I want to buy a used radial arm saw and need advice.

I've got my heart set on a used radial arm saw. I know they have sort of gone out of fashion but I still want one. The problem is, I don't have a lot of money to spend on one. There are lots of Sears Craftsman around for between 100 and 250 dollars, but I'm having my doubts I will be happy with that. I was in Sears the other day and looked at a brand new one, I put my hand on the handle and it seemed to me that there was a lot of play and not just in one direction either. Can this play we adjusted out when I get it home? Are the older saws any better? What would you recommend? Thanks in advance for anyones comments.
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While I really am not fond of the newer Sears stuff .. don't assume that the one you touch & feel in the store was correctly assembled and/or aligned. Even if it was properly assembled, hundreds of people wander by & give everything on the saw a tug or a push .. .. don't condemn it for that reason alone.
That said, look for a good clean used saw .. I just helped a friend sell one of the last models Emerson made for Sears .. it was brand new and it went for $400 with a bunch of accessories & extras.
On 22 Apr 2004 19:29:45 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@telus.net (Bob) wrote:

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Bob wrote:

There is an out-of-print book entitled "Fine Tuning Your Radial Arm Saw" by John Eakes that you should try to get if you are thinking about going with one.
It provides a reliable procedure for alignment and describes the full set of adjustments on several brands of radial saw including Craftsman--they all pretty much have the same adjustments.
The play you describe is very likely a matter of adjustment, and may also be the result of your unfamiliarity with the tool--there are five separate motions possible and each of them has an alignment adjustment, a friction adjustment, and several have pin-locks at 0, 45, and 90 degrees and friction-lock as well. If you've missed one of the locks that can make things seem excessively sloppy.
A saw set up in a store shouldn't be taken as representative--it has probably not been tuned (it's quite possible that nobody at the store even knows _how_ to tune it) and further it's very likely that customers have been messing with it.
FWIW, my 20-year-old Craftsman when the pin-locks are engaged and the friction-locks set has no play beyond that resulting from flexing of the metal in any axis.
--
--John
Reply to jclarke at ae tee tee global dot net
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I can't find the book through either of the big book Borgs used book search engines. It IS available in PDF from the following URL:
http://www.wired-2-shop.com/joneakes/ProductDetail.asp?ProdID=3
It's $14.95 and you download the book and then print it our. No paper copies.
Agkistrodon
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Definitely out of print. The original publisher was none other than Lee Valley. I bought one of their last half dozen a couple years ago. Lent it to my brother and have yet to get it back, so I've also purchased the .pdf version. I notice that LV has been reprinting many old books, maybe we can lean on Rob Lee to bring back this one also.
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Agki Strodon wrote:

This link will give you an idea of general adjustments:
http://owwm.stangii.com/Manuals/Radial_Arm_Saw_Owners_Manual_113.29410.pdf
I forget where I pirated this from.
--
Mark

N.E. Ohio
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I found that book at my local library. Try yours.
It is a good book. See http://www.joneakes.com Possibly the author knows where to get the book?

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I've used radial arm saws for crosscutting and love them. In my opinion they're much better than a sliding compound miter saw in a woodworking shop. I wish I had the space to keep one. Look for a used Rockwell/Delta or Dewalt. Either brand builds/built excellent RASs. If it were my money I'd look for a Rockwell/Delta with pivot point midway on the arm and an elevation crank at the front of the table for ease in raising or lowering the arm. Check Ebay, Penny Saver, local paper, local used machinery dealers, etc.
I'd stay away from the newer Craftsman RASs as well as those made by Ryobi, and Rigid. Perhaps those made a while back, say 70s or 60s might be good.
Layne
On 22 Apr 2004 19:29:45 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@telus.net (Bob) wrote:

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On 22 Apr 2004 19:29:45 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@telus.net (Bob) wrote:

machine has been assembled correctly.
Having said that a used Dewalt would be what I would look for.... I purchased a Sears RAS in the early 60's (so old it is not covered by their recall) that holds its settings pretty well....and I have absolutely no plans to replace it .... I will admit that the last miter cut I used if for was at least 25 years ago ..
Bob Griffiths .
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snipped-for-privacy@telus.net (Bob) wrote in message

You might consider auctions. Last year I missed a Delta Rockwell RAS at an estate sale. It was in good shape with a stand. It went for $50. Last week I bought a Multiplex RAS, a industrial model, 120 Volt, all cast iron, on a heavy stand missing the lower part of the blade guard and the plywood table and metal table brackets for $2.00. Fiqured I could afford to lavish some money on it for that price.
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I don't think any RAS has very good indexing stops. An old Craftsman with cast iron arm and ways does me very well. I check it with a square, lock it at 90 degrees and leave it there. Miters are done with either a fixed angle auxiliary fence for right/left 45s or a movable arm fence which is set as required. Only use the RAS for cut off, occasionally for drum sanding and router bit on auxiliary drive.
Walt Conner

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All depends on the make of the saw. The old DeWalts are superb saws. The arm can be moved all day long for bevels and still come back exactly at 90 degs. They rip safely and make great shapers and moulders.
Many a fine DeWalt goes for under $500 on Ebay.
Join us: Radial Arm Saw Forum: http://forums.delphiforums.com/woodbutcher/start
--
Rumpty

Radial Arm Saw Forum: http://forums.delphiforums.com/woodbutcher/start
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Hey Bob, Just coincidentally, I'm selling an old DeWalt RAS. Not using it much, and I need the room. I think it's about 60's vintage, judging by the dates on the patents and copyrights, and runs well. It's in the Seattle area, I got pictures I could e-mail, asking $125 and I can ship.
Snakewood
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