1956 DeWalt Radial Arm Saw

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Forum topic by RickRinger posted 08-19-2015 11:44 AM 1542 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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93 posts in 2148 days

08-19-2015 11:44 AM

Topic tags/keywords: dewalt radial arm saw mbf dewalt radial arm saw ras tool saw

My dear friend and woodworking mentor just surprised me by buying and giving me a beautiful DeWalt Radial Arm Saw. It’s a 9” model MBF221 with a .75 HP motor. It’s all original. I’ll post pics soon. It’s in fantastic shape, complete with all of the factory knobs and virtually all of the paint is intact. It has a beautiful patina. At some point in her life, someone built a really rustic stand for her complete with dovetail drawers and hinged doors to make it a cabinet. I have a real love affair with this thing.

Right now funds are very thin and I’m wondering if I would hurt it using a 10” blade until I can afford one of the Forrest Blades that everyone seems to recommend?

I’m also wondering what everyone would recommend for the cutting surface. Plywood, MDF, a combination?

How high should I make the fence?

How far off the closest edge of the blade should I locate the edge of the fence?

I’m wanting to clean some of the old sawdust off of her, but I don’t want to damage the paint or do anything to make it flake off. Any suggestions on what would be best? I’m one of those guys who really loves the old paint style for these. It’s just hard to imagine that this thing is older than I am and to envision people using her during all the days of my life. It’s mind blowing.

Thank you all for your help in advance.

9 replies so far

View Clarkie's profile


466 posts in 2038 days

#1 posted 08-19-2015 12:07 PM

Come back down to earth, lol. The saw is a 9 inch, don’t use a bigger blade, more than likely you are looking for trouble. DeWalt is one of the finest radial arm saws made, use it wisely. Many may disagree, but, I never use mine for anything more than it’s original intent, crosscut and dadoes. Go look at OWWM website there will be answers there and pics of other saws like yours. Have fun and make some dust.

View hairy's profile


2782 posts in 3729 days

#2 posted 08-19-2015 12:14 PM

Go here :

Good folks with good info.

I agree, 9 ” is big enough blade for that size motor.

Buy this book: It’s $30, but it will save you from wasting money.

-- My reality check bounced...

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Fred Hargis

5171 posts in 2690 days

#3 posted 08-19-2015 12:27 PM

As pointed out, that’s a 9” saw and even with a modern 9” blade it can struggle with tough cuts. In the days of that saw, the blades were all some kind of steel, and cut a much thinner kerf….plenty of power for that. As for a good blade, the Forrest blade is highly recommended. It’s more important if you intend to rip, but if the saw will do crosscuts only, then a blade with a negative hook angle will be much more manageable. A good one is the “Freud LU91 in the 8 1/2 size you can see in the link it comes in a nice silver ice coating. The Mr. Sawsudt book is good, although with shipping it gets fairly expensive. I have a couple of pdf files I can send you with a kick ass tuning method and some information about rebuilding the saw (doesn’t sound like you need that, but still good info). The articles use a 925 for an example, but everything applies to the MBF but for some changes in the motor design. If this would be useful, PM me your e mail address and I’ll get them to you pronto. Congrats, it’s a great saw!

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View JoeinGa's profile


7739 posts in 2204 days

#4 posted 08-19-2015 01:14 PM

Particle board or ply would be fine for the deck. As to cleaning, blow it off with a compressor, and then just use a rag and some Simple Green spray cleaner. It’s non-corrosive and if you spray it on the rag then wipe so as to avoid dripping it all over.

Oh wait, I almost forgot… it was a GIFT? For FREE?

Yeah, YOU SUCK !

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View cjh's profile


9 posts in 3790 days

#5 posted 08-19-2015 03:46 PM

+1 on the Mr. Sawdust book.

It’s the DeWalt RAS bible. Having a stable flat table is critical to accuracy and the book steps you through how to build the best table.

View JollyGreen67's profile


1676 posts in 2960 days

#6 posted 08-19-2015 03:55 PM

What JoeinGa says – ;o)

-- When I was a kid I wanted to be older . . . . . this CRAP is not what I expected ! RIP 09/08/2018

View DIYaholic's profile (online now)


19702 posts in 2872 days

#7 posted 08-19-2015 11:05 PM

Sorry to say but, without pictures….
It didn’t happen!!!

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View RickRinger's profile


93 posts in 2148 days

#8 posted 08-20-2015 12:26 PM

Here’s my baby. I have to tell you guys, the more time that I spend with this thing, the deeper I fall in love with it. And yes, it was a gift from a dear friend of mine. His name is Steve and he has a woodworking business where he builds cabinets and furniture. He has for over 40 years now. He has a 60’ x 90’ shop in MD. One of the fascinating things about him is that his shop is filled with older powertools. He believes that the Renaissance for tools was between the mid 1920s to mid 1960s. He said that all of the tools build then were heavy cast metals and as such, they were extremely stable, free of vibration, and very accurate. He has some machinery that will bring a tear to your eye. Such things as a 36” Tannewitz band saw, 16” Oliver table saw with rotating blades – one cross-cut, one rip, Delta Unisaws, Powermatic table saws, joiners, etc. He has a 18” DeWalt Radial Arm Saw in his shop and I every time I visit him I lust over this machine. I LOVE the beauty of the design with the nicely rounded arm, the ergonomics and the quiet power of the motor. It truly is amazing. Apparently he found mine at a sale recently and he decided to buy it and surprise me with it. He and my wife conspired against me so that after I left for work, he brought the saw to my house and put it into my garage work shop. When I got home, my wife made up some reason why I had to go out to the shop and BAM – there it was! I was standing there bawling like a little girl. I just couldn’t believe someone could be so kind and do something like this. But this is Steve’s way. He’s an absolute gentleman who loves to share his passion for woodworking with me. I’m blessed to have such a mentor.

Check out Steve’s website so you can see some of the cool stuff he’s done. He’s had some pretty important customers. :)

Thank you all for your advice and insight. I welcome any additional tips and advice that you all care to share with me. I love this site because of the vast depth of knowledge and resources that are found here.

Thank you all!

View RickRinger's profile


93 posts in 2148 days

#9 posted 08-20-2015 02:08 PM

Here’s a nice video dedicated to Mr. Kunkel.

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