My new used toy: A Radial Arm Saw

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Blog entry by VBJames posted 03-18-2012 10:56 PM 3004 reads 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I found a used Craftsman 10” radial arm saw yesterday that spoke to me, and asked me to bring it home. The gentleman I bought it from had just inherited a newer one with a lot of bells and whistles on it, so I took his old one off his hands for $100.00. I’ve spent a couple of hours today setting it up, and have a number of little adjustments left to get it working the way I think I want, and just playing with cutting with it.

This is the first one I’ve really used, so I have a bit of a learning curve to figure things out, but that is part of the fun. I have a lot of memories of the one my dad had back in the 50’s, before he died. I was 6 when he died, and she sold it to a neighbor before we moved into town off our farm.

10 comments so far

View davidroberts's profile


1027 posts in 3508 days

#1 posted 03-18-2012 11:54 PM

If you are just starting down the RAS road, Google “Mr. Sawdust” and buy his RAS book. Best advice you will get today, unless some gives you the winning lottery numbers.

-- Better woodworking through old hand tools.

View wdh's profile


55 posts in 3662 days

#2 posted 03-19-2012 12:15 AM

Good luck with your RAS VB. I’m glad you started this blog, I bought a used Craftsman RAS last year and haven’t used it much because it doesn’t cut perfectly square. Maybe I will now learn how to adjust it as I will take David’s advice and check out Mr Sawdust’s RAS book. Anyway, have fun with it!
P.S. Mine is in very good shape, don’t think it was used a lot, paid $175.00 for it.

-- Wayne,Saint John,NB

View VBJames's profile


7 posts in 2284 days

#3 posted 03-19-2012 01:15 AM

David, Thanks for the advice! I will definately visit Mr. Sawdust and buy his book!

Wayne, I had the benefit of a 70+ year old who loves RAS and went over a number of things I needed to do to tune the saw once I got it home. On my saw there are 2 allen wrench ports on the back of the arm that will help bring it into adjustment. Did you have a manual that came with you saw? The previous owner went through the manual with me, and pointed out the specifics of what I would need to do to keep it in the same shape I bought it in. Which model of Craftsman did you buy?

View schloemoe's profile


709 posts in 2960 days

#4 posted 03-19-2012 01:25 AM

I have an older Craftsman Radial arm saw and I love it I use it more than my miter saw or chop saw what ever you want to call it. I know they are big and take up a lot of room and they are difficult to keep in the proper adjustment but I sure hate to see them not being used anymore. Kinda makes you feel a little out dated don’t it…...........I had mine givin to me by the way…..............................Schloemoe

-- schloemoe, Oregon , http://www.

View MoshupTrail's profile


304 posts in 2503 days

#5 posted 03-19-2012 01:36 AM

I used to have a DeWalt RAS. I think I bought it sometime before 1981. Sold it for $300 in 1998. It was still in good shape. I made a lot of stuff with that saw, including a workbench I still use today.
As I recall, the trick to getting perfect miters was the fence angle. The saw lined up with a detent and there was no adjustment, so you had to align the fence to get true 90. I could rip with it, but I was never comfortable when I did. It always felt like it could kick out the wood at any minute. Now that I have a table saw and a couple of sleds I don’t see any need for a RAS.

-- Some problems are best solved with an optimistic approach. Optimism shines a light on alternatives that are otherwise not visible.

View AJswoodshop's profile


1057 posts in 2299 days

#6 posted 03-19-2012 07:15 PM

I just use a compund miter saw which works for me


View BilltheDiver's profile


255 posts in 2908 days

#7 posted 03-20-2012 12:22 AM

I don’t ever expect to part with my RAS, but I also have a Unisaw so the RAS is for cross cutting only. I rarely take it off 90 deg and it stays accurate that was. You guys with the sears models need to check out the recall that they had. They are still providing major upgrads for many saws. My friend bought one less than a year ago and applied for the replacement parts and they shipped them right to him.

BTW I recently added the Kreg top track system to my RAS which means I replaced the standard height fence with a taller one. I really like it and it makes repeatability of cuts simple.

-- "Measure twice, cut once, count fingers"

View wdh's profile


55 posts in 3662 days

#8 posted 03-20-2012 06:04 PM

VB, My RAS is Craftsman model 113.19772C. I did see the allen screws, where the arm mounts to the column. Tried loosening them and moving the arm but it didn’t move at all. I put in a new fence board and got a better 90 deg cut. I was hoping there was a way to adjust it to get a almost prefect 90 deg. cut. I have the manual but it is very limited in adjustment info.

-- Wayne,Saint John,NB

View VBJames's profile


7 posts in 2284 days

#9 posted 03-20-2012 08:20 PM

Wyane, I went online, and looked at the recall manual, it wasn’t exactly for my saw, but it was pretty close. It offered a lot more about how to adjust it. I just got done building 2 telescoping tops for some behives I’m making for my wife. I was easily able to dado out boxjoints that are nice and tight, and then run a rabbet around the top and the recessed plywood that I am using for the actual top. I’m not a power equipment user by any means, mostly use my handsaws and chisels to make small pieces of furniture. It has Model No. 509347 and is about 40 pages long. It might help, it seemed to give me a better idea anyway.

I got the saw the other day used, as my Craftsman table saw developed problems, and I didn’t want to take the time to work on it. The motor froze up and won’t turn…brushes, bearings, don’t know yet. I own about 12 handsaws that are all over 80 years old which include rip saws, crosscut, carcas, tenon, and dovetail. I sharpen them myself, and they work great for one-off work, and fine detail. I’m in the process of making 60 frame boxes, 10 telescoping tops, 10 inner covers, and 10 bottom boards for my wife’s bees, so that’s a lot of repetative production work, and doesn’t require fine detail like a chair or table. So I’m a bit out of my comfort zone with the new/old RAS. But the bees are starting to swarm here, and we want to make sure her girls are happy and have plenty of room.

View wdh's profile


55 posts in 3662 days

#10 posted 03-21-2012 01:20 AM

Billthediver, I found a web site for the recall, turns out my RAS is included. They are sending me a new blade guard and tabletop. Thanks for the tip! I just googled Craftsman RAS recall.

-- Wayne,Saint John,NB

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