I found an older Craftsman (1960's) radial arm saw a few days ago, for 40$
looked fine, cleaned up real nice, leveled the table, added a new fence, it
runs fine until you cut with it, once the blade gets into the cut it seems
to wobble, making a kerf much wider than it should, the saw was made for a
9" blade but the guy had a 8" blade on it...I thought that might be an
issue, but thought I would see if anyone else has seen this before and what
the possible causes and/or cures that are out there....
Thanks for any help...
First thing to check--are _all_ the adjustments locking tight? Grab the
blade guard and try to move it in all directions. If it moves in any then
you need to find out what's loose and tighten it.
Next, try to wobble the shaft up and down and in and out and see if it
moves--if it does then you may need new bearings, which you should be able
to order off the Sears site.
Check the blade runout--is it wobbling on the shaft? If so the shaft may be
bent or the flat surface on which the blade seats may be deformed.
Next, get Jon Eakes' radial saw book
and do what it says (there are a lot of adjustments to tune, several of them
could be causing the problem that you're seeing).
Also, see if it is covered by the recall
<http://www.radialarmsawrecall.com/ . If it is you can get a hundred bucks
by sending the motor back--not as good as having a working saw but it beats
not having anything.
ALL excellent suggestions and could be a tutorial!
I would like to begin the inspection with UNPLUG THE SAW, but I admit to being a
bit paranoid about stuff like that...
I lapped the washers( retainers, collars, not really sure of the name )
on the sides of the blade flat...the blade does not have any play I can
feel on the arbor, the arm seems to be as square as I can
measure....both to fence and the table...sooooo I will try a better
blade and see if that helps any, the saw only wobbles when its
cutting...it runs very smooth until the cutting begins...I think the saw
qualifies under the emerson recall, so at the very least I might make a
few bucks off the saw...thanks to all for the advise...
Attach a pencil or nail to the saw blade. Set up your framing square
on the back fence. Set a tooth, pencil point or nail point to trace
the 90 degree leg of the framing square with the saw turned off. Do
things wobble then? I have a radial arm saw from a production shop.
The groves the 4 motor housing runs in is worn in the normal stroke
area. it is tight all the way back and all the extended.
I have a 10" Craftsman radial arm saw. I got it used back in the 1970's
and still use it. The manual for mine is available on the Internet (Old
Woodworking Tools). Google will find it. It's worth doing the
alignment procedure just to rule out things and get everything tight.
If the wobble only shows up when cutting, double check the blade. A
single bent or broken tooth can cause a lot of trouble. If dull or mis
sharpened, bad things will happen. Was it me, I'd invest the price of a
new carbide blade to get the saw running. What kind of shape is the
table in? If its warped, or badly cut up, cutting a new one might help.
On my Craftsman, table alignment comes first. You loosen the angle
irons holding the table to the base. Then adjust five set screws buried
in the bottom of the table with PEM nuts until you can swing the arm
from side to side with the blade just scraping the table. When the
table is flat, tighten the angle irons to the base to hold it in
position. Then use a framing square to get the arm at right angles to
the fence, and a combination square to get the blade at right angles to
Just out of curiosity....(and you probably have already checked
do you have two collars on the blade? (1 to the left and 1 to the
right?) I'm referring to the metal discs that go between the blade and
the nut at the end....I ask because I also found an old RAS, and one of
those collars was missing, which made for quite a wobble. Never cut
with it like that, though...didn't have the guts... :-)
Also, go to www3.sears.com and check out the model number of your RAS,
and take a look at a parts diagram of it. Make sure that you have all
of the important parts.
If the plane of the blade is not parallel to the line of motion, it'll
catch and cut a wide groove. Put a straight-edge across the blade
off and power unplugged, of course) and sight down onto the kerf. If
that's your problem. A single-LED flashlight can cast a useful shadow,
don't like squinting and have an assistant on a ladder...
Loose bearings are also a possibility, but you can tell by just
The first thing you want to do is to see if Emerson will buy it back for
$100. I am not sure where that is, but it will come up on a search.
If not, I wish you well, but don't have any advice to offer.
A smaller blade isn't going to make it wobble, but
that blade may be warped or it may warp during
cutting. So, try another blade before you do
It could be too much end play, check to see if the
blade or shaft can be moved left to right. If
it can, adding a brass washer may solve the
problem, but you will need to buy sheet brass
(check hobby stores for a package of several
sheets with different thickness) and make your own
washers. You want to get end play down to about
Last spring I found the bearings on mine (late 70's) out of whack.....I
could not properly align the saw, each adjustment just made something else
off....I removed the motor and had a small electric motor shop repair it
(approx. $100). Most likely sometime before I had bent something by cutting
a oddball piece of wood(foolish mistake) of which had actually wrecked a
blade. The bearings on mine are epoxied in place, the shop didn't sound real
thrilled with the design but knew how to fix them well......I was told (but
didn't check) that my motor was no longer available for
replacement.......before assuming such a problem make sure the blade is true
and all saw wear/alignment adjustments have been made. Rod
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