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Craftsman Radial Saw

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  • Craftsman Radial Saw

    I've been reading this forum for a few weeks and there seems to be a lot of knowledge available here. I'm new to woodworking, and just purchased a used 1988 vintage Craftsman Radial saw(model 113.198111) which is in pretty good condition. Paid $175 for the saw, mobile base, new melamine top and new blade. Was that a good deal? I'm also curious if all of the accessories for the Ridgid RS1000 will work with my saw. Can anybody fill me in on that one? My third and last question, for now, is if anyone could recommend a good book on radial arm saws? I've got the owner's manual, but would like to get some more detailed instruction. I've got what I consider a healthy fear for the saw, and would like to learn as much as I can.

    Thanks in advance,

  • #2
    A few things to do---first, check the Sears parts site---some models of the ras had a recall because of the blade guard---as I understand it, they will send you a new guard, if your model was affected.

    I used to have a book on ras's, but it's long gone---anyway, check with your library---Popular Mechanics had a huge book on woodworking, with a pretty good chapter on the ras---also do a search on used book sites---for Craftsman RAS, as the best book would be one specific to your design of saw.

    Finally---don't rip with it! It's just not worth the risk. I've done it--didn't like it and wouldn't do it again, now that I'm older and wiser


    • #3

      Thanks for the info. I'd actually already ordered the new guard last week. I'm a little confused on the ripping issue though. My office mate has had a Craftsman RAS for almost 30 years and has never had problems ripping. Same with my brother, he's had one for around 15 years. On the other hand, you're not the first person to tell me not to rip. It seems like there's two very different trains of thought. The other item of interest is that, according to Emerson, the new guard's primary benefit is for ripping. Do you think the RAS would be safe to use for ripping with the new guard?

      Jake, do you have any thoughts on this? Also do you know if the RS1000 accessories will fit my RAS?



      • #4
        Mike---the reason they talk about the guard and ripping is likely the anti-kick back paules---on my old DeWalt, you tipping the blade guard down, for ripping, and there was a separate adjustment for a shaft holding the paules---which you placed on top of the wood---they'd ride on the wood and if you moved the wood backwards, they'd bite into it.

        The thing about ripping is--first---pushing the wood requires a bit of force. Second, your hand positions can end up pretty close to the blade and the motor housing makes access (for pushing through) difficult on one side. With all of this, any fence variations don't make for a very accurate rip either---however, with a bit of ingenuity, I think you could come up with a sled, clamp or push bar to keep hands out of harms way---but don't just throw a piece of wood at it.


        • #5
          Mike, I have been using a Sears RAS as my only "precision" saw for about 30 years. I have build all the cabinets for two kitchens, plus numerous other projects. If I were starting over, I might go the table saw route, but haven't seen enough reason to change (at least yet).

          The dangers are obvious, with "all" the blade exposed, and hands pushing near the blade, while squeezing under the motor. That is manageable with care.

          The biggest issue I have found is the tendency of a blade to lift the wood (where a table saw pulls the wood into the table). If you haven't been holding it firmly and puishing it steadily, that can quickly ruin a good piece of wood - and can send it flying. The problem is especially true with ripping and with a dado blade. I think that is where the concern should lie.


          • #6
            Big Mike,

            A book you might want to pick up is: Radial Arm Saw Techniques by Roger W. Cliffe.

            Bob R


            • #7
              I am more of a lurker than a "poster," but I just bought a new "book" entitled "Fine Tuning Your Radial Arma Saw" by John Eakes. This was recently re-released as an electronic book, in PDF format. Mr. Eakes takes you step by step through realignment of EVERYTHING on "vintage" RASs. He addresses three of the most populr - Craftsman, DeWalt, and Rockwell, and makes reference (if I remember) concerning Delta. I believe you can find the book - which is only available in a downloadable form from as the book form is now out of print. I believe the price is $19.95 online. It is a very good resource!

              Tom, Van Buren, AR


              • #8
                Hi; I agree, I have seen/heard Jon give this seminar & it is excellent!


                • #9

                  Thanks for the advice. I went to some of the local used book stores and found a couple good books that have really helped out. I've still got lots to learn, but I'm starting to get reasonably proficient with my RAS. I also highly recommend the new guard for ripping. The old one is reasonably safe, but the splitter is much more effective on the new model.