Vintage Propaganda Pepsi Blue
February 12, 2018 2:03 PM   Subscribe

DeWalt Saws In The War Program [SLYT], a World War II era black-and-white promotional film that showcases the many ways large, industrial scale, radial arm saws could be used in order to speed up wood frame construction.

The tool porn starts at 2:09 with a contrast to a PTO driven table saw and cumulates with an approximately 6" stacked dado head. Not 6" diameter, 6" wide at 21:10.
posted by Mitheral (15 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Perfect post! My new table saw was delivered just moments ago!
posted by TigerMoth at 2:37 PM on February 12, 2018 [2 favorites]

I did not know you could rip cut with a radial arm saw and I'm kind of glad I did not have that knowledge when I still had access to one. It looked horribly unsafe. I only ever used the one I had access to for cross cutting purposes, we used the table saw for ripping. I can just imagine an arm getting caught on giant blade spinning very fast out in the open with hands very close to it.

I'm glad I live in an era where I can rent a laser guided miter saw without any problem.
posted by Hactar at 2:42 PM on February 12, 2018 [1 favorite]

I have a radial arm saw and I have attempted ripping with it and I am here to attest that that is a thing that you should never do.
posted by middleclasstool at 4:01 PM on February 12, 2018 [8 favorites]

My injuries were thankfully only psychological, but I still bear them, years later.
posted by middleclasstool at 4:02 PM on February 12, 2018 [3 favorites]

Unexpected Fight for California at 59s.

(They must be playing the Lights Out March, from 1906, which, according to Wikipedia my deep knowledge of all things related to beloved Cal, is where the melody comes from. Go Bears.)
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 4:49 PM on February 12, 2018

Ripping in general makes me nervous. That's how several people I know have been hurt on table saws, and I've seen some super sketchy freehand ripping with skill saws. Doing it on a radial arm saw does not look like an improvement.

I love the propaganda films of this era -- they are such unabashed celebrations of what happens when you throw huge amounts of resources and effort at concrete problems like war production or dam building.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:28 PM on February 12, 2018 [3 favorites]

I last ripped with a radial arm when I was about 16, it didn't occur to me as dangerous at the time, I suspect I'd still do it today if I needed to but I'd probably be a little more wary.

These days I really appreciate the finesse and accuracy of a sliding compound mitre saw and don't really miss the radial arms, I never found any that I used to be terribly accurate. I do sometimes miss the ability to dock 50mm thick hardwood without blinking though.

The really horrifying tool in the video is that PTO driven saw that just pops up through the table. Jesus.

Also, what is it with the distaste those in the US have for the humble riving knife? (Not too much on show here apart from that ripsaw at the start made me think of it) Just put it in people, it doesn't stop you doing anything but it does stop the timber coming back at you at 200 miles an hour. The rest of the world thinks you are idiots.
posted by deadwax at 6:35 PM on February 12, 2018

I have a vintage radial arm saw and I had the bright idea of using to rip some boards with the blade at a 45 degree angle, in an attempt to make a French cleat. It worked, better than I anticipated even, but I found the experience of fighting to keep the blade cutting evenly a harrowing one.

The saw is having an electrical issue now, which is a relief because doubtless I'd be thinking up some even crazier use for it if it was working.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 8:07 PM on February 12, 2018 [1 favorite]

All Fine Woodworking search results for "radial arm saw". The first result:
9-in Dewalt Radial Arm Saw — At $125 it was too good of an opportunity to pass up.
Roland Johnson, Oct 20, 2016

A few months ago a friend mentioned that his dad was disposing of his woodworking tools and wondered if I knew anything about radial arm saws and what they might be worth. His dad wanted $125 for one and thought maybe that was too much. A few questions determined that it was an early Fifties DeWalt 9-inch in little-used condition. I couldn’t pass up the chance to buy an early DeWalt, which in my estimation is the best of the breed, so now I have another chunk of ol’arn to add to my collection.
Old soldiers die hard.
posted by cenoxo at 10:15 PM on February 12, 2018

I'm not at all surprised they are still around, my first thought on seeing them in the linked clip was that they'd go forever. A lot of tools of that era were built to last - last equaling something around a millennium, as far as I can determine. I own a bandsaw of this vintage along with a bunch of hand power tools that were bought by my grandfather when electricity got connected to the farm in the 50's. I don't really expect them to ever die.
posted by deadwax at 1:29 AM on February 13, 2018

The really horrifying tool in the video is that PTO driven saw that just pops up through the table. Jesus.

up-cut/cut-off saws like that are pretty handy -- definitely for cross cut, not ripping. They are usually pedal-operated, and have a huge blade guard that comes down before the blade pops up. Lets you use both hands free to move/maneuver the wood.
posted by k5.user at 6:32 AM on February 13, 2018

and have a huge blade guard

Which NONE of the saws in the video had -- at all. This is why we have OSHA now.
posted by mikelieman at 8:10 AM on February 13, 2018 [3 favorites]

Ripping with a RAS? Yes, it can be exciting, but not half as exciting as watching a pig-headed foreman try to rip a board by feeding it in from the wrong end of the saw. 12" DeWalt RAS, probably WWII vintage. He fought the saw for the board till he figured out he was losing, the saw then threw the board through a thin sheet of plywood covering an old window.
Look on pig-headed foreman's face when he realized he should have listened to us - Priceless.
posted by rudd135 at 10:28 AM on February 13, 2018 [2 favorites]

With a RAS, especially when ripping, it is important to have a blade with the correct geometry. Most off the shelf blades are too aggressive and so called rip blades have too low of a tooth count. For someone with hobby level usage there are really only a couple of options. The Freud LU83R008/9/10 is the budget choice. Better for more money are a couple options from Forrest. the WW1 with TCP is probably the only commercial universal blade available and the
Forrest 48T WW1 with router tooth profile is the choice for a second blade for heavy ripping. The WW1-TCP needs to be ordered directly from Forrest; the WW1s one sees in at retail are ATB variants designed for table saws and aren't appropriate for a RAS.
posted by Mitheral at 4:45 PM on February 13, 2018

Ahh Forrest table saw blades. A mirror-finish right off the machine is something to behold.
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 5:27 PM on February 13, 2018

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