NEW LIFE FOR AN OLD WORKHORSE
This old DeWalt radial arm saw is ready for action again.
SHOP OWNER: Mike Keating
LOCATION: Havertown, PA
About two months ago, I received an older DeWalt Radial Arm Saw and I was quite excited. It was in good condition and it ran great. After getting it home, I realized it was going to need some cleaning and tuning, but I was up for it. I needed a good amount of time to complete this project the way I wanted and during the recent Labor Day weekend, I got it.
I started by giving the saw a very detailed cleaning and tuning, taking most of it apart and getting everything out, and giving the blade a rough squaring. You will notice that there was no fence on the saw when I received it, so I got it as close as possible and decided I'd complete the fine adjustments later, after everything was built.
Next, I started working on the cabinets. I subscribe to Woodsmith's books and they had a plan for a radial arm saw cabinet system. I decided it would be a fitting home for this classic old saw. I spent most of Friday working on the base cabinet. My plan was for Friday to get the base done, Saturday to build the two side cabinets and Sunday build the top/fence and square it. Everything went together without much trouble and I liked the results. I used pine plywood and some scrap oak to complete the cabinets and used hardboard for the back. Saturday, the other side cabinets went together without much trouble. This was my first attempt at building any type of true cabinets and I really enjoyed it. I think this might inspire me to do bigger projects in the future, like maybe a bar / wine center for the basement.
At the end of Saturday, I did a dry fitting of the cabinets and realized entire unit was going to be larger than I had originally planned and the space I had set aside was now not enough. It was time to clear out more space. I moved my miter saw across my shop and removed the tables on which it was sitting. The big advantage of this arrangement is now I had a dust port for the saw and did not have to make a new connection. I am currently designing a miter station that will fit on the end of the radial arm cabinet and will feature a sliding dust port that can cover the RAS or the miter saw.
Sunday, I made the top and installed everything in it's final place. The fence features a removable section where the blade intersects. This way when the fence gets worn, I can remove only a section and not have to replace the entire fence.
The one thing that I did not take into account was the slope of the garage floor. Over the eight feet length of the cabinet, it sloped over an inch, which is great for rain but a nuisance for squaring. It took me about three hours of squaring to get everything where I wanted it. This included more time squaring the blade to the fence.
Well, I do think this is a fitting home for my new addition. I hope it will give me many years of great service; I have no doubt that it will. If anyone is interested in a copy of the plans I used, just drop me a line.. . . Mike Keating
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