AMERICAN (HOUSTON) SAW AND DADO MACHINE

This is the Houston version of the Combination Saw and Dado Machines supplied by the American W W Machine Co after 1897. This machine is actually a tilting arbor saw. I suspect it is among the early tilting arbor saws. The arbor tilts left. Tilting tables were far more common. This is one of the most accurate saws in the shop in spite of it’s age and regular use.

The handwheel at the left tilts the arbor. The lower wheel elevates the arbor yoke assembly. The journals are quite far apart. The spindle yoke is adjustable in all directions.

This is the rolling table. It has a protractor gauge which could also be a rip fence in a pinch as this table does lock down. The main fences swivel in the curved slot which guides a pin in the fence. I only use one of these and I keep it locked down at 90 degrees. I use the protractor for my miter work. The fixed table has a conventional miter gauge which I rarely find necessary unless I have a set up on the rolling table. The knob in the foreground adjusts the table to dado width. The saw has a 2″ long arbor capacity for dado saws or heads. A 12″ blade will fit below the table. I use the 14″ blades mostly.

I would like to find a Houston catalog one day. I would like to get a better look at the original idler. Mine has been modified.

The correct belt length is important here to have the full range of tilt and elevation. The drive pulley is wide to allow transverse motion of the belt while tilting the arbor. One of these years I would like to have a continuous belt on this machine.

In the picture above the table is set up for cutting to length and mitering. Both functions can be on deck at the same time which I find useful selecting and mitering stops, panel mould, etc.. So long chop saw noise.

Set up for quick complementary angles.

Here we are cutting segments with the protractor/rip gauge.

Inside segment. The little knob beside the clamp screw is to lock the rolling table down when ripping.

Above we are set for bevel and cutting to length at the the same time. The fence rail has two pins in it. One pin travels the straight slot while the other travels the arc. The arc pin has a thumb nut beneath the table to secure it. The other fence has the same two pins but I have it permanently secured for right angles.

The square hole is how we get the thumb screw under the table so we can lock the arc movement at the desired angle.

 

A more serious woodworker than I would likely be able to devise all kinds of interesting fixtures and compound manipulations for this awesome instrument.

Finally a picture of the dado. The knob on the end of the rolling table draws the top away from the width of saws and chippers required.

A nice trench for some old school cupboards.

There is not much this saw can’t do. In sympathetic hands. Old machines are best in the command of those few who appreciate them.

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