radial arm saw

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Forum topic by 3285jeff posted 01-20-2016 12:18 PM 829 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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152 posts in 1682 days

01-20-2016 12:18 PM

I have an old craftsman radial arm saw and I am in the process of trueing it up and I have done everthing the manual says,,but my problem is that then it cuts,,it actually goes thru the wood at a angle,,the blade actually pushes the wood back,,the manual says to move the rail system unloosten a bolt on the bach so you can move it right or left,,i have tried this and cant seem to get it to move,,i know its old and but can anyone tell me how to set the rail ,,or move the rail,,,,i hate to get rid of it,,,but I really would like to have it cutting square,,i did everything the manual says and layed a square on the table to make sure the blade runs true from the back to the front and it does,,but I still have the same trouble when I start it,,the blade goes thru at a angle and pushes the wood to the left,,i even changed blades but still no luck,,,,

9 replies so far

View SirIrb's profile


1239 posts in 1195 days

#1 posted 01-20-2016 12:28 PM

Is it a negative tooth blade? Is the blade sharp?

Craftsman in general and craftsman RAS specifically are the Corvair of RAS.

-- Don't blame me, I voted for no one.

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2860 posts in 2479 days

#2 posted 01-20-2016 12:33 PM

The blade is supposed to push the wood back into the fence, or rail as you call it. If the blade is moving true perpendicular to the rail when off, then it sounds to me like your arm lock is moving a bit when the torque of cutting is in play, allowing the blade to come off 90’.

And a picture or two of the saw would help greatly, or at least a model number. There are a lot of old Craftsmen people on here who know these saws inside and out.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

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2755 posts in 2261 days

#3 posted 01-20-2016 01:10 PM

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

4951 posts in 2457 days

#4 posted 01-20-2016 02:05 PM

While I’m not sure I understand the problem, if what you are calling the “rail” is indeed the fence it should just be clamped in placed by a pair of screws (usually thumbscrews) and loosening them should allow the fence to slide freely right or left. That said, I’m not sure what that has to do with the “angle” or the “moves to the left”. I think the pictures would help a lot.

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

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152 posts in 1682 days

#5 posted 01-20-2016 02:22 PM

This is the model number ,,I will try to add more pictures later today,,

View WhyMe's profile


1008 posts in 1525 days

#6 posted 01-20-2016 09:27 PM

If you are talking about the arm that the motor carriage rides on there are three set screws in the back of the arm where the power cord enters. There is an open slot to access the set screws. Loosen those set screws to pivot the arm so it’s 90 deg perpendicular to the fence when locked. Use a framing square to set.

View eflanders's profile


294 posts in 1814 days

#7 posted 02-16-2016 01:23 PM

The owners manual explains the proper setup process very well. You should get one if you don’t have one. They can be found online.

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Fred Hargis

4951 posts in 2457 days

#8 posted 02-16-2016 01:43 PM

Here’s a link to a pdf of the manual, page down a little to your model #.

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

View JBrow's profile


1346 posts in 884 days

#9 posted 02-16-2016 03:21 PM


It sounds like you are using the term rail to refer to the arm. The arm is adjusted by loosening set screws at the rear of the saw (3 I think, maybe 4) where the arm connects to the column. The manual will tell you whether the arm lock should be engaged. Loosen the set screws, make the adjustment, and carefully retighten the set screws and then re-check alignment.

I align the arm by laying a true square against the fence with the set screws loosened. Raise the blade so that a single tooth on the blade just kisses the square at the fence. Mark the tooth. Slowly pull the carriage toward you and move the arm to the right or left from the arm’s end where the locking handle is located until the marked tooth continues to just kiss the square along the full length of travel. Exercise care because the tooth could ride up on the square while checking alignment and cause damage to the blade. After the set screws are tightened, re-check.

Not knowing what and how you have performed adjustments, I can only offer my additional observations from when I dialed in and used my Craftsman Radial Arm Saw.

As already mentioned, using a blade designed for the radial arm saw is a good idea. I assume that you are making pull cuts, where the carriage is pulled through the fence and the work piece toward you. If a push cut is made, the rotation of the blade could lift the work piece and perhaps move it away from the fence. A push cut would be starting with the saw blade at the end of the arm near the edge of the table and the work piece is between the saw blade and the fence. The saw is pushed through the work piece. I avoid the push cuts.

Adjusting the saw requires patience and an accurate square. The manual shows how to check the square for accuracy. I found my old framing square was out by a fair amount so I replaced it. When using the framing square, ensure that mitre and bevel adjustments are made with the framing square set against the saw blade body and not against any teeth; difficult with a 60 – 80 tooth blade, but critical.

While I was recently adjusting the Craftsman Radial Arm Saw, I used the blade that came with the saw. When I could not get a dead square cross cut, I changed the blade to the Forrest Combination Blade I now use and re-did the adjustments and got the saw where I wanted. Using a blade that is flat when mounted in the saw makes adjustments easier. In addition to changing the blade, I placed a white sheet of paper behind the blade and used a flash light to bounce light off the paper and back up to the framing square set against the blade. The paper and flash light greatly improved my ability to see any gaps between the framing square and the blade.

The four critical adjustments, done in the order specified in the manual, were 1) getting the table flat, with no belly or crown; 2) the angle of the arm to the fence (adjusted to 90 deg.); 3) bevel, making the blade square to the table, and 4) heel, ensuring the plane of the blade was perpendicular to the table. If one adjustment is made, the remaining alignments should be checked to ensure these remained unaffected.

Lastly, given that the Craftsman Radial Arm saw is inexpensive, I suspect the saw is difficult to keep properly adjusted if bevel and miter positions are changed. Therefore I keep the saw at 90 deg. I make mitre cuts by positioning the work piece at the required angle. I make bevel cuts at the table saw. While I could use the Radial Arm Saw to make these cuts by moving the arm and/or changing the bevel, I prefer to avoid spending the time required to get the saw re-set at 90 deg.

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