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.