1959 DeWalt Radial Arm Saw Complete Restoration

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Project by Blake posted 2507 days ago 41673 views 18 times favorited 66 comments Add to Favorites Watch

———————————————————————————————————————————————————- FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE VISIT MY WEBSITE:

When I first started setting up my woodshop, I cleared out an old horse stables down in the field at my grandparents property. In the process of cleaning out the tiny “barn” I fond an old neglected radial arm saw rusting away in the corner. I didn’t even know what a radial arm saw was, but did some research and found that it was a 1959 DeWalt 8 1/2”… a very high quality machine and perfect for my small shop.

Apparently my grandfather had inherited the radial arm saw from an old friend who had passed away. The man had been a boatbuilder from Norway, who built a ship with his brother to immigrate to America in the 40’s. He was also a pianist, and the story goes that he cut the bottom corners off an upright piano in order to fit it into the belly of the ship.

I carefully took apart every piece of the radial arm saw and cleaned, painted and lubricated them. I even matched the original paint so well that you can’t tell it apart from the old. It was that classic teal-green with off white speckles, which I applied by flicking a toothbrush with my thumbnail. The only existing patch of original paint is on the inside of the blade guard (see picture).

When I put it back together I was the oldest but quietest, most accurate, most attractive and most beloved machine in my shop.

Later I built a workbench/cabinet for it to sit in (which I consider temporary). I also built a small dust collector that sits behind the blade and connects to my shop vac. After a few modifications the dust collector works great.

-- Happy woodworking!

66 comments so far

View Max's profile


55956 posts in 2907 days

#1 posted 2507 days ago

Very nice job. Quite the outcome. I have an older 8” Black and Decker myself.

-- Max "Desperado", Salt Lake City, UT

View WayneC's profile


12265 posts in 2732 days

#2 posted 2507 days ago

What a wonderful saw and restoration job. Well done.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Josh's profile


119 posts in 2572 days

#3 posted 2507 days ago

I love it. Very nice job.

View cajunpen's profile


14379 posts in 2700 days

#4 posted 2507 days ago

Great restoration – I really like hearing about vintage tools coming back to life.

-- Bill - "Suit yourself and let the rest be pleased."

View PanamaJack's profile


4469 posts in 2712 days

#5 posted 2507 days ago

Very good save! Nice work. I have a vintage (1953) 6” paner I restored this past spring. Your job is better by far.

-- Carpe Lignum; Tornare Lignum (Seize the wood, to Turn the wood)

View Dadoo's profile


1764 posts in 2625 days

#6 posted 2507 days ago

Excellent! I too have a fondness for my “restored” tools.

-- Bob Vila would be so proud of you!

View SPalm's profile


4791 posts in 2516 days

#7 posted 2507 days ago

Sweet. Excellent job. I guess you did not have to replace the bearings, etc?

My table saw is from 1954. Someday….

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View CharlieM1958's profile


15691 posts in 2853 days

#8 posted 2507 days ago

Fantastic job! It looks like it just came out of the box.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View mot's profile


4911 posts in 2671 days

#9 posted 2507 days ago

Wow! Really nice job.

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View Blake's profile


3437 posts in 2509 days

#10 posted 2507 days ago

Thankfully the bearings and windings were good.

-- Happy woodworking!

View mrtrim's profile


1696 posts in 2514 days

#11 posted 2507 days ago

nice peice ! years ago i had one quite like it mine as i recall was either a 12 or 14 inch . it was the smoothest machine ive ever run. wish i still had it 1

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4435 posts in 2597 days

#12 posted 2506 days ago

Great Job. If I remember right, this model was a bit like a ShopSmith, it had several other tools that mounted on it. I could be wrong on this but I seem to remember a drill and router/shaper, disc sander? Maybe some one else can tell. You really have something to be proud of.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View bryano's profile


546 posts in 2568 days

#13 posted 2506 days ago

I Have a 1953 dewalt powershop and as Thos said there are attachments to go with this sow. I have a jigsaw attachment and a moulder and router and drill bits. You can also find a sander, a radial planer (safeT planer) and a lathe that hooks up to the saw motor with a belt. Good luck finding these tools,it aint easy.

Nice saw. I didnt have to replace any bearings ether.

-- bryano

View Blake's profile


3437 posts in 2509 days

#14 posted 2506 days ago

Yes, there were several different attachments available. Scroll saw, planer, disk sander, overhead router, vertical drill chuck, shaper/molder, dado, ect. All very wonderful and dangerous. I see a lot of them come through the used tool store I work at (see my shop description). Most of them are for craftsman models.

-- Happy woodworking!

View TomFran's profile


2942 posts in 2628 days

#15 posted 2506 days ago

This will make those cross cuts a lot quicker. Nice restoration job!

-- Tom, Surfside Beach, SC - Romans 8:28

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