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Franken Saw

by John W. Nixon on August 30 2006 03:00

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Project Picture
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Project Description

What do you get when you cross an old belt sander and a tablesaw - The 'FrankenSander'! I picked up this 50's belt sander from an older woman who had a basement full of tools from a husband who had passed. Around the same time, I garbage-picked a tablesaw from a guy a couple of houses down. Before putting it out for the trash, he cut the cord off the saw, left out a leg from the stand, and didn't include the arbor nut. So he obviously didn't want anyone to use it as a tablesaw after that. I can take a hint, so I decided to use it as a mount for my new horizontal belt sander. 

Now, onto the collision - one neat element to this is how I used the tablesaw motor and trunnion. Normally, the tablesaw motor moves up and down when you crank the handle on the front. I remounted the motor so that the crank now moves the motor away from the belt sander pulley to tension the belt. After figuring out how I was going to mount the motor, it was a matter of mounting the belt sander to the tablesaw carcass. A picture from the bottom shows how I mounted the belt sander to the tablesaw. It was my first time routing aluminum - it went better than I imagined - it's very soft.

The sander gets a lot of use in my shop. It has about 18 inches of flat surface and access to the rounding drums for sanding inside curves.


1/18/2011 9:02:08 PM
United States
Posted by:

I picked up the same sander from my Dad's aunt when her husband died. Had been left in the shed for years and was in pretty bad shape.  Luckily everything was still there (including the stand).  A little bit of work and a new starter cap in the motor and it was back in fine shape again.  It is a great sander.

Here is a before picture ->

And after picture ->
Reply to comment from Rob who wrote:
John,I picked up the same sander from my Dad's aunt when her husband died. Had been left in the shed...

8/4/2009 3:45:16 PM
United States
Posted by:
Reply to comment from Bob McLachlan who wrote:
Hi there< John< I am having a great time looking at your brilliant creations and I admire your ingen...

Thanks Bob. I appreciate you stopping by all the way from Australia!  There's a lot of satisfaction in setting up your shop, building jigs, and even tools.  I'm looking forward to moving my shop some day, just so I have another crack at making cabinets and organizational stuff.  Thanks again!
8/3/2009 10:19:59 PM
Bob McLachlan
Posted by:
Hi there< John< I am having a great time looking at your brilliant creations and I admire your ingenuity> I am getting a lot of good ideas from your projects> I have recently built a version of the John White New_Fangled Workbench and my version of the Lynn Sabin Box Joint Jig and they both work brilliantly> We can certainly learn from others (Even though I am seventy_three) and it seems to spur our own ingenuity on> Good luck to you>  Cheers  Bob>
1/16/2009 8:59:45 AM
United States
Posted by:
Reply to comment from Robert Schoenert who wrote:
I have that very sander.  After my tablesaw, it was my first purchase of woodworking tools back in 1...

Hi Robert,

The belt sander is a really well built unit and I expect it to give plenty more years of service.  I have found the sander to be extremely useful in the horizonal position.  I'm glad you enjoyed the project, and can attest to the quality and longevity of the sander.  Your stand and motor sound like an excellent solution.

The Franken Saw is a nod to Dr. Frankenstein and his monstrous creations.
1/16/2009 8:50:40 AM
United States
Robert Schoenert
Posted by:
I have that very sander.  After my tablesaw, it was my first purchase of woodworking tools back in 1980.  It cost $75 without a stand or motor and the guy told me it is a Sears 1949 model sander, for which you can still buy the belts right off the shelf in the store.  I purchased (from a wheel barrow full of left over parts in the tool department at Sears) 4 left-hand legs for $13...milled some 2" thick Mahogany from an old pallet my dad gave me, and replaced all the bushings.  The motor cost $100 at Granger.  The tool still works fine.  Your table saw body is probably the same "motorized" Sears version I purchased back in 1980 as well.  I out grew that saw and purchased 2 other saws as replacement and settled on my Powermatic 66 purchased in 2001.  WOW! What great memories and what a great web site.  Thanks for the inspiration.
Why do you call it the Franken Saw?
1/16/2009 8:33:20 AM
United States
Posted by:
Nice....... very nice......
1/4/2009 1:12:28 AM
United States
Posted by:
Reply to comment from Mark Greaf who wrote:
very ingenious.  I am starting to get into woodworking and I am finding out that I need to be a bit ...

Thanks Mark.  You can certainly save a lot of money in woodworking by making your own jigs and fixtures.  It's not too common you can make tools, but you can certainly make tools better by employing some creativity.  Setting up shop can be really fun, because you get to try out techniques and make stuff to help you get organized or more productive.  Thanks for commenting.
1/3/2009 7:40:20 PM
United States
Mark Greaf
Posted by:
very ingenious.  I am starting to get into woodworking and I am finding out that I need to be a bit more creative to be able to afford the tools I would like to have.  Keep up the great work.

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