I went shopping with my step son who wants to get into woodworking. We
started out looking for a compound miter saw. He was trying to decide
between a stationary model such as the Dewalt 705S, 706, and similar
models and a sliding model such as the Dewalt 708, which he could use
it to cut grooves and dadoes.
I think he liked the 708 best but he has limited shop space and was
concerned about where to put it.
While we were thinking about that, I noticed a couple of radial arm
saws. I pointed out to him that a RAS saw would not take that much
more space than a sliding miter saw and it looked like it could do
everything the miter saw can do plus it can do some ripping.
What do you more experienced woodworkers see as the tradeoffs between
a sliding miter saw and a RAS? If he can find space for a RAS, will a
good one be able to do everything the 708 can do? What is the downside
of the RAS vs the 708?
In a few words, a CMS is more accurate, a RAS is more versatile. If I
could only have one or the other, then I'd choose the RAS, since as you
point out, it will rip as well. If I had my druthers, I druther have a
table saw and a CMS. I do like my RAS, but I spend as much time adjusting
the thing as I do using it.
Personally, I have a radial arm saw for dados, crosscuts, etc. and a
compound miter saw for mitering. I don't like doing construction type work
(cutting 2x's 4x's, etc.) on the miter saw. If you're going to get a RAS,
get a good used one. Look for an old Dewalt, Red Star or Delta. Get it
used, rebuild it and have enough left over for a good miter saw that you can
use strictly for mitering. Here's mine:
http://musial.ws/red_star_radial_arm_saw.htm Not to shabby for 50.00?
(Of course I have another 30 or so in paint, Brasso, etc.)
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