Radial Arm Saw Refurb #3: More disassembly and some cleaning

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Blog entry by HokieMojo posted 02-11-2011 05:51 AM 6358 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Everything is in parts Part 3 of Radial Arm Saw Refurb series no next part

Well, Neil has been making such good progress on his blog, it inspired me to get some work done. His work is here (but seriously Neil, these should be in blogs so I don’t miss em’ (-: )
part 1
part 2
part 3
part 4

So my plan was to build a Mr Sawdust table. The problem is that the instructions to size the table require you to measure the travel in the arm. Since my saw was 80% disassembled, I figured a change of plans was in order. One of the few problems with my old saw was that the column wasn’t moving up and down smoothly. The first step to fixing this was to remove the base of the column so I removed the bolts:

This thing was heavy. Must be about 50 lbs. I set it down and removed the two bolts in the side that attach the column to the base. I was surprised to find this brass piece fall out from the inside. It also holds the acme thread (the threaded rod that raises/lowers the column):

Once the column (and guidebar) were separated, I dropped all the hardware in a jar of evaporust so they will be ready for me when I need them. Then on to the hard work. It was time to clean the base and column. I put some WD-40 (i bought a gallon) on the column and sanded with 400 and 600 grit. I didn’t really go for a polished look. I just removed some of the old grease that had turned gummy. I also did the mating surface of the base. Once it was smooth and clean, I applied some past wax to both surfaces.

Oh yeah, and the bottom of the base was rusty for some reason so I sanded that too. Not perfect, but pretty good:

Next I cleaned off the brass piece and the acme thread. I used mineral spirits to get more of the gummy grease off. Here it is all cleaned off.

I think I’m going to have trouble explaining the next part but I’ll try anyway.

When it was time to reassemble the column,I had to do some things in a different order. I needed to attach the base first so that was pretty easy. The problem is that next I need to screw the bolts through the base, the column, and into the brass piece I showed above. That may not seem to bad, but the column weighs about 40 lbs. The only way to attach it is to keep the column all the way up and squeeze your hand into the frame. If it slips, I’m pretty sure it would break my fingers. I came up with a simple solution. I wedged a piece of 3/4” plywood into the slot in the column to keep it elevated while attaching it:

I got it reattached and put the acme thread back in (I put 3-in-1 oil on it. we’ll see how that works). Then I had to call it quits because it was 2AM. I hope you guys are enjoying the blog so far. I hope I can make some more progress soon, but we’ll see when I get to it.

The next steps will be to work on the arm itself and the adjustment levers. I’m also trying to unfreeze the roller bearings. I’ve got 3 of them at 80% and another seems like it is still only at 20%. I REALLY don’t want to buy new ones at $26 a piece so I can’t give up yet. Stay tuned!

7 comments so far

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3143 days

#1 posted 02-11-2011 06:17 AM

a) That’s AWESOME !!!

I’ve been counting on spray solvents, bottle brushes, and luck, so far ;-)

b) I think I just paid $14.75/ea for the roller bearings, from Wolfe Machinery. I was pretty hesitant, but—like you—understand that grease breaks down over time.

In this case, I had to assume that would so subtle damage to the ball bearings, and really didn’t feel like replacing bearings and repacking grease. I figured I’d start fresh—known quantity—and then maintain them in a few years, if necessary.

I got ALL the play out of my elevator lift crank—or whatever it’s called—and the raise/lower action is like butter.

I’m positive you’ll wind up with the same result.

Cheers !

-- -- Neil

View auggy53's profile


159 posts in 2649 days

#2 posted 02-11-2011 06:18 AM

we have a place here in st louis called bearing headquarters where i buy alot of bearings at a very reasonable price and they have allways matched any bearing i give them , maybe you have an industrial bearing supply close to you .

-- rick

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3642 days

#3 posted 02-11-2011 06:20 AM

That looks good.

View HokieMojo's profile


2104 posts in 3697 days

#4 posted 02-11-2011 06:24 AM

yeah Neil,
That is one difference between our saws. The roller bearings are very different prices, but i really don’t get why. I think our saws are pretty similar. Mine are over $25 a piece, so I’m thinking that since they don’t move that fast, I’m not going to worry too much about replacing them yet if I can get them working. I’ll probably just add a couple drops of 3-in-1 to them and see if that works. Depending on when I get the rest of the saw up and running, I may replace the motor bearings. I know that my saw had a motor rewind at some point (the motor is painted a different color than the saw) so I might just see how it cuts before attacking the motor. I hear it can get a bit complicated.

Oh, and my table mounting screws are 1/2 missing. Replacing them with parts from mcmaster-carr will run me about $40 so I’m trying to pace myself with my spending. (-:

View HokieMojo's profile


2104 posts in 3697 days

#5 posted 02-11-2011 06:26 AM

thanks auggy53. the roller bearings are unfortunately proprietary. They have a threaded shaft that is actually one part combined with the center race. As far as I know, wolfe is the only source to get them.

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6851 posts in 3948 days

#6 posted 02-11-2011 02:34 PM

Well written.

Great photos.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3084 days

#7 posted 02-11-2011 03:39 PM

great blog and picturebook :-)
its realy looking good sofare I look forward to follow the journey
nice wedge tip

take care

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