Help with radial arm saw

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Forum topic by Dan Corbin posted 12-15-2013 05:48 PM 1203 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Dan Corbin

57 posts in 2125 days

12-15-2013 05:48 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question radial arm saw

I’m selling my band saw in preparation of getting a bigger and better one. A local guy is offering a radial arm saw as part of the trade, but I know next to nothing about these pieces of equipment (other than they come highly recommended and are incredibly versatile). Can you guys take a look at these pictures and tell me what you know about this radial arm saw in particular and what your recommendation as to a fair price point?

You guys are the best—thanks in advance!

-- ~ Dan, North Carolina,

11 replies so far

View woodenwarrior's profile


226 posts in 2158 days

#1 posted 12-15-2013 06:02 PM

That’s an older Craftsman ACCUCUT from about the mid 1960s. I had one in the 1969 model year. Its a great saw for what its intended however, the accuracy of cut is suspect most of the time as they are notoriously finicky to keep aligned. I sold mine a couple of years ago. Quite honestly, I think you would do better to buy a quality sliding miter saw. But that’s just my opinion.

-- Do or do not...there is no try - Master Yoda

View SPHinTampa's profile


567 posts in 3649 days

#2 posted 12-15-2013 06:26 PM

The first tool in my shop was a RAS … if I were starting with limited money, I would still get a RAS. However, if you have an established shop, a good Table Saw and a cross cut sled, a radial arm saw is likely to gather saw dust rather than make it. Not sure I agree that a sliding miter saw is a better substitute.

In Tampa, radial arm saws often sell in $50-100 range on craigslist. If you do buy it, get either Mr SawDust’s book on the radial arm saw or the John Eakes book at Fine Tuning the Radial Arm Saw.

-- Shawn, I ask in order to learn

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

4949 posts in 2456 days

#3 posted 12-15-2013 07:32 PM

That saw probably has a recall value of $100 (here). I agree, those saws can be good…or not. I’m an RAS fan, currently own 3 (only one in the shop) and have had 2 of the Craftsman saws in the past. Unless your in for a lot of aggravation, I’d pass on it.

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

View MrRon's profile


4710 posts in 3207 days

#4 posted 12-15-2013 07:38 PM

I had a Craftsman 12” RAS many years ago when Craftsman had good tools. It was impossible to keep the blade aligned and had to be checked every time before using it. I now own a Dewalt 10” RAS and very happy with it. I use it only for crosscutting and it stays aligned. I’d pass on the C’man. I don’t like the “mickey mouse” switch on top.

View bigblockyeti's profile


5090 posts in 1684 days

#5 posted 12-15-2013 07:52 PM

I too have seen many for sale in the $50 range. Personally I won’t buy one, my grandfather bought a used 10” Delta Milwaukee at an auction about 25 years ago and never did anything with it. If I am given that, I would clean it up and use it, but the only real advantage over a sliding miter saw aside from longevity is that you can use a stack dado set, which is what I would be doing. Another thing that might qualify as an advantage is if you happened to be cross cutting a lot of very thick, hard stock. A RAS would certain handle such a task better than a sliding miter saw. From my own personal experience, they can be a real PITA to get set up properly and some lighter weight ones don’t hold their settings as well as the larger (14” & up) ones tend to.

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2653 days

#6 posted 12-16-2013 02:04 AM

I have a very similar Craftsman RAS made in 1958 that belonged to my dad. I restored it and use it only for breaking down long stock to rough lengths. It has lots of power but won’t stay perfectly aligned despite my best efforts. Works great for what I use it for.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View tefinn's profile


1222 posts in 2400 days

#7 posted 12-16-2013 02:16 AM

I’m with Fred Hargis on ths one. That saw in good condition might be worth having in the trade or for resale on CL or elsewhere. In the condition it’s in it isn’t even something I’d restore. It looks in realatively poor shape (note the light switch on top instead of proper keyed switch). If it’s part of the deal for the bandsaw and you really want that, go for it, but the RAS isn’t worth anyhting on it’s own. If it qualifies for the recall you could get the $100.

-- Tom Finnigan - Measures? We don't need no stinking measures! - Hmm, maybe thats why my project pieces don't fit.

View jumbojack's profile


1674 posts in 2587 days

#8 posted 12-16-2013 02:31 AM

I to o have one about the same vintage. I have set it up to cut accurately MANY times. I have yet to figure what happens to throw it off.

-- Made in America, with American made tools....Shopsmith

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2653 days

#9 posted 12-16-2013 02:38 AM

Jumbo, I have had the same experience. I’m pretty certain that gremlins come in at night and “readjust” mine!

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View jumbojack's profile


1674 posts in 2587 days

#10 posted 12-16-2013 04:04 PM

The only thing I can come up with is the table itself is flexing/racking due to temperature differences. I have considered shoring up the frame with ply to counteract, but, like you gfadvm I mainly use it to rough cut longer material. The sled on my table saw trues it up.
That said the one pictured looks like the table is solid. Perhaps I should do something like that to mine. The legs on the pictured one are stout. Mine is the POS stamped thin wall steel.

-- Made in America, with American made tools....Shopsmith

View RogerM's profile


792 posts in 2362 days

#11 posted 12-16-2013 04:17 PM

I had one of these for over 20 years. It is OK for rough cuts only. Cuts with it are often inconsistent and inaccurate. It can be on the dangerous side if you do not choose your blades carefully. I got rid of mine several years ago by giving it away also.

-- Roger M, Aiken, SC

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