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Thread: Questions regarding aligning a vintage Craftsman radial arm saw model number 113

  1. #1

    Questions regarding aligning a vintage Craftsman radial arm saw model number 113

    This my 3rd post, the second regarding a 1965 era RAS model number 113. Iíve cleaned it, lubricated it in the appropriate spots, and made a new table, and installed a detachable scarifical cutting surface. Here are my questions:
    *does anyone know of videos of aligning the model RAS?
    *I have the Jon Eakes book on fining is tuning this brand RAS. He focuses some attention on table alignment to achieve 90 degree blade alignment relative to the back of the table. Videos Iíve watched indicate adjusting the bolts that fasten the arm to the elevating column. Does anyone have an opinion regarding which will achieve the most accurate alignment?
    *to achieve a level table surface, Iíve read/viewed two methods. One to install the blade and use a tooth to determine levelness as the are is moved to different spots on the table surface or to rotate the motor and use the arbor to achieve the same purpose. Does anyone have experience with either of these two methods and which is more likely to accurately level the table surface.
    *Lastly, it seems like RAS owners set their machines for cross cutting only and avoid ripping because of the increased risk for serious accident. Jon Eakes states that with proper alignment the RAS can make more accurate cuts then a table saw. Iíve read this by other writers, but not frequently. Does anyone have success with accurate alignment and achieve consistently accurate cross , miter, and bevel cuts.
    As always, thanks ahead of time for your comments and recommendations.
    Mark Mrsa

  2. #2
    IIRC a 113 prefix makes it made by Emerson, but they made many different models. You could try over at VintageMachinery.org and see if there's a manual uploaded there.
    I have a 113.23100 and from what I remember this is the process:
    First off, I roughly aligned the table to the frame by tap measure, Can't remember the exact gap from the back side of the frame but it was equal to the 2 smaller table pieces that came with the saw. Put the table on, then the back stop then the 2 filler pieces and there's 2 studs with screws that press up against those filler pieces and lock everything into place.
    With the backstop on, take the cap off the top of the column and loosen the 2 locking bolts in there. Put a framing square on the fence, mark one tooth of your blade and pull the blade carriage out from the fence to the outer most position. move the column so the same tooth just barely touches the blade all the way in and out. Once aligned, tighten down the 2 lockdown bolts.
    Take the blade guard off, align the framing square against the blade (avoid the teeth) and loosen the 4 cap screws on the front of the carriage by the handle. Move the carriage so the framing square is flush to the blade then tighten the 4 cap screws.
    Last step is remove the covers of the bearings over the carriage that cover the bearings the carriage rides on when it slides in and out on the arm. Put the one leg of the framing square on the fence and the other at a 45 degree angle across the face of the blade. Adjust the carriage so the framing square and blade touch full length without touching a tooth on the blade. I don't remember a lock on this step, put the covers back on.
    That's pretty much everything as far as I can remember. This is from memory, so you do it at your own risk.
    Good luck and be safe doing anything.

    One more thing, I've done a fair amount of ripping with my RAS. You need to use the tip of the blade guard as a hold down along with the splitter and paws.
    As far as that person that says a RAS can rip as accurate and safe as a table saw, baloney. First time you try and rip something that isn't 100% the same thickness the entire length, you will understand why. There was also a molding head that was for use on the RAS, avoid that like the plague. I had a major accident with that. Overall I use the RAS for crosscutting like most do and the table saw for ripping.
    Last edited by Paul Haus; 05-22-2021 at 8:47 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    IMO you are wasting your time. The stops on a 113 saw like mine are pretty sloppy and will only get you close and aren't very repeatable. Leveling the table is about the only adjustment that remains true. If you set the saw to 90 and blade to vertical in any orientation it is good until you move it to any new orientation, then it will only be close when you change it back.

  4. #4
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    Mine is from 1974, and I don't remember the model number, but it is possible to get it tracking tight, and true. If yours is like mine, the centers of the rollers on the arm are eccentric. You can loosen the bolts, and spin the rollers to get all the slop out, and get it to track true.

    I do only use mine for accurate 90 degree cuts, and it's been set like that for years. It's also important to never let it lock up in anything. I never do rough cutting with mine, and the only thing I'll adjust is the depth of cut.

    It's great for what I use it for. I never do crosscutting on the table saw. I actually have two of them, and keep one without a fence, so I can mount a temporary one if there is some run of accurate, angled cuts needed. That one can have the arm swung, since there are no worries about a dead true 90.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Mrsa View Post
    This my 3rd post, the second regarding a 1965 era RAS model number 113. I’ve cleaned it, lubricated it in the appropriate spots, and made a new table, and installed a detachable scarifical cutting surface. Here are my questions:
    *does anyone know of videos of aligning the model RAS?
    No. But I do have the original manual.
    *I have the Jon Eakes book on fining is tuning this brand RAS. He focuses some attention on table alignment to achieve 90 degree blade alignment relative to the back of the table. Videos I’ve watched indicate adjusting the bolts that fasten the arm to the elevating column. Does anyone have an opinion regarding which will achieve the most accurate alignment?
    The post adjustment is a coarse adjustment. The table is supposedly fine adjustment. The reality is neither is very accurate. What I did was to use the slop in the stops for fine adjustment. I would adjust the table really square using all three adjustments as needed and lock down the arm with the lock knob. Mine is on the front of the arm. Then I would lightly score the sacrificial table top the full travel of the saw. In crosscutting, I tried not to cut the full length ever again. I use that first really square mark as a reference for resetting the saw. This works as long as the table does not get bumped out of square. I found that it takes a pretty hard bump to affect it much.
    *to achieve a level table surface, I’ve read/viewed two methods. One to install the blade and use a tooth to determine levelness as the are is moved to different spots on the table surface or to rotate the motor and use the arbor to achieve the same purpose. Does anyone have experience with either of these two methods and which is more likely to accurately level the table surface.
    The manual says to rotate the motor to vertical then then use the tip of the arbor wrench like a feeler gauge between arbor and table support (table removed) to test for flatness of the supports. Were I to do this today, I would figure out a way to mount a dial indicator securely to the yoke using a magnetic base. The other step in flattening the table itself involves adjust a set screw that presses up in the middle of the table to push the table up.
    *Lastly, it seems like RAS owners set their machines for cross cutting only and avoid ripping because of the increased risk for serious accident. Jon Eakes states that with proper alignment the RAS can make more accurate cuts then a table saw. I’ve read this by other writers, but not frequently. Does anyone have success with accurate alignment and achieve consistently accurate cross , miter, and bevel cuts.
    Yes. I can get accurate cross, miter, and bevel cuts. There are some tricks. I mentioned the accurate kerf mark on the table for resetting the arm. Also, a fresh fence with a zero clearance kerf gives an accurate reference to align a pencil or knife mark when crosscutting. I always use a stop block clamped to the fence for any repeat cuts. I try to rip everything that is the same width in one setup. This reduces setups and insures all rips are the same, which is usually more important than an exact width. When resetting the saw from one operation to another, it is always important to make test cuts to check alignment when changing settings. I kept a couple of squared up 2x6’s for test cuts. You can test with your best square. Teeth marks on the kerf are an indication that the blade is not parallel to the line of cut.
    As always, thanks ahead of time for your comments and recommendations.
    Mark Mrsa
    You are welcome.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
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    North Dana, Masachusetts
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    275
    I used to own one of those saws.

    It would a be a good idea to test the saw's flexibility before putting a lot of time into a complicated set up.

    On my saw I could steer the blade through a 14" cross cut, getting closer to and further from a pencil line as I cut. This was actually helpful, because I could get a pretty square cut by basically aiming the blade as it traveled out the arm. The table, column, arm, motor assembly, and arbor were floppy enough to cut as if I were using a skill saw.

    If you can steer the blade as the saw is cutting, the flimsy adjustments aren't going to get you to perfect.

    As for ripping, stability in all the saws parts is a starting point. If you can flex the arm by lifting it, flex the motor assembly by pushing it sideways, there is too much flexibility in the saw to safely rip wood. Anecdotes abound about people safely ripping wood on Craftsman radial arm saws. However, it is just much easier and safer to just rip wood on a table saw. In my opinion, the marketing people at Sears had a lot to do with the idea that a radial arm saw is good for anything and everything. I do still use a radial arm saw. I just rough cut lumber with it.

  7. #7
    One more thing if you use that RAS. Get yourself a negative rake blade, do not use a normal tablesaw blade on it. A regular blade is far too aggressive and can grab the wood and come after you. This is another safety item for a RAS regardless of make.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
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    Los Angeles, California
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    492
    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Wilson View Post
    No. But I do have the original manual.

    The post adjustment is a coarse adjustment. The table is supposedly fine adjustment. The reality is neither is very accurate.
    I used to own this saw before I got a vintage 12" DeWalt. I think the table adjustment is unnecessary. Get it reasonably close. Set the fence and then make the post adjustment which is the fine adjustment. Just a little tap to the left, a tap to the right, until you get dead square with your framing square. Tighten and test. You might have repeat this process after the test to get fine as frog's fur. But it is doable.

    Once set up, tighten those allen screws with a T handle to get them really snug, and don't jamb the saw carriage into wood, which might knock the alignment off, take your time and be gentle. That post alignment is fragile sometimes.
    Regards,

    Tom

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