Is a tablesaw tune-up kit worth it?
In a woodworking catalog, I've seen tablesaw tune-up kits with a link belt and new pulleys. Do these items and changes make a difference? Are they worth the money and effort?
—Frank Siudowski, Wilmington, Delaware
We wondered the same thing, Frank, so we got a kit and installed it on a Delta contractor-style tablesaw. The rationale behind the product makes sense: Machined pulleys are better balanced, so they run more smoothly than stamped ones. A link belt eliminates the problem of belt set—that's what happens when an ordinary belt sits for an extended period and forms humps matching the shape of the pulleys. When you turn on the saw, the humps in the running belt bounce over the pulleys and create vibration.
To see whether the products work, we removed the old stamped pulleys on the saw arbor and motor and replaced them with the machined and balanced pulleys. We used a straightedge to make certain the edges of the pulleys aligned with each other before tightening them. It was easy to add or remove links from the drive belt so it matched the length of the old Vbelt. After replacing the belt guard, we switched on the saw and managed to balance a 1.35mm-thick dime on edge on the table while spinning a 3⁄4 " stacked dado blade. Even months after the upgrade, the saw still purrs along. For our money (about $80 postage paid from In-Line Industries, 800/533 6709), these upgrades proved worthwhile.