On Fri, 19 Nov 2004 16:19:26 +0000, Steven and Gail Peterson wrote:
Can you elaborate on what makes this a scary operation? I find it no
problem at all with holddown, splitter and anti-kickback pawls set
properly and feeding against the rotation of the blade and using push
sticks to finish cuts.
In addition to what Doug mentions, correct alignment, proper blade (Forrest
WW1 with TCP profile) and addition of a long rip fence makes ripping a
breeze all day long.
For those who are interested, one of the best books on the market for
learning to use the RAS is the Mr. sawdust book "How To Master The Radial
Saw" by Walley Kunkel.
Radial Arm Saw Forum: http://forums.delphiforums.com/woodbutcher/start
Thanks for the info... my Dad recently gave me his old RAS and I find myself
using it much more than dragging out the 10" tablesaw I bought a while back
(which I'm generally happy with but I don't have space to keep it set up all
the time). I just called and ordered the safety kit someone else mentioned
in this thread. I'll have to check out this book as well.
On Fri, 19 Nov 2004 09:36:28 -0700, Doug Winterburn
You've hit on the problem. Almost all of the scare posts I've seen
about RAS' wind up with the user having been so frightened
(unwarrantedly so) by the teeth moving toward them that they fed the
wood from the other side (climb cutting) which is at least 20, maybe
50 times more dangerous.
I, too, find it no problem...even without holddowns, although I always
used the splitter and anti-kickback device (all in one on my saw).
Master Woodbutcher and seasoned termite
Shamelessly whoring my website since 1999
I can't understand why TS teeth moving towards the operator are OK, but
RAS teeth are scary? Feeding with the rotation isn't just scary,
something or someone is going to be severely damaged!
The holddown I was referring to is the one on the rear of the blade guard.
On my old PowrKraft RAS, it was adjusted by rotating the guard until the
holddown was just above the workpiece and then locking the guard in place.
On the current Craftsman RAS, the holddown on the rear of the guard has a
lock knob that allows it to be adjusted just above the workpiece and
locked - the guard itself doesn't move. In either case, the holddown
prevents the workpiece from being lifted by the rising teeth when starting
the rip as the workpiece is fed from what is the rear of the guard for a
Since I got the Craftsman RAS, I've been using the blade that came with it
- a 40 tooth carbide tipped neg hook. Part #926792, which I can't find on
their web site. It seems to be a fairly good blade.
Prior, I was using a Freud 60 tooth blade - pos hook part #LU82M01D. It
is a good blade and I had no trouble with it on the RAS, even with the
positive hook. It's rated for TS, CMS, RAS. I like it a lot - very
I do prefer the full kerf blades as they seem to give a smoother cut.
I think I found that blade at Sears Hardware yesterday on clearance for
$17. It was part # 926797. It had identical markings to the blade on
the RAS in the store. Neutral to negative hook and feed-control
shoulders (look like depth gages on chainsaw blades.) I wonder if Sears
is going to let the RAS go the way of the dinosaur.
Keep in mind that Sears was asking about $500-$600 for the RAS and
between $150-250 for most 10"-12" compound miter saws. The CMSs' can do
90% of the cuts the I usually do on the RAS. My Dad taught me how to
set up the RAS. The 10% of the cuts it can do which the CMSs' can't are
rather spectacular in their utility and shear terror. The RAS is
dangerous in ways the TS just isn't (climb & cross cut thumb) and
completely docile in way the TS is a nightmare (it just doesn't throw
things at you and the temptation to shove your hand into the blade on
the cut isn't there). I have ripped 8' sheet goods on the RAS before.
It presents a different set of issues to overcome that the TS. The
fence is longer, (probably truer than the old craftsman TS fence) and
the table is aligned along the cutting axis on the RAS.
The old 60 tooth combo blade I had on the RAS had WAY too much hook for
safety. I caught it climbing more often that I cared for. Back on the
table saw it goes. There are many small projects where the RAS is just
tons more handy to me than the TS is. This could be because the TS is
on a roller base and usually stays tucked below the right side of the
RAS. Cutting 12' stock on the RAS is a no brainer. Cutting it on the
cross cut sled on the TS takes a day of planning ahead. I've had the
cross cut sled half way across the TS when it decided to stop sliding.
That's an Aw Shit sort of moment. The RAS never stops sliding :-)
On Fri, 19 Nov 2004 18:03:03 -0700, Doug Winterburn
TS teeth move forwards and down, holding the wood down onto the table.
RAS teeth move forwards and up, lifting the wood off the table. You're
reliant on the additional hold downs, not just a big trustworthy lump
On Wed, 24 Nov 2004 02:58:03 +0000, Andy Dingley wrote:
No additional hold downs. There's a standard hold down built into the
blade guard, even on old RAS'. Yes, it does have to be adjusted for the
thickness of the workpiece for rip operations. Not a big problem and
taking around 5 seconds. And, the workpiece is under the hold down
*before* it comes in contact with the blade. Do you adjust the blade
height on the TS depending on the thickness of the workpiece? I do. Is a
RAS an "untrustworthy" lump of iron?
On Tue, 23 Nov 2004 20:11:46 -0700, Doug Winterburn
There's a hold-down, not a table -- some extra applied gadget and thus
less simple and trustworthy than a table. It also relies on being
adjusted for thickness.
No, I always use the blade at full height. This is the big advantage
of the TS for ripping - I can use my blade so that the timber passes
through it with the blade travelling vertically and almost all no
horizontal drag forces.
On Wed, 24 Nov 2004 11:55:15 +0000, Andy Dingley wrote:
What extra gadgert? You consider blade guards, splitters, antikickback
pawls as extra gadgets?
Sorry, but the experts such as Kelly Mehler, Nick Engler & others disagree
with you. Kelly & Nick suggest the blade be adjusted between 1/8" and
1/4" above the workpiece. And what about non through and dado cuts? Oh,
that's right - you aren't allowed to use those dangerous devices.
And you didn't answer the question about the trustworthiness of a RAS.
On Wed, 24 Nov 2004 07:42:13 -0700, Doug Winterburn
Compared to a table, then yes.
I'd be happier if my cast iron table was actually just a plain rock,
as was good enough for my ancestors thousands of years ago. However
ditching the moving parts isn't a bad start, and ditching a part that
has a safety-critical adjustment that needs setting before each piece
of timber is certainly a good idea in my book.
So what ? There are an equal number of "experts" who argue it the
other way. I find their arguments more convincing.
That's just silly - maybe the gullet root should be that low, but
setting it on the tooth tip isn't going to clear the chips properly.
So why set the blade low ? It reduces the Scary Whirling Death Blade,
but the best ways to stop that being a problem are to keep your
fingers out, and to use a crown guard. In terms of cutting
performance, it's a bad idea on every count.
Why set the blade high ? - because it reduces kickback risk. This is
good - I can't "keep my hands away" from kickback, and I can't really
build a guard against it.
Of course we're allowed to do them. Here in Evil Pinko Europe (motto:
a uniformed nanny in every nursery) we celebrated the fall of the
Berlin Wall by performing dado cuts through old statues of Stalin.
Why do people keep thinking that Europeans aren't "allowed" dado
On the whole I like our HSE. I can think of some really stupid rules
(Article P) coming in on wiring from other government agencies, but
the industrial safety people offer good advice and have never put
forward any rule or requirement that I've ever seen as pointless or
On Wed, 24 Nov 2004 17:04:44 +0000, Andy Dingley wrote:
Why would I adjust before each piece? If I'm cutting 4/4 stock, I set the
saw up and cut all the stock
Your choice. As for me, Kelly, Nick or Andy's unnamed experts - I think
I'll follow Kelly and Nicks advice.
That's really silly. Are you suggesting the chips that are in the gullets
must somehow be carried below the table, around and back up before they
can be expelled over the top of the workpiece at the operator?
No argument on the guard - I use that "gadget" whenever possible.
The main cause of kickback is the rear of the blade lifting the workpiece,
and the higher the blade, the more vertical the rear blade motion.
Sorry, I don't buy your argument.
Maybe because of the (mis)perception that Yurpeen saws are only available
with short arbors?
On Wed, 24 Nov 2004 10:37:18 -0700, Doug Winterburn
That's a risk, but it's a risk that's easy to deal with. Over the
width of the blade it's balanced front and back, so the force your
hold-down needs to provide is much less than it would to resist the
unbalanced forward forces from a blade that's rubbing on the upper
portion of the blade.
It's also notable that rear-blade lifting doesn't cause kickback
itself, what it causes is lifting the blade into contact with the area
that does then kick it (admittedly by this point the blade will have
increased any skewing it might have, which also makes the drag worse).
I'd like to keep my timber away as much as possible from the really
dangerous area - the patch near the top of the blade where the forward
forces are largest.
If you have a kickback near-miss on a high blade, it's _very_ evident
that the blade starts to lift the timber with a small force, then may
(if you're unlucky) push it forwards with a much greater force. This
is another reason why low splitters aren't much use - if the timber
does lift off them, the timber closes up and suddenly grabs. I can
feel a small amount of drag before it's a problem and just hold the
timber down or kill the saw, but with a sudden impulse it's going to
fly before I notice.
I've had a bad week for kickbacks to be honest - it's near freezing in
the workshop and clearly the saw table has contracted. My fence is now
dragging and the tail end is going out of square unless I'm careful
about the setup.
The "safety" of the RAS during ripping IMO depends more on the correct
blade than on the guard nose being positioned properly as well as the
kickback pawl. The Forrest WW1 blade with the TCP profile really performs
in the rip. It has a positive hook which gives you decent feed rates. Also
correct ripping procedures are important too, such as using a push board
when ripping narrow pieces etc.
Radial Arm Saw Forum: http://forums.delphiforums.com/woodbutcher/start
email@example.com (Keith) wrote in message
One point unmentioned, so far, is: Make your last vertical adjustment
going up to take the slop out of the column gear. Otherwise, you can
risk the blade dropping too deep and ruining your cut. This is more of
an issue, obviously, on a non-throughcut such as a dado.
As several other posters mentioned, there are billions of these out
there on the used market. I have a 1979 Craftsman 10" ,which did have
the recall parts available, and a 1975 Delta 14". I bought both used
and spent less than $200 combined. The nice thing about the Deltas is
that the turret allows virtually 360 degree cutting. The Craftsman is
limited to about 45 to 48 degrees. It would seem that the most sought
after brand is Dewalt. You could save yourself hundreds by buying
Somebody already mentioned "Mr Sawdust's" book by Wally Kunkel. Also,
get yourself a copy of Radial Arm Saw Techniques by Roger Cliff. It is
an excellent resource. It is not in print anymore, but shows up on
ebay and Amazon Marketplace.
Also, you can use the RAS as a shaper. I wouldn't. Routers have come a
really long way and are probably much safer. YMMV.
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