DeWalt 740 Radial Arm Saw

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Forum topic by uMinded posted 08-31-2013 03:59 AM 23534 views 1 time favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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115 posts in 3187 days

08-31-2013 03:59 AM

Topic tags/keywords: dewalt ras radial arm saw

I Just picked up a DeWalt 740 RAS for $25 and its in amazing shape. Everything works , there is no play or wobble at the end of the sliding assembly and the blade guard in intact.

I have been saving up to buy a King 10” sliding compound miter saw ( when I ran into this guy, Figured it might take its place or I could re-use the heavy duty base if it came to that.

I have never owned or used a RAS although I am not new to woodworking. I have two table saws and a non sliding compound miter saw but is there anything in particular I should know about? I have spent the evening watching safety videos on YouTube.

My intended use for the saw will be the odd long miter but 95% would be as a strait cross cutting station for cabinetry.
I have an 8” dado set that would be handy to use with this but that sounds a bit terrifying…

Would I be happy with this saw or should I clean it up and re-list it? What would the going price be for one in great shape?

16 replies so far

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

7356 posts in 3828 days

#1 posted 08-31-2013 12:40 PM

I’m a big fan of the RAS, especially the older Dewalts. But’s thats a key word: “older”. Those saws had solid cast iron arms, a very simple yet sturdy and accurate miter latch arrangement, and an extremely well built motor. Your saw is missing a few of these features. That doesn’t mean it can’t be a very serviceable saw, and you did get a great price. I think I would live with it for a while and see if it suits your needs, then decide on what you want to do. You can get a manual for that saw over at OWWM. It sould handle a dado set nicely, but will need to be tuned so it’s cutting a perfect 90°. You may want to pick up a book on using an RAS…there are a couple of good ones, by John Eakes (might find a used one at Amazon) or the Wally Kunkel book ( a little pricey with shipping). BTW, I’m not sure what motor that saw has, but that alone may be worth more than you paid for the saw.

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

View toolie's profile


2213 posts in 3963 days

#2 posted 08-31-2013 12:43 PM

is there anything in particular I should know about?

first off, where are the pics? general rule here is, no pics, didn’t happen, so lets get a few views of your trophy on here so we can get a look at it.

blade selection is a hotly discussed topic when it comes to RASs. negative hook angle blades are recommended for their less aggressive cutting dynamics. many WWs talk about RAS’s tendency to “climb” (more accurately, accelerate) towards the operator as positive hook angle blades aggressively remove material from a work piece. i’ve always had a positive hook angle blade in my 60s vintage c-man, and as long as the operator firmly regulates the feed rate of the saw carriage through the work piece, there’s not to much to worry about. this acceleration tendency is really amplified when using a stack dado set on a RAS, as i found out when fabricating hand rail posts for an outdoor deck. making the rabbet cuts in gradual passes greatly reduced the saws tendency to accelerate through the cut.

as for using the saw for other than 90° cuts, speaking for my saw only, it doesn’t much like to do that. nor does it like to be moved around the shop. i’ve found that a stationary location with jigs for angle cuts results in the saw retaining all it’s alignment settings. but that may be just my saw’s peculiarities.

-- there's a solution to every just have to be willing to find it.

View uMinded's profile


115 posts in 3187 days

#3 posted 09-01-2013 04:54 AM

I poked around on the saw when I got back this afternoon, figured I would see how repeatable 90deg is. Turns out the detent is not that great as I imagined but with a rafter square it was not that hard to get back into alignment.

It has a junk blade in it right now so I don’t know how well it can actually cut but it does work.[email protected]/9639794381/[email protected]/9643029562/[email protected]/9639792507/

View Barcados's profile


1 post in 1974 days

#4 posted 08-25-2016 03:43 PM

Were can I find the upper belt to move the column up and down for radial saw dewalt 740 ? thanks

View brian2000's profile


1 post in 1826 days

#5 posted 01-20-2017 07:44 PM


it has been a couple years since you got the Dewalt 740 RAS. How has it performed? I am looking at one for sale and wondering it you are happy with yours? Also what year was your saw made? Any comments about thinks to watch out for when I go to see the saw.


View uMinded's profile


115 posts in 3187 days

#6 posted 01-20-2017 08:18 PM

I don’t use it as much as I originally thought because of the following reasons:

1 – I can’t cut a 20’ piece of shelving with it as the rear frame needs to be forward so that the thickness of the material is in front of the blade. I measured from the current back fence as I did not understand this until first setup.

2 – There is no electric break, this puppy will stay spinning for about 3 minutes, I’m not joking. I planned on putting a breaking resistor with DC injection or running it through a DC speed controller (KMB 4 phase, not Chinese junk ones) but I don’t use it much.

3 – No blade guard. The one in the picture is a dust guard with terrible prongs. I tried to make a double scissor one but it would get stuck. Combine that with #2 and it’s not comfortable for quick jobs.

So in short if you are going to get one make sure the blade guard is a newer model or a common style you can still buy.

After that make sure it can cut the dimensions you need or it will never be used. Here is a picture of what I mean:

You would need to crank plunge the blade into the material to do a cut, looks fancy but is probably never used or is for a dado blade. This is what real use requires:

View HandyHousewife's profile


72 posts in 2065 days

#7 posted 03-28-2017 04:01 AM

Sorry to drag this thread back out…again.

We got this exact same saw for free, though ours isn’t quite as pretty as yours. We were hoping to fix it up and have it be better than our cheap Craftsman compound miter saw that doesn’t really “do” miters. eyeroll We don’t use it for mitering often (it’s mostly used like a chop saw), but when I do—for say, window trim—I want them to fit together like they’re supposed to. Do you think it would work OK for that? I notice that you have a fence, I was thinking about putting the Kreg or Incra fence on it…eventually. Would that be a worthwhile investment?

-- Striving for function *and* form, but settling quite happily for function. ;-)

View greenacres2's profile


382 posts in 3503 days

#8 posted 03-28-2017 07:29 PM

I had a Craftsman (mid-1980’s) that wasn’t worth a hoot. Picked up a 1958 Dewalt last spring—totally different saw. Well adjusted, with the right blade, proper education, and a dose of sensibility—a good RAS will do what you ask of it. Miss on any of those areas, and it will do whatever it wants.

As Fred mentioned earlier in this thread, the books by Eakes & Kunkel are excellent references on set-up. (I have both and prefer Kunkel, your mileage may vary) Blade types in both books still apply, but the selection is a little wider than when originally written. Currently I’m running a 60 tooth Amana with triple chip grind (TCG) and a -5 degree hook, and it is sweet. Definitely not putting an ATB on.

Fence on a RAS is meant to be somewhat disposable (I don’t mean the Incra extrusion part!!), I know that when I run a fresh kerf in my fence, set a good rule at the edge of that kerf and clamp a stop at the end of the rule—i’m going to get exactly what I want. I’ve got spare Incra extrusions, a TS-LS on my table saw, and LS systems on two router tables—but my Dewalt just doesn’t seem to need/want to join that party.

Good luck,

View uMinded's profile


115 posts in 3187 days

#9 posted 03-29-2017 02:18 AM

I actually got rid of my RAS a few weeks ago. I think the biggest thing to check out on a new RAS is how tight and repeatable you can position everything. Mine was fine once set up but if I moved for a miter it would take every adjustment to get it back to square.

I wouldn’t both with an expensive fence system on a RAS. A piece of T-slot on to top is handy for flip stops and if you want repeatability you can just use multiple flip stops. If get/build a micro adjust flip stop you will get all the positioning of the Incra for everyday usage.

I used a Freud LU91R010 blade I picked up on sale at Amazon for a great price. This was the biggest improvement in usability as the blade no longer grabbed the work.

Play with it. If you find it to finicky to move around for miters then see if you have a use for a one position saw, if it fits neither bill for you then you can sell it and look at picking up a mid-level sliding compound miter. I am looking at picking up a 12” King as they do go on sale for ~$300.

View HandyHousewife's profile


72 posts in 2065 days

#10 posted 04-10-2017 12:22 AM

I looked at that Freud blade too, it’s on the list for whenever we get the top finished. Thanks for the tips on the flip stops, we’ll have to look into that. Our saw supposedly has some sort of lock-ins for common angles, so hopefully that will help make the cuts more repeatable—we mostly just do straight cuts or 45s, but honestly, if it needs to be super accurate, we have a hand-powered miter saw that will do flawless miters every time, albeit slowly. ;-)

-- Striving for function *and* form, but settling quite happily for function. ;-)

View jonnybrophy's profile


160 posts in 1946 days

#11 posted 04-10-2017 12:47 AM

Its complete junk,
you know what, ill take it off yer hands and pay you what you payed for it
It totally hopeless, im just tryin to do a good deed

-- "If she dont find ya handsome, she better find ya handy"

View madman7134's profile


1 post in 1620 days

#12 posted 08-15-2017 03:09 AM

hello everybody. I am new to this site and new to woodworking. My wife bought my a dewalt 740 radial arm saw for fathers day. the saw right now is set to rip wood. I can not get the blade to rotate 90 degrees so I can cut wood or make angle cuts. I have tried using the release handle like the manual says. Please any help would be greatly appirciated.

View Sparks500's profile


282 posts in 1665 days

#13 posted 08-15-2017 12:24 PM

I wouldn’t use a RAS to rip anything, got a friend with part of his hand missing from ripping on one.
I have one for dedicated crosscuts and, with a dado blade installed, makes a great tenon cutter and plows great grooves for shelf supports.
I have SCMS for angle cuts.

Negative angle blades ONLY.


-- A good day is any day that you're alive....

View msinc's profile


567 posts in 1838 days

#14 posted 08-15-2017 12:41 PM

Interesting thread…back in the 70’s and 80’s the RAS was one of those “everybody had to have one” tools. Does anybody still manufacture these currently? They just seemed to kind of “go away” or fall by the wayside…I know they could be a pain to adjust sometimes, but I did a lot of things with the one I used to own. Got out of messing with wood for a while and sold it, now they seem to not exist. What happened?????

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

7356 posts in 3828 days

#15 posted 08-15-2017 04:08 PM

Several things. Very Cliff notes: Sears tried to make them an “all in one” tool and in doing so cheapened the design for the hobbyist. Their cheapening led to the other major player (Dewalt, which by now had been bought by B&D) to also do some stupid design stuff. These cost engineered saws didn’t do anything very well, let alone everything. The Sears design was almost impossible to keep aligned and the ones I had wouldn’t return to zero for anything. So I blame them for single handedly killing the category. Today if you want one, a good bet is the older Dewalts (maybe prior to the very early 70’s), and of the Delta turret arm models (they may still be made in the larger sizes) or something from the Original Saw Company, which makes the same saw as the old Dewalt, in large sizes. If money is plentiful for you, check out the Northfield Unipoint…which is my ultimate RAS.

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

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