Tool Story...How I Got My Original RAS


Corporate Member
Someone asked and I don't want to read a capstone project report. I'm sponsoring a team to rethink bowl sanding.

I remember when my father purchased a DeWalt RAS from the Lazarus department store (Columbus OH) back in the 1960s. He built slopping front cabinets for the porch to kitchen conversion project and a new room divider between the LR and the DR in our house with mahogany. The seed was planted. When we moved to AL the RAS moved with us and was instrumental in constructing the house he and his 3 sons built on the dairy farm. I went from an urban kid responsible for nothing to a dairy farm kid overnight. He used that saw for cross cuts, miter cuts, ripping, etc. That old DeWalt is with my brother-in-law in MO and has been since the farm was sold in 1974.

Not long after we moved to NC, maybe around 2008, I was pursuing GovDeals and found a posting for an Original RAS. The saw was in central VA just north of the NC (don't remember the city) and was listed as a 12" Original from a prison with a 3 ph motor. I was (extremely) naive and thought I can replace the motor with a single phase motor and have a saw even better than the one my father had. I won the bid (a considerable markdown from new and market price; I'm embarrassed by how sweet the deal was) and made plans to go to VA.

The pick up point for the saw was a set of warehouses on the outskirts of town. Slightly skecthy but nothing to be concerned with. The 'curator' was a helpful gentlemen and got the Original RAS with a fork truck and set it in the back of my pickup. I did a quick scan of the machine and realized that the listing was wrong and the saw was a single phase.

I grinned all the way back from VA. The deal was sweeter than I had first thought!

I did rebuild the table per Wally Kunkel's recommendation and extended it so that I can out rip and in rip 24". Haven't used that capacity yet but it has been useful to have an extended table. I also order a blue colored race car water hose with a 90 degree bend and cut it for use as the chip chute/deflector. It fit perfectly. If you've used an RAS you know the annoying part is the dust discharge out of the top of the guard.

The saw doesn't get much use but when I see it I always think fondly of watching (and probably interfering with) my father using it to remodel one house and build another. And, when I need it, I roll it over to the wall plug and make sawdust.

Someone asked and that's my story. For what it's worth, I managed to get several of my father's tools and some from his mother. It's great to have memories laying around in the shop.

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