what are WAYS on a radial arm saw?

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Forum topic by HokieMojo posted 04-26-2010 06:54 AM 1098 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2104 posts in 3924 days

04-26-2010 06:54 AM

I keep hearing that these are important to check for flatness. What are these and how would i check them (just a straightedge?)? What other things do I want to look for in an old used RAS?

5 replies so far

View Michael Murphy's profile

Michael Murphy

453 posts in 3201 days

#1 posted 04-26-2010 08:11 AM

The rollers that hold the carriage and allow it to move front to back run in or on the “Ways”. They are the tracks. If they aren’t straight and parallel and smooth, it can create problems in the quality of the cut and how smoothly it operates.

-- Michael Murphy, Woodland, CA.

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2104 posts in 3924 days

#2 posted 04-26-2010 03:13 PM

that’s what i thought, but i wanted to make sure. it sounds strange to me that they can wear out on a cast iron saw, but i guess everything can wear out if it is used enough. Thanks for the reply!

View jerryz's profile


164 posts in 3475 days

#3 posted 04-26-2010 03:31 PM

The bearings on the carriage that hold the motor are mounted on one side on special bolts that allow you to remove any play on the carriage, it is important that they should be not soo tight that they bind.
You should get a manual for your particular model and familiarize yourself with this particular adjustment it will make your saw cut staright and with little effort.
Have fun and be safe…..

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2718 posts in 3482 days

#4 posted 04-26-2010 10:53 PM

HokieMojo, Trust me, cast iron will wear out, especially in a commercial shop. I don’t like to think about how many radial arm saws I have worn out over the years, exactly where you ‘re talking about. In a hobby shop, that’s not near as likely, but it happens. jerryz is right about the eccentric adjusting bolts. Often you can take up the slack here. I know some of my older Craftsman RAS’s had replacable rods in the ways. They could first be flipped over when worn, then replaced. I wish Delta had done that on my 12” saws. I still have one that is worthless because of the wear in the track.


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2104 posts in 3924 days

#5 posted 04-27-2010 06:06 PM

thanks for the info. I’m hunting for old dewalts at the moment. I’m worried when buying a machine this old, I’ll likely get something that has seen some serious use.

You never know, but I guess the best you can hope for is that the seller can tell you the owner history. hopefully it was family owned and a kid just doesn’t have an interest in woodworking or more specifically, in a RAS. Even then, I’d be going on a strangers word. I’m generally pretty trusting, but sometimes people just don’t know enough about the item they are selling to give an accurate answer.

Hopefully I can keep the price low enough that I’m not gambling too big. It would be more a matter of wasted time.

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