Stuck Radial Arm Saw? Another Explanation

In last issue’s eZine, Rob mentioned that we’ve returned to “regular programming” after the first issue of April’s foolishness. In doing so, he used the expression “nose to the grindstone.” – Editor

“’Keep your nose to the grindstone’ comes to us from the gristmill. It refers to the miller keeping his nose close to the grindstones to detect any burning smell caused by the stones being to close together and burning the flour. In essence, it is saying, ‘Pay attention to business.’” – George Perry

In that April Fool’s issue, one of our “Tricks of the Trade” pictured using a lathe in place of a rotisserie grill for some delicious chicken. In a case of truth is stranger than fiction, here’s one reader’s response. – Editor

“Your article last month reminded me of the last time my wife needed to peel some rutabaga. To save effort, I mounted it between centers and peeled it with a gouge. Worked great, but my lathe is still in the workshop.” – Rich Egan

And, going back to our “normal” eZine issue that preceded the 2017 April Fool’s edition, we heard from this reader who had some further insight on a question posed about a “stuck” radial arm saw. – Editor

“In response to the person with the radial arm saw that would not raise or lower: I have owned a Craftsman radial arm saw for at least 45 years. It is a smaller version of the Craftsman radial arm saw, but it functions pretty much the same. Although it is possible the column that raises up and down could be rusted and, without seeing it, no one can be sure of the condition, it is more likely that everyone of the three people that responded about it are wrong and giving bad information. The column that raises up and down will get dirty and collect a very fine sawdust — the same sawdust the we breathe and don’t realize that we are breathing it. This very fine dust will get damp or get moist with changes in the air and humidity. When this dust gets moist, it will collect even more dust and eventually get thick enough to make the column very hard and almost impossible to raise and lower. The use of DW-40 or other lubricants is a big mistake, because that will only make the dust that is present more moist and collect even more dust.

“The fix for a column that will not raise up or down is to loosen the bolts that are around the part that the column moves in and out of. Loosen them so that the column is free to move. Then raise the column as high a possible and wipe the column clean. If the column is really bad, you might want to use steel wool very sparingly to clean the column. Once you get the column clean, you can then tighten the bolts that secure the column. The best preventative measure is to every once in a while raise the column as far as possible and clean the column. How often you do this will depend on how much you use the saw. After you clean the column and tighten the bolts, you may want to check the alignment of the saw to be sure that it still cuts straight. I have cleaned my saw several times over the years and have not had to realign the saw after cleaning. By the way, my saw is in my shop in my garage which sees temperatures from the 30’s to over 100 in a year, and rust has never been an issue.” –  Jim Wilson

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