1959 DeWalt Radial Arm Saw Complete Restoration

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Project by Blake posted 10-19-2007 05:13 AM 57547 views 20 times favorited 67 comments Add to Favorites Watch

———————————————————————————————————————————————————- FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE VISIT MY WEBSITE:

When I first started setting up my woodshop, I cleared out an old horse stables down in the field at my grandparents property. In the process of cleaning out the tiny “barn” I fond an old neglected radial arm saw rusting away in the corner. I didn’t even know what a radial arm saw was, but did some research and found that it was a 1959 DeWalt 8 1/2”… a very high quality machine and perfect for my small shop.

Apparently my grandfather had inherited the radial arm saw from an old friend who had passed away. The man had been a boatbuilder from Norway, who built a ship with his brother to immigrate to America in the 40’s. He was also a pianist, and the story goes that he cut the bottom corners off an upright piano in order to fit it into the belly of the ship.

I carefully took apart every piece of the radial arm saw and cleaned, painted and lubricated them. I even matched the original paint so well that you can’t tell it apart from the old. It was that classic teal-green with off white speckles, which I applied by flicking a toothbrush with my thumbnail. The only existing patch of original paint is on the inside of the blade guard (see picture).

When I put it back together I was the oldest but quietest, most accurate, most attractive and most beloved machine in my shop.

Later I built a workbench/cabinet for it to sit in (which I consider temporary). I also built a small dust collector that sits behind the blade and connects to my shop vac. After a few modifications the dust collector works great.

-- Happy woodworking!

67 comments so far

View Max's profile


55997 posts in 5735 days

#1 posted 10-19-2007 05:16 AM

Very nice job. Quite the outcome. I have an older 8” Black and Decker myself.

-- Max "Desperado", Salt Lake City, UT

View WayneC's profile


14359 posts in 5559 days

#2 posted 10-19-2007 05:16 AM

What a wonderful saw and restoration job. Well done.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Josh's profile


119 posts in 5400 days

#3 posted 10-19-2007 05:21 AM

I love it. Very nice job.

View cajunpen's profile


14577 posts in 5527 days

#4 posted 10-19-2007 08:38 AM

Great restoration – I really like hearing about vintage tools coming back to life.

-- Bill - "Suit yourself and let the rest be pleased."

View PanamaJack's profile


4483 posts in 5539 days

#5 posted 10-19-2007 02:40 PM

Very good save! Nice work. I have a vintage (1953) 6” paner I restored this past spring. Your job is better by far.

-- Carpe Lignum; Tornare Lignum (Seize the wood, to Turn the wood)

View Dadoo's profile


1790 posts in 5452 days

#6 posted 10-19-2007 02:46 PM

Excellent! I too have a fondness for my “restored” tools.

-- Make Woodworking Great Again!

View SPalm's profile


5338 posts in 5344 days

#7 posted 10-19-2007 02:53 PM

Sweet. Excellent job. I guess you did not have to replace the bearings, etc?

My table saw is from 1954. Someday….

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View CharlieM1958's profile


16292 posts in 5680 days

#8 posted 10-19-2007 03:42 PM

Fantastic job! It looks like it just came out of the box.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View mot's profile


4928 posts in 5498 days

#9 posted 10-19-2007 03:52 PM

Wow! Really nice job.

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View Blake's profile


3443 posts in 5336 days

#10 posted 10-19-2007 05:57 PM

Thankfully the bearings and windings were good.

-- Happy woodworking!

View mrtrim's profile


1696 posts in 5342 days

#11 posted 10-19-2007 08:55 PM

nice peice ! years ago i had one quite like it mine as i recall was either a 12 or 14 inch . it was the smoothest machine ive ever run. wish i still had it 1

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 5424 days

#12 posted 10-19-2007 10:09 PM

Great Job. If I remember right, this model was a bit like a ShopSmith, it had several other tools that mounted on it. I could be wrong on this but I seem to remember a drill and router/shaper, disc sander? Maybe some one else can tell. You really have something to be proud of.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View bryano's profile


546 posts in 5395 days

#13 posted 10-20-2007 12:59 AM

I Have a 1953 dewalt powershop and as Thos said there are attachments to go with this sow. I have a jigsaw attachment and a moulder and router and drill bits. You can also find a sander, a radial planer (safeT planer) and a lathe that hooks up to the saw motor with a belt. Good luck finding these tools,it aint easy.

Nice saw. I didnt have to replace any bearings ether.

-- bryano

View Blake's profile


3443 posts in 5336 days

#14 posted 10-20-2007 01:20 AM

Yes, there were several different attachments available. Scroll saw, planer, disk sander, overhead router, vertical drill chuck, shaper/molder, dado, ect. All very wonderful and dangerous. I see a lot of them come through the used tool store I work at (see my shop description). Most of them are for craftsman models.

-- Happy woodworking!

View TomFran's profile


2964 posts in 5456 days

#15 posted 10-20-2007 02:32 AM

This will make those cross cuts a lot quicker. Nice restoration job!

-- Tom, Surfside Beach, SC - Romans 8:28

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