Circular saw recommendations?

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The RAS wants to move the blade toward your fingers. The TS wants to throw everything away from the blade (assuming, of course, that your fingers are never behind the blade).
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On 8/8/2011 4:08 PM, snipped-for-privacy@att.bizzzzzzzzzzzz wrote:

Why would you have your fingers in line with the blade - or even near in line?
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wrote:

Why do people lose fingers?
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Fairly easy to do, since you're using your fingers to feed the wood into the blade.

Only if you're stupid enough to put your fingers in front of the blade.

See above: the RAS rides on rails. Keep your fingers away from the path of the rails, and there's no problem.
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On 8/7/2011 4:34 PM, Lee Michaels wrote:

I've also made thousands of cuts with one, all with trepidation.
Irrational it is ... nonetheless, I have an uncanny sense of impending danger - I learned not to argue with it.
It's why I'm still here. :)
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I've only made a few dozen cuts with one, but it seems to me that the one place the RAS would be better than any other tool is crosscut dados. Crosscutting on the table saw tends to be a bit of an adventure, especially if table width is limited. (Things may be different if I had a sled. Just haven't needed one bad enough to make one.)
I haven't touched a RAS since high school.
Puckdropper
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On 8/7/2011 2:51 PM, Doug Miller wrote:

Well you may have answered your own question there Doug. While most every one will agree that the RAS is not comforting to use in the rip application, it is indeed built and intended to be used to rip material. So that is probably why most every one would prefer to never use one.
FWIW I owned one for about 5 years and build a lot of furniture that I still own today and did quite a bit of ripping with it. For me I had more problems with it while crosscutting, probably because I did mostly cross cutting but I never got used to cutting into a narley SYP knot and the blade and motor trying to climb up over the board rather than cut through the knot, for what ever reason. ;~)
Three years after buying it I added a contractors saw to my shop and literally never used the RAS again.
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I've never had a problem with a RAS (I've never tried ripping) but my son cross cut a piece of Oak and it climbed on him, broke a tooth off the blade, misaligned the saw and he hasn't used it since. Contrariwise, I've had a couple pieces of wood slung at me from a table saw. Go figger. <G>
Max
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On 8/7/2011 8:09 PM, Max wrote:

of alignment pretty easily and there are numerous adjustments to zero in on. The table has to be parallel to the same plane that the carriage rides on, the blade has to lock in parallel or 90 degrees to the path of the carriage. The arm has to lock in at 90 degrees to the fence to make a 90 degree cut and the fence is not always straight, once cut it can warp or twist. It is imperative that you have flat straight stock when cross cutting or you are going to have at least a little problem. If you ever do rip with your RAS "remember" that you feed against the rotation of the blade. While this sounds like common sense you can rip from either side of the table. Typically for narrow stock you are on the right side of the table with the motor pointing away from the arm column. For wider rip capacity you can rip from the left side of the table but be sure to rotate the motor so that it points towards the column arm. Keep in mind that in this situation the stock needs to be wide so that you can have room to push the stock through with out having the motor interfere. Get any of those positions or steps backwards and you end up with a board launcher.
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wrote

You have mentioned the real deal killer for a RAS. Alignment. There are so many things that have to be just right for a reasonable amount of accuracy. It takes way too long to get it "just right".
Max
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On 8/7/2011 10:06 PM, Max wrote: ...

I've never had such issues; then again, I have one of the old large (16") Rockwell-Delta's not the little home-store Sears/DeWalt/etc.
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On 8/7/2011 11:10 PM, dpb wrote:

Typically every new RAS right out of the box has the alignment issue. You have to assemble at least the table and that has to be done perfectly. So at least once the RAS has all those extra alignment settinsg. Then add in humidity, temperature changes and the table/fence needs to be readjusted. If you really use the RAS a lot the table has to be replaced and you start the alignment process again.
Now, if you have an industrial sized saw in good condition the adjustments are probably greatly reduced as would be expected but because of the inherent characteristics of the RAS the more commonly found ones are more trouble.
I believe that the biggest issue with all RAS's regardless of size is the wood table which moves and changes shape.
Consider also that if you most often cut a like sized material on the 16" RAS's as you do with a 10" RAS. If you mostly cut 3/4" material with a 10" RAS the equivalent on a 16" RAS would probably be 1-1/4"", assuming the capacity on a 10" saw is 3" and the capacity on a 16" is 5". When always using equivalent thickness materials I am sure the alignment and operation issues become more equal. The typical 10 RAS would probably perform much better and more smoothly if it normally cut material less the 1/2" thick.
Now I am not saying that I would never use a RAS again but I would absolutely trust the results from my cabinet saw over any RAS whether it be cross cutting or ripping with few exceptions such as squaring the end of a long board or cutting dados across long boards.
This is my view after having both machines and build lots of furniture with both. I still view the TS a more safe to operate machine over the RAS even though I have never been injured with a RAS but have been with a TS.
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On 8/7/11 10:06 PM, Max wrote:

I set mine up years ago, have made more cuts than I can remember and it's still dead on.
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On 8/7/2011 11:22 PM, -MIKE- wrote:

Agreed...it's not an issue that Leon makes it to be ime. (After all, we're working wood here, not machining precision metal...)
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On 8/8/2011 8:00 AM, dpb wrote:

Well that is certainly true but once you start to expect more precision from your equipment your projects reflect that. Keep in mind that I have seriousely been building furniture since the late 70's, have owned both the RAS and TS and find that set up and accuracy to be simpler and better on a cabinet saw. If your are satisfied with the results you get from your RAS that is great. I eventually out grew the limitations of my RAS, both in ripping and in cross cutting and added a TS for the first time in 1983. I never used my RAS again and sold it a few years later.
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On 8/8/2011 8:30 AM, Leon wrote:

When I first owned a RAS there was no such thing as a SCMS. I used the RAS to build 3 recording studios. The last studio I built in the early nineties, the RAS, although setup onsite as usual, hardly got used as I had a miter saw by then, and the RAS had become what I considered a liability issue ... had a couple of guys helping me that I was sure would eventually kill themselves with the damn thing.
I certainly haven't missed owning one. That's not to say that if I had beaucoup room and an unlimited tool budget I wouldn't have another one, along with a couple of more table saws, for dedicated use. First things, first.
In my dreams .... :)
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On 8/8/2011 9:17 AM, Swingman wrote:

Well, I have a PM66 TS as well, but I'd not (willingly) give up the RAS, either...
I've been building since in the mid-60s; a significant period of custom work both furniture and architectural...nobody yet complained about a lack of results... :)
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@swbelldotnet says...

While I don't have your amount of experience, my own is pretty much the same.
While an RAS, perfectly aligned, is a wonderful tool, bump it in the wrong place and you have to go through the whole process again. I just don't get the same repeatability out of the RAS that I do out of a crosscut sled on the table saw.
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On 8/8/2011 9:38 AM, J. Clarke wrote: ...

If a simple bump can do that, it's the POS in "POS RAS" that's the problem, not that it was a RAS... :)
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It's inherent in the design. Bump the end of the arm from the side and something's going to give. It's called "leverage".
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