Power saw help

Didn't see this specific question in the FAQ. There are several types of saws I know of: table saw, radial arm saw, compound miter saw, sliding compound miter saw, and portable circular saw. Ignoring portability and the circular saw, can you do basically everything you need with 2 of the above, and if so which 2? I suppose technically you can do everything with a table saw. But assuming the great ease of doing miters with a miter saw or the potential benefit of crosscutting long/narrow pieces with a radial arm saw, wouldn't a table saw plus sliding compound miter give you all you'd need? I'm not a fine furniture kind of guy and these won't get a ton of use, but when I want 'em I'll want 'em, so I'll be buying used, or HarborFreight, or something like that. At those prices I figure I can get 2 saws, but I definitely don't want to go overboard here, TIA
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Take a woodworking course and find out! You will get a variety of answers here; all of which are true for the person answering, but possibly not for you.
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

<snip>
I'd have a hard time cutting a curve with any of the saws you've mentioned.
--
Jack Novak
Buffalo, NY - USA
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Your answer is going to depend on what type of work you are doing and how you learned to do it.
Framing carpenter would possibly pick a miter saw and a handheld portable circular saw. a Furniture maker might go with a radial arm saw and a bandsaw .
If you are cutting a lot of timber to length , then a miter saw is excellent . Buy one that can handle 2 x 4 and you probably cover 90% of the home repair needs.
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Since you were apparently asking exclusively about power tools: Just to offer an alternate view (assuming most of the responses here will factor a TS highly into the mix), I do almost all of my cutting with a 18" bandsaw (ripping and most curves, some shorter angled crosscuts) and a handheld circular saw (crosscutting, made very accurate with a cutting guide or sled). I also have a handheld jigsaw, and a router which I use for some operations which might be considered cutting (mostly truing up circles, cutting with templates, etc.). For an even MORE alternative view, I frequently use a few Japanese pull saws, which cut very cleanly and are much quicker than plugging in and setting up a power saw for a single cut or two. Each individual side of the Ryoba is especially impressive for its respective cut. I haven't practiced enough yet to get perfectly consistent and square cuts with these, but if it doesn't matter or I'm willing to fix it with a plane, it's a nice (quiet) change of pace, and sometimes a timesaver. Good luck, Andy
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I have to ditto that, Andy. More often than not for a quick cut, I'll grab the pull saw before I'll dig out the circular saw, etc.

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On 6 Feb 2007 13:11:06 -0800, " snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com"

Personally I'd get one good saw of any type rather than two poor ones.
Be _very_ careful buying a used or inexpensive radial arm saw--even a good old cast iron deWalt in good condition takes some time and knowledge to set up properly and needs to be checked periodically--one that is not well made or is in poor condition will have you hating the breed in no time. If I knew then what I know now I'd have gone with a table saw, not a radial arm saw--I spent the better part of a decade cursing that thing before I finally learned how to tune it properly. Now I have a love/hate relationship with mine. I love what it can do, I love being able to make a mark on the board and nudge the that mark right up to the blade while I watch, I hate having to check the alignment in three axes every time I change the setup.
If you are seriously consdering a radial arm saw then get the Jon Eakes book <http://www.wired-2-shop.com/dhdtv/ProductDetail.asp?ProdID=3&nPrdImageID=&CatID=3 and the Mr. Sawdust book <https://www.dovetalebooks.com/sawdust/proddetail.php?prod=sawdust01 and read them cover to cover about three times, then if you still think you want one you'll know what you're looking for.
----------------
Rather than two saws with circular blades, IMO you'd likely be better off with a table saw and a band saw--the band saw can do things that the table saw can't and significantly extends your capabilities in ways that an SCMS or a radial arm saw won't.
Really depends on what you plan to do though.
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Nope. There are a lot of things that a band saw can do, that a table saw can't.

Nope.
IMO, the minimum needed to properly equip a woodworking shop with power saws is: - table saw - one of: radial arm saw, compound miter saw, or sliding compound miter saw - band saw - handheld circular saw (for rough-cutting boards & panels to approximate size)
--
Regards,
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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Thanks for the tips. I've done a little more reading wrt price and quality and I can see the problems that might result from cheap equipment. Thinking about what I'll be doing most, I'll get a nice miter saw now and add more later as I need and can afford.
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

Jeff ... you can find good used Craftsman table saws for not much money. Usually $150 and less. It is NOT a brand new cabinet saw, but you can get a lot of good work out of one while you are saving for a 'top shelf' saw. If you get good with the Craftsman, you may find that you A) are no longer interested in a fancier saw or B) much better qualified to get your moneys' worth out of the fancier saw. When you later sell the Craftsman to make room for the newer saw, you will find that it's still worth about what you paid for it ... the darn things just never seem to give up!
Bill
--
Make yourself an honest man, and then you may be sure that there is one
rascal less in the world.
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Sounds like a good plan, if that's what you think you'll use most - I'd just suggest getting a good blade, no matter what quality of miter saw you get. One of my friends has the el cheapo Delta "shopmaster" miter saw, and he found accuracy improved a great deal with the addition of a Dewalt blade from the borg. You COULD spend more for the blade than for the saw at this low-tier quality line, but if you start with a cheap saw, you should also get a better blade at the same time (maybe $25-50 for the blade?), and I'd bet you'll be happier than staying with the stock blade. Good luck, Andy
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To give you a reference point for my opinion I have used or own: Circular saw, jigsaw, miter saw, sliding miter saw, tablesaw, hand saw, coping saw I have built some furniture and done a lot of remodeling so I am basically a DIYer that is moving into woodworking.
Tablesaw has a huge amount of flexibility and can do many things especially with the right jigs. However if most of your work will be home repair/remodeling it won't see nearly as much use as a miter saw or circular saw.
Miter saw is a great tool and a sliding miter saw (usually) has a longer reach and more accuracy. I have the standard type because I couldn't justify the expense of a good sliding miter saw.
Probably my technique but I can't make precise cuts with a jigsaw. Even Norm "leaves then line" when using a jigsaw so I don't feel too bad.
Circular saw can do many things a tablesaw can do but not nearly as accurate. Again jigs and technique go a long way, my brother can follow a scribe line and miter crown molding with a circular saw, I need a speed square to cut a 2x4.
Having bought my TS new I probably wouldn't do it again. Even a contractor style TS is built like a tank and you can safely buy a used one if you check it out first. Craigslist is a good place to look for used tools. I wouldn't buy one off of ebay unless you could check it out before bidding.
Even though I get from the group and other places a radial arm saw is extremely versatile I would put it second behind a bandsaw.
When considering my post and others remember "opinions are like a$ $holes, everybody has one and they all stink".
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

Only the table saw and the radial arm saw can both rip and crosscut. The miter saws (sliding or non sliding) cross cut well but sacrifice rip capability for lightness, rigidity and lower cost.
I suppose technically you can do everything with a

Either a table saw or a radial arm saw will do all the common woodworking cuts and joints. These are the basic, do everything tools. Either one can do everything the miter saws can do. Was it me, starting out, I'd pick either a table saw or a radial arm saw, either one works fine. I'd look on the miter saws as nice to have supplements to the basic saws. In favor of the table saw. It can make finger lap (box) joints. Short of the walls of your shop, there are no limits on rip width or crosscut length. It seldom needs alignment. In favor of the radial arm saw. It needs less space in your shop. Long boards face the same way for rip and cross cut so you only need clearance in one direction. The machine works just fine backed up to a wall. It is better at cross cutting long boards. Keeping a 10 foot board at right angles to the blade using just the miter gage on a table saw is difficult. The radial arm saw will rip straight without a fancy after market fence. It can also double as a shaper, a horizontal boring machine, a disc or drum sander and a bench grinder. You can raise panels with it. As you might guess, I have just a radial arm saw (an old Craftsman) and it serves my simple needs well. The dreaded alignment procedure isn't that much of a chore. You swing the arm back and forth noting where the blade scrapes the plywood to make sure the table is parallel to the arm. You use a carpenter's square to see if the arm is running at right angles to the fence, and a combination square to check for the blade being at right angles to the table. I check alignment only after moving it, or making a new table. Takes maybe a half an hour. Mine goes for years between alignments. When shopping for used saws (a good idea, better than Harbor Freight) look for cast iron. Cast iron will not bend or flex under load. It may break, but it won't bend. Table saws ought to have big cast iron tables. Radial arm saws want to have a solid cast iron arm, the column should be steel and the collar that holds the column up should be a casting. Avoid sheet metal stampings, they flex under load. Ten inch is a good size. Radial arm saws need to be able to rip and cross cut 24" (one half the width of a 4*8 piece of plywood). I see little difference in safety between table saws and radial arm saws. Both machines will amputate body parts with the greatest of ease. Both machines will kick back, hurling the work at you at frightening speed. A good sharp carbide blade reduces the chances of kickback, any used machine deserves a good new blade. Good luck and happy woodworking
David Starr
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