R.A.S bad behavior

I just came in from the shop, and a thought occurred to me that I thought I would post about.
I was gifted an old Crapsman RAS from probably the mid 70's. I know; there are two camps on these saws, and I may not change anyone's mind that is dead set against them, but I think this post may sway some in the middle.
I put a new table on it, and proceeded to set it up square, and set the dog-trot alignment, then proceeded to make a cut. It was a beast, and did the ole "push towards you harder than you wanted it to" bit. I like a RAS, and I thinks to myself, "this is not normal." I began to investigate.
I found out the rollers that hold the carriage on the arm were so loose that it was allowing the whole assembly to move all over the place. So I set off to tighten them up. I did so, and then, it moved so rough that it was unacceptable. You know, like iron casters on a concrete floor with big globs of glue and sawdust stuck on to the casters. That kind of rough. (You might wonder how I know what glue and sawdust on iron casters feels like, but I digress) So I take the rollers off, and clean off all of the old oil and gook stuck to them, and clean the rails off, too. A touch of 400 grit sandpaper shines them up nicely. After I put them back together, I tightened the guide bearings pretty darn tight. So the saw moves freely, but it does not glide. Pretty much 0 slop. Good. That is what I wanted.
Re adjusted the square and the dog-trot of the saw again, and wow! What the difference. The saw has no desire to push at me any more, and the cut is smooth as a baby's but, even with a 40 tooth blade, that is in fairly rough shape, and even missing a couple teeth.
So, the moral of the story is, if your RAS feels dangerous to you, it just be the setup. Eliminate any slop, and set it up square in all three directions. It might be enough to tame the beast.
--
Jim in NC


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I just came in from the shop, and a thought occurred to me that I thought I would post about.
I was gifted an old Crapsman RAS from probably the mid 70's. I know; there are two camps on these saws, and I may not change anyone's mind that is dead set against them, but I think this post may sway some in the middle.
I put a new table on it, and proceeded to set it up square, and set the dog-trot alignment, then proceeded to make a cut. It was a beast, and did the ole "push towards you harder than you wanted it to" bit. I like a RAS, and I thinks to myself, "this is not normal." I began to investigate.
I found out the rollers that hold the carriage on the arm were so loose that it was allowing the whole assembly to move all over the place. So I set off to tighten them up. I did so, and then, it moved so rough that it was unacceptable. You know, like iron casters on a concrete floor with big globs of glue and sawdust stuck on to the casters. That kind of rough. (You might wonder how I know what glue and sawdust on iron casters feels like, but I digress) So I take the rollers off, and clean off all of the old oil and gook stuck to them, and clean the rails off, too. A touch of 400 grit sandpaper shines them up nicely. After I put them back together, I tightened the guide bearings pretty darn tight. So the saw moves freely, but it does not glide. Pretty much 0 slop. Good. That is what I wanted.
Re adjusted the square and the dog-trot of the saw again, and wow! What the difference. The saw has no desire to push at me any more, and the cut is smooth as a baby's but, even with a 40 tooth blade, that is in fairly rough shape, and even missing a couple teeth.
So, the moral of the story is, if your RAS feels dangerous to you, it just be the setup. Eliminate any slop, and set it up square in all three directions. It might be enough to tame the beast.
--
Jim in NC



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On 4/21/2014 3:51 PM, Morgans wrote:

+1. One of the first tools I acquired was a mid-60s Craftsman RAS. Built a lot of good stuff with it as my only power tool (except for a late 30s scroll saw). Dangerous? Hell yes. Follow proper operating procedures including push sticks, feather boards, etc. and keep your fingers and your dick out of the way.     mahalo,     jo4hn
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On 04/21/2014 03:45 PM, Morgans wrote:

My late model Craftsman RAS has a feature called "Control Cut". It is an adjustable motorized cable restraint to limit the feed rate and prevent climb cut problems. It works well, but as you have discovered, the first and most important adjustment on any RAS are the track and track cam rollers. Until this is done so the motor runs out smoothly and with slight resistance and no slop, all the other adjustments are for naught. My previous RAS was a PowrKraft that I had for over 30 years (until the smoke all leaked out) and only had to adjust about every decade. With proper technique, it never tried to attack me :-)
--
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gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery"
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