Delta 1160 Table Saw Restoration
19 November 2017
About The Machine
This is a Delta 1160 Table Saw, serial number 47-1196. It's a tilting-table machine (rather than tilting-arbor like most modern table saws) and is the table saw side of a Delta Table Saw/ Jointer Combo marketed towards enthusiast home woodworkers in the 1940s.
I purchased this machine on October 8th, 2017 along with the accompanying 6in Jointer (to complete the combo unit) from a local maker space in Broomfield, CO called The Gizmo Dojo. The Gizmo Dojo received the machine as a donation, the previous owner's information was not made available to me. They intended to restore it as well before finding another table saw that was better suited to their space.
This table saw (and its jointer brother) was in pretty unfortunate condition when I purchased it. Thick rust-covered any surface that was not painted, a lot of dirt and ancient sawdust was packed into the harder-to-clean nooks and crannies, and no motor was included. Fortunately, the arbor did run true and all of the mechanisms appeared to work well despite their rusty condition. Both of the rack gear trunnions were intact with no broken teeth or cracked housings (a common issue with these saws due to the pot metal used in the casting of those parts.)
I began by disassembling the entire machine down to its component parts. All of the small parts were soaked in white vinegar for 24 hours, then scrubbed with a brass brush and cleaned with brake cleaner. The larger parts were stripped down using various wire wheels across my grinder, cordless drill, and rotary tool.
The large cast parts were repainted using Rust-Oleum Smoke Gray Gloss Enamel (a surprisingly close color match to the original paint) and the smaller parts were coated with a dry Teflon lubricant. Dry lubricants are a necessity for woodworking tools to prevent sawdust build-up.
Two small fiber washers were cut out on the laser cutter to replace the worn-out and damaged washers found in the machine. An SVG file for these washers can be found below.
The arbor bearings did turn, but there was some resistance and I preferred to spend the time and money to replace them now rather than have to take the machine back apart in the near future if the original bearings started to show their age. The replacement bearings are slightly specialized due to a flange on one side. They can be purchased from a seller on eBay,
After everything was cleaned up and painted, it was just a matter of putting it all back together according to the pre-disassembly pictures. You did take pictures before you took it all apart... right?
Homestretch! There were only a couple of things left to do after the main assembly of the machine. I needed to re-create the wood section of the table, the wood fence protector, and mill a new zero-clearance insert to replace the broken aluminum insert.
The first two items were easily and quickly accomplished. Pick some wood suitable for the job, cut it to width and length, attach it to the machine.
The zero-clearance insert required a little more thought to account for the tilting of the table and clearance for the arbor nut. I created a model in Fusion 360 based on the insert that came with the saw and then milled it out using my CNC router. Once the insert is cut and placed into the machine, a plunge cut at 90 degrees and 45 degrees is needed to create the blade path.
I don't intend to keep this as a combo unit with its 6in Jointer brother (I prefer to keep them as separate machines for my purposes,) and will be building a new, wooden base to replace the flimsy sheet metal version in the near future.
I had to use the saw before I was able to take pictures of it, some dust accumulation occurred.