Do you prefer the radial arm saw? or a miter saw? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 36 Old 01-09-2020, 07:33 AM Thread Starter
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Do you prefer the radial arm saw? or a miter saw?

I just wanted to know what people like about either tool, and what they personal use.
I am radial arm saw kind of guy just like the look and feel of them.

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post #2 of 36 Old 01-09-2020, 08:17 AM
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I have a Dewalt 12" sliding miter saw. I am happy with the saw and purchase. I have never owned a radial arm saw.
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post #3 of 36 Old 01-09-2020, 08:54 AM
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I used to own a DeWalt 10" RAS and loved it but it was ruined through an unfortunate set of circumstances. I would get another one in a heartbeat if I had room. All I have now is an older DeWalt miter saw and it serves the purpose.

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post #4 of 36 Old 01-09-2020, 08:58 AM
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I have had several of each, the best RAS I had was a 16 inch blade Dewalt. I really liked that saw but I also had three other ones I did not like. I don't recall how many miter saws I have had over the years but I by far favor the compound slide over a RAS any day. They each have better functions in different areas, so I would say they both are good to have but I have always use the miter saw much more than the RAS.

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post #5 of 36 Old 01-09-2020, 09:16 AM
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I am with BigJim…. owned several of both and currently have a 12" RAS and a 12" slide CMS.
Both have their areas where one is better than the other (and not as good as the other).
Although I cannot really say why, but I do use the slider more than the RAS.

KC
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post #6 of 36 Old 01-09-2020, 09:55 AM
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Same here, have both ....

Quote:
Originally Posted by lexadmn View Post
I am with BigJim…. owned several of both and currently have a 12" RAS and a 12" slide CMS.
Both have their areas where one is better than the other (and not as good as the other).
Although I cannot really say why, but I do use the slider more than the RAS.

KC

Radial arm saws are famous for being difficult to reset the arm after changing it from 90 degrees and back or to different angles like 45 degrees, however there is a solution! A miter jig made from a 90 degree corner and a bottom base, held against the fence will make perfect 45 degree miters.

Not quite as I described but close:
https://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f2/h...arm-saw-53371/


This one is as I described:
https://www.lumberjocks.com/projects/47426


The sliding arm miter saws are known for better return to position accuracy than RAS's and are lighter to carry to your work site. They have a slightly different operational process in that you can push down as well as slide the blade back and forth when making your cuts. I'm not sure how important that is to accuracy, however.

I love my Craftsman 12" RAS, which I leave set to 90 degrees at all times. I just set it and forget it. When I need to make miters I'll either use my Incra miter gauge on the table saw or dust off the sliding compound mitersaw, a huge 12" Dewalt 708. Here's my extended table on the Craftsman 12" RAS:



However, there is another option for me, and that is a large crosscut adjustable miter sled:
https://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f27/...d-build-49218/







So, it's not always a choice of one or the other. If you are making "tons" of frames with miters then it's worth making the sled if you don't want to spend the money on a sliding arm saw. RAS's you can get really cheap on Craig's List because they take up a large space and folks don't understand how to use them safely. I own about 5 of them I purchased off the "list". They are an interesting machine, but I've got them figured out and found that the carriages are inter-changeable! So, I have one carriage all set up with a dado for 3/4" shelves, and another with the standard crosscut blade a 60 tooth Diablo blade. For a big bookshelf project I just switch to the dado carriage and make all my grooves:
https://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f27/...ing-ras-47095/




Here's a router carriage I made for my RAS that allows the router to make dados or "T" slots and other operations:
https://www.woodworkingtalk.com/memb...-modification/


There you go, a full blown explanation of the pros and cons .....
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Last edited by woodnthings; 01-09-2020 at 10:08 AM.
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post #7 of 36 Old 01-09-2020, 10:54 AM
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Delta 12" turret Radial Arm Saw,Makita miter saw permanently in the bench and a Dewalt 708 Sliding Miter Saw. All work as expected.....accurate...
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post #8 of 36 Old 01-09-2020, 10:54 AM
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we have an Original radial arm saw in the shop, its the first stop when wood comes off the rack to break it down to size. it works very well for that. it is not where we bring wood to be cut accurately, regularly. radial arm saws just seem to not hold at precision levels and nice clean cuts. so the sliding miter gets the call there.

you can tune a radial arm saw quite a bit tho. besides all of the regular adjustments, i've installed a sacrificial throat that gets mounted into the table (a routed out pocket) in the path of the cut that helps improve the tearout quite a bit. and a high quality (negative tooth angle) blade will give better results also.
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post #9 of 36 Old 01-09-2020, 10:55 AM
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I use both. RAS mostly for rough cutting to length, construction lumber, etc.


Miter saw for finish cuts, miters.


A slider would take the place of both, I just like having the two one with a fine blade, one a construction blade.

Robert
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post #10 of 36 Old 01-09-2020, 10:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrRobert View Post
I use both. RAS mostly for rough cutting to length, construction lumber, etc.


Miter saw for finish cuts, miters.


A slider would take the place of both, I just like having the two one with a fine blade, one a construction blade.
Sliders don't take dodo blades.....So it doesn't replace but share some the RAS features...Bob
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post #11 of 36 Old 01-09-2020, 11:00 AM
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I use a 10" sliding compund miter saw. Anything wider, I use a track saw with a TSO products GRS
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post #12 of 36 Old 01-09-2020, 11:31 AM
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post #13 of 36 Old 01-09-2020, 12:53 PM
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Because of their bad rap by so many used ones can be picked up for a very reasonable price so it is always interesting to walk through a production shop and see the ways that radial arm saws have been altered to do one particular function of a product.

For most a sliding miter saw is probably adequate, but if there is room for both it will make a lot a jobs easier.

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post #14 of 36 Old 01-09-2020, 12:58 PM
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As a full time installer for cabinet in the 90 's I seen a lot of framers drag an arm saw out for pitch on roofs. Much easier than the skilsaw.....
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post #15 of 36 Old 01-09-2020, 01:44 PM
where's my table saw?
 
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Dragging a RAS out and up .....

When I was residing my house with 8" ship lap Cedar, I made my own 2 and 3 story wood scaffolding. I actually took apart my 10" RAS and dragged, pushed, and pulled it up to the second story for cutting the 30 and 60 degree angles on the siding ends. I was stronger then and "fearless" .... LOL.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob A Villal View Post
As a full time installer for cabinet in the 90 's I seen a lot of framers drag an arm saw out for pitch on roofs. Much easier than the skilsaw.....

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #16 of 36 Old 01-09-2020, 04:54 PM
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I have both a Delta turret RAS and a Bosch compound miter The RAS saw is used just for cross cutting and it holds the setting very accurately @woodnthings posted about a 5 degree negative rake Oshun saw blade for them both but I just got the blade for the RAS as the one in the Bosch is pretty new but the negative rake makes as smooth of a cut possible and it makes the saw much easier to cut with, almost have to pull it through the wood versus stop it from jerking into the wood

There is no app for experience
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post #17 of 36 Old 01-09-2020, 09:28 PM
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I will keep using my table saw while my DeWalt miter saw just sits there.


Don in Murfreesboro, TN.
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post #18 of 36 Old 01-09-2020, 09:49 PM
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I bought a used Craftsman RAS 45 years ago for $125. It was pretty old when I bought it but the seller gave me all his blades and a set of molding cutters. He was worried that I might hurt myself so I took some night classes at the local high school. It was the only power saw I had for many years but the night school had a 24" planner, 8" jointer, table saws, etc. I ripped on it as well as cross cut. Over the years I bought a jointer/planner, table saw, Shopsmith with a bandsaw attachment, power mortis machine and a 12" Dewalt sliding compound miter saw. All the equipment is in my basement shop except for the RAS. It remains in the garage. I use it to rough-cut long boards before sliding them down the basement steps where they get re-cut on the Dewalt. I loved the RAS for years but it really didn't hold square like I needed and I didn't feel it was as safe as my other saws. Some day soon I will give it away to someone who knows how to use it or is willing to take a safety course on woodworking.
post #19 of 36 Old 01-09-2020, 09:58 PM
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Let's just say I loaned my RAS to my uncle about 25 years ago and it's still sitting in his garage.
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post #20 of 36 Old 01-09-2020, 10:19 PM
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My radial arm saw (RAS) was my 1st Christmas gift from my wife, nearly 40 years ago.

My RAS is also the centerpiece of my shop, it is mounted, and I built a dust collection system for it. It would take a day or 2 of disassembly to move it..

I also have a sliding miter saw, on wheels it is very handy outside the shop, the wife got me this moble cart for it.. it is fantastic:
https://www.homedepot.com/p/RIDGID-U...9946/206992161

Of course for ripping I prefer the table saw (even though rotating the head 90 degrees on the RAS it is possible)

To be honest if I didn't have the RAS ,the modern sliding miter saws are a better bet.. but since I have the RAS and it is central to my workshed / shop, it gets more use.. granted I do tweak it periodically to keep it square.
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