I need help with squaring up my craftsman radial arm saw and my craftsman table saw?

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Forum topic by Jim Reeves posted 05-30-2010 02:23 AM 4225 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Jim Reeves

202 posts in 1842 days

05-30-2010 02:23 AM

Hi everyone, been away for awhile having problems with my fingers, feet from dieabetic related problems and my heart is acting up so have not been feeling like doing much getting harder weekly seems to get up and down my stairs to basement workshop, just wish l had outsiden large shed or something with no stairs.
But anyway back to more important things, need to know how to get radial arm saw and table saw to cut square?
I have used a carpenters mid size and large squares just not working.

Started about 1 month ago cutting some oak boards for my sons dvd shelf and 2 oak coffee tables. I wanted to attempt to make didn’t understand why not square, then today noticed radial arm saw is off about 2/16 of a inch.
I thought maybe was me, a sign to try to go back to drywall mmaybe not good at woodworking, but l tell you depression sure sets in fast with me, when it looks like my goals, plans aren’t going to be.

I was thinking since table for radial arm saw is old, maybe should make new one think the fense is not square as well. Anyone have sketches of how to make a good radial arm saw table platform, once l get table saw square maybe can make it .
Thanks all


-- jim

14 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile


113062 posts in 2396 days

#1 posted 05-30-2010 02:35 AM

I never had much luck with either one Jim The one thing that one of my students had with the same problem was that there square was not square.

-- Custom furniture

View patron's profile


13261 posts in 2159 days

#2 posted 05-30-2010 02:57 AM

jim ,

that’s what i did .
it works great ,
i have added other features to it ,
works the same every time i use it .

one quick way to check for square ,
take a piece of scrap ,
straight and parallel sides ,
and cross cut it .
flip one end over ,
both against a straight edge ,
any variation is visible instantly ,
works better than a square you may not be confident in .

let me know if you need any further help ,

i would hate to lose you to sheetrock (LOL) !

and my prayers for your heath ,
get well , and let’s keep going .

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View thatwoodworkingguy's profile


375 posts in 1748 days

#3 posted 05-30-2010 03:35 AM

seems like more and more sqaures are NOT sqaure.

-- ~Eagle America~ ~Woodcraft~

View Dennis Fletcher's profile

Dennis Fletcher

455 posts in 1873 days

#4 posted 05-30-2010 05:24 AM

I have been working with mine to get it square, as well. (R A S, that is.) I have found that I have had to square my back stop to the saw, not the other way around. Also, i had to change my blade, as it was slightly bent.

--, Making design and application one. †

View Jim Reeves's profile

Jim Reeves

202 posts in 1842 days

#5 posted 05-30-2010 05:40 AM

Thanks my friends, never even thought of a square not being square, but come to think of it my small carpenter square is closer to square than the big rafter square wow hard to beleive.
Dennis will try replacing the back stop and reversing squaring.
Patron, l was reading in one o0f my many hundreds of magazines what said will play with it till l get it as square as l can.

Thanks for everything all you guys for comments of help.
Am greatful

-- jim

View Don's profile


514 posts in 1891 days

#6 posted 05-30-2010 05:44 AM

I think carpenter squares are as square as they’ve always been, square enough for a carpenter, not square enough for fine woodworking. The technique that Patron describes is the only way I ever square up a saw. By reversing one of the peices of wood you double the amount of error making it twice as easy to see. Even if I had a square that I knew was perfect I would still use this technique because it is so much easier to see how square your cuts are. I also use the same technique for setting my jointer.

-- Don - I wood work if I could. Redmond WA.

View a1Jim's profile


113062 posts in 2396 days

#7 posted 05-30-2010 06:38 AM

In the high school class were I teach my adult class I could not find one framing square that was square so I taught the class how to correct them using a center punch.

-- Custom furniture

View Jim Reeves's profile

Jim Reeves

202 posts in 1842 days

#8 posted 05-30-2010 07:41 AM

Thanks for info Don, forgot to mention to Patron if when l turn the pc over and is not square this may siound dumb, butt what do l do then if shows difference?

a1jim how do you correct it with a Center punch, not sure what you mean but would like to try it.
Thank to you both Don and a1jim for your needed help.


-- jim

View Don's profile


514 posts in 1891 days

#9 posted 05-30-2010 08:12 AM

Jim, if it’s ouf of square you’ll either see a gap on the side closest to you or on the side farthest from you. If it’s closest to you and you fliped the board on your right, then you need to rotate the arm counter-clockwise. If the gap is on the far side then you need to rotate the saw clockwise. Remember that the gap is twice as big as the error so move the saw or fence accordingly. After you adjust the saw do the same thing again. If you moved the saw the wrong way your gap will be bigger. If you moved it too much, the gap will be on the opposite side. You may have to do it several times to get the saw set square.

-- Don - I wood work if I could. Redmond WA.

View Pete_Jud's profile


424 posts in 2571 days

#10 posted 05-30-2010 08:25 AM

The mill that I consult to had the same problem, I put all of them to the line drawing test, and 5 went in the dumpster, way to far out to be punched, some were a 1/4-3/8 out at 24 inches. Now they test them, and then adjust. But they will drive over them with a forklift, and drop them. I have a 20 year old framing square that I love, but I test it every so often and adjust, and at least another 6 good squares in the shop that I check regularly.

-- Life is to short to own an ugly boat.

View Eagle1's profile


2066 posts in 1883 days

#11 posted 05-30-2010 12:38 PM

I check my TS from the miter gauge slot. Measure from the front and back of the blade to the miter gauge slot for accuracy. And I always do the same with the rip fence also. I know there a few videos on tuning up the RAS and TS on line you could always do a search for them. I have seen a couple of them and they were informative..

-- Tim, Missouri ....Inside every older person is a younger person wondering what the heck happened

View OttoH's profile


884 posts in 1828 days

#12 posted 05-30-2010 05:31 PM

Jim, I had that problem with my Craftsman RAS as well until I decided to spend an afternoon tuning it up. Yes I bought it new and I set it up, but as usual I did not read all of the instructions. There are some setscrews that are hidden in the back of the arm that when adjusted help in keeping everything squared up, If I had read about those earlier I could have saved myself a lot of frustration.

-- I am responsible for how I respond to everything in my life - - Deadwood SD

View a1Jim's profile


113062 posts in 2396 days

#13 posted 05-30-2010 05:51 PM

Sorry for getting back late Jim
The way you adjust a framing square is check witch way it is out of square and then take a center punch and put a punch mark to either open or close the the square on the inside of the square or outside ,when doing this you need to keep check to see if its come into square. You may need several punches to bring it into square if it’s pretty far out. Remember even a new square can be out of square. Hope this helps.

-- Custom furniture

View Knothead62's profile


2363 posts in 1779 days

#14 posted 05-30-2010 07:03 PM

Group, thanks for the info. I’ll do the cut-and-flip thingy to check my TS and chop saw.
Jim Reeves, we would hate to lose you to sheetrockjocks. BTW, hope you are doing better with the health issues.
Let me add here as an edit, when I sold cabinetry and lighting, I don’t recall ever seeing a square of any kind on a jobsite. Of course, it was obvious in some houses!

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