Circular saw recommendations?

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On 8/8/2011 2:25 PM, J. Clarke wrote:

...
It'd take a hell of a bump to move the arm on my RAS16; you'll regret you hit it and learn not to do that again if you were to do so... :)
In the roughly 35 years I've not had it be an issue _ever_ so my conclusion is either there's something wrong in a shop that one would get hit so hard and often or it's simply too flimsy if a casual bump can knock it out of line.
I've seem the small DeWalts (Dad had one for 'round the farm) and I've also seen several various Craftsmans of similar lightweight construction; them I'll grant aren't much of a tool as far as sturdiness goes altho I used the one Dad had for the kitchen cabinets rather than drag mine from VA to KS and it was serviceable. I'd label it in the POS class, though, simply because it was so lightweight. It was also seriously under-powered for anything other than softwoods or at most 4-quarter hardwoods
Not so w/ the 16RAS; it weighs nearly 400 lb; I doubt the DeWalt weighed 100.
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On 08/08/2011 02:43 PM, dpb wrote:

I have a Craftsman 10" RAS that I use for 90-degree crosscuts ONLY, and I never adjust it away from that position. I could see how it could get knocked out of adjustment if got a good wack, and I do check it periodically but it never seems to do that of its own accord, so I'm happy with it. I would like to have a *serious* big-daddy RAS to replace it, but I'm slightly space constrained and I see no immediate reason to seek one out. If a professional quality RAS is as useless as a lot of people here would have us believe, I'd like to see what every home center and lumber yard would do if you tried to take theirs away.
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On 8/8/2011 3:05 PM, Steve Turner wrote:

Not all of them are crap, if you have one built like a tank and typically don't use it to its potential on a daily basis it is going to hold up.
Concerning the home center and or lumber yard monsters, if they were any less of a machine they would not hold up given the amount of idiot people using it. And FWIW I would never want to use the cut produced by one of those saws, every one I have seen has been used simply to cut lumber to rough length and square is not a goal nor is it achieved.
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On 08/08/2011 03:32 PM, Leon wrote:

True; those saws are not typically set up for accuracy and the abuse they take is not conducive to accurate cuts, but I don't think such cuts are impossible. I'm sure with the proper care and feeding you could get near perfect results out of those saws.
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On 8/8/2011 3:46 PM, Steve Turner wrote:

Absolutely, as with most any piece of equipment.
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The RAS at Home Despot has so many safety devices attached to it that you can hardly tell it is a RAS. Trap doors, sliding things.... I guess somehow, the industrial safety crowd thought it was dangerous 'as is'. They then felt compelled to deal with the morons and 'safety-ise' the bejeezus out of that RAS.
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On 8/8/11 3:05 PM, Steve Turner wrote:

I was just using mine and even though the settings are still dead on, it's just such a PITA to change the angles of the cuts. You have raise the height to change the angle (because of how the blade cuts into the table in order to make a through cut, then lower it back down. Every time you want to change either angle.
That's a big reason most guys use it only for crosscuts.
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On 8/8/2011 3:19 PM, -MIKE- wrote:

You should use a sacrificial table in front of the fence, usually of 1/4" ply. This eliminates cutting into the main table. It also lets you adjust the saw for miter cuts without raising or lowering the arm by returning the motor/blade behind the fence, adjusting the miter and them making the miter cut while only cutting into the sacrificial table. You do have to raise/lower the arm for bevel cuts though.
I've never had to replace the main table on my RAS as it has never been touched by a blade. Fences OTOH are a disposable item. I make mine out of poplar. I use baltic birch for the sacricial table and they usually last 4-5 years.
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On 8/8/11 5:34 PM, Doug Winterburn wrote:

I use a sacrificial top. The original is virgin. I make a lot of bevels, which makes it a PITA imo.
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Yabbut....squaring the end of a ten foot 1 X 12? ;-)
Max
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On 8/8/2011 1:43 PM, Max wrote:

Given the way most RAS's are set up, squaring that board might be a bit more diffident once you actually try that. IIRC the blade is approximately 30 inches from the end of the table so you have about 7 1/2 feet of board hanging off of the table. Clamping is not really going to be effective but having some one else or something to support the board would be needed. You have a 2.5 to 1 leverage ratio working against you. Not saying that you cannot do it, it is just not as straight forward as making a cut when the wood is not going to be working against you.
That is not going to be as big of a problem problem on a 50" capacity TS with a closer 1/1 leverage ratio. I squared 7, 8' 1x8 today with a miter gauge and did not give it a second thought.
Now if your RAS has a long table on one or both both sides you have over come one of the unique problems.
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On 8/8/2011 3:48 PM, Leon wrote: ...

no, No, NO!!!
Like a TS, a good RAS setup is in a table providing infeed and outfeed support.
You'll play hell doing full-size 2+X hardwoods of large sizes even on the TS simply for the effort of pushing the material even if do have support.
Now, no everybody does large architectural work but that's what I did mostly and the TS was not the tool of choice for much simply because moving the material was harder than moving the tool by far...it's also why I have a 16"-er. (It's also why most of the original work in the old mansions used to refurb was able to be done--hand tools move on large surfaces, not the other way 'round.)
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On 8/8/2011 7:37 PM, dpb wrote:

If you will reread what I said, given the way "most" are set up...
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On 8/9/2011 6:31 AM, Leon wrote:

Well, _most_ TS are sitting on their own, too, and you wouldn't say that makes them unsuited for use...it's a selective criticism against the RAS owing to your bias against it, not a real issue.
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On 8/9/2011 8:11 AM, dpb wrote:

The whole point is, and you your self have made the comment that the DeWalt/B&D style RAS's are less than desirable. Most users use that style saw if using a RAS and the users have a valid point about the problems that are inherent with RAS's.
Because you use a "Tank of a RAS does not mean that there are not deficiencies in the design.
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On 8/9/2011 9:04 AM, Leon wrote: ...

But the same thing is true about the sorry POS benchtop or contractor wannabe TS's, too...
It's not the RAS per se, just like it's not the TS; it's the implementation if anything.
The old DeWalt of Dad's is still here; it would be perfectly adequate as a hobbyist tool w/ one thing--a more powerful motor. At one time one could, in fact, swap out the components and do so; I tried to talk Dad into doing it but he was almost done w/ the house remodel so didn't think it was worth fooling with and so it's still as it was. I brought my shop from TN when came back, of course, so it's still out there. I've not gone to trouble of trying to sort out what have so many duplicates of or which of the combined set is the better to cull the herd but at some point really should; I've got stuff in every corner of every outbuilding on the place... :(
Somehow the RAS has become the same emblem of the down and out to be kicked around just like the BORGs; it's a popular position but is mostly just reiterating the refrain.
I'll retire from the thread; I think I've made my position clear. The RAS is a fine tool for the purposes to which it is best suited and is a worthy complement to the TS in almost any shop. I would still recommend a _good_ TS as the first acquisition for most folks but I'll never accept the blanket condemnation of the RAS as a device. Criticism of a specific tool is something different.
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Well, Pshaw! I'm goin' out tomorrow and get me one of them 16 inchers. How much do they cost?
Max
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On 8/9/2011 5:17 PM, Max wrote: ...

If you have to ask... :)
No idea, as mentioned in another thread, I got lucky on this from an acquaintance working at Lane.
It looks like Delta makes nothing but the 10" any more; Original Saw Company still makes industrial-strength (and priced) RAS up to at least 20". If I had to guess I'd say a 16" would run $5K any way, these days new. Seems like last time I happened to notice a new blade was roughly $1500...
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$1500 just for a blade. I could get a Saw Stop for that much and then I wouldn't have to worry about ripping, crosscutting or anything 's' okay. I just realized I don't have enough room for it anyway. ;-)
Max
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On 8/9/2011 9:08 PM, Max wrote:

That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.
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