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Sawsmith Radial Arm Saw - Thoughts

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Forum topic by Dwain posted 08-08-2018 05:28 PM 307 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Dwain

556 posts in 3943 days


08-08-2018 05:28 PM

I am looking to add a Radial Arm Saw to my shop. I have already decided that I would like to have the saw, now I need to find the right one.

I have been told that the old deWalts are a great way to go. Also, the Delta Turret Arm models are really good options as well. Recently I saw an ad or a “Sawsmith.” In researching this brand, it seems there are several advantages, like the superior length and thickness of cut for a 10” saw, as well as the speed control. Still, the company that built these saws is out of business and I am worried about parts availability.

Lumberjocks, I am curious if any of you are familiar with this type of saw, and would like to get your feedback. The Sawsmith I saw on sale looks to be in excellent condition, and the seller is motivated.

Your opinions are appreciated!

-- When you earnestly believe you can compensate for a lack of skill by doubling your efforts, there is no end to what you CAN'T do


8 replies so far

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ohtimberwolf

847 posts in 2436 days


#1 posted 08-09-2018 12:38 AM

Dwain, I have never heard of this saw but here are several links that may interest you until someone chimes in here that knows of your saw. larry

https://www.google.com/search?q=sawsmith+radial+arm+saw&oq=Sawsmith+radial&aqs=chrome.0.0j69i57j69i61j0l3.16001j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

http://lumberjocks.com/search_results?cx=017914489645407774653%3Agwwk-zif3wk&cof=FORID%3A9&safe=high&q=Sawsmith+radial+arm&sa.x=0&sa.y=0

-- Just a barn cat, now gone to cat heaven.

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KTNC

85 posts in 340 days


#2 posted 08-09-2018 04:49 AM

HI Dwain:

I check CL everyday for RAS ads (an odd hobby perhaps) and I’ve never seen one for the Sawsmith. I just googled it and it looks like an interesting machine.

I’ve restored/repaired 3 RAS in the past year and decided that it’s best to buy two old ones. You might get lucky and find an old one that doesn’t need it … but I’d bet on having to do a lot of diassembly/cleaning/lubrication and repair to get it working well. If you have two old ones, you can make one complete saw and then have a supply of spare parts. As you mentioned, it’s very hard to find parts for these old saws and when you do, the seller wants close to the price of a used saw.

Since the sawsmith seems to be so rare, you might not be able to find two of them. The two saws I currently have are an older (1960) Craftsman and a 1970s Montgomery Wards. They come up on CL regularly. I like them both a lot.

I also repaired a 1990 Craftsman RAS. I liked it too, but not as much as these others so I gave that one to a friend as I didn’t need 3.

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msinc

481 posts in 587 days


#3 posted 08-09-2018 11:28 AM

I too am on the hunt for the right RAS. Here is my “thoughts” on this subject…first off, I am surprised that the big machine manufacturers don’t offer a current high end version. Radial arm saws were super popular for a reason back in the mid to late 70’s right on up into the 80’s or so. Rare was the garage that didn’t have one in those years. What I remember was that the “popular” versions were also kinda “Harry homeowner” and “cost effective” which is at least partially why they were so popular back then.
We had a very serious wood shop teacher in high school {late 70’s} and he outfitted our wood shop at school with “better” machines. I remember him preaching about quality radial arm saws, and the general message was that the better ones were Delta Rockwell brand and they were all 12” or larger blade size. They were definitely more expensive, but they were made heavier and didn’t seem to go out of adjustment very much. They also had plenty of reserve power.
I had several DeWalts over the years and burned up every one of them thru what I consider pretty much normal use. It took a while, but again…”Harry homeowner”. I do remember that the DeWalts of the day, while still not a professional grade machine, seemed to me to be designed better than the ever popular Craftsmen versions. I might not be opposed to one of those nicer “homeowner” DeWalts if it was in real nice shape. I think it would help a lot to keep a good sharp blade on it all the time. I didn’t have a table saw at the time and I think ripping thicker wood on it with a less than ideal blade was what did mine in. I guess there were some older professional grade DeWalts back then that would work just fine, I just never saw or used one.

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rwe2156

3034 posts in 1564 days


#4 posted 08-09-2018 04:33 PM


I am looking to add a Radial Arm Saw to my shop. I have already decided that I would like to have the saw, now I need to find the right one.

Your opinions are appreciated!

- Dwain


A sliding miter saw is safer and immensely more accurate!

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

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Dwain

556 posts in 3943 days


#5 posted 08-09-2018 07:05 PM


A sliding miter saw is safer and immensely more accurate!

- rwe2156

I think a really good RAS is not as accurate as a SCMS unless you keep the RAS at 90 degrees for crosscuts. Also, I’ve never been able to put a dado blade in the CMS I have. I love the idea of using RAS for dados and for crosscuts. I am confident, when set to 90, that a good RAS can stay accurate. I just am not sure if a Sawsmith is that saw. Besides, I can get more saw for so much less!

-- When you earnestly believe you can compensate for a lack of skill by doubling your efforts, there is no end to what you CAN'T do

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mountainaxe

151 posts in 2589 days


#6 posted 08-09-2018 11:18 PM

If you’re interested in the Sawsmith RAS, check out De Cristoforo’s book “Fun with a Saw” from the 60s.

-- Jeff, "The things I make may be for others, but how I make them is for me."

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Dwain

556 posts in 3943 days


#7 posted 08-10-2018 02:03 PM

Msinc,

I’m surprised to hear you burned through the DeWalts. I think you are correct though, if you got something bigger than the 3/4 to 1hp homeowner saws, you would be much happier. I am in the same boat, as I would like something a little more “industrial duty”. If I can find something with a 12” blade, and 1.5 to three hp, that would be perfect. I just don’t know if it is out there at my price range.

-- When you earnestly believe you can compensate for a lack of skill by doubling your efforts, there is no end to what you CAN'T do

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MrRon

4922 posts in 3327 days


#8 posted 08-10-2018 04:04 PM

I owned a Sawsmith many years ago. I paid $100 for it, used it for a while and sold it to a friend for $100. The most notable thing I used it for was to use the router feature to do a seldom used T&G on 2×6’s for a roof repair. As a saw, it would slow down while cutting. Maybe the variable speed mechanism on mine was worn. Other than that, it was quite useful. I would buy it, but not for more than $100. If you decide to pass on the Sawsmith, look for a Dewalt, and stay away from any Craftsman RAS; you will never keep them aligned. I had a Craftsman many years ago and now I have a Dewalt/B&D. Check this site, http://WWW.vintagemachinery.org for what RAS models to look at.

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