Table saw rail bent NEED ADVICE

The front rail on my tablesaw got bent in a move. It's the part that the fence moves on and clamps down on to, with the ruler on it that shows you how far from the blade the fence is. The last 3 inches on the left got bent slightly inward and I need to straighten it out, as I can no longer move the rip fence all the way to the left now. I'm afraid to go whacking on it with a hammer or mallet, since it appears to be aluminum and would probably break. I was thinking of heating it with a torch and CAREFULLY bending it back into position with a vice grips. Do you think that a propane torch, like the ones they sell everywhere for $20-30 would be suffucient for the job? If anyone can think of a better way, I'd appreciate hearing it. It's an old Craftsman saw from the 60's when they still made real tools, and that rail is no longer available.
Thanks Tony
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Are you sure it's aluminum? My Craftsman table saw from the late 70's had steel rails. Try a magnet on it to make sure it's not steel.
--
Mike Iglesias Email: snipped-for-privacy@draco.acs.uci.edu
University of California, Irvine phone: 949-824-6926
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I wouldn't heat it, especially aluminum. If you don't know how to do it with a press and blocks, see if you can find a small machine shop.
I expect it could be replaced with a few bucks worth of new stock.
Have you talked to the people at Sears parts? They are pretty good...may be able to find it on another model.
Wilson

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There are machine shops in larger areas who speciaize in straightening stuff. Check your Yellow Pages. Depending on the specific configuration of the piece it could be carefully straightened on an "H" frame press. You press a little and check with a dial indicator and then press a little more with the piece between two supports. the trick is to press enough without distorting the piece in the opposite direction. The springback of the metal makes it a little bit of an art,
Charles

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Best answer would be to check with Sears and see if you can just replace it
John

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As others have mentioned, try the Sears Parts and Service. I recently got replacement parts for my Craftsman 1950's vintage RAS shipped from stock. Amazing! I wasn't so lucky on the Craftsman "100" drill press. That repair sent me to the machine shop. Hopefully you'll be lucky.
Here's the link where you can enter the old part number. It will cross reference to any new numbers for the same part.
http://www3.sears.com/
Good luck,
Tom
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Could you saw it off and move the rail sideways by 3" ?
-- Smert' spamionam
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