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Thread: vintage Craftsman radial arm saw tune-up/upgrade

  1. #1

    vintage Craftsman radial arm saw tune-up/upgrade

    To all vintage Craftsman power tool owners/woodworkers who love to bring tools to life, for information and guidance:
    I own a 1965 Craftsman 10" radial arm saw, model number 113.29410. My father bought this new and to my knowledge never used it. It sat in my garage for 25 years after my father's death in 1996. In 2019, I discarded the metal cabinet and mounted it on a Kreg Tool universal bench frame, disassembled it to return it to working order (the original machine grease had hardened), and made a new MDF cutting table to match the original one.
    Here are my questions:
    1. I understand there was a recall on this model in the 1980's for the blade guard assembly. In researching this issue, I found that the company that was manufacturing and providing the replacement kit to Craftsman owners is no longer producing the kit. Does anyone know of the kit's availability?
    2. I plan on using the machine for cross cutting and am aware of the controversey related to the danger of ripping wood stock. In viewing videos demonstrating tuning up this power tool, some people have made their own new cutting table, always with 90 and 45 degree cuts into the cutting table. I don't understand the reason for this. Is it neccessary to make these cuts?
    3. I understand the fence is scarificial, but I plan on putting a tape measure on the top of the fence for left and right cross cuts. Does anyone one have an alternative fence design to incorporate measuring tape and avoid the fence from being scarificial?
    4. Right now all of the component parts are in working order. Some parts though show there age and are not worth the time to refurish. I know Craftsman has a parts website for some of the most commonly requested parts, but does anyone know of sites/companies that I could research for a wider availability of parts?
    5. Are the any suggestion for tuning up this tool that I should consider? Any specific blade type (other then for cross cutting) or blade manufacturer that I should consider?
    6. In terms of lubricate, the swivel of the radial arm on the adjustable post is the most difficult to do since it requires removal of the end cap and to place a saturated cloth of lubricant on a wooden dowel to lubricate the lock pin. Does anyone have a suggestion for any easier method? This model does not have a slotted cut out of the caste iron arm for easier access to the lock pin.
    As with my first posting, regarding a vintage 1965 Caftsman 10" table saw, I look forward to your responses.
    Mark Mrsa

  2. #2
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    The bolts that the rollers are mounted on are ecentric. You can play around with them, and get absolutely all the slop out of the slide, as well as get it aligned perfectly.

    I don't know about that specific model, but I have a 12" that I bought new in 1973. It's been set up for a couple of decades, for only cutting perfect 90 degree crosscuts. I use it for tenon shoulders, and such.

    I never worried about getting the blade guard replace, so don't have any answers about that.

    I made a 6' long base for it, as I took it out of the box, and it's still on it. The fence was designed to be replaced easily, as is the top layer of 3/4" Birch plywood. If I put another top on it, which it's about due for, I intend to put a shop made, replaceable zero clearance insert in it.

    If you go to all the trouble of getting it to cut perfect cuts, you can't ever let it lock up in anything, or I imagine it would throw it off. I haven't with mine in a couple of decades, at least.

    I don't swivel mine. I use a sliding miter saw for those cuts.

    It does raise, and lower, and the column gets lubed.

    Crosscutting on a table saw scares me. I don't remember the last time I did any crosscutting on a table saw.

    There are many good blades.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Northwest Indiana
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    701
    Best wishes on bringing your father's saw back to life. I've got a 1957 Dewalt GWI that is a daily user and a 1946 Red Star 14" that needs some rehab (Dad brought it home when his factory closed in the early 1960's--even has a Red Star blade on it--which i'll never cut anything with!!). My first RAS was a late-70's Craftsman, i got the recall kit for it and then later sent the head in for a bounty. I do have the blade guard in the garage somewhere--i can try to find this weekend on the off chance it would fit yours as well. In all candor--i don't think the upgrade looked or felt any safer, proper blade and good technique is much more valuable.
    While it's geared toward Dewalt saws, i'd suggest a copy of Wally Kunkel's book "How toMaster the Radial Arm Saw". It's sold by his family at https://www.mrsawdust.com/, unless you can find a used copy anywhere. It's dated, any the adjustment screws on your saw will be a little different--but it will put you on the right track. His thoughts on building a table are still valid, and was the basis of my table build for the GWI. I only used 1/4" luaun for my top layer--no need to ever take the blade deeper than 1/8" below the top. As for blade--cross-cut should be neutral to a slightly negative rake with a high tooth count. I'm real happy with the Amana i'm running. Forrest still makes a blade that Kunkel helped design (i think he helped??)--it's not on their web site but can be phone ordered. The right blade designs help to reduce the tendency of the blade to want to climb--which is something that can lower (NOT eliminate) risk of accident.
    Good Luck!!
    earl

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
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    You are correct that the retrofit guard kit for the saw is no longer available. Too bad you missed it!

    They sent the whole works for free which included a new table top. Itís actually a pretty good modification. I have two of the 10 inch saws. One was already modified when I bought it for $75, and the other one I bought cheaper, and got the kit to modify it on my own just by asking for it and giving the serial number.

    I think now the only option is to send the motor of the saw back and get a check for maybe 100 bucks or something like thatÖ I think they may pay for the postage back on the motor if you would want to do that. But I donít think thatís what youíre looking to do.

    Sorry that this is of no real help to you...
    Too much to do...Not enough time...life is too short!

  5. #5
    Mark I had one that I bought new in 1986 and used it for almost every thing at first. I kept it until a couple of years ago. I did send for the kit. One thing about the new guard was that it had a lever in the handle that you had to squeeze to lift it over the fence. And the guard covered the blade much more than the old guard. Hope that helps, Bob

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
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    Is this the one that has the switch on the top of the arm that is operated by a small tab key? If so, I consider those unsafe. By the time I bought mine new in 1974-5 they had moved the switch right next to the carriage handle so it could be operated by your thumb while you are holding the handle. If something goes wrong like the wood binding, you are going to want to kill the power without letting go of anything.

    So if it is that saw, I would recommend you take the $100 turn-in rebate and put it towards a safer saw. My 10 year newer than that Craftsman RAS is fantastic. Like Tom, I never change the 90ļ setting. I cut 45's on short pieces using an angled block that I made. You can do that for any angle, but for 90's I don't want to touch a thing because it is so perfect.

    Those saws really have no value other than the rebate (or whatever they call it). I would take it.

  7. #7
    The guard leaves from a Delta 10" RAS will fit the guard on your Craftsman, but they are no longer available (Thank you B&D!) You could fabricate a set from Lexan, or aluminum, both of which were used on Deltas at one time or another.

  8. #8
    Dave, I have the model you are referring to with the on/off switch and the small tab key on the top of the arm. It is my understanding that the key remains in place to use the saw.
    I am not aware of the turn-in rebate program. Do you have further information? Living in State College, Pa., the cost for shipping would probably exceed the rebate.
    Mark Mrsa

  9. #9
    Earl, thanks for all of your input!! My intention is to make this saw fully function with an improved cutting table.
    I would be interested in the components of the retro kit and am willing to talk about a cost for it with shipping, if it is still in good condition? Please advise.
    I will make furture posts reguarding this tool and woul be happy to see your responses to my questions/concerns.
    Thanks,
    Mark Mrsa

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Atlanta
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    894
    Don’t think there is any way to not have a non sacrificial fence on a RAS.

    Freud makes good value priced blades available from lots of places. Makita often has blades for their sliding miter saws that will work and they are less than 30 bucks on sale. 0 deg. or negative hook teeth are MANDATORY.

    eBay is your newest best friend for craftsman RAS parts.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
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    New England
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Mrsa View Post
    Dave, I have the model you are referring to with the on/off switch and the small tab key on the top of the arm. It is my understanding that the key remains in place to use the saw.
    I am not aware of the turn-in rebate program. Do you have further information? Living in State College, Pa., the cost for shipping would probably exceed the rebate.
    Mark Mrsa
    http://radialarmsawrecall.com

    This points to a $50 payment so either it has changed or, my bad. I'd go with my bad. I did this with two different saws that I owned which might account for the $100 in my head. But there is no cost on your end. You apply, get approved, they send you a box, you put the carriage into the box and take it to FedEx. Done. But Emerson made those saws for Sears and they are the ones handling the recall (not rebate).

    The gist of what I'm saying is that I would not want to be in the middle of a cut gone bad and not be able to kill the power instantly with my thumb.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Aurora, IL
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    I can't speak to everything, but I can answer #1. I bought a 1972 Craftsman 10" radial arm saw and kept it until just a few years ago. I can tell you that the safety kits for the saws did not go back as far as that. I was told that I'd have to quit using my saw because no kit was available. At that time I'd been using it for 30+ years with nary a problem so I just ignored it. The saw is very reliable and if tuned properly, extremely accurate. I used to tell my kids that if the table wasn't in the way, I could shave with it. So put in the work to bring it back to life and you have a really good tool.
    Dave

    Nothing is idiot-proof for a sufficiently ingenious idiot!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    fairfield county, ct
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    I have the same saw that I bought in 1965 and when I looked into the recall my saw wasn't included, but it's still going strong and I just had to replace the power switch which of course is not available but I found one that can be modified from Amazon.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Zellers View Post
    http://radialarmsawrecall.com

    This points to a $50 payment so either it has changed or, my bad. I'd go with my bad. I did this with two different saws that I owned which might account for the $100 in my head. But there is no cost on your end. You apply, get approved, they send you a box, you put the carriage into the box and take it to FedEx. Done. But Emerson made those saws for Sears and they are the ones handling the recall (not rebate).

    The gist of what I'm saying is that I would not want to be in the middle of a cut gone bad and not be able to kill the power instantly with my thumb.
    I remember $100 also. My bet would be it has changed...
    Too much to do...Not enough time...life is too short!

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Zellers View Post
    http://radialarmsawrecall.com

    This points to a $50 payment so either it has changed or, my bad. I'd go with my bad. I did this with two different saws that I owned which might account for the $100 in my head. But there is no cost on your end. You apply, get approved, they send you a box, you put the carriage into the box and take it to FedEx. Done. But Emerson made those saws for Sears and they are the ones handling the recall (not rebate).

    The gist of what I'm saying is that I would not want to be in the middle of a cut gone bad and not be able to kill the power instantly with my thumb.
    $100 is what I recall as well. The only thing I've used my RAS (DeWalt 7749 not a 7740 unfortunately) is making deep dados with a dado head. Miter saws have pretty much replaced the RAS for most. A blade intended for a Sliding miter saw -negative rake angle - should work on a RAS as well.

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