Introduction: Radial Saw Up-Grade

About: Retired Tool Maker ( 1980 ) Retired Mechanical Engineer ( 2009 ) Full time Tinkerer

I made a new base for my Radial Arm Saw and would like to share the various features. The particle board tables had started to fail and were quite cut up.

Step 1: Stock Base

So I had the stock sheet metal base. No shelves, just floor space underneath. One up-grade you can see here is a plastic shield to keep the saw dust out of the wood storage rack behind the saw. Also I put garden hose pieces on the lower edge of the sheet metal to make it more comfortable to move.

Step 2: New Plywood Table Top

On a radial arm table the front table is fixed. So after removing the old 1" particle board I replaced it with two 1/2" pieces of plywood 18" x 48" glued together. I rounded off the front corners since I hate to bump into those sharp corners.

Step 3: New Back Table Clamp Board

Then to replace the particle board in back I used a cleaned up 2x8. I didn't do the two narrow strips that are provided for ripping. I have a table saw for ripping, and I also feel ripping on the radial saw is a bad idea.

Step 4: Renewable Cutting Surface

So here is the great part of the new table. The cutting surface is a piece of white peg board. When this is cut up it is an easy replacement and the 1" fixed table is left un-scarred.

Step 5: Peg Board Cutting Surface

So to hold the peg board in place I screwed and glued a 1x1 strip to the underside edge. This is clamped by the clamp board. Once in place I screw the front corners of the peg board down to keep it from lifting. No screws near the cutting area please.

Step 6: Back Stop / Fence

So I was really lucky to find a bunch of 1x3 boards with the edges rounded. I hide the extras in a special place so I always have ready replacements. And they were all 48" long!

Step 7: Peg Board Bonus

So the peg board has holes every inch in both directions. This makes it a quick scale for rough measurement. Also 1/4" shelf brackets can be used for stops, very handy for angle cuts. Saves cutting the peg board every time you want a rough angle. I've included a spreadsheet of all the various angles available from hole to hole. Should be good to a degree or two??

Step 8: End Stops

Sears sold this end stop made to hold 3/4" dowels. I use old broom sticks quite handy for long repeat cuts.

For the short cuts I use a small block of wood and a clamp. Works fine.

Step 9: Base Cabinet

To make more use of the space under the saw I made this plywood box. The high center holds the radial arm saw. The two lower sides are parking places for hand power tools, drill, disk sander, router, saber saw, vibra saw, belt sander, etc. Handy spot, but out of the way. Full plywood back to make it stable.The three bins make a nice space to store extra plywood.

Step 10: Tool Shelves

So I have the shelves loaded with tools. Also notice plug strips nearby so everything can stay plugged in ready to work. For those more remote jobs I have two vacuum cord re-winders with outlets attached. The left end has screws to hold wrenches.


Step 11: Mobility

One end has two heavy duty castors, and the other end has handles made from coffee table legs.

Step 12: Stupid Dust Collector

So just because I had the parts I added this dust collector. The computer fan pulls the dust from the saw area, through the back stop, into a mail box where the dust drops into a trash can. Sort of works. I wired the fan to the saw on switch so both start and stop together.

So there are some ideas to improve your radial arm saw. Most would work for a chop saw too.

Be Safe Out There!