I get more done when I have too many irons in the fire. I need to start a 1960s saw restoration like I need to give birth to quintuplets.
Still, the old saying “If you want something done right, give it to a busy man…” Thanks to modern wokiocy, we encourage the reader to assume we mean, of course, “Give it to a busy Black, White, Asian, Latino, bi, straight, lez, or….jeez, whoever I missed.
$50 Tool Whore
I began to tell you this story over a year ago, I think. How I’d bought a semi-working Sears radial arm saw. Even put a picture up. But, when the high-end server crapped out (eating all our old graphics. And, gee, think this is why I hate cryptos?)….so here’s where it sits:
The saw is heavy. Tw0 person lift stopping every 30-feet (because I couldn’t drive the truck in the house).
For a good long while now, this project has been “seasoning.” What that means is you’re letting the tool mature a bit in your spouses head. See, if you buy a tool and then go out and piss away money on it right away, spouses can get suspicious. But if they bump into it a few times?
“I need a doo-dad for the saw…”
“That thing I’ve been tripping over? About time…”
While the spouse is being aged into acceptance of the last visible asphalt on the shop floor disappearing, you hit all the radial arm and Sears tool restoration support groups on the web. Where, after carefully reading the manual, you see what’s missing from the saw and get it ordered.
Hmm…dead spider on the crank handle? I gotta get to these projects quicker. The new miter gauge was already installed. This is the old one. Might fetch $10 bucks on eBay. Tool restoration, like ham radio, and Covid, is somewhat contagious.
Now Into the Project
So we have a saw, sitting on the floor, Elaine’s seen it enough not to notice, all the spare parts seem in hand… So the logical first thing to do is get it off the floor.
There’s a lot of history to the Sears Radials. They have a devoted following and the saws were sold with a) no base, b) an open base, and c) a really nice roll-around stand with room to store blades, clamps, jigs.
Unfortunately, the odds of finding a restorable Sears Radial for $50 dollars with even a metal base, let alone the nice roll around cabinet, are pretty slim. So the next stop in this project was to order a Chineseium metal tool base.
As always, begin the project on the last remaining unoccupied few square inches of workspace that isn’t covered. Which in this case was the table saw.
Project Estimating Breakthrough
There are always (crazy) new ideas that pop up in your head while assembling a project like this.
For example, while I was cursing the people in China who assembled the screws with nuts and washers – meaning I had to unscrew before screwing and I’m just to ADHD for that….I came up with a new way to estimate projects.
Here’s the Theory: Project Time equals 2-minutes times whatever the hardware count is. If you have done the project before, then maybe 1-minute.
Remember, in this case, counting a screw, washer, and nut as three items (6-minutes) may seem excessive. But, by the time you take all 40 screws apart to make them useable, lay out the parts, assemble two wrong, and then line it up loose. Take a beer break…
While I was working through investing my new estimation system, my attention drifted far enough that one of the back rails was not lined up in the right hole…
The price of the metal stand – and then the shop time to put it together, eventually getting after it with an adjustable square to adjust corners to equal spacing….
(Top of leg was tapped to the left to match angles.)
Suddenly, the skies parted and this part of the project was done.
With something to set it on, we can at last get it up and off the floor.
Blocking Out the Project
A radial saw is what a miter saw would be if it had longer rails and a table. And they are terribly more dangerous.
What a miter saw lacks (and this is a deal point) is the ability to run dado blades on a 5/8″ arbor that are down in the 6-8 inch diameter range. Which is part of the reason radial arm saws have a following.
Miter saws could do everything, except that with a world full of lawyers, nothing will ever get done. Blade guards proliferate. Why these days? There’s even a brush guard on my electric toothbrush so I can’t poke myself in the eye and sue…swear to God. Try many dado’s on a miter saw?
Plan with the miter saw is to use it almost exclusively for dado work. For roughing out, I can use one of the battery power Skil saws over at the plywood, for example, truth things up for a shelf on the big table saw (10-inch, cheap Sears – never waste money on cheap tools, relearned!) and a small 8-inch Sears (higher grade, older, much less run-out) for precision work. Or, what I pass off as precision around here…
Step 2 of the project will be getting the saw lifted with a come-along off the 2-by-6 ceiling trusses. Getting the saw set down on the stand is only a start. This is the part where I whisper “Those people who measure shit 3-times and it fits on TV are all quacks…real world doesn’t work that way…”
Our approach is:
- Lift saw off ground
- Figure out how to cobble it onto the stand
- Lower saw into first pass for Sharpie markings.
- Cut plywood, drill holes and whatever…
- Make all that fit then attach saw.
- Disconnect come-along and take down the lifting beam.
- Move the now larger footprint saw to the second most inconvenient place in the shop.
I think that will about cover it.
Then Step 3 and Beyond
Hawk-eyed devil you are, you no doubt noticed that this saw doesn’t have any wood table on it. So yes, in step 3, I’ll be trying to get the saw table built and attached.
Of course, the original Sears saw used precision cut MDF rail, backing, and table cuts. We’ve lined up some sacrificial 3/4″ birch ply for that.
Thing is, I’ve researched deeply enough to know that even getting that looks like a useful saw is really only getting us warmed up. For?
Yes, Step Four
Precision cutting saw? Not yet – not by a long shot, It’s not as easy as it sounds. Putting wood on the saw frame and tossing in a blade is just the beginning of adventures.
As an author, I shouldn’t even mention https://pdfdrive.com because so many authors books are over there and I don’t think they get royalties. Still, if you put in radial saw (or radial arm saw) you will be flooded with resources on the tuning and alignment of a radial saw.
I’ve only done a 6-minute power read of it so far, but it looks to me like the table, in addition to having the expected four corner fastenings, also has an under table adjustment to take care of “wowing” of the table?
Of course, these fine points happen after you have the saw running precisely perpendicular to the table. Your errors will appears as a deep table gouge of uneven depth, back of the saw to the front.
Step 5 gets to be boring. In fact. hardly worth mentioning. But, I suppose the “build something” does come along eventually. Tool sluts like to spend time with every tool in the shop. This pretext of “skilled craftsmanship” and “honing ancient woodworking” to justify tool-buying is often a pantload.
I just like building and using good tools. That’s it, pure and simple.
We Still Like
That zero clearance saw tape I wrote up a while back. Still works great.
When the saw is useable, which it is once again, now that the saw stand is assembled.
I’d say it reduces the sawdust floating around by a good 80 percent, or more.
Still, good idea to wear a mask in the shop. However, for just a few quick cuts, something like the no-good-for-covid paper masks (woke idiot masks) are OK for general cutting. However, the particle sizes from sandpaper on the belt sander (depending on what you’ve got loaded) can get down into the N-95 level.
OK, more coffee and then a quick tune through the ham radio bands before doing the tile cover for the roll-around in the kitchen. Still no sign of the black drainboard that’s holding up pictures. Maybe in time for Christmas if not turkey day? Did Kamala know?
Not Quite Shop-Related
Well, it is and it isn’t: I don’t know if you’ve seen but there are some 55-inch UHDS TVs coming out that sure might be useful in the shop.
Thinking about a big monitor for the planned CNC/engraver station, for example.
On the other hand, if your shop gets cool (ours was 36 last night and it’s not winter yet) then maybe the laptop in the safe, warm house is a better bet.
Still $299 for a 55 UHD with delivery? 50-inch for $249 with free delivery? AYFKM?
We keep track of things by how many hours of work they require to purchase. So, if you make $30 an hour, a 55″ TV is only 10-hours of work.
Back when I was growing up (admittedly 60+ years ago) people worked almost a full week to buy a TV.
So there’s progress for you: Work a week for a 17-19 inch black and white set, or nowadays 10-hours for a 55 and still nothing worth watching.
Such is progress, huh?
Write when you wake up, get rich, retire, pay off the house, or whatever..