Radial Arm Saw Aligning - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 25 Old 04-25-2009, 03:22 AM Thread Starter
 
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Radial Arm Saw Aligning

Im a newbee I've got a Craftsman Radial arm saw 10" Old saw but its all I have so It does not have a table or fence, First I have to build it and get the fence square some how it does have 2 holes that I guess is square to the saw I hope, then I need to know how to set it true to square the 0 gauge just slides around so dont know how to find 0 where I can lock it down and not move it can you guys help please my table saw has a awful fence on it so its going to be fun to get a true cut thats why I have to build a sled but thats another Thread
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post #2 of 25 Old 04-25-2009, 04:43 AM
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Welcome to the forum!

If you're not making dust, you're gathering it! The table and fence on a radial saw are pretty simple to make. A 20" wide by 36" or so, piece of plywood or particle board MDF, is the main surface. Immediately behind that is a 1 by 2 standing vertically for a fence followed by another piece of MDF or plywood about 7" or so. Glue or screw the fence to the edge of the large ply/MDF making certain there are no screws near the blade path. The back piece is left loose for now. Set the radial arm at center lock position. Using a framing square against the blade and the fence simultaneously, locate the main piece with the fence attached, "square" with the blade and secure it from the bottom thru the side rails. They have slots so minor adjustments can be made. Next secure the back piece with clamps or screws from the bottom. This is the area where the saw resides when not in use, so when "parked" the blade must be fully behind the fence. So, when locating the main section make certain this is the case, by moving ithe main section, towards you until the blade is clear in front of the fence. Follow?
Once the blade travels square with the back fence, turn it on, lower the blade and make a light cut into the top and fence of your new table! The rule for cross cutting is to place the work against the back fence, and gently but firmly PULL the saw across the work at the desire cut. The previous cut you made is now the index for making all cross cuts since you know where the side of the blade is. Follow?
The photos show a maximun height of cut at about 1 1/2", for a greater height the main fence must be moved toward the fron of the saw to gain clearance to slide the work past the blade. Follow?
Pictures to follow! Regards, bill
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The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 04-25-2009 at 04:50 AM.
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post #3 of 25 Old 04-25-2009, 09:34 PM
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Ratt,

A lot of the older Craftsman RAS's were involved in a recall. If yours is one, you may be able to get a new guard assembly and a new table top. Check http://www.radialarmsawrecall.com/ . The new guard is nice (I recently installed mine after it sat around for about 10 years) and it puts the dust outlet in the rear instead of the front. I'm not quite sure why they also included a new table but they did.

Bill
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post #4 of 25 Old 04-26-2009, 02:29 AM Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the info guys woodnthings That helps alot now I might get some use out of it, And as for dodgeboy77 you are awsome I get it Up grade on top of getting it started thanks to both of you very much.
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post #5 of 25 Old 04-26-2009, 06:58 AM
where's my table saw?
 
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You are welcome RATT.

If you search for "Craftsman Radial arm saw" here on this site, there is a ton of info on the subject as dodgeboy 77, myself, the reckless one and others have posted. here's a photo of Reckless' new recall guard. I wasn't so lucky as my saw was too old and I had to make my own out of Lexan. Regards, bill


The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 04-26-2009 at 07:01 AM.
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post #6 of 25 Old 04-26-2009, 08:12 AM
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Maybe it's just me, but it's my contention that the RAS requires more setup and adjustments than any other shop machine. Besides the initial table setup, there are rotating, pivoting, up and down, locking and rolling things to tend to, especially with a used saw.

I've gone through many saws and I find their alignment is a step by step in an order. One small discrepancy can throw off several other functions. Initially, there are several setups that are used by both the amateur and professional. The setup can be as a stand alone saw with it's own table. Or, it could be a saw that fits into a space with tables on both sides. Or, it could be a saw with a continuous table from some distance to the left to some distance to the right of the saw.

Keep in mind that there may come a day that the table in front of the blade may need replacing. The base framework of the saw will usually have an "L" bracket built into it to fasten the table. Some will have fixed nuts, some will just have slots. As for depth of the table, the depth doesn't have to be much more forward than the front of the arm. Having an extra deep table can be uncomfortable when working over a long period of time. As for height, I prefer a fairly tall table (at least 42" or more). It makes for a more stand up position.

The table/fence/back section sizes are a critical setup. The fence sits in between the front and back piece and its placement will determine how far the blade will be forward in the "rest" position. This is important because cutting 3/4" material puts the top of the material lower to the blade than say 10/4 (2 1/2") material. For the ability to cut thicker stock, the fence has to be more forward for the blade to clear in the "rest" position to slide the stock to the fence.

The fence height isn't that critical but should be tall enough to make or buy a sliding stop. I've always left the fence loose in its placement and held tight by the back piece. That way it can be removed easily and replaced when damaged and it will eventually get damaged.

Knowing where to place the fence is pretty easy. While doing these setups the saw should be UNPLUGGED until it's time to make the first cut. Without mounting any table parts, take the board you will be using and slide it to the left side of the blade while it's sitting on the frame below. Lower the blade so it is just deep enough to penetrate the board 1/8" to 1/4". In that position, place your tallest material you think you will be cutting, and place it in front of the blade, so there is clearance. Then place the fence material to it. Then measure from the back edge of the fence to the front of the support arm for a distance. This will give you the size of the deepest
back piece you will need. If you only allow for cutting stock that is 1" tall, spacers can be placed between the stock and the fence for blade clearance in the "rest" position to clear thicker stock.

In fixing the pieces to the saw frame, some saws have a fixed nut under the support bracket, others have just holes or a slot. Place the three pieces on the frame with the saw raised to just clear the table ahead of the fence. Mark 4 or more mounting holes.

Remove the table from the frame. Using a spade bit, bore the mounting holes deep enough for the head of the bolt to clear (that could be 1/2"). In the pilot hole drill a 5/16" through hole. A 1/4" bolt will fit through, to be bolted to the frame. Replace the table to the frame and bolt on.

Loosen the table bolts just enough to be able to nudge it. With the table set, slide the fence to the left of the blade, and set the back piece tight to the fence with the set screws in the rear. With a try square or a machinists square set the bevel of the blade to 90 degrees. With a true framing square held against the fence, set the height of the blade so a single tooth (mark it with a red marker) skims the top corner edge of the square. While pulling the saw forward you can adjust the swing of the arm to track the square. With shimming the underside of the table, you can adjust the table so the blade tracks parallel to the table, front to back. Then rotate the blade 180 degrees and do the same with a single tooth (you could mark this one black), and see if your tracking is the same.

Then, once all that is done, tighten the table bolts, and move the fence over to where it goes, and tighten down. Double check those three adjustments. Then pull out the saw to the front, plug it in, turn it on, and lower the blade to penetrate the table and slowly push to the rear to cut through the fence. It would be beneficial to place the square to the fence and check the cut line in the table as a final look. This is the way I set up for a 90 degree cut, and making sure the arm is parallel to the table.

Just a few ideas after setup, to draw lines parallel to the cut in the table and up the face of the fence to show a "no fingers" spaceway. Or, a quick spray pattern in red paint at least 1" on either side of the cutline. It may sound like overkill, but it's your fingers. When cutting stock check the table to fence corner for dust and cuttings that may keep stock from seating tightly to the fence.



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post #7 of 25 Old 04-26-2009, 10:18 AM
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Cabinetman, great reply, as usual!

I agree to all the above, forgot to cover it!
Speaking of "covering" my focus was just on getting the fence and table square with the blade, and I did show the 2 different blade guard/covers but I didn't make a big enough issue about them.
If I were you as cabinetman stated you must have a "NO HANDS ZONE",and by making a blade guard/cover or getting the recall blade cover you will decrease your chances of an accident immensely. Hope your saw fits in the recall time frame.
As to the fence, in my case I screwed it on to the back edge of the table, not sure why?. but it could just as easily been screwed on from the top side. Again watch where you put the screws, out of the blade path! Regards, bill

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 04-26-2009 at 10:30 AM.
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post #8 of 25 Old 04-26-2009, 11:19 AM
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Ratt,

You'll have to let us know if the recall parts work out of you. You're getting tons of great advice here from guys a lot more knowledgeable than me! I'll throw in a couple more ideas:

The lithium grease that Sears puts on these saws hardens with age and becomes a varnish, especially in the locking pins. I mentioned this in another post. Clean it out and re-lube. I re-did mine with more lithium grease but in retrospect I should have used something else, like a low-viscosity automobile bearing grease. Even the saw/motor became really hard to slide on mine. I admit that instead of disassembling the track I solved the problem the easy way with WD-40.

I put a big dust chute on the far left of the table like this one: http://www.amazon.com/PSI-Woodworkin...0758229&sr=8-1
I didn't hook a separate hose to the dust outlet on the new guard and since it's rear facing, all the chips go down the big chute when I crosscut or angle cut on the right.

Lastly, a blade with a negative tooth angle prevents the saw from wanting to walk at you. These blades work well for RAS's and sliding miter saws. I use this Freud LU91R with a -5 degree hook angle and it's really smooth: http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?p...freud%20blades

Bill
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post #9 of 25 Old 05-03-2009, 02:01 PM
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Ratt,
what a thread,this is why I like picking the brains of others.I've learned a lot here.I especially like the red danger zone stripe,not so much for me ,but others that use my saw.
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post #10 of 25 Old 05-05-2009, 01:01 AM Thread Starter
 
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Found somthing new

I'm so dumb I keep hearing some say ripping and could not get what there saying then I start looking and find that after all this time I never knew that the saw will turn sideways and rip learn something new everyday thats why I need some paperwork on this saw.
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post #11 of 25 Old 05-05-2009, 12:12 PM
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One other thing I didn't see mentioned here... The bearings and races that the saw slides on. The races are cut into the cast iron sides of the radial arm, and they rust if the saw sits for any amount of time, then the rust wears away when the saw is used. This is ok, since the bearings allow adjustment, but they do require adjustment every now and then. It's worst for a saw that's in an unheated barn/garage and is used for a day once a month. If you try to wiggle the head back and forth with the slide lock unlocked and can feel some movement then you need adjustment. This will show up in use as blade wiggle.

I got rid of mine years ago, so I'm going from memory. There should be four bearings, two on the left of the head and two on the right. I believe they're under covers, but they're easy to get to. The two on one side are unadjustable, the two on the other side have eccentric mounts. You loosen a locknut, turn the bearing eccentric mounting bolt to decrease the clearance to the race, then tighten the locknut. Make sure the saw travels freely from end to end. Drip some oil into the bearings, I don't remember how easy it is to repack them but you can probably do that if you're ambitious. It's not unusual for the grease in the bearings to have gone crunchy over time.

Oh yeah - clean the rust off the bearing ways with a scotchbrite before you do the adjustment, and lubricate with WD40 or similar. I can see that yours have some light rust.

I have salvaged and rehabbed probably a dozen of these things over the years, some that were pretty beat and rusty. Every single one was a good tool after disassembly, cleaning, lube, replacement of minor parts (bearings, motor brushes, etc), and adjustment.
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post #12 of 25 Old 08-22-2018, 02:45 PM
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I know this is an old post, but I just recently got a Craftsman RAS from my father in law. It is a 69 model and runs great, only issue is there is no guard on the blade. I love the guard shown above by Woodthings. You wouldn't happen to have any specifications etc... for the guard you made? Thanks in advance.
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post #13 of 25 Old 08-22-2018, 03:44 PM
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I may have the patterns ....?

Quote:
Originally Posted by kindervb View Post
I know this is an old post, but I just recently got a Craftsman RAS from my father in law. It is a 69 model and runs great, only issue is there is no guard on the blade. I love the guard shown above by Woodthings. You wouldn't happen to have any specifications etc... for the guard you made? Thanks in advance.
Give me some time to look and see if I have the patterns. If so, I can trace them and mail you the tracings. You can PM me your mailing address if I find them. Do not post it here.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #14 of 25 Old 08-22-2018, 04:22 PM
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if you can find the exact model number


https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_fro...m+saw&_sacat=0


has a zillion of them.
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post #15 of 25 Old 08-22-2018, 04:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dodgeboy77 View Post
Ratt,

A lot of the older Craftsman RAS's were involved in a recall. If yours is one, you may be able to get a new guard assembly and a new table top. Check http://www.radialarmsawrecall.com/ . The new guard is nice (I recently installed mine after it sat around for about 10 years) and it puts the dust outlet in the rear instead of the front. I'm not quite sure why they also included a new table but they did.

Bill
I did the same. The old guard would not allow a dado head. I think that was the main reason for the replacement of the guard. I also am scratching my head over the table. I have no idea why they included that. I've yet to take it out of the box. It has been there for over 10 years.

In my opinion a radial arm saw needs to be afforded more respect than any other tool in the shop. I think it is more dangerous than a table saw.

Of importance is that the bearings be fairly tight or the blade will climb up on the work piece and rush at your chest.

I would suggest that the new owner read all that is available on the saw. I've never tried it for ripping (I also have a table saw), but I don't see how you can easily add a splitter to a RAS, so kickback seems like a real possibility.

I use the RAS for cross cuts and cross cut dadoes. For those operations it is a dream.
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post #16 of 25 Old 08-22-2018, 07:09 PM
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If you are not familiar with a radial arm and have a table saw then use the table saw for ripping. I have ripped thousands of feet on one and had a few kick backs, they can be scary and dangerous.

I ended up leaving mine set up for accurate 90 degree cross cuts and made a jig to cut miters so as not to disturb the setting.

http://sawdustmaking.com/Radial%20Ar..._arm_saws.html

Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something -Plato

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post #17 of 25 Old 08-22-2018, 08:00 PM
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My first stationary tool was a Sears RAS in Ď73. I still have it, itís been a useful tool and itís never been in the shop. Prior to buying additional tools I used it for everything over the years. Including installing a chuck and using it similar to a very slow router to make molding.
For the past 10 years Iíve kept my RAS locked down at 90 degrees for quick accurate cross cuts only. I use other saws and machines for everything else.
My advice to anyone buying their first stationary tool today is to start with a table saw.

If you don't have time to do it right the first time, when will you have time to do it over?
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post #18 of 25 Old 08-22-2018, 08:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodnthings View Post
I agree to all the above, forgot to cover it!
Speaking of "covering" my focus was just on getting the fence and table square with the blade, and I did show the 2 different blade guard/covers but I didn't make a big enough issue about them.
If I were you as cabinetman stated you must have a "NO HANDS ZONE",and by making a blade guard/cover or getting the recall blade cover you will decrease your chances of an accident immensely. Hope your saw fits in the recall time frame.
As to the fence, in my case I screwed it on to the back edge of the table, not sure why?. but it could just as easily been screwed on from the top side. Again watch where you put the screws, out of the blade path! Regards, bill

Bill, I might be wrong but I thought you clamped the fence between the big table and the narrow table at the back of the saw. There were two built-in clamps to do this. Of course, mine might have been a different model.
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Don in Murfreesboro, TN.
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post #19 of 25 Old 08-22-2018, 10:17 PM
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I hated that system

Quote:
Originally Posted by hawkeye10 View Post
Bill, I might be wrong but I thought you clamped the fence between the big table and the narrow table at the back of the saw. There were two built-in clamps to do this. Of course, mine might have been a different model.
I ditched the 3 piece fence/table system for a large one piece plywood table hanging 30" or so to the left and a screwed on one piece fence which I square to the blade. Then I lowered the blade and sawed right through the fence and made a kerf in the table which gave me a reference cut line. I didn't trust those goofy clamps and found no need to swap out different pieces. This may be because I only crosscut on my setup, never rip. I only rip on the table saw, using the "rip[" fence.
So, two completely different saws mechanically, and two different cutting operations, each done best by a different saw.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #20 of 25 Old 08-23-2018, 07:06 AM
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Thanks

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Give me some time to look and see if I have the patterns. If so, I can trace them and mail you the tracings. You can PM me your mailing address if I find them. Do not post it here.
Thanks for checking.
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