1956 Dewalt MBF Radial Arm Saw

20160624_190609I’ve had this saw in my stable for a few years now, but only recently started using it regularly. According to the data plate on the motor, it’s born on date is 1956. This was one of Dewalt’s finest small round arm 9″ radial arm saws, with a 3/4 horse motor and crosscut capacity of about 13″. Bullet proof and built to last, these saws were made  before the sale to tool conglomerate Black & Decker in 1960, escaping the eventual decline in quality of these saws.

I found the saw in an online ad a son had placed for his elderly father, the owner of the saw, for the paltry sum of  60 dollars, and drove the hour and a half to look at the saw. I asked a friend to tag along for the ride, not sure how heavy this thing would be, not having examined one before. When we arrived the owner answered the door and directed me to walk around to the walkout basement at the back of the house, where he met me and showed me the saw. It was not rusty, but definitely needed some cleanup, and even in it’s current condition it impressed with it’s stout build and beefy castings. He fired it up to show me it worked and I paid the man his 60 dollars on the spot. It sat on a roll-around home built cart which he asked if I wanted, I told him I didn’t need it, and he fetched a wrench to free it from the stand. I went back to the truck to get my friend who had accompanied me to help carry it around from the back of the house and up the hill to the truck, and we were both huffing and puffing from the workout by the time we got it in the truck…

Later that day, home and alone, I hunted up a couple of planks to help slide the saw down out of the truck and onto the shop floor, and 10 minutes later I was done. A week later I tore into the saw for a better look. It had the optional electric brake as well as the key and switch for turning it on, versus the standard toggle switch, but turned out it was pretty much toast, so I removed it along with the key switch and installed a heavy duty toggle.

The motor bearings seemed okay, so I just replaced the power cord and started cleanup, paint and assembly.  I had decided to mount the saw on an old hardwood work table instead of reattaching  it to the metal base, giving me lots of support on each side of the saw, and after bolting cleats on the  underside of the laminated maple top to prevent flexing, I drilled the holes in the top for the column and base flange and bolted it down. and began to reassemble the saw. Here it is as it sits today:20160623_200641During disassembly I noticed one of the small red plastic knobs to invert the motor was cracked so I had planned to replace this one. During the course of my work, as I tried to release the knob to rotate the yoke, that red knob cracked as well. Ebay yielded nothing, so off I went to the hardware store where I found a couple of small cabinet door pulls, which I drilled out and threaded to replace the originals…Looks good if I do say so myself…almost as if they belonged there.20160623_200946I had planned to use it mainly for dados, but have since installed a 0 degree hook 8- 1/4″  blade and started using it for other crosscutting tasks as well and am impressed with the saw and how robust and repeatable the cuts are compared to the sliding miter saw I have. Best 60 bucks I’ve ever spent…


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