Radial Arm Saw Dilemma

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Forum topic by TheDane posted 07-01-2009 10:07 PM 1527 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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5399 posts in 3628 days

07-01-2009 10:07 PM

Topic tags/keywords: radial arm saw dewalt

I think is the kind of dilemma a LumberJock likes to have.

A friend of mine is re-arranging his shop to make room for a new lathe and bigger bandsaw. He decided to get rid of some older tools that he gets little or no use out of, including his DeWalt Radial Arm Saw. He thinks it was built in the late 50’s, but that is just a WAG.

He has offered to give it to me … all I have to do is haul it away. He says it is in working condition, but the table is pretty badly chewed up.

So, you’re asking “What’s the dilemma?”

The problem is, I know next to nothing about RAS tools, having only seen them on TV and in woodworking videos. I haven’t gone out to see it yet, so I don’t have model number or any details on condition.

So I am wondering what kind of grief I might be letting myself in for.

Any advice?

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

9 replies so far

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3550 days

#1 posted 07-01-2009 10:14 PM

Wait it’s for free and your worrying about it.In Scotland we don’t work that way LOL if you don’t like it sell it LOL now seriously RAS saws are great just watch that it has a guard likely hood is it will not so please make one.If your anxious get a book on ras saws or download Dewalts from their site.Have fun Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View patron's profile


13600 posts in 3306 days

#2 posted 07-01-2009 10:20 PM

free is GOOD !
we just did the reviews for sidestedmcgee and his ras this morning ,
its further down the pulse page read it .
if you dont want it you can GIVE it to me !

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

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2718 posts in 3251 days

#3 posted 07-01-2009 10:21 PM

I agree, what’s the dilemma. If you have room for it, take it. A lot of guys don’t use RAS’s. I always have, and woud hate to do without one.
That said, if it needs a lot of repair, it might not be worth it. Check it out before you decide.


View CutNRun's profile


122 posts in 3811 days

#4 posted 07-01-2009 10:32 PM

There should be a serial number plate either on the base or the column. This will have the model number and the saw’s serial number on it. If it is a round topped arm, it will be older than the newer flat topped models.

-- CutNRun - So much wood, so many trails, so little time

View CaptainSkully's profile


1590 posts in 3523 days

#5 posted 07-01-2009 11:14 PM

I loved having a radial arm saw. It lets you make dadoe’s from the top so you can line stuff up better. It allows you to work with large pieces since you’re moving the tool, not the piece. If you have even the barest of space in your shop, I’d grab it and refurb it. If you’re not happy with it after that, there’s always CraigsList.

-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 3709 days

#6 posted 07-01-2009 11:23 PM

The table top on radial arm saws needs to be replaced periodically anyway, so it’s not like it was abused. The first stationary power tool I ever bought was a RAS. I sold it a long time ago and have been looking for one ever since. I’ve been offered some older, small blade sized saws, so I’m holding out for a good old one. Hope yours is a good one. You’ll be surprised how handy they are, once you know what you can do with it.

View davidroberts's profile


1027 posts in 3450 days

#7 posted 07-02-2009 12:03 AM

a 1950s dewalt RAS, i don’t care which model, is a real find. just visit OWWM to see what i mean. you can buy Mr. Sawdust RAS book for about $25 and learn more than you ever wanted to know about RAS tables and techniques. if you don’t pick it up by the weekend, i’ll be very disappointed ;>)

-- Better woodworking through old hand tools.

View jerryz's profile


164 posts in 3243 days

#8 posted 07-02-2009 12:37 AM

If the top is badly mangled you can easily replace it with 2 pieces of MDF that tou can get at your big store, glue them both together to obtain your desired thickness.
Use the old one as a template to drill the necessary holes and you are in business.
Leveling it is not a difficult task and the procedure should be prety much universal for that type of saws.
I own 2 RAS the first one I bought it new in 1999 in Italy, a DeWalt, it is still over there, my second one is a used Craftsman that I purchased here in the US, it is the fancy model with electronic display and motorized height adjustment.
Don’t ask how much I paid for the first one, it was expensive however I love them both.
The have their uses and advantages.
If you are getting free, I would not hesitate one minute to grab it.

View TheDane's profile


5399 posts in 3628 days

#9 posted 07-02-2009 02:24 AM

Good advice … I appreciate the feedback. Guess I will run out to his place and take a look!

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

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