Craftsman Radial Arm - Is this a lemon?

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Forum topic by DavidTTU posted 02-11-2016 05:52 PM 533 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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113 posts in 1055 days

02-11-2016 05:52 PM

Topic tags/keywords: craftsman radial arm saw radial arm saw radial

I have inherited a 3hp 10” Craftsman contractor Radial Arm saw. It is a post recall model. Not quite sure what year though. It was free and is in great shape.

I have read plenty of the literature on radial arm saws, and specifically craftsman radial arms. My question for you guys is, did the Craftsman radial arms ever improve? Or is there a model that is better/worse than others?

My saw model number is 113.196380. I can post a picture of it when I get home, but it is just your standard craftsman radial arm.

I am in need of something that can crosscut accurately in my shop to break down long stock. I currently have a miter saw station setup with a sliding mitersaw, but that saw is a friends and he is taking it back after a long time. Seeing how I have a free radial arm, I would rather not purchase another slider. I just dont want to spend the time setting up this saw if it is agreed upon that it wont stay aligned no matter how much work goes into it.

Thanks for your advice

7 replies so far

View toolie's profile


2009 posts in 2048 days

#1 posted 02-11-2016 06:09 PM

keep it, but only because it’s free. the C-man RASs with the bolt together column support are not generally well received. for ~ $100, an older c-man RAS should be available with full CI components, and while they are not thought of as the “bees knees”, they can be made quite accurate and reliable. 60s and early 70s vintage dewalts are generally well regarded.

-- there's a solution to every just have to be willing to find it.

View MrUnix's profile


4028 posts in 1619 days

#2 posted 02-11-2016 06:30 PM

I’ve got an older but similar RAS… and use it almost exclusively for cross cutting. Works great and once dialed in, will be dead nuts accurate for your intended use. I’ve found it to be better than a SCMS as they tend to have some inherent slop in their sliding mechanism which the RAS doesn’t.


-- Brad in FL - To be old and wise, you must first be young and stupid

View michaelinthebasement's profile


21 posts in 548 days

#3 posted 02-11-2016 06:45 PM

I have that saw, and have had continuous troubles. I have put a lot of effort into getting it to cut straight but can’t get it to do so reliably. All I really use it for now is breaking down very long stock into pieces that are more easily managed. The only reason I keep mine is that it was bequeathed to me by a friend and I don’t like the idea of getting rid of it. The table is also not a bad extra work surface, so it makes more sense for my shop than buying and setting up a miter saw. And it was free.

I hope this helps you with your decision.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

3841 posts in 1913 days

#4 posted 02-11-2016 06:57 PM

I’d try it, but that model isn’t really known to be all that good. A lot of whether it will work for you is based on how well it’s been treated over it’s life. There are licking fingers inside the arm that can bend, and if bent the saw won’t hold 90º. So you might try getting it aligned to 90º, lock it down firmly and test over a short time. If you find it drifts, then it’s off to the scrap yard. There are some Craftsman saws that are considered servicable by many, but it’s the earlier models that have a solid cast iron base at the bottom of the column. The aluminum clamshell (I think that’s the model you have) is just another of the cheapening efforts that weighed in on the demise of a very useful tool.

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

View rwe2156's profile


2114 posts in 900 days

#5 posted 02-11-2016 11:10 PM

1. Check it for square every time you use it.

2. Don’t bump it!!

3. Be ready for it to bind and/or self feed and/or stop altogether in tough going.

Bottom line they are not very good quality saws notorious for losing their settings and being underpowered.
You’ll find that out the first time you try to Xcut some hard maple.

Sorry but its worth about what you paid for it. ;-)

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View hiljac's profile


7 posts in 363 days

#6 posted 02-12-2016 12:19 AM

Craftsman RAS and accuracy are not often found in the same sentence in my experience. I might use it to break down rough stock, but I’d not trust it to be square.

View MrRon's profile


3891 posts in 2663 days

#7 posted 02-12-2016 04:23 PM

I consider any machine from Sears to be a “lemon” unless it was imported and the C name slapped on it. Their RAS’s have the reputation of not keeping alignment. My first saw was a 12” C’man and it was impossible to keep the blade aligned 90° to the fence. I got divorced and my ex inherited the saw; I say good riddance (not to the wife, but to the saw). Keep it (it’s free), but don’t expect it to do accurate cuts. It’s good for construction, like cutting 2×4’s for house framing.

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