Wadkin cabinet saw

August 2004


August 2004

New motor fitted

May 2003

Saw is back together and has made its first cut

New and old saw

Both saws, old and new

First cut with the new saw

First cut

Finally I've found myself a decent cabinet saw. Now perhaps I can call this a proper cabinetry workshop.

Cabinet saw, still at the
previous owner's workshop

At the previous owner's workshop

This is a Wadkin Bursgreen 10AGS cast-iron cabinet saw. Wadkin are a well known UK brand and this model is roughly comparable to the well-known US Delta Unisaw.

Made in 1962, that makes it a couple of years older than me. The serial no. is 622791.

The previous owner was in Essex and reckoned he'd had it for around 20 years. Originally it was supplied by Wilkinsons of Bethnal Green, London, who fixed their plate to the front panel.

Wadkin are still in business, although now they specialise in spindle moulders.

First delivered to my workshop

Delivered to my workshop.

Thanks, as always, to Glyn and Hirez for their help in moving it.

If you care about this stuff, take a look inside

July 2003

On arrival, it was pretty useless to be honest. Just not enough power and a motor that kept tripping the overload relay. Looks like I need a bigger motor - the current one is only plated at ¼hp.

In the meantime, I've fitted a new blade - a CMT thin-kerf 24T rip/crosscut combo. This has made a big difference to the ripping performance (it's usable now!) and the kerf is impressively small. It's not a particularly stable blade though, and it accentuates the arbor's run-out problems. More stuff to fix !

Cross-cut box

Cross-cut box in action

Just made it a crosscut box. I still need to sort out a riving knife / crown guard.

Fitting a new motor

Long before I got it, someone had converted it to single phase. The (retired) guy I bought it from had a fairly large home workshop, filled with tools from his past commercial workshop. This was the only machine that was vaguely usable, as he was using a static phase converter for the others and had a lot of trouble with them.

Unfortunately the conversion was a "materials to hand" job. The motor he'd used was _way_ underpowered and the saw was bordering on the dangerous. So, that motor had to go.

I thought the task would be easy. It wasn't !

Getting the motor was easy - a 3HP single phase Clarke from Machine Mart, 80 + VAT You have to buy them new because motors of this power rating just don't show up S/H - industrial motors are 3 phase, domestic motors aren't that powerful. If you're on Machine Mart's mailing list, they send you invites to weekend open days (most bank holidays) where Clarke own-brand kit is reduced by 17.5% - worth knowing for the big stuff.

Switchgear was no problem, as I can sparkie with the best of them. A NVR starter from Axminster and a rotary isolator switch. Machine Mart also sell starters, but theirs have tiny buttons. As the starter has a proper contactor inside, it's easy to extend this with extra stop buttons. Your existing starter may well be usable, but check the setting on the overload relay.

IMHO, a separate isolator switch is essential. It's not safe to work on the whirling bits unless you can either shut off _two_ switches, or unplug it.

Now the awkward bit - the pulley. The new motor is a 24mm keyed shaft, the old pulley was a 1" shaft fitted to a 3/4" motor shaft with a home-made adaptor sleeve. I couldn't re-use the existing pulley without machining it out to take a bigger sleeve. I have a lathe to do this, but it would be getting marginal on thickness for either the sleeve or the bottom of the pulley grooves. It would also make the change irreversible, should I screw things up.

So I bought a new pulley. That would be easy I thought.... Seems that triple pulleys are now a rarity, owing to modern belt materials and the preference for polygroove belts in high power applications. I considered swapping both pulleys, but couldn't easily fit one to the old arbor.

The nearest triple pulley I could find (made by GKN) was expensive (some tens of quid !) and wrong for both pitch between pulley grooves and the groove profile. Seems that 40 year old pulleys were sized on the cubit scale, and modern ones aren't exactly the same - still, it seems to work now. A modern taper-lock bush in the pulley at least means that I can fit any motor shaft to it in the future, without swapping pulleys again.

Now the motor bracket. This is another job that's simple in principle, just big and awkward. I had to re-drill four holes in the plate, to accomodate the new motor and its new bolt location relative to the pulley. This was done on the measure once, drill twice, curse frequently plan. I don't quite know how I got it wrong, but I mis-measured something. I was also drilling it on a friend's mill, 40 miles away from home....

If I knew how to strip the arbor, I'd have done that and replaced the ancient bearings whilst I had it in bits. But it wasn't obvious (anyone know ?), the hydraulic press is 200 miles away, and I just couldn't be bothered. I did forge myself a nice new C spanner though, so that I could grip the arbor nut without abusing the pin holes with a badly-fitting rod.

Finally I had the parts. I just needed to re-assemble it (which is a pain to do without taking the table off, but it is possible). Amazingly it all then worked, and it even tensioned the old belts correctly. The adjustment slots aren't generously sized.

Once finished though, the saw was transformed. No more bogging down, even when doing full-depth rips in oak or warped blade-grabbing larch. Well worth all the time and trouble it took.