$40 Switch For A $35 Saw

junquecol

Bruce
User
Somewhere in the late 90's, or early 2000's, I bought a used DeWalt 364 circular saw from pawn shop for $35. Fast forward to today, and it needs a new switch. Switch cost about $40, plus sales tax, which means switch costs more than I paid for the saw. In the 70's we used B&D's Super Saw Cats, which morphed into the DeWalt 364. They used this same switch, which at that time cost around twelve bucks. Inflation at work! I would mothball this saw, except I have several different lengths of straight edge guides that are made specifically for this saw. Cost of building new guides would be more than a new switch. Even though I'm nearing the end of life, I try to keep all my tools in working order. After I'm gone, kids will probably sell this saw at yard sale for ten bucks +/-.
 

mkepke

Mark
Senior User
Love the old Sawcats. We used them in novice carpentry school back in the 90s - they were old then.

-Mark
 

1075tech

Tim
User
Can you take the switch out and take it apart?

I have a ~25 y/o Craftsman table saw that stopped working. Checked it out. No continuity through the switch.

I was looking it over trying to find numbers on it to see if I could find a compatible replacement when I noticed that it came apart.

Took it apart and it had just enough fine sawdust in it that the contactor wouldn't make.

Cleaned it out, tested it, re-installed, back in business.
 

junquecol

Bruce
User
Took it apart, and switch still contained grease, and no saw dust. The grease is because it's a snap action switch. This saw has an electric brake, which puts a tremedious load on the contacts when energized. One of the contacts was completely worn thru. Other than price of switch, can't complain. When I bought this saw, new they were retailing for around $140. Made me hundreds of thousands during my working years building cabinets, houses, etc. Still have two Saw Cats, along with two Skill 77's.
 

bob vaughan

Bob Vaughan
Senior User
Is there a photo of the switch? Often someone will have old switches in a box with no idea what tools they fit.
 

Wiley's Woodworks

Wiley
Corporate Member
Hey Bruce--From my old days in the automotive industry there is a rule of thumb that still holds true, and it applies to multiple industries: it costs 4 1/2 times as much to repair as to buy new.

The average cost of a new car today is $40,000. If you walked in the front door of a dealership and said, "I want that car on the showroom floor", you would pay $40,000 (let's not get into the extra-charge games dealerships play). If you walked in the back door to the parts and service department and said, "I want you to build me that car on the showroom floor", it would cost you $180,000, flat rated.

It is amazing in how many industries this 4.5x multiple holds true. Some of this is sneaky, underhanded, dishonest, crooked...whew, I got carried away...manufacturers' planned obsolescence; some of it is actually reflects the true cost of getting a product to the consumer because it passes through so many hands and has to be delivered, handled, stored, shipped, stocked, reshipped, commissions or profits paid, etc. all along the way. Your $35 switch X 4.5 = $157.50; not far off the cost of a new but probably not as well made saw. Buy a new motor and you'll probably be over the 4.5X formula. Such is life now. We have to pick and choose our battles.
 

Nereston

Nereston
User
I restore elderly US woodworking machinery & vises as post-retirement amusement. I have found a repaired classic will easily out-perform a new import, and the cost of repair/refurb usually to be worthwhile. I have bought rusted hulks for pennies and found the cost of a replacement guard to be far more than the machine it fits, but it makes the difference from a reusable machine and one that isn't. If any replacement parts are available, be glad. Buying donor machines can get troublesome.
 

junquecol

Bruce
User
Used to be a saying about earth moving equipment, "You buy a Cat at the dealership, and you buy an International at the parts counter
 
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junquecol

Bruce
User
Is there a photo of the switch? Often someone will have old switches in a box with no idea what tools they fit.
Anybody who has an old switch, has just that, an OLD SWITCH. Because these switches run the braking circuit, they have a semi limited lifetime. In the 70's, the company I worked for kept at least one extra switch on each truck, as they often failed. Quicker to do a field repair than to drop off at service center, which could be a hundred miles from job sites.
 

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