Need a Saw -- Radial Arm or Sliding Compound Mitre?


I sold my RAS 3 years ago thinking I'd never use it after we moved into a new house, but I was wrong. Don't tell my wife -- she thinks I'm perfect. ;-)
I have a few projects needing more than my skill saw. I need to decide whether to buy a good used RAS (there are hundreds out there in great condition sitting unused in basements and garages) or go for a new sliding mitre saw.
Projects I currently have on my list include some framing, fence- building, and putting baseboard and crown molding in several rooms. If I hired a handyman to do even one of these projects, it would cost at least 3x what a new saw will cost. Plus, I enjoy the projects as long as I don't have a deadline and can knock off to "watch the game" when I feel like it.
I liked my RAS for cross-cutting, and in a pinch it was acceptable for ripping plywood. I didn't find it great for really good finished mitre cuts, but that could be me rather than the saw. I've never used a compound mitre saw and don't know if it would be any better than the old RAS. I have enough space for either saw.
Which saw would you choose for these projects (and more like them in future), and why? If a CMS, is there a particular 10 inch model you recommend?
Thanks,
Rick
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On Fri, 13 Jan 2006 22:46:58 GMT, Java Man

for the above mentioned projects or any other you may have, if you need a lot of cross cut capacity you might choose the RAS or a SCMS. The SCMS is certainly more portable.
If you don't need a lot of cross cut capacity and want better repeatibility and precision a good CMS is what you want. The CMS seems to be more appropriate for the above mentioned tasks.
Have no opinion on model. I've only used Delta, but that is because I could get them at a very low price. Seems like every Mag does a CMS comparison about every year. Do some research.
Frank
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In my opinion, a RAS is a good rough in tool or one to cut scrap wood for the wood burning heater in the shop. As you have already determined it is not usually a real precision machine. Based on your project list the miter saw seems like the best choice, however, if you plan many additional future projects it may be time to consider a good table saw.
Don Dando
wrote:

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On Sat, 14 Jan 2006 00:32:09 GMT, "Don Dando"

Face the wrath of Rumpty... <G>
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For what you want, either will work fine. I just bought a RAS because I wanted the crosscut capability. I have been perfectly happy with the quality of it's cut. I just used my RAS to cut a bunch of dados. Sure couldn't do that with a CMS, but then you don't want to. However, for the price of a good used RAS you can get a 10" CMS. If that will be big enough for your purposes (and it ought to) they are a lot easier to use, move, adjust, etc. I don't see that you need a slider, but if you do, then the RAS becomes more attractive because of the price.
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I am far from being an experienced woodworker - more of a do it yourself carpenter that does some trim work but here is my 2 cents. I have a RAS and a CMS but since you mentioned crown molding you really might want to consider a CMS where you can cut the crown upside down on the saw standing up against the fence or flat doing both bevel and miter cuts at the same time. I wish I had bought the Bosch 3912 12 inch CMS [not sliding] that goes for around $280. It comes with a 40 tooth decent blade [many come with crap blades that you will need to replace] and has both preset miter and bevel stops for crown though if not close to a 90 degree corner you would need to make adjustments. The 12 blade will also give you better crosscut capability and height against the fence. I bought a Pro Tech 10 inch [$139] inch miter saw at Menards kind of on a whim but it works well. I think any brand is made in China or Taiwan these days. For occasional ripping duty you could use a couple saw horses and a circular saw with a guide clamped on. If I was going to do it again I would buy the Bosch 3912. There are lots of reviews on Amazon on CMS and it seems that a lot like their Dewalts [non sliding]. If you really want a sliding CMS you might reconsider and but a regular CMS and then a used RAS for probably the same money. I have never used a sliding CMS but the Hitachi's get good reviews on Amazon. Good luck --- Steve
(Amazon.com product link shortened)37260779/sr=1-5/ref=sr_1_5/104-4406313-2839134?%5Fencoding=UTF8&v=glance&n"8013

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comcast.net says...

Thanks Steve, and all others who responded. Good points about why a CMS is probably the better choice for my list or projects. I like the idea of being able to lug it into the yard more easily than a RAS to build things like garden arbors, etc. that are on my "dear wife's" request list. (I always get her all enthused a project that needs a new powertool long before I ever mention I need the tool. Works wonders. ;-)
I see that the non-sliding CMS are less expensive, and that most 12 inch models can cross-cut 4x4 and 2x8, and even mitre cut 2x6. That would cover 99.9% of the cuts I would ever have to make with mitre saw or RAS. So it looks as though I'll pick up a 12 inch CMS and a good straightedge guide for my circular saw for ripping and crosscutting plywood/OSB.
Thanks!
Rick
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