Radial Arm Saw--wood part - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 18 Old 04-04-2020, 11:36 AM Thread Starter
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Radial Arm Saw--wood part

Hi all, I'm setting up my first workshop with Inherited tools. I have a Sears Radial Arm Saw and have to replace the wood table part. The precut, ready-made parts available are pretty costly, is there any reason it has to be made of particle board? Can I just take the measurements and use birch or other cabinet style 3/4" plywood that I already have?

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post #2 of 18 Old 04-04-2020, 12:09 PM
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As long as the material you have on hand is flat there should be no problems,
I have always used MDF as it is reasonably priced, flat and smooth.
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post #3 of 18 Old 04-04-2020, 06:42 PM
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I've watched a bunch of vids on this to redo mine. The best one I've seen is whatever wood you choose, it was cut 33"X48" and was trimmed around the post to cover up the holes that will be left if you only butt it up to the post. Just my $.02.
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post #4 of 18 Old 04-04-2020, 09:39 PM
where's my table saw?
 
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I used 3/4" plywood for mine

The original tables with the 3 pieces, were a PITA for me. I wanted one oversize surface that ran from front to back and extended 40" to the left and 30" to the right, so 6 ft in length. I didn't use all the height adjustment gizmos just laid the plywood right on the two long support angles after I leveled them. Flat is relative...... there's pretty flat, flat enough, really flat and absolutely flat. For me "flat enough" was good enough. I used 2" X 1/4" thick angle for support the plywood to the left and right.

I installed a long one piece long fence with screws into the top and using a framing square to the blade at 90 degrees, screwed it down in the center so I could make minor precision adjustments. Then I sawed through it after putting several more screws through it into the top, but avoiding the blade kerf!


I cut around the elevation post to allow it to fit more towards the rear. I sawed a 2 1/2" hole for the shop vac hose under the table. I use another smaller shop vac with a 1 1/4" hose for the blade cover dust port. I made a dust collection box behind the blade and over the 2 1/2' port. I get virtually no dust from this saw in the shop.

The two shop vacs are controlled by a foot switch. One step on turns them on, step on it again and that turns them off, really handy!

Here's some photos:
https://www.woodworkingtalk.com/memb...adial-arm-saw/


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Last edited by woodnthings; 04-04-2020 at 09:47 PM.
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post #5 of 18 Old 04-04-2020, 10:26 PM
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I did similar to Woodnthings. I have a 1943 Dewalt that is dedicated to 90 deg. cross cuts only. I had a Craftsman but the beam is notorious for getting knocked out of alignment and I got tired of re-setting it. I set mine up with 6' left of blade and 34' right of blade. I made a fence that i can adjust on the table. I made sure the blade is square to the table and square to the fence. I use mine only for making repetitive cross cuts, such as face frame parts. Best of luck, they are great tools. It was the first shop tool I ever had. I thought I could rip with it, make moldings, everything. With the direction the blade spins it only took one or two dangerous episodes before I decided it was designed for cross cuts, and I will stick to that,
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post #6 of 18 Old 04-04-2020, 10:47 PM
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A while back there was a recall for craftsman radial arm saws. My was 35 years old and I got a new top and a new guard over the blade plus some other goodies. I will look the info or maybe some here will get it quicker.

https://www.cpsc.gov/Recalls/2000/cp...-sears-roebuck

Type this in google and you will get lot of info........craftsman radial arm saw recall

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post #7 of 18 Old 04-05-2020, 12:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tewitt1949 View Post
A while back there was a recall for craftsman radial arm saws. My was 35 years old and I got a new top and a new guard over the blade plus some other goodies. I will look the info or maybe some here will get it quicker.

https://www.cpsc.gov/Recalls/2000/cp...-sears-roebuck

Type this in google and you will get lot of info........craftsman radial arm saw recall

I have an old craftsman radial arm saw so I followed your link. It looks like now you can get either $100 "for the return of the saw carriage of recalled radial arm saws. Consumers must contact Emerson to arrange for a return of their saw carriage at no charge to the consumer." or $50 "to owners of Craftsman® 8-inch, 8¼-inch, 9-inch, and 10-inch Radial Arm Saws, who follow a four-step process described on this website to properly disable their radial arm saw and document such steps."

No more free stuff I'm afraid.

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post #8 of 18 Old 04-05-2020, 12:54 PM
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Back when .....

Quote:
Originally Posted by JamesTinKS View Post
I have an old craftsman radial arm saw so I followed your link. It looks like now you can get either $100 "for the return of the saw carriage of recalled radial arm saws. Consumers must contact Emerson to arrange for a return of their saw carriage at no charge to the consumer." or $50 "to owners of Craftsman® 8-inch, 8¼-inch, 9-inch, and 10-inch Radial Arm Saws, who follow a four-step process described on this website to properly disable their radial arm saw and document such steps."

No more free stuff I'm afraid.

I have done about 3, maybe 4 RAS recalls. I did not return the carriage for the $100.00. I kept the saw in operating condition. However, at that time they would send you an entirely new table, 3 or 4 MDF pieces AND a new much improved blade cover/guard.








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 #9 of 18 Old 04-05-2020, 02:46 PM
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I used MDF because it's flat, I followed some youtube videos as well as buying the book by Wally Kunkel called How to Master the Radial Arm saw. He's also referred to as "Mr Sawdust" and the table he suggests is often referred to as the Mr Sawdust Table. It involves cutting some grooves in the two pieces of ply or MDF and epoxying some flat bar into the grooves so the table can't ever warp. It also gives you a set of three pieces that can be moved around for different jobs and tasks. It was a bit of work but in my opinion well worth it.

You didn't mention what RAS saw you had from Sears. Only the 8"-10" saws had recalls and as I understand it, it was based on the fact that they were originally sold without lower blade guards. Other than not having lower guards the saws are fine. They aren't offering the kits anymore, just $50 to basically scrap it.

I've got the Craftsman 12" saw and I love it. There are a bunch of accessories for the saw that allow you to mold, sand, plane, and joint so it can be a very versatile. The accessories are available at very reasonable prices on eBay from time to time. I can take cheap rough cut lumber from the mill, joint one edge straight, rip it down to size, plane it to the thickness I need, put a decorative mold on one edge and then sand it to a paint ready smoothness all with the one machine.

Google "Mr Sawdust Table" or just start with this one:


Also: Read up on "negative hook" saw blades. It's really, really important if you are going to rip that you have a negative hook saw blade. They greatly reduce the odds of a kickback and IMHO a lot of the horror stories you hear about RASs are from people who put table saw blades on a RAS and then tried to rip. Not correct, not OK and not surprising they had a kickback.

Table saw blades are designed to push the wood down into the table while cutting, that's great and safe on a table saw and it's even OK on a RAS that is cross cutting because it pushed the wood into the fence. When you're ripping that table saw blade will be trying to LIFT the wood which is where the danger comes in. A negative hook blade will direct the force horizontally back through the wood to the edge that is being pushed instead of up.
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post #10 of 18 Old 04-05-2020, 04:09 PM
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Many here will never rip on a RAS ....

Quote:
Originally Posted by JayArr View Post

I've got the Craftsman 12" saw and I love it. There are a bunch of accessories for the saw that allow you to mold, sand, plane, and joint so it can be a very versatile. The accessories are available at very reasonable prices on eBay from time to time. I can take cheap rough cut lumber from the mill, joint one edge straight, rip it down to size, plane it to the thickness I need, put a decorative mold on one edge and then sand it to a paint ready smoothness all with the one machine.

Also: Read up on "negative hook" saw blades. It's really, really important if you are going to rip that you have a negative hook saw blade. They greatly reduce the odds of a kickback and IMHO a lot of the horror stories you hear about RASs are from people who put table saw blades on a RAS and then tried to rip. Not correct, not OK and not surprising they had a kickback.

Table saw blades are designed to push the wood down into the table while cutting, that's great and safe on a table saw and it's even OK on a RAS that is cross cutting because it pushed the wood into the fence. When you're ripping that table saw blade will be trying to LIFT the wood which is where the danger comes in. A negative hook blade will direct the force horizontally back through the wood to the edge that is being pushed instead of up.

That may all be true, but the biggest mistake folks make is not adjusting the blade guard down to just skim the top of the workpiece ...... holding it down.

As you said, in the early days of the RAS, folks used their table saw blades on the RAS because there were no zero or negative hook blades. That's where ripping became "terrifying" because of the lifting up of the workpiece.

In this thread from 2011, I am straight line ripping about 300 ft of 1" Cypress boards with a 24 ft long fence using a 10" Craftsman RAS. I used a roller hold down locaated immediately in front of the guard, which never was "actuated", but served as an emergency hold down.




https://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f2/evil-machine-28461/


This thread generated a whole lot of "opinions" from folks who had made up their minds without actually ripping in a safe manner using the blade guard in the proper position. The roller hold down got a lot of "attaboys" but wasn't really needed. I used the 40 tooth Diablo 15 degree hook blade off my table saw and it worked just fine, except the saw was underpowered and had to be fed very slowly. Also the extension cord was not a large enough gauge and when I switched to a 12 GA cord, that improved the power.

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; 04-05-2020 at 05:06 PM.
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post #11 of 18 Old 04-05-2020, 04:28 PM
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There have also been a lot of advancements and improvements in safety gear in the last 50 years. When my saw was built there were no plastic feather-boards or aluminum T-Tracks and certainly no Board Buddies with neoprene wheels and one way clutches. If you take the time to retrofit an old RAS it can be infinitely safer than the day it was made.

Here's a picture of me ripping 1X2 poplar on an angle to produce two basic wedge pieces for door trim (edges later rounded with the molding head and sanded with a drum sander attachment). I'm ripping on the long edge using feather-boards mounted onto my table in T-Tracks, plus a board buddy to hold it down and against the fence. The guard is about 1/4" above the board on the inbound side and although you can't see it the spreader and pawls are properly adjusted o

I don't think there is anything unsafe here, I wasn't afraid at all.
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post #12 of 18 Old 04-06-2020, 01:15 AM
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Making a new table top for the RAS is a bit more complex than meets the eye. And particle board is flat and cheap. If you want something more durable put some HPL on the top and bottom.

The complexity comes from the elevation crank underneath. (If like mine a early 1970's model.) You really want a thicker than ¾. I used Titebond to glue two pieces of particle board together and made the clearance for the elevation crank.

I sold mine back to Emerson for $100. Considering I paid either $179 or $279 for it new and used it for 20 or 25 years it was a bargain.

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post #13 of 18 Old 04-06-2020, 09:44 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you all SO MUCH!!! Having this forum is the next best thing to having my dad around--I miss him so much! We used to spend a lot of time in the workshop together and I've especially missed him trying to put this shop together with what's left of his tools (long story)


I'm especially grateful for the RAS info. We only ever used it for 90deg crosscutting as well, but if it's not fixable I may not use it because of the size (I have a really small shop) I have a good old Sears 100 table saw, a compound miter saw and soon a band saw, circular saw, saber saw, reciprocating saw, drill press, router, sanders, and good hand tools, too, which is probably all I really need for what I'll be doing.


I'll look into the recall info and try to make a decision.

Thanks again.
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post #14 of 18 Old 04-06-2020, 10:37 AM
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Radial arms saws are handy .....

Quote:
Originally Posted by cynrich View Post
Thank you all SO MUCH!!! Having this forum is the next best thing to having my dad around--I miss him so much! We used to spend a lot of time in the workshop together and I've especially missed him trying to put this shop together with what's left of his tools (long story)


I'm especially grateful for the RAS info. We only ever used it for 90deg crosscutting as well, but if it's not fixable I may not use it because of the size (I have a really small shop) I have a good old Sears 100 table saw, a compound miter saw and soon a band saw, circular saw, saber saw, reciprocating saw, drill press, router, sanders, and good hand tools, too, which is probably all I really need for what I'll be doing.


I'll look into the recall info and try to make a decision.

Thanks again.

The safest way to use one is for crosscutting only. Period.
If your saw doesn't have a blade cover, then you should not use it. Period.
If it does have one that actually slides and glides over a 3/4" thick workpiece, then it's safe to use.

Always, I mean always pull the saw from behind the fence into the work for crosscutting. Period.
Never push the saw from it's fully extended position on the arm into or across the workpiece. Period.


If you decide to keep it, post a photo or two and we will give you much better advice on what it may need.

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 #15 of 18 Old 04-08-2020, 09:33 AM Thread Starter
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post #16 of 18 Old 04-08-2020, 03:17 PM
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Just a note about radial arm saw tables and making your own;

Radial arm saws originally shipped with a spacer that could be placed either in front or behind the fence.

The reason for this was if the spacer was in front of the fence the length of cut would be longer, however with thicker material the curvature of the blade would make contact with the material when against the fence, to prevent this the fence could be moved forward to prevent this by placing the spacer behind the fence.

If for some unknown reason you wish to eliminate the spacer situate the fence that 1 1/2" forward and sacrifice the extra cutting length.
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post #17 of 18 Old 04-08-2020, 09:41 PM
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Using my RAS for 40 years I replaced the table tops and fences many times, usually with plywood or MDF, they got messed up with multiple rip and angle cuts. Now that it is dedicated to only crosscuts I no longer have do so and don't have to readjust the saw and I have an exact cut line on the fence. I still do some miter cuts on the RAS, but I use a jig clamped to the fence so to me it still a crosscut. Also get a negative kerf blade, it really makes a difference
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post #18 of 18 Old 04-10-2020, 06:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cynrich View Post
Hi all, I'm setting up my first workshop with Inherited tools. I have a Sears Radial Arm Saw and have to replace the wood table part. The precut, ready-made parts available are pretty costly, is there any reason it has to be made of particle board? Can I just take the measurements and use birch or other cabinet style 3/4" plywood that I already have?
I have been using a Craftsman Radial Arm Saw since the late 1970s. I still have all of my "original equipment" body parts. Yet I use my saw for many things because it is my only stationary power saw. Many will say it's the most dangerous tool ever made. I say BS on that. I have seen (and heard of) more people injured on table saws; I have never seen a credible report of someone injured while USING THE RAS CORRECTLY.

As for the table, look up the "Mr. Sawdust" table. It is basically a plywood table, two layers with iron bars between the layers.

I am away from my workshop right now, but when I get back there (tomorrow) I can send a list of links, articles, books and other resources.
Meanwhile I have include a picture of m RAS (and other tool) reference books.

"Knowledge trumps uninformed opinion"
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