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  • Radial Armsaw Help PLEASE

    Ok, I know that this is a Ridgid forum board and my Radial Arm Saw is not a Ridgid but here goes anyway.

    I went out to the shop tonight to get a little time in before dinner, switched on the RAS to cut some lumber and listened in a panic to the silence. After some extensive checking I discovered that the coiled electrical wire for the motor head had worn and broke a wire. I have removed the motor head and the roller assembly from the arm. The roller assembly is filled with a rock hard mixture of 40 year old grease and sawdust. I have cleaned up the rest of the head but am having a hard time getting the roller assembly cleaned up.

    Do you think it would be safe to take the roller assembly to the local auto repair store and have them clean it in their cleaning tank. I am sure the rollers themselves are not sealed bearings and there appeares to be some nylon bushings in the head rotation assembly. This is a Yuba Saw Smith RAS that was my granfathers that he purchased in 1963. I love this old saw and do not want to harm it.
    I came...<br /><br />I saw...<br /><br />I changed the plans.

  • #2
    I would try a can of engine degreaser first, the dunk tank is likely full of fine metal particles that may get into your bearings and then you are really done. Clean it with something like 'GUNK' (Brand Name) then reload your bearings with automotive wheel bearing grease. Engine cleaners are formulated to be nice to plastic and rubber cause unfortunatly that what most cars are made of these days. Read the can first though

    [ 03-19-2004, 10:07 PM: Message edited by: wbrooks ]

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    • #3
      If by "the roller assembly" you mean the thing that moves back and forth on the radial arm, and is somehow hung from the radial arm on bearings, then I second wbrooks' caution about the auto shop tank.

      If it were mine and I wanted to preserve it as much as possible, I'd go to a sporting goods store, a big one like Sports Authority, and get some of the citrus based degreaser for rollerblade and skateboard bearings. Take time and remove bearings if possible and soak overnight in degreaser, then work with toothpicks and broken off q-tip sticks (the rolled cardboard ones), if need be. Cheap toothbrushes (Wal-mart), baby bottle brushes, paint brushes, and detailing brushes (auto supply shop) come in handy too.

      If the bearings don't come off, you can buy one of those disposable aluminum turkey roasting pans or any aluminum disposable pan that is just right size shape, from the grocery store for two or three dollars max. Then (if design is like Ridgid RS1000) fill pan to height of bearings with degreaser, and place roller assembly upside down in degreaser to soak overnight. It may take a few soakings and cleanings to get all the crud out.

      If the degreaser you use needs to be rinsed out, be very careful with water. Use a hypodermic syringe (with or w/o needle, as need be) and or turkey baster to direct water where needed only and avoid wetting anything else.

      Alloys and plastics used today are different from what they used back in the early 1960s, and, IMHO, the more gentle you are when restoring a piece like that saw, the better the outcome.

      Important thing is to take time and use gentle chemicals. The more you love it, the better you will want to take care of it.

      Things to avoid:
      Simple green - this stuff etches aluminum, even the manufacturer says so. That is why it does not meet or have a MIL-SPEC. Good for lots of other stuff, but don't use on metals.

      Engine cleaner - I even hesitate to use this stuff on car engines, some of them can be really nasty and damage paint, plastic, etc. Most have to be washed off with water, so on a RAS (not meant to be wet, unlike a car engine) corrosion is a real possibility.

      BTW, I'm not promoting Sports Authority or other Home Depot-of-sports stores (the borg o' sports), just am 48 years old and uncomfortable in skateboard/surf shops anymore. But if you are okay with them, and there is a good one nearby with lots o' skaters, those kids who are really into it will have lots of experience maintaining very expensive bearings on their boards and may be of some help. The REAL surfers and skaters don't have any attitude and, in my experience, will be gladly willing to help if they can.

      [ 03-20-2004, 09:16 AM: Message edited by: Scott C. ]

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      • #4
        Thanks for all the replys, I went to the auto parts store last night and really looked around. Found some stuff that was safe for all metals and plastics. Put the roller head in a plastic dishpan and covered it and let is set over night. I did pray to the fire god's to treat me nice as this stuff is flamable and I did not want it outside last night. Well the shop is still there. I took the head out and used my compressor to blow it dry. It, looks great. The amount of junk in the bottom of the dishpan was amazing. I ran the cleaner through some filter paper to trap the junk and will save the liquid for use again.
        I came...<br /><br />I saw...<br /><br />I changed the plans.

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        • #5
          Just a little follow up on this thread. I took the motor in to the local motor repair shop. They were suprised, delighted and impressed with the motor. Ended up costing $70.00 for a new cord, complete check and cleaning and one bearing that was in need of replacement. Re-insulated too. The saw is re-assembled and as good as new. Better even, after cleaning all the parts up while the saw was apart. Added a new CMT fine tooth blade and it is absolutely the best.

          Thanks to all those with suggestions on cleaning and fixing up this old saw. As I said before it was my Grandfathers and I love working with it. Even going to build it into my workbench here in a couple of weeks.
          I came...<br /><br />I saw...<br /><br />I changed the plans.

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          • #6
            Sounds like your grand kids may get to use this saw someday. Glad you had the patience to restore the saw, nice to see that not everyone belongs to the throw away society

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            • #7
              If you're looking for one of those coiled wires, hopSmith has them left over from the Saw Smith days....

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