I was watching the old John Wayne movie (1944) tonight and there is a scene
where "Sawyer" opens a pack of cigarettes by running the end of the pack
through a Dewalt radial arm saw, that looked to be a 16" blade, while
another guy was ripping lumber. The looks on Susan Hayward and Dennis
O'Keefe's faces were great as was Hayward's line "Hadn't you better count
your fingers sawyer?" Ripping lumber on a radial arm saw is foolhardy
enough but to open a pack of cigarettes was even crazier! Sawyer's response
was "It always turns out the same, 10 or 12 roughly." He was drunk... this
was an advertisement for the CPSC and OSHA!
After having had several near misses doing this I'll never do it again...
seems to be a combination of no splitter, the wood not being pulled down to
the table by the blade, an inadequate fence, a saw that would twist when
under a ripping load causing the blade to bind, and inadequate power.
Perhaps a really well built radial arm saw is up to the task... but I'll
stick with my 3 HP table saw for such use in the future.
Working with any tool that is badly set up and operated is dangerous. I've
done a pretty fair amount of ripping on a 1980 Craftsman radial arm saw with
no problem whatsoever. Only downside was that the table is not as slick and
nice as a tablesaw.
wrote in message
I probably should have qualified that statement by mentioning the volume of
wood I was running through it... for days at a time 100s and 100s of linear
feet of ripping was involved. It was a Craftsman of late 70s vintage and
with that amount of use it wouldn't retain it's set up. Checking and
resetting the adjustments was a daily task as was waiting for it to cool off
enough for the reset button to work. It launched a few boards and bound up
and stalled on others. It was slow going and stressful. For once in a while
ripping of a few boards it was probably fine... for production ripping it
was a hazard. In the movie the machine was clearly being used as a
production ripping machine.
I recently ripped about 800 linear feet on the table saw. Biesemeyer
T-Splitter, X-Acta Commercial fence and 3 HP... not once was there a time
when it didn't feel safe. I'll stick with the table saw...
Just in John's defense, I too have had horrible experiences
ripping wood with a RAS.
Just seems to me that a badly setup table saw will just do
bad job .. but .. a badly setup RAS is friggin dangerous.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.