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Discussion Starter #1
Looking to buy a radial arm saw soon...is an old craftsman a good buy knowing that it is older is this still a good buy?
 

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Depends on the age, condition etc. Many of us use older craftsman radial arm saws and are very happy with them. Mine is from 1969 and holds it's alignment pretty well, but with all of them they need to be aligned more often than most other tools such as a table saw. Do not plan to use it for ripping though. It's just too dangerous unless extra precautions are taken by an experienced user, and even then many people feel it should just be avoided. I use mine for cross cuts and occasional miters.
 

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A lot of folks find they have no trouble with the older C'Man saws. That wasn't the case for me. Mine wouldn't hold zero regardless of how many hours I spent trying to adjust it to perfection. Move it once, and you had to realign to get back to 90º, even then it would only stay at 90º for one cut (if you were lucky). The older Dewalts, on the other hand, had a much simpler setup. The stops are positively machined into the column, and once tuned hold their settings. They also have induction motors, instead of those screaming universal motors the C'man has. Here's my point: some of the old Craftsman saws are quite useable, some aren't. Why take a chance? There are just as many Dewalts (and a few Delta Turret arms) available, and they are juts easier to live with. None of this "set at 90 and leave it" stuff. Just my opinion.
 

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I also had an older Craftsman and honestly it scarred me to use it. It also wasn’t very accurate. I finally just threw it away. I didn’t feel comfortable selling it or even giving it to someone. If I recall there was some safety recall on most of them but I'm not sure.

I don’t really have the need or room for a radial arm saw. My miter saw and table saw pretty much handles all my stuff. If I had the need I'd most likely go with a used or reconditioned Dewalt. In my opinion they're much better built.
 

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this c-man dates from the 60s and,with it's CI column, is usually considered one of the better c-man RASs. my understanding is that somewhere in the 70s ,they went from CI column and parts to lighter weight materials and aluminum clamp together column supports. adn that's where the quality began to be compromised.

i have one of these from the 60s and wish i had the room for two more so i could set up dedicated 45* miter stations, one left, the other, right in addition to my 90* CC unit.
 

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At the risk of getting flamed, I had a RAS once and ended up selling it because I didn't use it enough to warrant the space it took up in my shop. I found I could do everything I needed to do on my table or miter saw. Just my opinion though.
 

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I was thinking that it would replace my table and miter saw since I do all my rip cutting with a circular saw...this would save space as I could shelf my miter saw and my table saw and keep them only for travel. Thats because my table saw is only a 12" one and cant rip full sheets of ply anyways.
 

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I've always heard good things about old dewalt RAS's, and it seems the old Craftsman RAS's are good. Can anyone provide a list of possible models and years of good RAS's for us that are naive to the world of RAS's. The only experience I have had with a RAS is a emerson build craftsman and that left lots to be desired.

Models to Look For:

Craftsman:

DeWalt:

Delta:
 

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I'll offer my opinion. For the Craftsman and Dewalt, most of the saws considered "good" are ~pre-75 (Craftsman) and about pre-65 (Dewalt). The "tell" on each is cast iron. Someone else mentioned it, Craftsman changed from a solid cast iron base (part that holds the column to the frame) to an aluminum clam shell arrangement and went to an on the top of the arm lever to allow the boom to swing.The original arrangement was to have a lever at the end of the boom (look at toolguy's pic above). They became much harder to get solid with the new arrangement. For the Dewalts, it a little easier...any of the models with a solid cast iron arm are the ones you want. The solid cast iron arms will always have the elevation crank on top of the column. The others, which have an arm that resembles a ladder box, with a cover on top of the arm, have the elevation crank near the center of the arm. Any Dewalt with a "round arm" is usually considered a prize, but some of the very oldest ones only have a 1/2 HP motor. For the Delta it gets even easier (Red Star and Rockwell are the same saws), look for the "turret arm". This is a center pivoting arm hanging on a shorter boom. I'm much more familiar with the Dewalt models, ones to look for will be MBF, GWI, 1030 (or 1030K), 925, 1200, 1400 in the smaller models. Some of the larger ones are GE, GA, and so on. Much easier to follow the cast iron clue.
 

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Huh?

Thats because my table saw is only a 12" one and cant rip full sheets of ply anyways.
Only a 12" one? They are usually huge .... plenty of table to rip full sheets.... I don't get it. :no:
 

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On the used market, the Craftsman RAS's dominate in numbers but others show up, too. Yesterday this popped up on Craigslist in South Jersey - http://southjersey.craigslist.org/tls/3634084619.html - a nice old DeWalt for $50. 9"?



Right now there is also a 12" turret arm Rockwell/Delta (not working) for $75 near Philly.

I'd go after one of these but I have a late '80's Craftsman in use and a '60's Rockwell Turret Arm in the restoration process so I'm full up.

Bill
 

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Only a 12" one? They are usually huge .... plenty of table to rip full sheets.... I don't get it. :no:
my guess is that he's referring to his max rip capacity and not the diameter of the largest blade the saw will accommodate.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Yes...i can only really cut something accurate up to 11"...but i wanr to be able to be more versatile and save space so the question is it really worth the buy or should I keep the money and do something else with it?
 

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I have a mid 1980's radial arm saw and its about as accurate as an ax. I am thinking of trashing it and getting one of those sliding miter saws. I just don't use it much and it's not worth all the effort to line up and true it up
 

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Yes...i can only really cut something accurate up to 11"...but i wanr to be able to be more versatile and save space so the question is it really worth the buy or should I keep the money and do something else with it?
keep the money and do something else with it. a RAS can be used for ripping, and i've done it once or twice. but it's not an inherently comfortable operation for me. i prefer a TS and had one before i ever came across a RAS. IMHO, get a better 10" (that's the diameter of the pargest blade the saw will accommodate, usually with a 5/8" arbor) TS, perhaps an older 113 series c-man. they usually go for ~ $100 in pretty good shape. replace the OEM fence with a delta t2 (now < $200) and you've got the basis for a good, economical TS. or get a ridgid 4512 @ HD with a HF "20 (now apparently 25)% off any single item" coupon for ~ $400.
 

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I'll get in line again, while I think an RAS in an invaluable tool and mine gets used on every project for all manner of stuff, in my mind it does not replace the TS...and the TS comes first. It's more of a complimentary tool (once again, in my mind). I won't rip on an RAS....only because I have a TS, and the RAS makes such a mess.
 

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keep the money and do something else with it. a RAS can be used for ripping, and i've done it once or twice. but it's not an inherently comfortable operation for me. i prefer a TS and had one before i ever came across a RAS. IMHO, get a better 10" (that's the diameter of the pargest blade the saw will accommodate, usually with a 5/8" arbor) TS, perhaps an older 113 series c-man. they usually go for ~ $100 in pretty good shape. replace the OEM fence with a delta t2 (now < $200) and you've got the basis for a good, economical TS. or get a ridgid 4512 @ HD with a HF "20 (now apparently 25)% off any single item" coupon for ~ $400.
Not to hijacked, but home depot accepts harbor freight coupons?

And back on subject, my grandpa had an old Cman, it would hold true decently. I think they are great for crosscuts and dados, but a bad experience one time will have me warning you, they aren't the safest tool for ripping. My grandad and I were ripping some 5/4 oak planks one day, and one ended up flying across the garage at such a high speed, it went thru the dryeall, insulation, and T1-11 siding.
 
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