Another Dewalt radial arm saw #1: Dewalt radial arm saw

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Blog entry by OregonWoodRat posted 05-16-2012 11:38 PM 35624 reads 4 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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I got this Dewalt radial arm saw from Criagslist for $80.00 Feb 2012. It is an MBC 202, 1/2HP, 9 inch blade.

The person I purchased it from had lost the key for the switch and it was in a storage unit so there was no power to run it any way. I took a chance and bought it. After getting it home the first thing I did was to take the keyed switch out. That is when I learned that the keyed part of the switch was a removable attachment to a regular toggle switch. After getting the switch back in and plugging it in the thing ran great.

I spent several days cleaning the saw and rebuilding the table. I made the table from two layers or ¾ inch MDF and one layer of ¼ hard board. The rails underneath are Uni-strut. The table is adjustable using a double nut system. The fence is Oak and glued and screwed to the two layers. The back part of the table is one layer of ¾ and is intended to help keep the sawdust out of the lower frame area.

The stand is just dressed up 2×4’s and a piece of ¾ plywood for the top. The extension to the table is removable and works great for supporting longer pieces.

The stop I used is an electrical part found at Home Depot. I had a co-workers husband mill the sides flat and it works great. Not bad for 3 dollars.

I installed a paddle switch on the front of the table. I felt it would make turning the saw on and off safer. I ran the cord from the saw to the switch and then a cord to the wall outlet. The toggle switch on the saw arm is always on and I simply turn the saw on and off from the paddle switch.

After spending a lot of time looking on the internet as to where to set the fence distance from the blade, I decided to set the fence so the blade is just at the top corner of the fence. What I did not see was that for ¾ thick pieces it was fine but 1.5 inch the wood was a little close to the blade and if I tried to cut a 2 inch thick piece the blade would be cutting into the wood when the blade begins to turn. Since I wanted maximum cut I set the blade as close to the fence as possible. I mainly cut ¾ inch on this saw so it is not much of an issue. The length of 90 degree cross cut is 14 inches.

So I do have a question for the LJ folks that have a RAS. What is the ideal distance from the center of the blade to the fence?

Last Saturday the bearings in the motor went out. So I will be posting my rebuild of the motor.

-- Peter, A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.

17 comments so far

View jeffbranch's profile


110 posts in 4150 days

#1 posted 05-17-2012 12:52 AM

Lucky you. The radial arm saw gets no respect these days. I’d like to have one some day.


View Nate Meadows's profile

Nate Meadows

1132 posts in 3704 days

#2 posted 05-17-2012 04:09 AM

Jeff is right, the Radial Arm gets no respect at all. It is an amazing tool I am not sure I understand your question. It looks like you already have your fence set up?

Very Respectfully,


-- "With a little bit of faith, and some imagination, you can build anything!" Nate

View OregonWoodRat's profile


174 posts in 3784 days

#3 posted 05-17-2012 04:25 PM

Thanks for the comments. I knew I was not going to be able to ask the question in an intelligent manner, but basically how close do most people put the fence to the blade. I think mine is a bit too close but I wanted maximum cut length. I do love my RAS. I think it is great and as far as being more dangerous than other equipment I do not think so. It can also be very accurate, if set up correctly.

-- Peter, A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.

View mrbutton1952's profile


7 posts in 3799 days

#4 posted 05-17-2012 11:15 PM

Looks like a great find. The fence should be far enough from the blade that thicker stock will still clear the blade. Since you mention it’s a 9” blade I don’t forsee trying to cut much 12/4 but you might still want that much clearance.

-- -Marvin-

View Richard Dunlap's profile

Richard Dunlap

65 posts in 4362 days

#5 posted 05-19-2012 09:52 PM

I have that same saw, inherited from my father. I was 8 when I went with to buy it and have been using it on and off ever since. I love it.

View Richard Dunlap's profile

Richard Dunlap

65 posts in 4362 days

#6 posted 05-19-2012 10:05 PM

If you need to cut thicker stock put a 1 inch or so strip of 1/2 or 3/4 ply wood, laid flat againts the fence and then put your to be cut against the ply.

View OregonWoodRat's profile


174 posts in 3784 days

#7 posted 05-21-2012 04:33 PM

Richard, Thanks for the suggestion. I did not think of using a strip of wood to move the fence out.
Excellent thanks.

-- Peter, A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.

View Leo's profile


7 posts in 5470 days

#8 posted 08-21-2012 03:31 AM

I just purchased close to the same saw yesterday for $75 on CL. MBF-236 with same color, same look. What I was really impressed with when I got it home, was the precision and craftsmanship put in these Old DeWalt’s. Man O Man are these things built to last. I wouldn’t take 10 Craftsman RAS for this one. And you are right, the RAS’s get no respect anymore, with the sliding cut off saws coming out. But you can’t beat Traditional Olde Arn. And these old DeWalts are among the best. Good Buy and I hope you enjoy your saw.

-- Exotic Wood Freak!!!

View OregonWoodRat's profile


174 posts in 3784 days

#9 posted 08-21-2012 08:02 PM

I need to post my rebuild of the motor but I got it running again and I fully adjusted the saw. I can now make a 90 degree cut within .0005. not too bad for 14 inches of cut length. So when Mr. Saw Dust said it can be adjust to be very accurate he was right.

So Leo get the saw adjusted really good and you will be very happy with it. I like it better than the sliding miter saws.

-- Peter, A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.

View Underhill's profile


1 post in 3499 days

#10 posted 12-02-2012 08:50 PM

My Craftsman RAS is designed with the rear parts of the top in two removable pieces so that the fence clearance can be changed easily to accommodate thicker wood or wider when ripping. Perhaps a similar top could be arranged for your saw.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


17836 posts in 4116 days

#11 posted 12-02-2012 09:36 PM

Nice saw, mine’s a MBF and I wouldn’t trade it for any SCMS… Congrats!

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. - OldTools Archive -

View OregonWoodRat's profile


174 posts in 3784 days

#12 posted 12-04-2012 07:04 PM

Underhill and Smitty, Thanks for the comments. I still need to post the motor rebuild but I have been using mine and with the Blade from forrest it cuts great. To cut thicker pieces I put a spacer between the fence and piece of wood and that works good.

When properly adjusted RAS saws can be wonderful to use. I like to use it for many cuts over using a miter saw or table saw. I think each has its place.

-- Peter, A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.

View a1Jim's profile


118334 posts in 5074 days

#13 posted 12-04-2012 07:14 PM

A good find ,for those who want RASs these guys are the ones to have.


View trz's profile


90 posts in 3983 days

#14 posted 12-24-2012 08:18 PM

I too just aquired my dads old dewalt (not sure which model yet) 9” ras. I was just wondering what blade you folks will be using on your saws?

View Grandpa's profile


3265 posts in 4173 days

#15 posted 12-24-2012 08:41 PM

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