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DeWalt GW-1 RAS

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Forum topic by Floyd Hall posted 05-08-2018 04:07 PM 854 views 0 times favorited 32 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Floyd Hall

121 posts in 350 days


05-08-2018 04:07 PM

Topic tags/keywords: radial arm saw question

Hi folks,

I’ve been thinking about swapping out my basic, but very reliable, Milwaukee 10i chop saw for a full bore radial arm saw. My shop is 15ft x 30ft and doesn’t lend well to a full-scale 52i table saw set up. I could build a fancy cross-cut sled or I can get a big heavy duty radial arm saw and set up a station along one wall. That’s the decision I’m trying to make.

A big, heavy duty RAS just came up—a 1950s DeWalt GW-1. As far as I can tell, that’s a 10i saw with a 1 1/2hp motor set for 220v. The price seems high—$450. There’s also a 9i DeWalt RAS nearby of similar vintage. This guy wants $290 for that. I’ve offered both $200 because that seems to be the standard price. The guy with the GW-1 said no to that but seems willing to negotiate. So I’m going to do some research on these saws before I go to build a chop saw station. An RAS might serve me better if I can find the right one for the right price.

Anyway, I recently bought an old Darra James 95 I plan to refurbish and devote mostly to ripping. This RAS would be my cross cut/chop saw. It would also probably do my dado work. First question, can I run a 6i dado stack (which I already own) with a 10i or 9i RAS? Also, how hard is it to find parts for these old DeWalt radial arm saws? And how hard are they to set up and keep tuned? The RAS will not be used for ripping as I understand they don’t rip that well and can be difficult to get them back into alignment. But if I can increase my cross-cut capacity and get better dado cuts, it might be the way to go.

Floyd


32 replies so far

View Holt's profile

Holt

270 posts in 2708 days


#1 posted 05-08-2018 05:09 PM

I bought an old GWI for $300 and drove from Birmingham,AL to Conyers, GA to get it. I still do the happy dance about getting it. Not sure I would have balked at $450. but these don’t show up around me very often… Mr Sawdust loved that model, so his book is like an extended user’s manual for the saw.

-- ...Specialization is for insects.

View msinc's profile

msinc

476 posts in 583 days


#2 posted 05-08-2018 09:10 PM

You can definitely run your dado with either saw. I doubt very seriously you would be happy with the smaller saw. The GW1 is a nice saw. I would give $450 for one in good condition. Rockwell Delta used to make a very nice one back in the day that was 12”. I would take either one.

View Ripper70's profile

Ripper70

1084 posts in 988 days


#3 posted 05-08-2018 09:34 PM

You can find parts on eBay for those circa 1950’s DeWalts. Plenty of folks buy them cheap and then part them out. I had a GWH model from 1954 that was as solid as a tank. Put it on CL with a “Make an Offer” price and got $400 for it. Used the proceeds to buy a DeWalt DW780. Not bad, considering I picked the saw up for free at a an estate sale from a guy that just wanted to get it out of his father’s basement.

I did build the Mr. Sawdust table for it, calibrated it as per the vastly available info on the web, and it cut straight and true like a trooper and also accommodated a dado stack with no problems. It had a 1 h.p. 110v/220v motor on it so I’d say that $450 for the unit you’re considering is fair, especially if you’ve already planned out how you’ll put it to work.

-- "You know, I'm such a great driver, it's incomprehensible that they took my license away." --Vince Ricardo

View Roy Turbett's profile

Roy Turbett

168 posts in 3659 days


#4 posted 05-09-2018 01:32 AM

I’ve refurbished two 50’s vintage GWI’s and three of the smaller MBF DeWalts. Both models are patterned after the larger industrial DeWalt radial arm saws of the same era and are very accurate and hold their alignment exceptionally well. It is such a good design that the Original Saw Company bought the original DeWalt castings and still makes this saw with modern motors. I think their new saws start at around $1,200.

Keep in mind that the 60 year old motor bearings may need replacement. This is a moderately difficult task because its very easy to break the fan if you’re not careful. You can tell if the motor bearings need replacement because the saw will take forever to stop spinning. Carriage bearings are often sticky and gunked up but they are easily cleaned.

Ripping on a radial arm saw is not as easy as it is on a table saw but it can be done safely if you set the guard correctly and use the anti-kickback pawl. Unfortunately, the kickback pawl is frequently missing but it is an essential component for ripping operations.

I sold one of my refurbished GWI’s with new motor bearings and a new table for $600. I think bought it for around $125 at an estate sale. I paid $75 and $20 for the two MBF’s and sold them for $200 each after I refurbished them with new bearings and tables. I still have a DeWalt GWI in my main shop and am refurbishing a late 60’s DeWalt for our second home.

View Floyd Hall's profile

Floyd Hall

121 posts in 350 days


#5 posted 05-09-2018 05:31 AM

Funny you mention this because I had a friend re-do a 2 hp Doerr motor for a table saw and he broke the fan blade. Thankfully, he found a replacement. Anyway, it looks like I didn’t move fast enough on the GW-1, but I’ll know tomorrow. The owner of the 9i saw said they’d take $200.

What do you think?

Floyd

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5032 posts in 2573 days


#6 posted 05-09-2018 10:43 AM

I looked for a GWI (or 1030 round arm) for several years before I settled on a 1030K (same thing, but with square arm). Anyway, I had a couple of Dewalt 9” saws prior to that, and i did use my dado set on them from time to time. They have quite a bit less power, so the cuts have to be carefully controlled…but it can be done.

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

View Roy Turbett's profile

Roy Turbett

168 posts in 3659 days


#7 posted 05-09-2018 09:02 PM

Given the size of your shop and that this will be your primary saw, I agree with Fred and would hold out for a cast iron 10” saw. The early 9” saws had small motors on them because they were going into home workshops that only had 60 amp service for the entire house. As houses transitioned to larger service panels, so did the motors on the saws. Forget about the marketing ploy of “developed horsepower” and look at the amp rating. By way of comparison, the MBC and MBF from the 1950’s are 9” saws that are usually operated with 8” blades and have 9.0 and 9.8 amp motors that are rated at 1/2 and 3/4 HP respectively. One of the last cast iron DeWalts is the model T1531A made in 1968 and it has a 17 amp motor that is rated at 1 1/2 HP. It will take a 12” blade but you will get much better results with a 10” blade.

You can often create a “frankensaw” by taking the motor and yoke from a larger saw and use the carriage bearings from the smaller saw to upgrade the motor on the smaller saw. Guys usually only do this with the cast iron DeWalts because its the casting and overall design that sets them apart from the late model stamped metal saws sold by Sears and others. The guys at the Delphi DeWalt Radial Arm Saw forum can offer some great advice.

View Floyd Hall's profile

Floyd Hall

121 posts in 350 days


#8 posted 05-11-2018 03:40 AM

How hard is this to do? How much would it cost?


Given the size of your shop and that this will be your primary saw, I agree with Fred and would hold out for a cast iron 10” saw. The early 9” saws had small motors on them because they were going into home workshops that only had 60 amp service for the entire house. As houses transitioned to larger service panels, so did the motors on the saws. Forget about the marketing ploy of “developed horsepower” and look at the amp rating. By way of comparison, the MBC and MBF from the 1950 s are 9” saws that are usually operated with 8” blades and have 9.0 and 9.8 amp motors that are rated at 1/2 and 3/4 HP respectively. One of the last cast iron DeWalts is the model T1531A made in 1968 and it has a 17 amp motor that is rated at 1 1/2 HP. It will take a 12” blade but you will get much better results with a 10” blade.

You can often create a “frankensaw” by taking the motor and yoke from a larger saw and use the carriage bearings from the smaller saw to upgrade the motor on the smaller saw. Guys usually only do this with the cast iron DeWalts because its the casting and overall design that sets them apart from the late model stamped metal saws sold by Sears and others. The guys at the Delphi DeWalt Radial Arm Saw forum can offer some great advice.

- Roy Turbett


View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5032 posts in 2573 days


#9 posted 05-11-2018 10:45 AM

It’s very easy to do, but you have to be sure the motors will interchange (not all do). I changed a 925 (Frame 235 motor) to another one that only drew one more amp of power (Frame 236, I think). But that 1 amp made a significant difference in cutting power. The replacement motor cost me $100, and I sold the OEM for $35. Dewalt motor are labeled by “Frame” size and you can usually find out if one fits the other by asking over at the Dewalt forum.

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

View Floyd Hall's profile

Floyd Hall

121 posts in 350 days


#10 posted 05-11-2018 12:36 PM

For some reason I can’t seem to get signed on over there. It keeps rejecting my password.

Floyd


It s very easy to do, but you have to be sure the motors will interchange (not all do). I changed a 925 (Frame 235 motor) to another one that only drew one more amp of power (Frame 236, I think). But that 1 amp made a significant difference in cutting power. The replacement motor cost me $100, and I sold the OEM for $35. Dewalt motor are labeled by “Frame” size and you can usually find out if one fits the other by asking over at the Dewalt forum.

- Fred Hargis


View Roy Turbett's profile

Roy Turbett

168 posts in 3659 days


#11 posted 05-11-2018 03:46 PM

You can often change to a different frame motor if you also change the yoke. For example, you can put a GWI motor and its larger yoke in an MBF by switching the GWI carriage bearings with the smaller MBF bearings.

View KTNC's profile

KTNC

85 posts in 335 days


#12 posted 05-16-2018 04:36 AM

Hi Floyd:

Since you missed out on the GWI, consider an older craftsman (10 inch). I have a 1960 model 113.29003 that my father in law gave me. I restored it and it works very well. I also bought a 1950s DeWalt GWI and plan to restore it later. The craftsman come up on Craigslist all the time: buy two of the same model so you will have spare parts. You should be able to get them for between zero and $100. A few months ago, I bought a 1990 Craftsman radial arm saw (113.198111) and it just needed a “tune up” to be fully operational. I ended up giving that one to a friend so I could make room for the DeWalt. That saw had more slop in the indexing mechanisms than the older Craftsman but it can be returned right back to zero if you know the principles of precision as explained by Jon Eakes.

Don’t automatically dismiss ripping on a radial arm saw. If you have your saw all lined up, follow the best safety practices, and use an appropriate blade it works well. Blade changes are very easy on a radial arm saw, so it’s reasonable to change the blade if you need to rip some thick material.

If you want to get best use of your radial arm saw, here are a couple book recommendations:
Jon Eakes: Fine Tuning your Radial Arm Saw
R.J. Cristoforo: The Magic of Your Radial Arm Saw
Wally Kunkel: How to Master The Radial Arm Saw ( A must if you are joining the DeWalt Cult)

Good luck, Kerry

View Floyd Hall's profile

Floyd Hall

121 posts in 350 days


#13 posted 05-16-2018 06:06 AM


I bought an old GWI for $300 and drove from Birmingham,AL to Conyers, GA to get it. I still do the happy dance about getting it. Not sure I would have balked at $450. but these don t show up around me very often… Mr Sawdust loved that model, so his book is like an extended user s manual for the saw.

- Holt

Apparently it’s still there. I’m in a bit of a conundrum because what appears to be a 3 hp 16i DeWalt GE has also come up for $500. The GW-1 is pretty much whole—all the guards and ancillary parts are there, plus some of the cutter heads—but apparently it has been used for years with a very dull 12-tooth rip blade. Also I want a little more in terms of cross-cut capacity. The GW-1 will only cross-cut 13i or so. Anyway, I don’t think I will offer more than $300 for it, mostly because it has a 5/8 arbor and I can use my existing dado stack on it.

Meanwhile, I’m going to look at the GE tomorrow.

View Ripper70's profile

Ripper70

1084 posts in 988 days


#14 posted 05-17-2018 02:36 AM


Apparently it s still there. I m in a bit of a conundrum because what appears to be a 3 hp 16i DeWalt GE has also come up for $500.

Meanwhile, I’m going to look at the GE tomorrow.

- Floyd Hall

Get it! Those don’t come up often. Frank Howarth has a great video about his 16 inch DeWalt.

-- "You know, I'm such a great driver, it's incomprehensible that they took my license away." --Vince Ricardo

View Floyd Hall's profile

Floyd Hall

121 posts in 350 days


#15 posted 05-18-2018 03:17 AM

Okay, the GE above did not work out. For one thing it was missing some pieces. For another, the seller couldn’t (or wouldn’t) give me even basic information about it. So I just decided to pass.

Anyway, I now have TWO 5 hp 16i DeWalts on my radar. One is a completely refurbished 3-phase 5hp GE, the other is a 1-phase 5 hp 3551. Prices are about the same, specs are about the same. So the big question is what does it take to get set up for a 3-phase 5 hp GE? It looks like a VFD would be too expensive now, but what does it take to set up a RPC for a saw like this. Right now I have a 20 amp circuit with 220v service in the shop.

And if I decide to go with the 3551, is there anything I have to upgrade—say to a 30 amp circuit?

Floyd

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