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I just became aware of this a few weeks ago.  If you own an older Sears Craftsman Radial Arm Saw, your saw may be involved in a recall.

I purchased my saw in 1975 (give or take a year). I was surprised to see my saw was involved.  It came without a blade guard (lower half of blade is exposed).  Due to many injuries the maker of the saw (Emerson Tool Co) will send you a complete blade guard, new handle, and new table, free of charge, including shipping, if your saw qualifies.

Google "Craftsman Radial Arm Saw Recall" for complete info.  They list model #'s of the saws that qualify.  If your saw does not have guard and does not qualify they will send you $100 if you send them certain parts of saw.

My saw qualified and my kit is on the way.  Note:  I've had my saw for over 30 years and never had a safety issue with it, but can't become careless, gotta be careful as with any saw.

Some guy made a nice YouTube video of installing this kit.

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Thanks so much for the information on the Radial Arm Saw Recall.  I checked it out and the saw that I have is eligible.  I ordered the kit and it will take 8-10 weeks for the parts.  I also ordered the manual online.  Hopefully I will be able to figure out how to install everything.  I haven't used the saw much.  I have just used it for cutting boards to length.  At least now I have a manual and can learn how to use other features on the saw. 

Maybe you will be lucky like I was only took a week or two. The saw I have is rock solid these old saws are much better than the new radials by craftsman. I had a rockwell my first radial it appears to be just as good only aligned it on time it stayed in alignment. Will see how my craigslist find holds up over time. I'm planning on using for half lap joints and cutting locking joints for drawers. The 8-10 weeks is a form letter mine was much less. I checked back ordered Mar. 25 received Apr. 2 only 8 days. 

If you want to learn more about radial saws, here are a few resources you should check out.

1. The DeWalt Radial Arm Saw Forum. This forum is geared toward DeWalt RAS's but tips and techniques shared there can be applied to other brands as well. 

2. The Mr Sawdust Book. Written by the late Wallace Kunkel, the guy who traveled the nation post WW2 demonstrating proper radial arm saw technique. He also ran the Mr. Sawdust School of Professional Woodworking in NJ. The guy who runs the forum above was a former student. 

3. "The Magic of Your Radial Arm Saw" by RJ DeCristoforo and "Fine Tuning Your Radial Arm Saw" by Jon Eakes, both filled with helpful jigs, tips and techniques. 

Your RAS is one of the most versatile tools in your shop. Make sure you outfit it with a proper blade for safe and efficient operation. You want to use a blade with a negative hook. Forrest makes one that was designed in conjunction with Mr. Kunkel, and the quality of cut it produces is well worth the price of admission. 

Hi Gary.  My RAS needs kit 509346.  I ordered it on May 4th.  Maybe I will be getting it soon - ??  I bought it from a former co-worker for $50.  He has had it in his family and it seems to be in really good shape.  He covers it with a blanket and gave me the blanket to cover it as well.  I guess it was his baby.  Anyway, I hope to get the recall stuff soon and learn how to use the saw.  Thanks again for the tip!
 
Gary roofner said:

Maybe you will be lucky like I was only took a week or two. The saw I have is rock solid these old saws are much better than the new radials by craftsman. I had a rockwell my first radial it appears to be just as good only aligned it on time it stayed in alignment. Will see how my craigslist find holds up over time. I'm planning on using for half lap joints and cutting locking joints for drawers. The 8-10 weeks is a form letter mine was much less. I checked back ordered Mar. 25 received Apr. 2 only 8 days. 

Hi Jason.  Thanks for the resources.  I will definitely check out all of them.  You can never have too much information.  My dad gave me his table saw.  It is an older craftsman.  He wants me to get rid of the RAS, but I want to keep it.  I am anxious to learn all of the things that I can do with it.  It is in really good shape.  Thanks again for the information.
 
Jason Watkins said:

If you want to learn more about radial saws, here are a few resources you should check out.

1. The DeWalt Radial Arm Saw Forum. This forum is geared toward DeWalt RAS's but tips and techniques shared there can be applied to other brands as well. 

2. The Mr Sawdust Book. Written by the late Wallace Kunkel, the guy who traveled the nation post WW2 demonstrating proper radial arm saw technique. He also ran the Mr. Sawdust School of Professional Woodworking in NJ. The guy who runs the forum above was a former student. 

3. "The Magic of Your Radial Arm Saw" by RJ DeCristoforo and "Fine Tuning Your Radial Arm Saw" by Jon Eakes, both filled with helpful jigs, tips and techniques. 

Your RAS is one of the most versatile tools in your shop. Make sure you outfit it with a proper blade for safe and efficient operation. You want to use a blade with a negative hook. Forrest makes one that was designed in conjunction with Mr. Kunkel, and the quality of cut it produces is well worth the price of admission. 

Gary,

I've seen some RAS set-ups, that featured ''add-on'' dust chute/shroud, on the back side of the machine, and hooked up to a VAC system, that was quite effective.


Gary roofner said:

Dust collection does not work useless.  Not unusual for radials though.

Hi Lorrie, I don't want to butt in here on this topic however I feel that it might be of interest to you to read a post I wrote on Jan20,2013 in the discussion of "Table vs radial saw " started by Ken Darga where some dangers of the radial arm saw was discussed.  In this discussion I wrote about the danger of a radial arm saw where I cited an incident where I could have lost some fingers or a hand.  There was also another member who wrote about having the same thing happen to him.  We also discussed how we fixed the problem.
 
Lorrie said:

Hi Jason.  Thanks for the resources.  I will definitely check out all of them.  You can never have too much information.  My dad gave me his table saw.  It is an older craftsman.  He wants me to get rid of the RAS, but I want to keep it.  I am anxious to learn all of the things that I can do with it.  It is in really good shape.  Thanks again for the information.
 
Jason Watkins said:

If you want to learn more about radial saws, here are a few resources you should check out.

1. The DeWalt Radial Arm Saw Forum. This forum is geared toward DeWalt RAS's but tips and techniques shared there can be applied to other brands as well. 

2. The Mr Sawdust Book. Written by the late Wallace Kunkel, the guy who traveled the nation post WW2 demonstrating proper radial arm saw technique. He also ran the Mr. Sawdust School of Professional Woodworking in NJ. The guy who runs the forum above was a former student. 

3. "The Magic of Your Radial Arm Saw" by RJ DeCristoforo and "Fine Tuning Your Radial Arm Saw" by Jon Eakes, both filled with helpful jigs, tips and techniques. 

Your RAS is one of the most versatile tools in your shop. Make sure you outfit it with a proper blade for safe and efficient operation. You want to use a blade with a negative hook. Forrest makes one that was designed in conjunction with Mr. Kunkel, and the quality of cut it produces is well worth the price of admission. 

Jay, thanks for the information.  I read your post and it was scary.  I had heard that the RAS was a dangerous saw.  I haven't done much on mine.  I hope that the recall addresses that issue.  Thanks for the heads up.
 
Jay Boutwell said:

Hi Lorrie, I don't want to butt in here on this topic however I feel that it might be of interest to you to read a post I wrote on Jan20,2013 in the discussion of "Table vs radial saw " started by Ken Darga where some dangers of the radial arm saw was discussed.  In this discussion I wrote about the danger of a radial arm saw where I cited an incident where I could have lost some fingers or a hand.  There was also another member who wrote about having the same thing happen to him.  We also discussed how we fixed the problem.
 
Lorrie said:

Hi Jason.  Thanks for the resources.  I will definitely check out all of them.  You can never have too much information.  My dad gave me his table saw.  It is an older craftsman.  He wants me to get rid of the RAS, but I want to keep it.  I am anxious to learn all of the things that I can do with it.  It is in really good shape.  Thanks again for the information.
 
Jason Watkins said:

If you want to learn more about radial saws, here are a few resources you should check out.

1. The DeWalt Radial Arm Saw Forum. This forum is geared toward DeWalt RAS's but tips and techniques shared there can be applied to other brands as well. 

2. The Mr Sawdust Book. Written by the late Wallace Kunkel, the guy who traveled the nation post WW2 demonstrating proper radial arm saw technique. He also ran the Mr. Sawdust School of Professional Woodworking in NJ. The guy who runs the forum above was a former student. 

3. "The Magic of Your Radial Arm Saw" by RJ DeCristoforo and "Fine Tuning Your Radial Arm Saw" by Jon Eakes, both filled with helpful jigs, tips and techniques. 

Your RAS is one of the most versatile tools in your shop. Make sure you outfit it with a proper blade for safe and efficient operation. You want to use a blade with a negative hook. Forrest makes one that was designed in conjunction with Mr. Kunkel, and the quality of cut it produces is well worth the price of admission. 

The upgrade kit does fix the problem if you have the blade guard on the saw and return the saw to behind the fence . The saw can't move until you press the guard retract lever. When I get my battery charger for my camera . I will take pictures .

Jay I have the greatest respect for you but you should never have power on the saw and placing boards on the table . I never turn power on that saw until my left hand is firmly holding the piece against the fence and I'm ready to cut.

That might be true however that happened soon after I started woodworking.  I have learned much since then and that incident resulted in me figuring out a method to prevent the accident from ever happening again.  I added springs to the carriage to hold it against its stop.  It was a simple fix.   Within a couple months of that happening a retro fit was introduced because of other incidents occurring where the saw self fed itself while users were adjusting lumber on the table.  This was also discussed in my post with a picture of the upgrade on a dewalt saw.   

The problem is, the danger still is there unless you know about it and fix the ailment in the first place.  That is what I did because of the incident and that is why I still say that the radial saw is the most dangerous saw in the shop.  Also the reason I posted this caution so others will not be the victim of a poor design.

   Not everyone will shut off the saw when in a production mode where you are cutting dozens of repeated cuts each time and production is a must.   When you have a saw that is supposed to be safe and the carriage is behind the fence, you expect it to remain there until you pull it forward.  Until it happens to you, you do not expect to have it self feed and become a threat to you. 

I have placed that incident  into  my "should - a - done this and should -a- done that" file.  just like others should do when they have had the experience of having the unexpected thing happen to them. 

I have learned a lot since this occurred and my post reflects that incident as a warning to others.  I would not have knowledge about the danger and allow some one to cut their hand off and then have to add that to my file of "should-a- done"  that reads I "should-a- done" warned others." 

Another danger with the radial saw is using the wrong blade on it as it will grab the material when you begin to cut and unless you have a firm grip on the carriage handle it will give you a sudden awaking.  Another one is turning on the saw.  If you are holding the material against the fence with the left hand then if you turn on the power with the right hand then what is holding the saw carriage? " Nothing" and like I have said, there is no getting around it, it is a dangerous saw.  On my saw I fixed the most dangerous thing and that is the carriage's ability of moving on its own. 

If I am correct in my memory another member "Jens Jensen" had the same thing happen to him and he fixed it and doing the same thing I did.  With this fix I can load the saw and turn on and turn off the saw without the threat of the carriage moving on it's own. 


 
Gary roofner said:

The upgrade kit does fix the problem if you have the blade guard on the saw and return the saw to behind the fence . The saw can't move until you press the guard retract lever. When I get my battery charger for my camera . I will take pictures .

Jay I have the greatest respect for you but you should never have power on the saw and placing boards on the table . I never turn power on that saw until my left hand is firmly holding the piece against the fence and I'm ready to cut.

There is a lot of misinformation that because it is so widespread seems to have become common knowledge about radial saws. 

A well tuned/aligned radial saw is one of the most versatile tools in your repertoiré. 

You want to put a Forrest WW1 TCP 8" blade on it. Call Forrest blades and order direct from them. Around $100 or so. Worth every penny, as it rips and crosscuts smooth as glass. This is the ONLY blade you will ever need for your RAS, and will probably outlast you.

DO NOT turn on the saw with the teeth engaged in ANY material. The "parking area" behind the fence should be lower than the surface of the table. Your table should be topped with a thin layer of plywood so that when the blade is fed through the cut, the teeth actually cut an eighth inch or so into the thin layer of plywood. This also serves as a zero clearance slot for your blade to run in, which will reduce splintering.

I thought the recall program also offered $100 if you sent in some portion of the motor that renders the machine inoperable. If so, take that money and buy an old solid cast iron DeWalt or Delta Turret Arm RAS. 

Craftsman, montgomery ward, et al are deathraps in my mind.

The problem is fixed with the upgrade it will not move with the upgrade installed blade guard is against the fence and will not move until trigger grip is depressed. So Lorrie that problem will be fixed when you do the upgrade.

Jay you're right the problem is fixed with production work that is a good fix and yours works even if you do not have the guard on so your fix is better. I do not do production work so I don't turn my saw on until I'm ready to make the cut. I will say I like the quality of the cut better on the radial than the slider saw because the cut is supported all the way through. The slider does the angles better.

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