I just got this 23 year old, small tablesaw from a friend of mine. I know it’s nothing great, but if it can be made to work, it will suit my needs.

It’s been stored indoors and seems to be in good shape generally. But, he said he hasn’t used it in the last 12 years or so.

What do I need to do and check to put it safely back into service? enter image description here enter image description here

  • 4
    In addition to the good suggestions others have given, it would be a very prudent idea to see if you can find a riving knife made for that saw. If not, please consider making an insert with a splitter. These will help reduce (but not eliminate) the chances of kickback. Sep 25 at 1:48
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    If you're getting into wood working (as opposed to general carpentry), I'd suggest you check out the Woodworking sister site.
    – FreeMan
    Sep 25 at 15:10
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    @ecnerwal - right you are! I didn't even notice that when I looked quickly at the photo. I think my mind must have registered that as something in the background of the room! Sep 25 at 15:24
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    That's a Harbor Freight special, and from a time when Harbor Freight was particularly reknowned for making the most ill-fitting junk, fit for a single work session and done. It is probably an insult to your craftsmanship skills. I'd hit up Craigslist and get at least a Rockwell. Sep 25 at 20:33
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    @Harper-ReinstateMonica I appreciate the high (and probably misplaced) esteem in which you hold my craftsmanship skills. :-) Sep 25 at 20:44

3 Answers 3


Be sure it's unplugged, then...

  • Check the integrity of the arbor by wiggling the saw blade laterally to see if it's got a lot of play (not flex--that's different). If so you may need to replace some bearings.

  • Restore the table if necessary. This may involve steel wool and oil, followed by a preservative. Better saws have cast iron tables, which are more rigid, but yours looks to be aluminum. It may just need a cleaning, and you could wax it for a better slide.

  • Check the safety of the electrical system. The cord jacket should be flexible and intact. If it's brittle or damaged, replace it. Also look at the cord between the switch and the motor. The switch itself should operate smoothly and with a distinct action.

  • Check the fence for stability and squareness. It should not have much free play and should be parallel with the table edge. It should hold position well when locked down.

  • Check the blade angle. It should be parallel with the fence and square with the table when set to 90° on the angle indicator.

  • Seek out a manual. There are websites which archive scans of them. Read it and heed it. (Thanks for the reminder, jay613.)

  • Install a freshly sharpened or new rip blade and give it a test. If it struggles to rip a 2x4 lengthwise, for example, the motor may be tired and not up to regular service. Note that a table saw blade is different than a miter saw blade intended for crosscuts, which may add resistance (increasing motor wear and reducing safety). I use them fairly interchangeably in my table saw, but it is a factor in cut effort.

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    I would add a modern “large area push to turn off” switch. If you’re getting into trouble, you don’t want to have to search for the small toggle switch.
    – DoxyLover
    Sep 24 at 22:55
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    Just being unused for 12 years shouldn't make it any more dangerous or less functional than last time it was fired up. Be sure it comes with at least one push stick.
    – kreemoweet
    Sep 25 at 0:39
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    @kreemoweet, I'm not sure that was said or even implied. It's the age in general that makes a once-over smart. Also, why would the saw need to come with a push stick? That can be acquired later and is out of scope for this question--it isn't part of a saw any more than chaps are part of a chainsaw. Maybe your comments should've been on the question rather than here.
    – isherwood
    Sep 25 at 12:48
  • New belts are probably a good investment, along with checking tension thereon. Making sure table and fence are properly parallel to blade is also basic setup
    – keshlam
    Sep 25 at 13:22
  • This is probably a direct-drive model. Most compact units are. I addressed those other issues in my answer.
    – isherwood
    Sep 25 at 14:35

Table saws like this use a screw-drive mechanism for blade height and tilt adjustment. those screw drives tend to get jammed up with sawdust which makes them hard if not impossible to turn. I recommend you clean them out and relubricate them with a few drops of light machine oil like 3-in-1 oil.

Before first use, you must also check the blade angle with a square to make certain it is cutting perpendicular to the table surface. In this regard, do not rely on the angle scale on the side of the saw base!


I would first check the insulation and continuity with a multimeter and the cable condition.

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