Reparing my Radial Arm Saw Workshop Projects
by Don Heisz
As many of you know, I recently purchased a used radial arm saw from a guy named Dan. Dan had everything except one little screw clamp that was meant to hold the fence of the saw in position.
I, of course, had nothing similar in any of the massive piles of junk populating my workshop. But I did have at my disposal lots of screws, nuts, bolts, bits of sheet metal, and a mig welder and grinder. I selected a few choice pieces, namely, the cut off end of a stainless steel strike plate, a nut and the bolt from an anchor (minus the expansion sleeve), and a washer. The washer was to be welded on as a flange. The one on the existing clamp rotates freely, but I really don’t need to be that picky. I couldn’t find anything that would work that way without putting in too much effort. More effort equals more time. That makes it take longer to get my saw in operation. It needs to be complete so I can admire it.
I traced the profile of the clip part of the clamp onto some sheet metal and cut it out. The tiny notches are to hold the clip into the saw.
I then used my extremely portable and somewhat awful vise to bend the piece into shape. I rarely find a use for this tool. It used to be bolted to my bench, but I removed it for some reason, and it has since kept falling off of things and onto my foot.
As you can see, it easily bent to a close approximation of the original.
I then cut a place for the nut to go. That can be a little irritating, since you have to grind at the base of the notch to get it flat. But if you exercise a little patience, it can be done. And, as you can see, everything went together well.
The nut then got welded into position, since I did not have a square nut like the original. If I didn’t weld it, it would simply spin around.
Here you can see that I’m using the ground clamp of my welder to hold the piece while I weld the thumb turn on. I could have had the piece in the vise and attach the ground to that, but this always seems more convenient. And I didn’t actually think of it at the time. Frankly, I normally have to do stuff like this at a job site somewhere and not on my basement floor, so I normally don’t have a vise.
After a bit of grinding and sanding, it starts to look pretty good. It could be polished up a bit to look nice but I don’t think I’ll bother that much with it.
And here you can see it installed in its proper place and working as it should.
I have no idea how long it would have taken for me to find a replacement for that, although I imagine it would be easy to order one online somewhere. Or I could have gone back and pestered Dan to search his garage floor for it. Instead, with a bit of junk and a welder, this thing could be made up in around 15 minutes. And I doubt I will ever need to do anything more with it.