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OWWM Restorations #1: DeWalt 925 deluxe Radial Arm Saw (1960)

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Blog entry by Jeff posted 03-19-2008 04:43 PM 11149 reads 4 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of OWWM Restorations series no next part

I picked up this DeWalt Radial Arm Saw (RAS) for about $50 from a nice older man in southern Massachusettes. It was his father’s and had been in his family since it was purchased new in 1960.

Here is a picture of it “in the wild” ( as I found it).

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.

Left Side

Right Side

Someone asked for step-by-step.. so here goes…

Stey-by-Step

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.

More Information:
Other DeWalt RAS Restorations

Yahoo Group - DeWalt RAS

Blake's 925 Rebuild



8 comments so far

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27251 posts in 2512 days


#1 posted 03-19-2008 06:38 PM

Jeff,

You got yourself a bargain both in terms of the tool, itself and the opportunity it gave to for the restoration project.

Thanks for sharing.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View ND2ELK's profile

ND2ELK

13495 posts in 2464 days


#2 posted 03-19-2008 08:19 PM

Very nicely done. You are right, they don’t make them liked they use to. Thanks for posting

God Bless
tom

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View Grant Davis's profile

Grant Davis

616 posts in 2598 days


#3 posted 03-19-2008 08:43 PM

Looks better than a new one. Great find.

-- Grant...."GO BUCKEYES"

View bathrick's profile

bathrick

4 posts in 2500 days


#4 posted 03-19-2008 09:25 PM

Great! Give us more! How about some step by step?

Mike

View Jeff's profile

Jeff

10 posts in 2515 days


#5 posted 03-19-2008 09:56 PM

OK I decided to go ahead and add more info… look above

View Blake's profile

Blake

3437 posts in 2564 days


#6 posted 03-20-2008 04:18 AM

This is awesome! I can say I appreciate your effort first hand, since I restored the same saw (I posted the link, in case someone refers to this page and hasn’t seen my version)

I love these saws. You will get hours of rewarding use out of it. Excellent job.

-- Happy woodworking! http://www.openarmsphotography.com

View Dadoo's profile

Dadoo

1767 posts in 2681 days


#7 posted 03-20-2008 09:05 AM

I figured Blake would get a rise out of this post! I remember reading his post but never figured it would be the same saw!

Nice restoration Jeff!

-- Bob Vila would be so proud of you!

View Jeff's profile

Jeff

10 posts in 2515 days


#8 posted 03-20-2008 02:42 PM

Yes I remember reading your page as I was in the purchase phase with my saw. I enjoyed the detaail you went into and the pictures of your shop very much. I got the return bungee idea directly from you. I have explored using weights instead of a bungee, they woth work well…

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