So there was a Recall of the Sears 10 inch Radial Arm Saw. Years ago
they offered a price that wasn't worth it. But now they offered to give
me $100 for the motor and carriage. I took it, sent in the unit at their
expense. The check is in the mail toward me now. Those old saws took
off many a finger and hand. And it only happens to those who are careful
????? Can't happen to them they say. My son thought that before he lost
his finger to the blade. Scared me every time that I got my hand within
10 feet of that spinning blade.
In the mean time, I have had my eye on a small inexpensive table saw in
the $150 - $200 range for replacement. Checked out several and planned
to get a Skill Brand from Lowes store, near Christmas, when they went on
sale. (they always do at that time of the year) Then came Thanksgiving
and there came a 4 day sale with 53% off the price, shipped to the house
at no shipping cost. So I now have a new table saw for only $69 plus
tax, including the stand and carbide 10 inch blade. And can still use
all my older special blades. The only way I could do better is if they
offered to Pay me to take it.
Probably the reason is that many of the people who buy a cheap branded
saw are not 'real' woodworkers, but are just homeowners not trained in
using the saw. I am not a real woodworker, but when I use the saw (also
a Sears 10") I treat it like I was defusing a bomb. My wife is advised
not to interrupt or talk to me when I am in the process of sawing with
it. Hmmm, maybe I should just keep it running all the time. :-)
Same with me, I have a table, radial and trim saw plus a couple of portable
saws along with a number of small sabre and foxtail saws. When I am making
noise, my wife cannot talk to me loud enough to be heard, but she knows not
to interrupt while I am cutting and stays away until the equipment is
I still have all 10 digits.
It is amazing how so many people feel it is perfectly OK to just wander into
a work area with running machines. There is no awareness of the potential
dangers. Apparently, for them, there is no such thing as danger.
I was working in a basement workshop many years ago, ripping a small piece
off of a large piece of stock. It was a dicey cut, but it was the only way
to do it. I had to do several cuts like this. So I positioned myself well
to the side, far away from any potential kickbacks. And I was doing pretty
well too. No kickbacks, so far.
I was carefully guiding my stock through the saw, making sure I did not get
a kickback, when I spotted something out of the corner of my eye. It was
some idiot, wandering directly into the path of a potential kickback! If I
stopped the saw, it would have ruined some very expensive wood. So I
carefully guided the wood through the blade, pulled the big piece of stock
away from the blade and just turned rapidly and hit the intruder directly on
the chest with the bottom of my fist. I then turned of the saw.
He let out a yell as he was knocked onto his butt. And just before he hit
the cement floor, the thin piece of stock kicked back. It flew across the
room and hit the door. It made a dent in the door and ricocheted to the
floor very near where he was sitting. His eyes got very big. He suddenly
realized I stopped him from getting impaled. He started thanking me.
I never knew who this guy was. I yelled at him, brought him upstairs and
found the person who brought him over to the house. I threw them both out
and make it clear that anybody who would disregard basic safety rules like
these guys, would get somebody hurt or killed. And they were banished from
my house forever. I got a bit of a reputation after that incident. Nobody
bothers me when I run any kind of equipment now. Good riddance.
<end of rant>
I had one of those. The only shop tool I was scared of. Sold it before the
recall. I did not pull the blade, always pushed it. Never had a problem
however. Much more satisfied with my Jet contractors saw. WW
While I have no quarrel with the ability of a radial arm saw to cause
injury, how is it different from say, a miter saw or table saw in that
respect? I ask this as an actual question, rather than a rhetorical
point. I am no expert. I was a butcher's delivery boy when I was a kid,
so I can also vouch for the ease with which a band saw can cut through
My Dad had a radial arm saw as his principal shop tool when I was
growing up. Great for crosscutting; not as convenient for ripping, but
it was what he had and was used for both. I can't imagine an easier way
to cut dadoes for shelving.
Are they really more dangerous in some way?
The difference that I see is this. On a Table saw, you have to push the
wood into the blade in order to cut, it has a tendency to throw the wood
out and back. While the Radial Arm saw has the tendency to pull the wood
into it, thus one has to Hold the saw back so that the blade does not
cut too fast and climb over the top of the wood being cut.
This tendency works the same way with our hands. On a table saw there is
only a very small amount of blade available for cutting, assuming that
the blade is only set high enough to just cut the thickness of what you
are cutting. The Radial arm saw has at least one half of the blade
available to cut at any, and all thicknesses of wood being cut.
With the table saw, you can only cut as deep into yourself as the height
of the blade is set, but on the Radial Arm saw, you can cut up to four
inches thick at any time, thus can cut all the way through a hand or
wrist instantly. So if you have the table saw set to cut 1/4 inch
material, that is the total depth that one can cut into yourself, but on
the Radial arm saw, even if there is NO wood being cut you can still
totally cut off a hand with one very quick pass. the table saw throws
you out, the Radial arm saw pulls you in. And that is the biggest and
most dangerous difference.
Now the miter saw or Chop saw is just as dangerous as the Radial arm saw
because of how much of the blade is available for cutting and the waw
that it cuts, also pulling the wood into the blade instead of throwing
the wood out as on a table saw.
Each type of saw has its own plus and minus just as any tool can cause
damage to yourself if not used properly.
And there is always that large movable obstruction hanging over the work
and the fact that the RAS blade can move back and forth whereas the
table saw blade is stationary.
I am a little more comfortable using a table saw or a miter saw than a RAS.
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