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radial arm saw - need some pointers

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  • radial arm saw - need some pointers

    I realize this is the RIDGID forum, but you folks seem to be the best place to start for lots of things.

    I picked up a Craftsman 2.5 hp 10" radial arm saw for $50, to compliment my mainly orange power tools. The model # is 113.199250; I've found some info via google, including parts on the craftsman website. Looks like the saws were made in the 80's. Only things missing are the lower, plastic blade guard, table top and the manual, both of which appear to be still available. It looks like they were made by Emerson.

    Can anyone point me to any other resources for this unit or radial arm saws in general? I purchased it primarily to do dadoes, which I find difficult on my Ridgid contractor table saw, at least on large lumber, like the pergola I plan to build. I used a large radial arm saw in the mill of the lumber yard I worked at in the '70's, but haven't used one since. Any advice would be appreciated.


  • #2
    Re: radial arm saw - need some pointers

    That saw (Emerson built 113.199250) was recalled. You may wish to have a look at this:

    Craftsman Radial Arm Saw Recall
    "HONK if you've never seen a gun fired from a moving Harley"


    • #3
      Re: radial arm saw - need some pointers

      Thanks much for that..! I ordered the kit right from that link. I'm one of those folks who's pretty religious about keeping the guard on the table saw, etc., so I'd really like to have the guard for this saw.

      Thanks again for the link.


      • #4
        Re: radial arm saw - need some pointers

        Along with the guard, you also get the table & table brackets.
        Let us know how it works out!
        "HONK if you've never seen a gun fired from a moving Harley"


        • #5
          Re: radial arm saw - need some pointers


          Good deal on picking up the Craftsman RAS for $50 and also for getting and calling the "recall safety" number.

          I have a 1973 Model 113-29461 which I purchased new that year and is, without question, my favorite tool. It did not come with the lower blade guard and one is not available through the recall for my particular model. But for me that doesn't particularly matter. Except for a ten-year periond when this was in storage, I've put a lot of wood through it and still managed to keep all my fingers and not shed even one drop of blood. (My chisels? well, that's another story!). Of course the potential is there and as long as you understand that and face it knowledgeably you'll not have a problem.

          So, to that end what do you need to know? I'd be quite happy to help in anyway that I can.

          Is your RAS in good condition, in spite of missing those parts that you mentioned? Like is the column and arm tight and does it align well and hold it's position without movement once the arm is locked in position?

          How's the yoke and carriage? With them locked on the arm, can you hold the carriage and move it... you shouldn't be able to budge it in any way.


          Do you know how to go through that procedure?

          - The frame mounting must be level and secure on either the table or legset, and the table mounting rails must be absolutely positioned so that it is equal height along the full swing of the motor arbor. That will ensure that there are no low or high spots when you mount the table to the rails. And such mounting must be checked so that any sag can be eliminated across the full width of the table (on the factory-issued table, there's a combination of a setscrew for raising the middle, and a speed nut/screw for lowering the middle... they work together against a center frame rail to lock the table middle in place... it's in the book)

          - The carriage should travel along the arm, exactly 90-degrees from the fence.

          - Likewise the blade should be exactly 90-degrees perpendicular to the table.

          - The blade must also be adjusted so that there is no "heel". Otherwise you will get a really lousy cut, wider than normal kerf, and some burning and higher chances for kickback.... all of which you don't need.

          When you have the alignment done and before you start using your RAS, realize that the blade needs to cut into the surface about a 1/16th to an 1/8th. If you use this saw through all of it's capabilities, you will quickly make a real mess of the fence and the table top. Since the latter is a bit expensive to have to replace, you should put a "sacrificial" top on the table. I use a piece of 1/2 MDF on mine. It's rather inexpensive and it works well. Just make sure that when you mount that to the table, you place your countersunk screws out of any blade path that you can conceive making. (I place my mounting screws out at the corners... they only need to hold the sacrificial top in position, so they don't need to be anything big.)

          Lastly.... do you know how to properly use the saw? I know you mentioned that you had used one earlier, but that doesn't necessarily mean you were given proper instructions. On cross-cutting, the saw is used to "pull" cut.... not "push" cut your stock. This is a real sore point with me as I've heard and read so many misinformed arguments that the carriage needs to be pulled forward, then the stock positioned, and then the carriage pushed back into the stock to make the cut... WRONG! WRONG! WRONG! The design of the tool and the forces exerted by the rotating blade are to push the wood down and back against the fence during the cut... and that means that the motor carriage is behind the fence before the cut, the wood is then positioned against the fence and the carriage is pulled forward slowly with your hand controlling the feed rate as it cuts through the stock! When the cut is finished, you return the carriage to it's "behind the fence" position and turned off and the spin is stopped.

          Now, much of the "push" argument is based on the fact that if you rush the "pull" cut, the blade will self-feed and attempt to climb on the stock and thus bind and stall... or worse: advance rapidly into your stupidly-placed hand. (Like come on folks... don't we all know that we never put our fingers or hands into the path of the blade; whether it be on an RAS, table saw, circular saw, or even a band saw???)

          (You no doubt can tell that this "pull" or "push" issue get's my blood-pressure up! )

          The other very often given advice, is that this "climb" issue can be avoided by using a blade specifically designed for RAS and CMS saws... a blade with a "negative-hook" angle! While I personally have never used one, I do believe this to be very sound advice as such a blade will greatly reduce or eliminate the "self-feeding" factors that come with using a conventional table saw blade.

          Now, if you need "set-up" instructions and haven't downloaded a copy of your manual yet (or obtained one in the mail), I can send you a copy of my RAS manual in PDF format. It's an earlier model, but the setup procedure should be the same, with only adjustment points being different as it relates to a particular model.

          Also, if I can offer any specific advice please don't hesitate to ask. My RAS is the center of my shop although it is principally in a cross-cut role these days. I have ripped a lot of stock on the RAS and never had a kickback; but it is clumsy, and certainly ripping is far better done on a table saw.

          Today my RAS is used exclusively for 90-degree crosscuts. I rarely have a need for angle, bevel, or compound cuts and for most of those I have a Ridgid CMS. Because of that, I've put a longer fence on it with a scaled "stop". It uses a piece of T-track and provides me with up to a 50" length of positive positioning without having to measure and mark every piece. I do have some digital photos of that which I can post if you're interested. I've also put a dustbox of sorts on mine. Not perfect, but it certainly helps. It would probably be better if I used a dust collector rather than a shop vac.

          I hope this helps and if you need anything further, please contact me either here or through a private message through my screen name.

          Good luck, be safe, and enjoy the new RAS,

          Last edited by CWSmith; 08-07-2011, 05:31 PM. Reason: errors and clarification... changes are in italic or bold italic


          • #6
            Re: radial arm saw - need some pointers

            I do believe CW might have done this before.
            "HONK if you've never seen a gun fired from a moving Harley"


            • #7
              Re: radial arm saw - need some pointers

              Wow, I'll say...!!! I'm going to print this out and use is as reference to set it up.

              I picked it up yesterday and have not yet gotten past moving it into the shop. It had been mounted on a permanent bench in a garage shop, so other than some saw dust, it's in pretty good shape. I can't really answer the adjustment questions, but everything seemed pretty tight when I checked it out while picking it up.

              My current shop setup has a CMS mounted as part of a bench that extends about 8' on either side (pic below). After I figure things out, I'll either mount the RAS next to it, or just replace the CMS entirely. I'd prefer to have it on a roll around stand that could fit into the bench, but looking at the accuracy necessary to get it set up properly, that may not work out.

              I really appreciate the detailed information, it's going to be a great help setting this up. I ordered the owners manual from Craftsman today, too.

              As to knowing how to use it; yes I was given instructions in using the tools in the lumber yard mill. All were industrial tools, the RAS would cut a 6x6 in one pass; which instilled a great respect for it..! I do know that you draw the saw toward you; I can see where going the other way would not be a good thing. But thanks for the providing the basics, too often people assume you know the basic stuff, when in fact you may not. No one was born knowing everything, though I've met a few people who act like they were..:-)

              Thanks again to all.
              Attached Files
              Last edited by sailorman; 08-07-2011, 01:50 PM.


              • #8
                Re: radial arm saw - need some pointers

                Just to follow up:

                I ordered the recall kit from Emerson. Arrived free of charge in about 5 days. A couple pics attached; brand new redesigned guard assembly with a trigger/handle to raise the guard, plus a new table. Looks like the table moves the fence forward about 2 1/2 inches. This puts the entire blade behind the fence when the saw is returned all the way; part of the 'safety recall' I guess.

                I also ordered the manual from Sears/Craftsman. Some things were tight as in not been moved in awhile, so I applied some oil and made sure everything moved as it should. The manual has all of the instructions needed to set up the saw. I spent a good hour doing so and believe it or not, it was 100%, I didn't need to change anything.

                So I installed the table and a sacrificial top and made a couple 1/8" deep kerf cuts. I need to build a base, but think I did pretty good for $50 bucks. Thanks again for all of your advice.!
                Attached Files


                • #9
                  Re: radial arm saw - need some pointers

                  I'd say you got a great deal for $50, and with the recall upgrade parts it's just as good as the current crop of 10" RASs.
                  Nice shop by the way. You appear to have it well organized and a good selection of tools that will let you tackle most projects.

                  I would not let the CMS go, add the RAS off to the side and let them share the bench, you'll be glad you did. My RAS looks near
                  identical to yours. I bought it new in 1983/84 (can't remember which exactly). I too have a SCMS so I keep a dado stack set up
                  for 3/4" plywood in the RAS.
                  Last edited by Bob D.; 08-23-2011, 05:23 PM.
                  "It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?" Bob D. 2006



                  1/20/2017 - The Beginning of a new Error


                  • #10
                    Re: radial arm saw - need some pointers

                    i have the identical saw and also ordered the retrofit kit. but it took several months to arrive as they were back ordered back then.

                    did a lot of work with it back in the day. now mainly just cross cuts.

                    phoebe it is


                    • #11
                      Re: radial arm saw - need some pointers

                      Does anyone know where someone could find accessories, such as the router attachment; sanding; etc.?


                      • #12
                        Re: radial arm saw - need some pointers

                        I believe Sears still sells the sanding plate, the drill chuck for the accessory end, and perhaps the shaper accessory. However, I think I'd stay away from the shaper, I never liked the thing at all and consider it dangerous. But many a stout-hearted guys have used it, I'm sure.

                        The sanding plate is basically a flat, heavy disk that replaces the blade, and has a sanding disk on one side. I've never used one, as I much prefer other methods of sanding. The sanding disc on an RAS is sort of ill-applied, I think. On a table saw you have half the blade or more below the table, but on the RAS its all above and you'd have to build a base platform... all for what? (as you only gain 5" of sanding disc at best). I also have the Ryobi BD4600 which has a smaller disc (6") but serves my purposed well enough and is actually designed for that chore. Personally, I think having a tool designed for and dedicated to that task is a better option.

                        My RAS motor has the shaft extend out the right side of the motor, where it is fitted with a 1/2-20 thread. On there you can use a matching flex shaft drive (if you can find one) for use for hand-held grinding or other accessory driver) or you can mount a drill chuck. I have the 5/64 x 1/2 chuck (Craftsman number 92980) and have on occasion used it for horizontal drilling. Frankly, it has been used only a couple of times because there are much better ways (drill guide, brace, hand-held drill etc.) to to bore a hole and I now have a Ridgid drill press that takes care of most of those needs. Problem with using the RAS for such task is that you absolutely MUST remove the blade from the arbor (unless you're prone to crazy dangerous tactics in the woodshop) and you're faced with the restricition of a single speed and rather cumbersome manueverability, having to push the stock into the fixed position of the carriage.

                        Back in the 50's and 60's the RAS was marketed as a "do all" machine and there were some really strange accessories made for the RAS to accomplish such tasks. It was almost on the order of a "Shop Smith". In my personal opinion, some of these were absolutely crazy, and most inefficient... and others were downright dangerous. Hence, you don't find many of them around anymore!

                        For me, the RAS is a very important tool... and it is an outstanding saw for crosscutting and the various miters that it excells at. For that purpose alone, it is a great tool to have in any shop. I don't do the "accessory" thing, beyond adding fence stops and other things that I feel enhance its cross-cutting abilities.

                        I hope this helps,

                        Last edited by CWSmith; 10-05-2011, 06:46 PM. Reason: Additional comment in Italics