Can anyone please help me with tests to determine if my radial arm saw is set
It's an early 70's model Craftsman that I've inherited from my dad, I have the
manual and have replaced the table and fence. I think I set it up OK, but would
If you have the manual, the adjustments are explained in it fairly well
(IIRC) I have not read it in twenty years. If you have a good square
framing square you can replace the blade with the wrench and then set the
square's short leg against the fence and run the saw carriage out with the
wrench sliding against the long blade of the square. Watch the gap, you will
be able to see any major deviations. That is the best that a craftsmen is
expected to be.
Take a 2x6 and make a test cut, leaving the carriage out so that you only
move the blade past the wood one time. Turn the switch off and after the
blade has quit turning remove the wood and return the carriage.
Check the cut for square and any of the major adjustments will be obvious.
The three major adjustments will be squareness of the arm to the fence,
vertical angle of the blade, and skew of the blade. If there are teeth marks
at the back of the cut, the motor is skewed and needs to be adjusted. There
should be adjustments on the motor mounts.
By skew, I mean that the blade is slightly rotated from the line that the
blade travels as you pull the carriage out on the cut. The blade should line
up exactly with the travel line of the carriage.
The other adjustment is to check that the table is level with the arm .
Those adjustments should be obvious.
I never rotate the arm on my old BD/Dewalt saw (was my dad's, rip). If I
want an angle cut, I have a big 30/60 degree and 45 degree triangles. I
will tack strips down on the table at the angle I want and use them a
Fitted with a 10" 40 tooth carbide blade designed for radial arm saws, my
adjusted saw makes consistently perfectly square cuts in all planes. I check
the saw before each use and make sure it has not been knocked out of square.
If you want to enjoy the use of the saw, it is pretty important to use a
proper blade. It will not jamb up on you as often.
Keep your hands on the work away from the cutting area and your other hand
on the handle and you should be safe. If you need to flatten a piece of wood
as you cut it, make some sort of hold down. I have a 2x2 board anchored
behind the saw with one bolt. I can swing that sucker over and hold the wood
in place without ever approaching the travel line of the blade.
Check out Jon Eake's Fine Tuning your Radial Arm Saw, at your local
library. It can also be downloaded.
Excellent, easy to follow setup instructions and test procedures.
I to have a 70's vintage craftman Radial, bought it new, all i use it
for now is cross cutting, it was allways hard to keep the swing indexing
true but a solid unit.
Just follow the manual from the beginning to set up OK!
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