Radial Arm Saw? What can they do that a Mitre and Table saw can't.

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Do I need a Radial Arm Saw when I already have a Table saw and a compound mitre saw? A friend is willing to sell me his used one (its an old DeWalt) for a reasonable price but I'm just not sure if having it is worth the cost and the extra space that it will take up in my garage/workshop. Can I mount it to my workbench or do I need it more mobile than that? Also what are its capabilities/advantages over the table saw or compound mitre saw? Thanks for the help.
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The one thing that I wish I had a RAS for is for doing particularly wide half-laps or dado cuts. These can be done on the table saw, but if you add angles into the picture it becomes a pretty annoying task, IMO. Still, I doubt I'd ever bother to get a RAS just for that.
Mike

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(Basspro*) wrote:

Probably not.

I have mine on a mobile base, but that's mostly so I can clean behind it more easily. I rarely move it for any other reason.

Compound miter saw can't make rip cuts, radial arm saw can -- but a table saw does a better and safer job. Since you already have a table saw, this is not a reason to buy a radial arm saw.
Most radial arm saws will accomodate a dado set; I believe that most compound miter saws will not. However -- unless the radial arm saw's table is dead flat *and* dead parallel to the saw carriage, you can't get dados of a uniform depth. This operation is better done with a table saw or a router.
It's easier to crosscut long or heavy boards with a compound miter saw or a radial arm saw than with a table saw, because the board remains stationary. The only advantage I can see in this respect to a RAS over a CMS is that the RAS is likely to have a greater width capacity for crosscuts, greater even than a sliding CMS. On the other hand, it's a very rare event for me to *need* that extra capacity.
Big *dis*advantage to the RAS is all the space they take up. I bought mine more than twenty years ago, long before I ever saw a CMS. If I had neither one right now, I would buy a sliding CMS in preference to a RAS to save space. Particularly in your case, I think the space issue argues against buying the RAS: the advantages you gain from it, if any, could hardly outweigh the sacrifice of dedicating part of your workbench surface to a tool that you will probably use only rarely.
-- Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
How come we choose from just two people to run for president and 50 for Miss America?
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I second Doug's comments. If I were in your shoes I would not buy the RAS as the additional value to your shop is minimal since you have a TS & CMS. The space it will take up negates the limited additional value to you. Sorry, but this is a tool opportunity that you should pass on.
-- Larry C in Auburn WA
(Basspro*) wrote:

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The RAS will except a dado blade which a miter saw won't. The RAS will cut wider stock..
Try to work the rest of it out yourself.
--
Mike G.
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Only advantages are when working with really LONG boards, or when doing things like lots of lap joints. Otherwise, you can essentially do anything that a RAS can do on your table saw or mitersaw
John
On 12 Jan 2004 08:32:47 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@cox.net (Basspro*) wrote:

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If it's a good machine for a good price, go for it. I have both, and would not part with either now. There are things that can be done with each that can't be done on the other. I like to dado on the RAS for the simple reason that you can see the cuts being made. (Of course you must make sure the table is level with respect to the runout of the head.) Same for multiple cutoffs. I use TS for most long rips.
Can I mount it to my workbench or do I need it more

handy to move back out of the way when not in use. Before I moved here and built a new shop, I used to roll the RAS outside the garage door to use it because I had so little room.
Also what are its capabilities/advantages over the

No comparison to CMS. CMS cannot do any ripping or anything but make mitre cuts or cutoffs of narrow pieces. You will want to keep your TS and CMS both.
Although you can make mitre cuts with the RAS, I only use it as a last resort on boards too wide for the CMS.
Good luck.
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Many good reasons are given. I wouldn't be without my RAS. It's the thing for big work.
Best of all is to make a long table for ripping big stuff. I've ripped 20' roughcut 2X framing on mine. I don't think I could possibly do that on the TS. Crosscuts on big stock are much easier too, because you can get the stock all set up and then pull the carriage across...no binding!
The moving head is great for anything big or tricky. I recnetly had to take 15 degree cuts on the ends of some 2X4, for sawhorse legs. I just marked the 15 deg line on the table, held the ends against the fence, and cut...very fast and all 8 are fine.
Taking an 8' rip off a piece of sheet stock is a snap. Just keep it on the fence and push!
The RAS certaiinly falls down for precision work, because the locks, especially the column lock that holds the miter angle, can be sloppy.
Ripping short stock can be a problem, because you have to get close to the blade to push it through...not a good situation.
Wilson

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A troll I hope
--
Mike G.
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My TS or miter saw will do all these cuts. That said I do have a RAS. I use it very little, but when I do it is because no other machine cans do the cuts it can with the same ease. Greg
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He's buying a DeWalt so alignment isn't an argument.

Use a push board. See the Mr. Sawdust Book "How To Master The Radial Saw" to see how a push board is made/used.
In addition to the other fine suggestions a RAS can also be used for precision shaping and moulding work, compound miters, gaining, and ripping non jointed boards.
--
Rumpty

Radial Arm Saw Forum: http://forums.delphiforums.com/woodbutcher/start
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IF this is truly "an old DeWalt", the following is untrue.

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I used to have all three. Sold the mitre saw. I used it for job site stuff. It was not accurate enough for furniture. I had the RAS before I got a TS. Built some nice stuff with it. I would say go for the RAS. If it doesn't work out, sell it again. I think you'll appreciate it.     mahalo,     jo4hn
Basspro* wrote:

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Not having read any other responses yet, I will say that a radio alarm saw has some very limited uses in a home shop. I don't have one and probably won't ever, but here's what I see they're useful for:
- if you have them locked in at a dead-nuts angle and height, they work well for cutting dadoes in wider boards. - they are great for rough cuts for length - usually where you see them used the most in sawmills, lumber yards and places like home despot. - can't think of anything else that a table saw or chop saw can't do better.
Actually, I can't think of anything that another tool can't do better. Anything you can do with a RAS, you can do with a table saw and a couple of jigs.
Jon E
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On Mon, 12 Jan 2004 22:20:17 +0000, Jon Endres, PE wrote:

[sigh]
It's an old DeWalt, so all the "it ain't accurate" stuff isn't true as long as the RAS is properly set up and tuned.
Here's a partial list of things I do on my RAS that maybe you could show me how to do on a TS:
- horizontal boring for accurate dowelling and mortices.
- overhead pin routing.
- decorative surface routing.
- 1/2" bore shaper cutters.
- rotary surface planing for flattening and thicknessing.
- drum sanding
- croscutting up to 20' long & UP TO 4" thick stock (otherwise I gotta open the gar^H^H^Hshop door).
- stack dado (my TS has a stubby arbor).
And it does this stuff accurately - no rough cross cutting etc.
-Doug
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OK, I stand corrected. Mea culpa. J
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Nothing I like to see more then pronouncements from the mount by someone who not only doesn't have the vaguest idea of what the hell they are talking about but proudly announce the fact.
Bet you call Craftsman tools Crapsman too cause it makes you sound cool.
--
Mike G.
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I spent several years using one. I found them to be as much use as I said. I don't like them, and said so.
Was your response to my post relevant at all, or do you just like stirring up shit?
Asshole.
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Actually yes it was. Had you even hinted that your opinion was based on any kind of real knowledge of the tool rather then being a "me too" post voting for the party line I would not have felt compelled to post as I did.
There are all to many "me too" posts, with no qualifying information included, going around passing out old wives tales. If someone is going to post an opinion that has any meaning one should also post what that opinion was based on.
In this case my opinion was based on information not given.
--
Mike G.
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This reminds me of back in the 60's (?) when a RAS was touted as a do-all machine. They sold planing attachments as well as drill press, horizonal boring, sanding, etc.. My father bought a top-of-the-line DeWalt (NOT B&D) and was somewhat disappointed. I never bought one and don't remember ever needing one. I use my miter saw most of the time. Maybe if I was doing huge ripping projects where the long bed would be nice (if you happened to have set it up that way). Otherwise, I bought a Milwaukee miter saw and a Delta Contractors saw and was very happy. Now I have a Unisaw and am even happier! I will say that the tendency of a RAS to "climb" or "walk" on a work piece is very disquieting when it accidently comes in contact with a piece of wood.
On Tue, 13 Jan 2004 11:28:16 -0500, "Mike G"

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