I have an old used Craftsman table saw. It works fine most of the time, but will start to seize up when cutting boards when the blade is raised more than an inch and a quarter. My assumption was that as the blade rose the path of the center of the blades rotation would stay a fairly constant distance from the motor. However, as the blade rises, the tension on drive belt keep increasing and is adding load to the motor. I'm concerned I'm missing a part that keeps the correct tension or would correct the path of the blade relative to the motor or is this functioning as designed.

  • is the fence parallel to the blade?
    – Jasen
    Feb 22, 2021 at 0:31
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    My first thought is what @mikes said. Also make sure the arbor isn't rubbing on anything.
    – Duston
    Feb 22, 2021 at 14:15
  • As @Jasen said, if the fence & blade aren't parallel, the wood will start to bind, slowing the blade, and, potentially kicking the wood back at you causing significant personal injury. (I've seen a 2x4 thrown over 30' by a table saw - made a heck of a dent in a chalk board!) It could be that with a shallow cut, the misalignment isn't enough to cause serious binding, but as the blade cuts deeper, you've got more friction & a greater problem. Also, questions like this may get good responses over at Woodworking.
    – FreeMan
    Feb 22, 2021 at 17:10
  • I almost put how the motor hangs off the side in the original description. @mikes I think an answer with information about how tight the bold in that place could / should be and details on belt tightening in general would be a great answer. Feb 23, 2021 at 3:14

1 Answer 1


Is this one of the old Sears models where the motor hangs off the back on a hinge? The weight of the motor supplies the tension. It is possible that the hinge is frozen allowing the belt to over tension. Ideally the motor should be free to move as the blade is raised and lowered. The pivot bolt should be tight enough to prevent lateral movement (left to right). It should be loose enough that you can raise the motor by hand. The belt tension is determined by the weight of the motor. I have seen people even hang scrap metal (window weights were popular) on to the motor to increase tension as the belt ages and begins to slip under load.

  • The other option for adding weights would be replacing the belt. Probably much more effective and, overall, more safe than hanging things off the motor housing. At a minimum, it'll look nicer.
    – FreeMan
    Feb 24, 2021 at 18:51

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