Radial Arm Saw Wisdom?

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Actually I covered the entire table with 1/4" so that didn't work for me, but it is a good idea for the future. The saw I was using was a Sears 9" and didn't seem to have all that much room behind the fence. That one was relegated to the garage for misc cutoff work and the 10" that I inherited migrated to the shop. The table on that one was trashed when I got it and I built a new one from MDF and decided not to cover it, just replace it every so often. Now with your comments, maybe that was a bad idea on my part, but easily fixed!
Jerry
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On Sun, 08 Aug 2004 10:56:19 -0500, Steven Flynn

if all of your work will be in the shop you don't need both. hauling a RAS around is a pain....
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Steven Flynn wrote:

A radial arm saw can do anything a compound miter saw can do, a lot of what a table saw can do, and has its own collection of tricks as well. Main problem is that tuning it is a bit finicky and you have to keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn't get misaligned.
Couple of "must have" books,"Fine Tuning Your Radial Arm Saw" by Jon Eakes--out of print but you can order it in ebook form from <http://www.wired-2-shop.com/joneakes/ProductDetail.asp?ProdID=3&nPrdImageID=&CatID=3 , and "How to Master the Radial Saw" by the late Wallace Kunkel aka "Mr. Sawdust" <http://www.mrsawdust.com/ .
If you have a radial arm saw in good tune you don't strictly speaking _need_ either a compound miter saw or a table saw--just about anything you might want to do that a circular-blade saw can do you can probably figure out a way to do with the radial arm saw--but after you've worked with it a while and learned its strengths and its limitations you'll find that you probably _want_ both--each does some things really well, other things only with much effort, and for each type there are some things that it just plain can't do.

--
--John
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Steven,
The RAS is your best option for the small shop, especially if you need miters etc for moulding in the home.
Suggest reading "How To Master The Radial Saw" by Wally Kunkel http://mr.sawdust.com .
Also join us on the radial saw forum: http://forums.delphiforums.com/woodbutcher/start
--
Rumpty

Radial Arm Saw Forum: http://forums.delphiforums.com/woodbutcher/start
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The correct link to Mr.. Sawdust http://mrsawdust.com /
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Rumpty

Radial Arm Saw Forum: http://forums.delphiforums.com/woodbutcher/start
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The RAS doesn't hold setup as well as a CMS, but it does many things very well, as has been said. I would add that there is no equal for ripping long boards, especially if you build a logn table. Mine is 8', but when I was building my house I had a 16' table. The RAS is not as righd as a TS, so you have to watch the angles, especially the main arm angle, as you work.
Cutting very small pieces is dicey, since you must hold them near the blade. Other than that, I think the RAS is safer than a TS, because you can put one hand firmly on the table, even holding the fence sometimes. and the other on the handle. With no hands moving, it's hard to get cut. Once in a while a rip will kick back, but no worse than a TS. Besides, when ripping you can stand to the front, out of the line of fire.
For big rips, I sometimes get a wife or kid to help guide the outfeed side. Then when well along I go to the outfeed side and pull the rest of the cut. Get a RAS book and see what you think. Sears used to put one out. Wilson

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I have owned all three. My first table saw was a Craftsman RAS, about a 1965 model. Made lots of decent furniture with it. I did a LOT of rips with it without problems. In fact, I didn't get a CS until the late 70s and replaced it with a PM66 in the late 90s. I bought a CMS in the early 90s (Craftsman) and ended up using it for carpenter type jobs because I couldn't get it to maintain its setup if I moved it off 90d. Sold it. Still have the RAS (mainly crosscuts, dados, cheek cuts, etc.) and the PM (all else). Works for me. YMMV.     mahalo,     jo4hn
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Steven Flynn wrote:

Something I neglected to mention--after you have it check out <http://www.radialarmsawrecall.com/index2.htm and see if yours is one for which an upgraded guard is available. If so, order it--it's free and includes a new table.

--
--John
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I never move the arm on my radial arm saw, I use one or the other of these jigs for miter cuts, this way I find it stays accurate: http://sawdustmaking.com/Radial%20Arm%20Saws/radial_arm_saws.html#Miter % 20Gauge
I also have a miter saw that I bought to take to job sites, if suppose if I didn't already have the radial arm saw I might have went for the sliding model. I find it handy to have both sometimes, each set for different angles. FrankC
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I have both a Radial Arm Saw (RAS) and a Compound Miter Saw (CMS). I only use the RAS when I need to make a crosscut that is wider than the capacity of the CMS, or sometimes to cut a dado across a long board. The reason is that the RAS is inherently less accurate than the CMS and is much more difficult and time consuming to set up for each cut. My RAS stays locked on 90 degrees in each direction because it's such a pain to set up. If I didn't already own the RAS, I would never buy one INSTEAD of a CMS, even if I got a good deal on it.
DonkeyHody "We should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it - and stop there; lest we be like the cat that sits down on a hot stove-lid. She will never sit down on a hot stove-lid again---and that is well; but also she will never sit down on a cold one anymore." - Mark Twain

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I faced that same decision maybe 5 years ago. I needed only shop work, but needed precision. They had (then) just come out with their current RAS model at Sears, and it had better stability, precision and range than the Delta or earlier Sears RAS's. I now also have a chop saw (for portability), but find that most of my use is split about 70% TS and 28% RAS. I only use the chop saw in the shop if the RAS is setup for something.
When set up properly, you can change the RAS between left/right-45 and center nearly as fast as the chop saw. The RAS maintains somewhat better accuracy, though you'd really have to compare against a sliding chop saw to be fair. I only know of one slider that's as good, as that costs nearly what the RAS does.
While far more versatile, beware that the RAS does require more careful initial alignment, and more knowledge and skill to use it well. Mine has seen molding made, certain types of routing, and fly cutting surfaces.
If you enjoy learning how to use tools, have the time, and don't need the portability, I'd recommend the RAS. Else, save up for a good sliding chop saw.
GerryG
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I hate my RAS. When it kicks, it kicks right at you.
Don't ever put an arm in front of that thing or it will cut it off.
Mine is a craftsman and doesn't stay very true. Great for quick crosscuts that don't have to be too accurate.
My sliding miter is much straighter and cuts where you aim it.
Greg O.
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Wrong blade perhaps, out of alignment, trying to cut a board that isn't straight?

There is no need to place your arm/hand/leg in front of the blade.

A DeWalt will hold alignment.
--
Rumpty

Radial Arm Saw Forum: http://forums.delphiforums.com/woodbutcher/start
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I have a Jet contractor's saw. I have a Delta RAS. If put to the test, I'd have to give up the RAS first, by a narrow margin. Why this ridiculous contest? Each constributes a lot to the shop. I love my RAS. It does a lot of things well. I could get along without it before the table saw. Big Deal.
bob g.
Greg Ostrom wrote:

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Robert Galloway wrote:

For some reason this is a religious issue for some people. It never ceases to amaze me the things that people will adopt as religious icons.

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--John
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Many of us earn a living with just the RAS and no TS. It isn't religion, it's what works and works well.
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Rumpty

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Rumpty wrote:

And I don't notice you acting like it's "us against them" like some folks.

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