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Radial Arm Saw Refurb #1: Tool Gloat

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Blog entry by HokieMojo posted 1411 days ago 4575 reads 0 times favorited 20 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Radial Arm Saw Refurb series Part 2: Everything is in parts »

Well, here is the other big tool purchase I made recently (spray can for scale).

closer shot:

This saw was posted on ebay, but there appeared to be some inaccurate information on it (model number never existed, blade size was incorrect, serial number was never produced, etc). I wasn’t able to get answers to my questions before bidding closed, so I passed on it. Apparently everyone else did too. I suspect it was a combination of a confusing description, making a big purchase without testing it out, and the shipping costs associated with crating a saw that ways over 200 lbs. I visited the seller and checked out the item at their location (a used tool reseller). Most things looked to be in good condition with 4 exceptions:

1) the crank only lowers the arm, it will not move back up. This is most certainly due to dirt because if I REALLY crank it, it will go back up but feels like it is stuck.

2) The power lock was removed and rewired as shown in the photos (pretty typical)

3) The original table is gone but more importantly, the “Right End Cleat”, part T-10 in the manual is bent. I’ll need to search out a replacement part.

4) The rubber dust shoot is torn up

The positives are that the paint is in pretty good shape, I see no real rust (except minor surface rust on the stand), the saw has all it’s original knobs (removed in the photos), and I was told the saw does run.

I plan to refurbish this saw as opposed to doing a full restoration. I think that if I can get a replacement cleat and a used copy of the Mr Sawdust book, I should be able to make this into a nice user saw.

Even if I get a replacement cleat, I don’t think I’ll keep the old table. It looks pretty thrown together, although I admit I haven’t used these saws much. I still think I can do better.

I already put the saw on a wheeled cart that I made. I can push this thing around like it doesn’t weigh a thing. Finding space is the tougher trick.

I’m debating using this saw to replace my compound miter saw, or at least packing the miter saw up and pulling it out for occasional use. This seems like it is much better suited for 90 degree crosscuts and I’d also love to use this for cutting dadoes to make some built in bookshelves. Any thoughts or advice on cleaning this guy up? Thoughts on my proposed uses?



20 comments so far

View Richard Dunlap's profile

Richard Dunlap

64 posts in 1468 days


#1 posted 1411 days ago

I have a 9” one from that era, mid 50”s that I inherited from my father. I use it all the time for just what you said, crosscutting and dados. As far as the bent piece, just take it to a welding shop and they heat and straighten it. If the threads in the hole are buggered they can fix that also.

Richard

View Richard Dunlap's profile

Richard Dunlap

64 posts in 1468 days


#2 posted 1411 days ago

Another good book on this saw is one my father purchased for his. “Easy Ways To Expert Woodworking” by Robert Scharff. Published by Mc Graw Hill . The copywright was 1956 by DeWalt .

Richard

View CutNRun's profile

CutNRun

122 posts in 2449 days


#3 posted 1411 days ago

The Mr. Sawdust book will have information on a replacement table. It appears that the motor has been replaced with a different era version. The on/off switch is on the motor, while the original was likely on the arm. A very good source of more information than you will know what to do with can be found at:

http://people.delphiforums.com/snotzalot/sawdust/

-- CutNRun - So much wood, so many trails, so little time

View BigTiny's profile

BigTiny

1664 posts in 1491 days


#4 posted 1411 days ago

You can straighten out the cleat easy if you have a wide metal vice handy. Just sqaueeze it in the vice to take out the kink. A few taps with a BFH on an anvil (many metal vices have a surface intended for this at the back of the fixed jaw) should finish the job, then grab a tap of the correcty size to clean up the threads and it’s ready to use.

-- The nicer the nice, the higher the price!

View HokieMojo's profile

HokieMojo

2097 posts in 2331 days


#5 posted 1411 days ago

Thanks guys. I may just take it to my local metal fabricators to see what they would charge. I don’t really have the tools or know how to do any metal working (I don’t even have a vice for woodworking yet).

As for the motor, I wasn’t sure if it was original but th motor plate does say it is a dewalt on it and it also has the 1.5 hp rating (again according to the plate). If it is not original, I don’t think that matters much to me. I do care that it is 1.5 hp though. That’s why I sought out the GWI so that dados wouldn’t be a problem.

I’ll check out the forum this weekend. Thanks for the great posts and comments.

View Richard Dunlap's profile

Richard Dunlap

64 posts in 1468 days


#6 posted 1411 days ago

I know from expeerience that if you try to straighten it out cold there is a very good chance that it will break sin it bent right where the hole for one of lthe adjusting screws is.

P.S. Mine does fine on dados and it only has a 1/2 hp motor, so you will be ok.

Richard

View slimt's profile

slimt

111 posts in 1540 days


#7 posted 1411 days ago

Looks like a great saw let us know how the restoration goes you can’t beat some of the old tools

View Jesse's profile

Jesse

66 posts in 1821 days


#8 posted 1411 days ago

I would just scrap the cleats and use the newer style cleats that dewalt used. Basically just angle iron. One on each side and one in the middle. You can even use Aluminum if you want since it is easier to work than steel.

If you check out the forum mentioned above there have been plenty of discussions on the topic.

Saw looks like a great find!

I believe what you are missing on the arm is the voltage selector but I could be wrong. The GWI’s had a switch to change voltage, or course you had to change the plug also.

-- Jesse, Hopewell Jct., NY

View HokieMojo's profile

HokieMojo

2097 posts in 2331 days


#9 posted 1411 days ago

CutNRun
You look to be correct on the motor. I was just looking at some photos on OWWM.com and it looks like an original motor would have had matching green paint. That being said, I think that the replacement is either and exact or very close replica. All the GW saws I see have a toggle switch on the motor. They also have a keyed safety switch on the arm, which I am definitely missing. Thanks for the heads up. I’m curious if others will seem more interesting tidbits that I’ve missed. It wouldn’t surprise me.

View Jesse's profile

Jesse

66 posts in 1821 days


#10 posted 1411 days ago

I would not be concerned about the motor, since there were never any replacements made by anyone other than Dewalt. Either someone swapped out the motor for another GWI motor, or someone had the motor rewound. I believe that during the process the windings are baked which usually destroys the original paint.

-- Jesse, Hopewell Jct., NY

View Beginningwoodworker's profile

Beginningwoodworker

13337 posts in 2275 days


#11 posted 1411 days ago

Nice gloat!

-- CJIII Future cabinetmaker

View HokieMojo's profile

HokieMojo

2097 posts in 2331 days


#12 posted 1411 days ago

thanks for the warning rldunlap. I won’t try to just bend it back.

View HokieMojo's profile

HokieMojo

2097 posts in 2331 days


#13 posted 1411 days ago

thanks CJ. You were making me jealous with all your cool finds so I figured I’d try and get sone of my own up here.

View HokieMojo's profile

HokieMojo

2097 posts in 2331 days


#14 posted 1411 days ago

Jesse,
I didn’t know that new windings were baked. That is very interesting.

View Jesse's profile

Jesse

66 posts in 1821 days


#15 posted 1411 days ago

I believe it is the varnish that has to be baked, but by doing so you bake the whole thing.

I am sure someone around here knows a lot more about this than me.

-- Jesse, Hopewell Jct., NY

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