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Craftsman Radial Arm Saw

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Forum topic by chasferr posted 04-03-2019 02:25 PM 730 views 2 times favorited 28 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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chasferr

17 posts in 2498 days


04-03-2019 02:25 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question radial arm

I am having trouble setting my blade 90 degrees to the table for ripping and crosscut.
After adjusting the crosscut to 90 degrees I then turn the head into to ripping position. The ripping position is not 90 degrees. If I set the ripping to 90 degrees the crosscut isn’t 90 degrees.

I need some help please.

Thank you.
Charlie


28 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

117655 posts in 3997 days


#1 posted 04-03-2019 02:36 PM

High Charlie
I’m afraid that is just one of the reasons people are opting out of Radial arm saws ownership.

https://www.artisticwoodstudio.com/videos

View GR8HUNTER's profile

GR8HUNTER

6223 posts in 1133 days


#2 posted 04-03-2019 02:40 PM

this is why mine is laying outside in the field :<((((((((((((((

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN

View chasferr's profile

chasferr

17 posts in 2498 days


#3 posted 04-03-2019 02:52 PM

Yes, I’ve heard that. But you should at least be able to set it up initially. I’ve had this saw 40 years. Really grown attached to it.

View pottz's profile

pottz

5552 posts in 1404 days


#4 posted 04-03-2019 03:02 PM

yeah ive got one and love it but i never change the setting from a 90 degree crosscut because they are hard to keep accurate,so mine is just used for 90 degree cuts only.it gets used on every project.and as far as ripping leave that for the tablesaw,i know some will say it’s not a problem but with 40 years experience i dont recommend it.

-- sawdust the bigger the pile the bigger my smile-larry,so cal.

View CaptainKlutz's profile

CaptainKlutz

1497 posts in 1914 days


#5 posted 04-03-2019 03:12 PM

Prefer using radial arm saw (.vs. miter saw) for cross cuts. Miss not having space for one anymore.
But rip cuts on radial arm saw are tricky cuts to make. One of the scariest, except for maybe ripping with dado blade.
When using the standard negative hook blade, the saw pushes the lumber through the cut, and will send small pieces flying off back of the table. Attempt to use positive hook blade, and it will kick the wood back in your face when you let go. Ripping on a radial arm saw should always be a two man operation, which is hard in home shop. Which is another reason they are plentiful and cheap on CL, or out rusting in back lot.

YMMV

-- I'm an engineer not a woodworker, but I can randomly find useful tools and furniture inside a pile of lumber!

View WhyMe's profile

WhyMe

1160 posts in 1981 days


#6 posted 04-03-2019 03:14 PM

When I had that saw I didn’t worry about the rip position not being perfectly 90 deg because normally I square rips up on the jointer. If you are relying on getting a square rip edge on that saw for glue ups, forget it. Have you checked the table being level to the carriage travel (front to back)? Turn the arbor down to the table top and check gap from back to front between end of arbor and surface of the top. With the blade having a gap at the bottom from the front of the blade means the front of the table is high. Actually from the picture I’m not sure which way the head is turned. Either way the table is not parallel to the carriage arm.

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chasferr

17 posts in 2498 days


#7 posted 04-03-2019 04:36 PM

Thanks for all your comments. I appreciate your input. However….. lol…..
In 40 years of ripping, cross cutting, molding. Sanding.. you get the picture.. I haven’t had a problem. I’m thinking, those that are having problems ripping are not setting the saw or attachments correctly. For instance, I watched a youtube video, with a person who was held out as a Radial Saw expert. I watched in horror while he advised us to make sure you fed your material in the proper way while ripping. Then he proceeded to show feeding it from the wrong side. This was an expert? When you feed from the wrong side, it’s like moving to the back side of your table saw and trying to push the material through from the rear. What happens? As projectile is created.
I think some of the confusion from some of the comments I see, is that when cross cutting. You pull the blade through the wood while it is spinning down into wood, like a miter saw. The blade then pushes the material up against a fence and then is blocked against the fence.
That isn’t the proper way to rip.
Also, you should set your saw guard correctly.
The front of your guard should be rotated down to within a quarter of a inch to the material. This keeps the material from rising. You should also set blade guards kickback and riving knife properly. NEXT use push sticks and push blocks.

Sound like a lot? Well its the same thing you should be doing on your table saw for safety.

However, the radial gives you the following advantages over the Table.
1. The blade guard keeps the material from rising up reducing kickback potential.
2. You see the blade at all time.
3. You stand out of the way of kickback
4. Takes up less space than a TS
5. Will do many things a Table saw won’t Drilling, sanding, molding.
6. If a person has limited space. A radial will fit the bill.

Disadvantages
1. Harder to initially set up using all the pivot spots.
2. Takes a bit to break your TS mind set.

Sorry, to go on so long, but after watching and reading the negative, comments about the radial. From operators who have never taken the time to learn about them, and mocking bird comments from those that have never used or owned one before, I thought it only fair to present a little bit of the other side of the issue. The positive side

Now back to my original question. Does anyone have any ideas. I’ve used this saw for 40 years without this setup issue. Driving me a bit bonkers.

Either way thanks. This is tremendous informational site, and I do value your input.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5591 posts in 2913 days


#8 posted 04-03-2019 05:00 PM

I think the problem is with your table. It’s not (if I’m correct) parallel to the arm front to back. Check the manual but I suspect there’s leveling bolts to adjust for that. That said, it’s been years since I’ve had a Craftsman RAS, so I don’t remember the exact procedure. I switched to a Dewalt quite some years ago. (From an RAS lover).

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

View pottz's profile

pottz

5552 posts in 1404 days


#9 posted 04-03-2019 06:06 PM



I think the problem is with your table. It s not (if I m correct) parallel to the arm front to back. Check the manual but I suspect there s leveling bolts to adjust for that. That said, it s been years since I ve had a Craftsman RAS, so I don t remember the exact procedure. I switched to a Dewalt quite some years ago. (From an RAS lover).

- Fred Hargis


+1 i think your right fred,at least thats where id start.

-- sawdust the bigger the pile the bigger my smile-larry,so cal.

View LesB's profile

LesB

2126 posts in 3863 days


#10 posted 04-03-2019 06:11 PM

That was my first shop saw in about 1968 and I still have it The main complaint I have with the saw is I had re-square it every time you change the position of the arm or motor. I got real good at it. In the early days it was my only saw so I did lots of things including ripping, horizontal drilling, cutting molding with a shaper head and so on,. So now that I have a table saw. a chop saw and a band saw I just use it for smooth well controlled 90 degree cross cuts with a high quality Forest blade. The only repairs I have had to make on it was new motor bearings. It still works as good as it did 50 years ago.

-- Les B, Oregon

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

16142 posts in 3038 days


#11 posted 04-03-2019 07:04 PM

I am hitting Favorite to this post because of this RAS Manifesto… Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Signed,
A RAS Lover

PS: I too have a DeWalt and regretfully can offer no insight to your Craftsman calibration issue, sorry. I am curious: Is it the same degree out of 90 for ripping at the extremest distance from the fence as it is closest? That might tell you if indeed the table is off?


Thanks for all your comments. I appreciate your input. However….. lol…..
In 40 years of ripping, cross cutting, molding. Sanding.. you get the picture.. I haven t had a problem. I m thinking, those that are having problems ripping are not setting the saw or attachments correctly. For instance, I watched a youtube video, with a person who was held out as a Radial Saw expert. I watched in horror while he advised us to make sure you fed your material in the proper way while ripping. Then he proceeded to show feeding it from the wrong side. This was an expert? When you feed from the wrong side, it s like moving to the back side of your table saw and trying to push the material through from the rear. What happens? As projectile is created.
I think some of the confusion from some of the comments I see, is that when cross cutting. You pull the blade through the wood while it is spinning down into wood, like a miter saw. The blade then pushes the material up against a fence and then is blocked against the fence.
That isn t the proper way to rip.
Also, you should set your saw guard correctly.
The front of your guard should be rotated down to within a quarter of a inch to the material. This keeps the material from rising. You should also set blade guards kickback and riving knife properly. NEXT use push sticks and push blocks.

Sound like a lot? Well its the same thing you should be doing on your table saw for safety.

However, the radial gives you the following advantages over the Table.
1. The blade guard keeps the material from rising up reducing kickback potential.
2. You see the blade at all time.
3. You stand out of the way of kickback
4. Takes up less space than a TS
5. Will do many things a Table saw won t Drilling, sanding, molding.
6. If a person has limited space. A radial will fit the bill.

Disadvantages
1. Harder to initially set up using all the pivot spots.
2. Takes a bit to break your TS mind set.

Sorry, to go on so long, but after watching and reading the negative, comments about the radial. From operators who have never taken the time to learn about them, and mocking bird comments from those that have never used or owned one before, I thought it only fair to present a little bit of the other side of the issue. The positive side

Now back to my original question. Does anyone have any ideas. I ve used this saw for 40 years without this setup issue. Driving me a bit bonkers.

Either way thanks. This is tremendous informational site, and I do value your input.

- chasferr

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

View HackFabrication's profile

HackFabrication

140 posts in 132 days


#12 posted 04-03-2019 08:10 PM

I’m going to jump on the table issue too. You may need to shim it to get it perpendicular to the plane of the saw blade.

On a side note, I have a pretty old C’man RAS. It belonged to my wife’s father, who died sometime in the early 70’s. I got it when her mother decided to get rid of it.

I’ll be attempting a complete refurbishment in the near future. And this includes replacing the original table. I debated sending the motor/cradle back to Emerson for the $100 (I have the return box in the shop), but decided to keep it running.

-- "In the end, it's all Hack..."

View Bill Berklich's profile

Bill Berklich

830 posts in 809 days


#13 posted 04-03-2019 10:35 PM

Ok two things 1) If you are really going to use a RAS get the book “Mr. Sawdust” by Wally Kunkel. It’s worth every penny of the $40 price. 2) it Looks like your table is sagging. Shimming the table on a Craftsman is tedious but worth the time if you are going to actually use your RAS for any kind of precision cuts. And yes a RAS is fully capable of precision cuts – At least the older Saws are. Newer ones are a bit drifty and finicky.

-- Bill - Rochester MI

View chasferr's profile

chasferr

17 posts in 2498 days


#14 posted 04-03-2019 10:44 PM

Thanks RAS guys. It has been a while since I really focused on the top alignment. I have checked it, just in passing. But, haven’t really spent enough time.

I also will check to see if alignment gets worse as I measure farther toward the front..

I will give you all the results after I check it out.

And to RAS lover. Back at you
Charlie

View chasferr's profile

chasferr

17 posts in 2498 days


#15 posted 04-03-2019 10:54 PM



Thanks RAS guys. It has been a while since I really focused on the top alignment. I have checked it, just in passing. But, haven t really spent enough time.

I also will check to see if alignment gets worse as I measure farther toward the front..

I will give you all the results after I check it out.

And to RAS lover. Back at you
Charlie

- chasferr


Ok two things 1) If you are really going to use a RAS get the book “Mr. Sawdust” by Wally Kunkel. It s worth every penny of the $40 price. 2) it Looks like your table is sagging. Shimming the table on a Craftsman is tedious but worth the time if you are going to actually use your RAS for any kind of precision cuts. And yes a RAS is fully capable of precision cuts – At least the older Saws are. Newer ones are a bit drifty and finicky.

- Bill Berklich


I think the problem is with your table. It s not (if I m correct) parallel to the arm front to back. Check the manual but I suspect there s leveling bolts to adjust for that. That said, it s been years since I ve had a Craftsman RAS, so I don t remember the exact procedure. I switched to a Dewalt quite some years ago. (From an RAS lover).

- Fred Hargis


Thanks. I have Wallys book. Bought it a few years back. I also have Jon Eakes book that shows the s et up on a Craftsman, Dewalt, and Delta.
Ok heading to my shop for close table top inspections. Love all RAS input.

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