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Delta 34-600 Tilting Arbor Saw Makeover

My husband is so good and knows to get me tools for presents.  He tried to get me a drill press for my birthday and when that fell through I asked if I could get a table saw instead – I’ve been itching to have one ever since we moved into our house 6 months ago!  When I found this little beauty on Craigslist it was love at first sight!
I don’t know much about older tools, about the Delta brand or really what to look for in a table saw.  What I was looking for was something well-built, older, on the small-side to fit into my “garage shop” and it needed to feel ‘steady’.  I had a Ryobi saw before and it felt really cheap – the table top was aluminum (I think) because it scratched so easy, I could never get the fence to feel like it was 90-degrees to the table or parallel with the blade.
The guy sold it to me for $100 and even delivered it to my door the next day from an hour away for only $20!  It was a dream come true!  It was slightly smaller than what I imagined and the blade adjustment knobs were really stiff.  There was caked on saw dust inside and rusty parts.  The plywood caster base wasn’t going to work – really hard to push around and no way to keep it from moving around.
The saw sat in my garage for nearly a month while I waited for temperatures here in North Carolina to cool off and be less humid then I got to work!  It too me nearly a week to disassemble, scrub+sand all the pieces, wipe clean, prime, paint and reassemble.
Two things I was really excited about:
#1 I was able hook this up to my dust collector (another gift from my husband)
 and #2 I found a caster base I could make that allows me to drop the casters for moving but then set the machine back on the ground with only my foot (I’ll tell you about it at the end)!
Below are some BEFORE and AFTER pictures!
(I love to see the difference)
The plastic hood came with my dust collector and I was so glad to see that it fit the hole underneath the saw & base… so I drilled holes for the bolts to go through that hold the saw onto the stand.  I love when things work out!
 Here’s everything disassembled – time to get to work!
 The arbor assembly (saw ‘guts’) were really rusty.  I wasn’t sure how to keep it from rusting after I cleaned it up so I decided to spray paint the whole thing to protect it (and easier to brush clean in the future with the gloss paint).
 A can of paint must have spilled because I found dried paint everywhere, especially between the motor and motor bracket.
 Miter pieces.
 Fence pieces.
 I was so nervous I’d get all the pieces mixed up and wouldn’t know how to put them back together so I kept them in bags until I was ready to deal with them.  Later I used Evapo-Rust to dump into the bags that had rusty parts then used a wire brush to removed any debris.
I used small wire brushes for every single inch of all the pieces and scrubbed the life out of those poor little things – they were amazing to use on this project!  Then I used 220 sandpaper on the stand and saw box pieces.
These are the products I used for the makeover process.  Evapo-rust for rusty small parts.  Paste wax for waxing the table top and miter at the end and Tri-Flow lubricant for lubricating the bearings, arbor and any other metal-to-metal contact that moved alot.
 I used a lot of spray paint for this project.  You could probably say I went overboard with how I painted everything (including bolts) but what I really wanted to do was not just make things LOOK nice but protect the metal from rusting again.  I like paint with gloss in it for stuff like this because it’s easier to blow off saw-dust and such.
 I did 1-2 coats of primer for everything and then 2-3 coats of paint.   Everything looked so awesome after and it was REALLY hard for me to wait 48 hours before putting everything back together again.
I used an orbital sander with 220 grit sandpaper for the table top – it was so rusty!  Then I used 320, 400, 800, 1000 and 1500 by hand going in the direction wood would be traveling over the top.  I buffed it with paste wax to protect from rusting and help boards slide easier.
 Alrighty, so now she’s back together and running again!  I mentioned how I found a caster base I could make.  I was searching around online for different solutions/ideas and I came across a YouTube video where a cute little man was showing you around his shop and telling about his caster system he invented.


It was remarkable how easy it was – a simple push of a lever and you’re on wheels and then a push of another lever you’re sitting on the ground steady!
NOTE: I had to modify his entire system to be much smaller for my saw.  I also used 3″ casters rather than 4″ so that changed the overall height & boards I used.  For the levers, brackets and feet pads I used hardwood and then rest pine.


 Here’s the casters raised – you can see there’s only a small gap between the floor and the base.  If your garage floor is uneven like mine it can rub in some parts so you may want to make your gap bigger if you’re moving yours far distances or over uneven ground.
 This is what it looks like when the casters are raised and the base is sitting on the ground.
 When you want to raise your machine you push down on this pedal with your foot and that lever locks into place…
 …like this.
When you want to lower your machine for use you push on the lever bracket with your foot to release and the weight of your machine pushes the caster wheels up off the ground.
Pictures of the build:
(If you want step-by-step instructions & measurements you can purchase plans from Carl
 I fit everything to my table saw, cutting piece by piece to customize.  I attached hardware as I went to make sure the design would work.  Then I took everything apart, sanded and stained.
 Glue the stretcher pieces together and attach hinges.  The screws on the hinges have 2-1/2″ screws – long enough to grab onto the bottom stretcher.
 Attach caster wheels to cross boards.
 Attach caster boards to stretchers.
 Attach small arm with dowel to front caster board.
Attach pedal/arm to back caster board.
Because there’s such a small clearance between both arms I used a t-nut to bolt the lever lock to.
Lucky for you I’m crazy and fixed up the manual, too.  Download it for yourself if you would like!
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  • Reply Deborah Hamilton

    Your saw looks wonderful! I would like to recommend getting some magnetized bowls from the auto parts store for small metal parts. They are used by mechanics to put lug nuts in while changing tires. I got some from Auto Zone for $5 each but sometimes you can find them cheaper sold in sets. I use them at my sewing machine when I change feet or when I take parts off the machine to clean them. It saves a lot of crawling around on the floor! HA!

    September 6, 2016 at 3:27 pm
  • Reply Dani

    Hi Deborah! I actually bought several of those from harbor freight and use one for my pins (I have A LOT of pins).. I didn't think to use them for this project though.. great ideas for next time!!

    September 6, 2016 at 3:31 pm
  • Reply Gypsy Quilter

    Fantastic job. Love the lifting mechanism. Wish I had thought of that before building the dollies for my new sewing room cabinets. My father had a Delta saw which my mother bought for him. He built many custom kitchens, cabinets, shelves, bookcases, and even a play kitchen set for my sister. He used that saw for many, many years. One thing he always taught me was to clean it after using, from the sawdust on top to that around the motor. Best of luck with your newest acquisition.

    September 7, 2016 at 11:59 am
  • Reply Dani

    Do your sewing cabinets move on casters? I wish I had a dedicated sewing room – right now I have everything in the formal dining room – piles of fabric, bins of notions and sewing machines galore! My poor husband… I dream of what I would like to build to store my things in (but have other projects that require my $ and attention). I hope to use this saw a lot and I'll use your advice and try to blow the dust away after using it each time! 🙂

    September 7, 2016 at 12:03 pm
  • Reply moroeder

    Dani, kudos to you for tackling such a wonderful project!

    Ten years ago I inherited one of these fantastic machines from my 97 year old neighbor. A brilliant man that purchased the saw just so he could make a Grandfather's clock from some cherry wood he had collected thirty years earlier after a tornado strike. I now have the most beautiful Grandfather's
    clock and will never forget him.
    The saw has sat in my metalworking shop for ten years and after sitting since 1977 when he finished his clock, my son's father in-law wants to bring it back to a useful life. Him not being mechanically minded can't go through the saw and replace all the spindle and motor bearings. So I volunteered to do it for him. I've been working at rebuilding and making machinery for almost fifty years and am so happy I offered to rebuild the saw. It is one of those mechanical treasures you don't find anymore. All iron and steel construction the engineering was spot on of our American industrial might. I almost want to keep the saw but I don't do wood work and it won't cut metal I'm happy to pass it on to someone that will put it to use.
    P.S., thanks for the attached manual, it will remind me where every piece goes after I receive the replacement parts and start the rebuild.

    November 24, 2017 at 10:08 am
  • Reply Dani

    You are very generous to do the hard work of restoration! I applaud you for that. I love to know the history of the machines I own – and I agree.. things were made so well 60+ years ago! Nothing these days will last as long and be in as good of shape. Same with sewing machines. Best of luck to you! Thanks for the comment!

    November 24, 2017 at 10:10 am
  • Reply Jeanette

    Wow. Great job. I just uncovered a table saw from deep in a garage and it is in pretty rough shape. You give me hope for it!

    April 5, 2018 at 8:56 pm
  • Reply Dani

    Old tools can get pretty grungy looking after sitting around but they shine right up with some elbow grease! They’re little work horses too! Good luck!

    April 5, 2018 at 10:12 pm
  • Reply Ted Mittelstaedt

    I have one of those table saws. Mine came from the factory with the saw and a joiner attached to a larger base. My father owned it for years and gave it to me. You did a beautiful job with yours.

    A couple things you should know about this saw. First yes it can cut metal with the correct saw blade. Second, you really really really want to convert the motor to run off 240v if the motor has the wires brought out to do this. The motor will last longer, run way cooler and it won’t bog down and throw the breaker if your ripping a long bit of plywood. Next, Delta made a set of casters that were on a rack that was designed to fit right into the legs of the saw. That’s why they have holes in them. The Delta casters are also retractable. Last you should look carefully at the motor. If it does not have a thermal overload protector then you should buy a motor controller switch with one and use it instead of the little toggle switch. One other thing is the fence. It is easy to get off square and cause the work to jam between the blade and the fence thus causing a kickback. Another thing is unlike most table saws the insert in this saw just lays there and isn’t screwed into the table, so a violent enough kickback can also throw the insert out and the insert can fall into the saw while it’s running or be picked up by the blade and thrown across the shop. It is also a very good idea to replace the switch with one that has a huge giant red STOP button and a tiny green GO button so you can slam the saw off quickly. One trick my dad used to do with the fence is leave the top bolts loose a bit so that if the work starts to catch in the blade it will push the fence over a bit and not jam. Of course that destroys the accuracy of the fence but that’s OK because you should be using the miter slots for accuracy not the fence. I myself don’t use that trick instead I just triple check the fence every time. A trick with these saws is take a piece of cheap MDF and then screw on a hickory piece that fits in the miter slot then you can screw down various throwaway scraps to the MDF to hold work to make custom cuts that are very accurate. One last thing is you can fill the measurement lines and letters in the two fence rails with red dye and that really makes them stand out. Mine was like that from the factory.

    February 6, 2019 at 12:52 am
  • Reply Kate Cornford

    Hi, I have a question for you. I’m curious your opinion on table saws. Are there certain features that are a must have? I want to make sure to get one that is as safe as possible to operate. I feel like safety is pretty important. Thanks in advance for your answer.

    October 15, 2019 at 2:44 pm
    • Reply danicarby

      Hi Kate! The most important safety feature in my opinion is a splitter behind the blade. Not only does it keep your blade from being pinched and throwing the wood back at you but it also keeps your wood against the fence like a featherboard. I have another post on one installed on my big table saw – all you need is a zero clearance insert and the splitters.. easy peasy! Here’s the link:

      Beyond that the most important thing is to use common sense and a push stick for pushing narrow boards through the blade.

      October 15, 2019 at 3:05 pm
  • Reply David Bollinger

    Hi, GREAT job, and I was lucky to find it. I bought my 1957 36-400 for $50. The original motor (Marathon) is at the shop for new bearings and cord. The worst problem for me is taking the stand down to bare metal – was the coating galvanizing? Very hard to remove to get at surface rust. The top and other parts just needed cleaning, except that there was a small sawdust fire inside that blistered a little paint. The arbor bearings were shot and I don’t have an arbor press so its off to a shop. I got the bearings from or1more on Ebay, and information. I like your dust collection system (Powertec Big Gulp?) and will use it. I also plan to build a cover for the large area around the motor/belt that is open. Should improve suction. I wish I could say that I’m a woodworker (friends say I’m crazy) but I did this to learn how the tool works, to save it and to learn how to use it. I’m glad that you didn’t have to take yours apart just to get it to the basement.
    Thanks again,

    March 4, 2020 at 5:19 pm
  • Reply Fred

    I am interested in the owners manual. The link to a google drive doc is broken or the file was removed. Any chance you still have it?

    October 4, 2020 at 5:05 pm
  • Reply Corey

    Nice job on the rebuild. I’m actually working on my Father’s saw today. I took the motor apart and replaced the two 203-SFF bearings inside of mine. They were squeaking. The Arbor assembly, that holds the blade itself, has a damaged Bearing Enclosure Nut. I found a new one at Tool Parts Direct. I was quite stunned when I found out just how old this saw is. This will undoubtedly outlast the brand new Makita saw I purchased last winter. One last item, the link to the Manual is no longer accessible. Can you provide a new link to it for myself and others? You could also email it directly to me. Thank you very much and enjoy.

    October 18, 2020 at 5:22 pm
  • Reply marcio

    saw looks great i have one i was trying to download the link for manual
    but it does not work?
    also i was wondering if you know where i can by the side wings for it since the one i have they are both missing

    thank you so much

    November 30, 2020 at 4:15 pm
  • Reply Andy

    I have the same table saw. It’s been in our family since new. My uncle worked for Rockwell-Delta in the late 1950’s He gave the saw to his father. It went to my father after my grandfather passed away and now I have it along with the rest of the Rockwell-Delta tools my grandfather used. Thanks for the great article.

    December 17, 2020 at 1:37 pm
    • Reply danicarby

      What a great history your table saw has! That’s very special 🙂

      January 29, 2022 at 2:46 pm
  • Reply Neil Vercueil

    Your saw is beautiful – well done and the link to a working manual will be very helpful to me
    Thanks for sharing

    September 17, 2021 at 2:51 pm
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