Here is a picture of it “in the wild” ( as I found it).
I took it home and began cleaning it up, lubricating moving parts, and then gave it a nice coat of hammered enamel paint. I constructed a “Mr. Sawdust” style table for it and calibrated all of the alignments. The blade guard is actually one I found from a different saw that I like more because it is rear exit for the sawdust… I also found the matching base cabinet when I picked up a twin parts machine for next to nothing. Heck the parts machine is also very restorable…
The motor purrs, and with a new thin kerf negative hook blade from Freud it slices through wood like butter. Quiet, smooth, precise, and solid! There is something so nice about solidly-built and well-engineered american machines from this era.
Someone asked for step-by-step.. so here goes…
First some valuable resources:
TIPS ON DeWalt RADIAL ARM SAW RECONDITIONING (http://http://woodcentral.com/bparticles/dewaltrebuild.pdf)
Basic Machine Restoration (from OWWM.com)
Step 1 Examine what you have
The wiring looked good, the motor ran smoothly, most moving parts were pretty stiff or not moveable… The motor ran ok so I then started loosening stuck parts.. Most important is the ability for it to slide back and forth smoothly on the cast iron machined “ways” that the roller bearings glide on. I was able to get that rolling pretty smoothly with some WD-40 and some adjusting. Once I knew that the ways were in good shape I committed to a total restore…
Step 2: Tear-Down
I disassembled most of the major parts and lubricated parts that needed it, cleaned up dirt, rust where it needed it and broke it down enough to paint. I did not need to go down as far as you might for some restorations; I just went far enough to paint on this one. ON some you might need to get the motor pulled apart and work on the brake or the bearings etc…
Step 3: Make it Pretty (Paint)
I like the hammered enamel paints from Hammerite. They are more popular in the UK than they are here but it is great paint. A truly wonderful finish, and no need to prime… heck I have seen it go over rust even and do a great job. I chose their light blue for this job.
Step 4: The Table -A solid Base is Important
A RAS is only as good as the table you place your work on. ( think about how important that cast iron top is to your table saw…)
I built a “Mr. Sawdust” table… which consists of sandwiched MDF with metal bars epoxied in for reinforcement. Makes a rock solid table! I added threaded inserts on the underside of the table so that I could use some machine bolts to raise and lower the different sides of the table during the calibration step. I highly suggest this—makes adjustment go smoothly.
Step 5: Reassemble & Calibrate
Sometimes I take pictures as I go along with tear-downs- so that I remember how it all goes back together :). You can also usually get manuals and diagrams from places like www.owwm.com (GREAT resource). There are several good resources out there for calibration of a DeWalt RAS. Don’t rush this phase- it takes time but it is really worth it to make it work as precisely as you need it to.
Step 6: Let er Rip… umm well .. Let er Crosscut
I am not a believer in ripping with a RAS—I find a Table Saw works better and safer for that. Crosscutting and crosscut Dado operations are where a RAS shines in my opinion. To make the RAS safer I suggest that you use a blade with a negative hook angle. Freud makes some great ones that are available with a thin kerf (which lets you get even more out of these smaller motors… ) They also make dado stack sets with a negative hook which is a GREAT fit for a RAS.
Other DeWalt RAS Restorations