Hobbyist or Professional: Hobbyist
Project Name: Powermatic 66 Rebuild
I picked up this old timer from an old timer who was no longer able to make sawdust.The man was selling his whole shop, and under a pile of boxes was the green beast. I could see the base and the label. Powermatic Model 66. The serial number date code shows it?s a 1967 make. While I don?t know the exact history of this particular saw, it?s likely it once resided in a high school wood shop class. Given the shape of the cast iron top, I?d bet on it.
This was my first attempt at a rebuild. I?ve done a few hand planes and small things, but never anything of this capacity. The adventure started like you would think. I stripped it down. Ziploc bags and a Sharpie helped keep all the nuts and bolts organized. This was vital on the reassemble. I had it in my head it should only take a few weeks to complete; it took two months! However, the majority of the time was waiting for paint to dry.
Once everything was in pieces, I sanded and painted the cabinet with rattle can, which did not work well. It?s impossible to keep a ?wet? edge with spray paint on such a large area. I did not find out how bad it was until I went to put the saw back together. Every time I would bump the cabinet, the paint would chip off. So I had to back up and punt. I tried to sand it back down to no avail. I ended up taking it to get sand blasted to raw metal. The best 60 bucks I could have spent. Once I had the saw properly prepped, I had to get the proper paint. I ended up using Sherwin Williams DTM oil base. It is a very good paint, but it takes a good two weeks to cure. The guts of the saw were painted with Rustoleum Hammered in the quart can. I used a dabbing technique with a brush to get the coverage needed. The 3hp Leeson motor got a quick coat of black spray paint just to help it match the rest of the saw.
Every piece of machined metal and the nuts and bolts where polished with a 3 step buffing compound. As an added step of rust protection, I applied a light coat of shellac to help seal the metal from moisture. I don?t know if this step really did anything, but it made me feel better! The top was sanded from 60 ? 2000 grit. There are several hammer dents in the top, and a bad dip next to the throat plate (about 25thous). I thought about having the top re-ground, but decided to roll with it and see how it performs.
I?ve now got the saw in use. With a new Forrest blade, it cuts like a dream. The dip near the throat plate does not affect the cut whatsoever. I do have a few tips for anyone thinking about attempting such a rebuild.
If you have to have it perfect (like me), sand blast everything with paint on it. The finished product is so much better when you start from scratch.
2. Be ready to spend some money.
I?ve got around 500.00 wrapped up in the saw rebuild (not counting the saw). Don?t go into it thinking you can do something like this for next to nothing. Bearings, belts, paint, sandpaper, nuts, bolts, etc? it all adds up.
3. Take your time and make it perfect.
Your work will be much better for it.
It was a very fun project. I am a ?tool guy? as much as a woodworker. Some would say I?m more the tool guy. I now have a mid 60?s Powermatic 141 14? bandsaw waiting to be put back into action.