Radial Arm Saw

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Radial Arm Saw

Postby Mike Angeles » Sat Nov 11, 2006 7:43 am

Hey all
I have a tool question, I unfortunately inherited a Radial Arm saw, Problem is I really don’t have the room for it. anyone think its a outdated item in today’s Workshop given space constraints? the only thing I could think to use it for would be to Cross cut Larger pieces of material, Dado, Miter, etc.
I currently have a Table saw (albeit small). Compound Miter Saw and a shload if Powered hand tools. Having said that do you see a definite need in a Tear Construction?

Thanks,
Mike
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Postby SteveH » Sat Nov 11, 2006 7:52 am

Mike,

It's like anything else...what you get used to using is your favorite tool. I'm like you, I have a table saw and use it for most everything, but I know folks that have the radial arm saw, and they swear by using it for most everything. As far as what I actually know about the differences, generally speaking, the table saw is more suited for ripping stock, and the radial arm saw is more suited for crosscutting, or cutting stock to length.
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Postby Marck » Sat Nov 11, 2006 8:56 am

I personally miss my RAS alot. I used to use it for everything and since it died, I have been lost. To each his own I guess.
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Postby dwgriff1 » Sat Nov 11, 2006 9:39 am

There are moments when I really miss my RAS. Most of the time, it would just sit in the corner and take up space, but there are some operations that aren't easy otherwise.

On the other hand, I haven't had one for a couple of decades and I still do a fair amount of work.

If space were no issue (I want to live on that planet) I'd have one -- or two.

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Postby Kens » Sat Nov 11, 2006 11:13 am

I also had a RAS it just took up to much room. I sold it. I have lived without it for about five years. I'm getting by. Ken
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Postby Podunkfla » Sat Nov 11, 2006 11:48 am

I still have one... I almost never use it. It just sits there collecting clutter. Once in a blue moon I will use it to cut down extra long boards since it sits at the front door of my shop. I have used it to cut multiple dado's in bookcase walls. I really think they are one of the most dangerous power tools ever invented... We used to call 'em "radical arm removers." in the contracting business. :shock:
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Postby asianflava » Sat Nov 11, 2006 3:30 pm

I agree with Steve, it's a personal choice that is mostly based on what you grew up with or have gotten used to. RAS have kinda fallen out of favor ever since miter saws started getting bigger and more powerful.

I grew up with one and kinda miss it, my dad's RAS died long before his TS died so I had to make the conversion. It was a lot easier to cut dados with a RAS than with a TS.
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Postby goldcoop » Sat Nov 11, 2006 4:07 pm

RAS are very dangerous in the ripping mode!

Best for Cut Off and cross dados as mentioned above.

My Dad used to use his for Moldings with multiple set ups! :shock:

Cheers,

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Postby Craig McCormick » Sat Nov 11, 2006 4:48 pm

Radial Arm Saws are NOT dangerous in the ripping mode. If you are having problems ripping you are trying to push the board through the wrong way. I ripped 1000's of board feet of lumber in a commercial situation on a RAS with no problems - never a kick back. I have also built several grandfather clocks, canoes, and kayaks, as well as most of the furniture in my house using my RAS in the ripping mode.

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Postby halfdome, Danny » Sat Nov 11, 2006 7:04 pm

Mike, radial arm saws are dangerous because of the many tasks that you can do with one. I even used mine as a horizontal boring machine with the drill chuck attachment until I bought a real boring machine for dowels. when I saw a refund offer that Sears was doing years ago on the old radial arm saws I jumped at the offer. Seems they were getting sued for injuries and they just didn't want any more. Make a couple accurate sleds to fit your miter gauge slots in your table saw and give that radial arm a toss before you loose an arm or much worse. :D [i]Danny[/i]
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Postby Mike Angeles » Sat Nov 11, 2006 9:14 pm

Thanks Everyone for their replies, Its settled, I can now give away to a relative with little remorse. IM thinking Craigs list. I had thought I wanted one, But it seems most of its duties can can be accomplished using newer gizmos and doo-dads.

Thanks Again!!

PS. A hearty thank you to all the Vets on this day of remembrance.

Mike
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Postby goldcoop » Sat Nov 11, 2006 10:02 pm

Craig McCormick wrote:Radial Arm Saws are NOT dangerous in the ripping mode. If you are having problems ripping you are trying to push the board through the wrong way. I ripped 1000's of board feet of lumber in a commercial situation on a RAS with no problems - never a kick back. I have also built several grandfather clocks, canoes, and kayaks, as well as most of the furniture in my house using my RAS in the ripping mode.

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Was this commercial set up with a feeder? Or hold down wheels?

Cheers,

Coop
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Postby Podunkfla » Sun Nov 12, 2006 12:32 am

Well... here's a thought... I used to hang out on a now defunct wood working forum called Badger Pond. It was a great forum and we all miss it. Anyhoo... One of the guys on there had an old Rockwell RAS with a burned up motor. This thing would make a 17 inch cut. He made an adapter to mount a 3 HP big honkin router (Hitachi M12v) in place of the motor. Now you have a pretty neat "over-arm router" with a sliding carriage. Great for book-shelf dado's and lots of repitive tasks. I've thought about making one... Even have the dead RAS to work with... Just haven't done it. :thinking:
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Postby Craig McCormick » Sun Nov 12, 2006 8:52 am

Coop,

I brought in my personal Dewalt 7740 for the project. It is a homeowners model.

I have been in a few shops that had RAS and they mentioned how dangerous ripping was. I asked them to show me which way they were feeding the wood through and both times it was backwards. You feed the wood into the back of the motor and blade, NOT the front.

My RAS is now at our family cabin where I use it for home repairs and small projects.

I don't ever remember having any significant kickback.

Havin fun,

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Postby Nobody » Sun Nov 12, 2006 11:35 am

Have to agree with Craig regarding RAS, with this caveat; Any power tool is dangerous if not set-up & used properly. A radial arm saw when used properly by a careful worker is one of the most versatile stationary tools in the shop. I bought this old Craftsman at Sears in 1969, one of the last of their solid cast iron, homeowners models. Put 'er together during the last half of the Ark/Texas football game (Pres. Nixon attended that one) as Arkansas was gettin' their butt whipped & I didn't want to watch it :( . Clamped the saw to a couple of saw horses & used it to build the stand that it's been set-up on ever since. Except for occasional realignment, switch & table wood replacement, replacement of cord from motor to arm (dog ate that one :R ), I've never experienced a moment of trouble from it, & never came near to any kind of accident/injury. I suppose it has literally hundreds of hours of use by me & my sons with never a hiccup ('cept a couple of times when I let the blade get too dull & it 'bogged' down on a long rip & tripped a breaker :oops: ). As Craig said, the set-up before ripping is of extreme importance. With the switch key removed I set the rip width desired (whether in-rip or out-rip depends on width of cut), then set the blade guard at feed end to just barely clear the top of material being cut, then adjust the anti-kickback pawl to hold the material as it emerges from the cut. Feed the material into the saw against the rotation of the blade (at the feed point), & with a correctly adjusted saw, I've never experienced any significant kickback. Ripping very thin materials requires slow feeding into a very sharp, fine tooth blade but again that's true of most any cutting tool. This one'll be 37 years old in a few days & with careful adjustment it'll still cut as true as when new. I also have a small (8 inch) cast iron table saw from AMT that's almost 30 years old. It's invaluable when ripping wider stuff but much clumsier to use (at least for me) so the old RAS still gets the nod for most of my work. I have to admit to a growing partiality toward the new miter saw of late :shock: , but it too is limited in certain areas that the RAS excels in ;) .

Here's pix of my old RAS
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Set up for in-rip (feed end)
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Pawl set up to prevent kickback
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