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A. Spruce
Re: Radial Arm saw
JLMCDANIEL wrote:

One reason they fell out of favor was because they were very difficult to set up and keep accurate. especially for anything other than a straight cut.
Jack

I would have to agree with this, it's fairly tough to keep them accurate, whether you move them or not. They are an excellent general purpose tool. I would also agree with the space factor, since most cuts that a RAS can do, more common, some cheaper, tools can handle without taking up the space.

Me personally, I wish I had mine back. I had an old DeWalt, back when a DeWalt was a DeWalt, not a Black and Decker in yellow and black clothing (not that I'm knocking the current line of Big DW tools ). Given enough space, a RAS can be incorporated into the chop saw table to do things that are more easily done by a RAS than a router or tablesaw, and to easily out cut widths that even the best sliding compound miter can muster. While a table saw can do a dado, it's really hard to slide material over a couple feet in length across a table or router table, it's easier to draw the tool across the material - perfect for a RAS.

In my ideal shop I'd have two of several items. I've yet to build a project that didn't require several dado's and plenty of straight ripping. Two router tables so that you can set up raised panel bits "permanently". A dedicated mortiser or two drill presses to fulfill the needs. you can't have too many sanding devices, cordless drills, and other types of hand tools either.

bp21901
Re: Radial Arm saw

I have one, but don't use it too often. Last job was to rip shelf dado's in the sides of a bookcase. It was easier to use the RAS than making another crosscut sled for moving the long pieces across the table saw.

The challenge for me is to get an accurate cut with mine. There is some side to side play as mine comes out the arm. I have tuned it for many hours, but was never able to get that last 1/16"+ out of it. If I have to be dead nuts on for something, I'll take the time to make a jig for the table saw.

goldhiller
Re: Radial Arm saw

A router combined with a custom T-square arrangement and a squeezie clamp works really well for dados...and is highly accurate. Doesn't really take up a diddle of space either.

napabill
Re: Radial Arm saw

I bought my first ra slightly used in 1976 and used it for many years before I felt the need to buy a table saw for serious cabinetry. In most people's garages/workshops a saw that fits against the wall is far more convenient than one that sits in the middle of the floor. Both of those saws went away after a divorce and home sale about fifteen years ago but when I bought an old house a year ago the first tool acquired was another used Craftsman ra from Craig's List. For those jobs where a table saw is better I just purchased a Bosch worksite ten-inch that I can fold and store in the corner. It doesn't have the depth of cut or range of adjustment of my old belt-drive saw but it handles the projects I work on these days.
—Bill

A. Spruce
Re: Radial Arm saw
napabill wrote:

Both of those saws went away

My condolences on your loss. ;)

napabill wrote:

I bought my first ra slightly used in 1976 and used it for many years before I felt the need to buy a table saw for serious cabinetry. In most people's garages/workshops a saw that fits against the wall is far more convenient than one that sits in the middle of the floor.

When I bought my professional shop, I put everything on dollies. I could put the whole works, including a 4x8 work bench onto one side of a two car garage and still got my truck in there until I started getting too much excess lumber that the truck couldn't straddle anymore. :o:D

Now I'm in a garage that's much smaller - about 1-1/2 cars in size, and theres not enough room to have anything besides the tablesaw permanently set up, everything else has to move to be used.

canuk
Re: Radial Arm saw

napabill ... my condolences also.;)

Jhanecker2
Re: Radial Arm saw

Dad had one out here on the farm . Nice 10" Black & Decker ,good thing too . He had one of those Cheap small bench table saws and the the reduction gears jammed. If I ever get some serious money together I am Looking to get a decent 10" Contractor Saw either A Delta or a Rigid with Cast Iron Tables . Regular table saws are better for ripping , and Radial Arm saws are more convenient for crosscutting . They also seem to have more reach and allow for the use of more accessories on the other end of the motor. I'd Love to be able to afford a Delta Unisaw . They had one at some place I worked at , and they would cut Non -ferrous metal with it . It seemed relatively Quiet in operation.

A. Spruce
Re: Radial Arm saw
Jhanecker2 wrote:

I'd Love to be able to afford a Delta Unisaw . They had one at some place I worked at , and they would cut Non -ferrous metal with it . It seemed relatively Quiet in operation.

You want quiet? Check out Powermatic. You'll pay for them, but they're a darned nice saw. You'll be getting a good saw with either Delta or Jet, but for smooth operation the Powermatic wins, hands down.

Eric1435
Re: Radial Arm saw

I have to say, I don't have a large workshop, but when my Dad offered me his radial arm saw for free I was excited. It is a DeWalt model, perhaps from the late 80's. I like to use it to cut down long stock before I take it to the table saw for the precise cuts, since as earlier posters have pointed out it is tough to get it dialed in. I have used it for dados on some projects. I plan to make a miter saw station similar to what Norm has and incorporate the RAS onto the end of the station. I probably wouldn't buy one, but if anybody else has the option to get one for free I would encourage them to do so. I am sure I don't even know all the possible uses for it yet.

A. Spruce
Re: Radial Arm saw
Eric1435 wrote:

I plan to make a miter saw station similar to what Norm has and incorporate the RAS onto the end of the station.

You can save space by placing the chop saw and the RAS side by side, then you have more room for infeed/outfeed tables on either side.

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