The “Heavy Duty ‘Driver’ Bench Saw” from a 1931 Sears/Craftsman catalog, only four years after Sears registered the brand, boasted that it came “complete with motor” and Timken tapered roller bearings. It cost $9.50 at the time (an average month’s rent on a house was $18), and was considered innovative for its speed and durability. What I find interesting is how little the basic technology of the table saw has changed in 80 years — or how advanced it was for its time.
The modern Craftsman 10″ runs on exactly the same 1.5 hp, and at 3450 rpm is in many ways the same tool as the Depression-era saw. Though I have to admit that I see some pretty big changes in the 40-or-so years between the first saw and the second — besides the fact that the price seems to have dropped significantly, at least in relative terms. (Considering that one can rent a house now for $750 to, say, $1,500, you can now own a Craftsman 10″ saw for somewhere between half and the same price.)
But what do you think? Could you work with the earliest saw? How ’bout the one from the ’70s? If we could magically give you any one of these three — and don’t think too hard since we can’t — which one would you choose and why?
Personally? I’d go for the ’70s model. It looks durable and solid. But don’t let me influence you. Let me know what you think in comments.