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Showcase cover image for 1959 DeWalt Radial Arm Saw Complete Restoration

Project Information

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FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE VISIT MY WEBSITE: blakeweber.us
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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.

Gallery

Comments

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56,015 Posts
Very nice job. Quite the outcome. I have an older 8" Black and Decker myself.
 

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14,500 Posts
What a wonderful saw and restoration job. Well done.
 

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14,592 Posts
Great restoration - I really like hearing about vintage tools coming back to life.
 

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4,484 Posts
Very good save! Nice work. I have a vintage (1953) 6" paner I restored this past spring. Your job is better by far.
 

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1,819 Posts
Excellent! I too have a fondness for my "restored" tools.
 

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5,351 Posts
Sweet. Excellent job. I guess you did not have to replace the bearings, etc?

My table saw is from 1954. Someday….
 

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16,431 Posts
Fantastic job! It looks like it just came out of the box.
 

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4,967 Posts
Wow! Really nice job.
 

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3,464 Posts
Thankfully the bearings and windings were good.
 

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1,707 Posts
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
 

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4,452 Posts
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.
 

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563 Posts
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.
 

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3,464 Posts
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.
 

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2,983 Posts
This will make those cross cuts a lot quicker. Nice restoration job!
 

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563 Posts
If you havent already, Check out or buy a Mr. Sawdust book. It shows you all the operations you can do with a radial arm saw.
 

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14,500 Posts
LOL - Last thing I need, but I called the guy and bought it. Will pick it up later tonight.
 

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3,464 Posts
Great! That is an excellent saw. Take the time to get it in good condition and it will reward you. It is small and not super powerful but perfect for my small shop because I can run it on 110v. You can wire it for 220v, however, and then it would probably be a little more powerful. The key is a sharp, negative hook, and especially a THIN KERF blade. The thin kerf blade will give any saw much more cutting power. I really have liked the Freud blade that I put on my saw.
 
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