I cut these with a abrasive wheel in my metal chopsaw. Then clean up-smooth with a file.

  14. #14
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    I just shortened a Biesemeyer, used an angle grinder and it turned out just fine.

  15. #15
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    Probably OBE, but yes, the Unfence rail is aluminum.

    -- Andy - Arlington TX

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