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post #1 of 30 Old 02-09-2014, 04:04 PM Thread Starter
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Exclamation Ripping wood with a radial arm saw

I have only been working with wood for the past 6 years and have slow put together all the major tools needed. The only issue i have right now is getting a good square cut on planned/joined lumber. After i have prepared the work piece with my planner and joiner, ripping the board down to size has become a problem. I have a cheap portable table saw with a crapping fence. The cuts turn out horrible even after I take a lot of time and care adjusting the fence. I have adjusted the blade alignment, the blades not warped, and the motor bearings are nice and tight. Finances are not good enough to upgrade the table saw until my tax return comes are maybe even longer.
Would ripping boards with my radial arm saw get better results and what type of tune ups should be done to it? The saw was a hand me down from my wife's grandfather and barely used. Normally i would utilize the hobby shop on base to mill everything out, but with government cut backs all Marine Corps Base hobby shops have been permanently shut down.

Please Help, my hobby is my sanity!

Table Saw
Delta Shopmaster TS220LS

Radial Arm Saw
RYOBI RA-200
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post #2 of 30 Old 02-09-2014, 04:27 PM
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this is a complex topic/task

Ripping on the RAS is generally frowned on by most members here BECAUSE they have a decent table saw, myself included. So the consensus is don't.

If you must and have no other means, then there are very specific rules which you will find in a good owner's manual which you can download online or get from Ebay... "Craftsman 10" Radial Arm Saw Manual"

I could give you all kinds of advice as to how to do it but I won't, it's too much for this thread. I would go on You Tube and search for the topic, I would get a good book on the RAS, and tune it up first, get a blade with 40 teeth or fewer and make certain all guards and safety equipment is on the saw. A good book is "Radial Arm Saw Techniques" by Roger W Cliffe.

Other books:
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_7_14?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=radial%20arm%20saw%20books&sprefix=radial+arm+saw%2Caps%2C448

I am probably among the few here who have done it safely and would feel comfortable doing it, but I take certain precautions and know and understand the physics involved. I don't recommend it for the novice.

FYI:

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)

Last edited by woodnthings; 02-09-2014 at 04:43 PM.
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post #3 of 30 Old 02-09-2014, 04:30 PM
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First, and most importantly,thanks for your service....and curses to the fed's for closing the hobby shops (I have so much more to say about that but I'll pass). Anyway, back to ripping on an RAS. First and foremost, I discourage you from trying that. It can be done, and successfully. But you need a really good saw that well tuned and the right blade. A table saw rip blade will simply launch lumber. With an RAS having the blade perfectly parallel to the fence is tough enough on it's own. Then the arm must be rigid enough to not flex sideways (which screws up that alignment I just mentioned). All this is from a huge RAS fan, but as much as I like them I don't rip on one, though I have in the past. Unfortunately, I don't have a suggestion for a solution unless you happen to know someone who might rip the boards for you. There may be a forum member close enough to help.

"I long for the days when coke was a cola and a joint was a bad place to be" (Merle Haggard)
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post #4 of 30 Old 02-09-2014, 04:39 PM
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We have an introduction section where you can say a few words about yourself. If you fill out your profile in your "User Control Panel", you can list any hobbies, experience or other facts. You can also list your general geographical location which would be a help in answering some questions.

The manuals for radial arm saws describe the method, and many on forums say they do it. That doesn't mean that it's smart to rip with a RAS. I've ripped with several types of radial arm saws, and personally I would not suggest it. You'll likely get responses with some even showing pictures of how they did it. IMO, it's a risky procedure.

I would suggest working with your table saw a bit more to be more accurate. Configure an outfeed support if necessary. Most tablesaws can be brought to an acceptable setup. If not, make yourself a jig to use with a handheld circular saw. A very simple one would be like this.









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post #5 of 30 Old 02-09-2014, 04:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jarheadmike View Post
I have only been working with wood for the past 6 years and have slow put together all the major tools needed. The only issue i have right now is getting a good square cut on planned/joined lumber. After i have prepared the work piece with my planner and joiner, ripping the board down to size has become a problem. I have a cheap portable table saw with a crapping fence. The cuts turn out horrible even after I take a lot of time and care adjusting the fence. I have adjusted the blade alignment, the blades not warped, and the motor bearings are nice and tight. Finances are not good enough to upgrade the table saw until my tax return comes are maybe even longer.
Would ripping boards with my radial arm saw get better results and what type of tune ups should be done to it? The saw was a hand me down from my wife's grandfather and barely used. Normally i would utilize the hobby shop on base to mill everything out, but with government cut backs all Marine Corps Base hobby shops have been permanently shut down.

Please Help, my hobby is my sanity!

Table Saw
Delta Shopmaster TS220LS

Radial Arm Saw
RYOBI RA-200
What exactly is the problem ?
What goes wrong with the saw and how does that affect the timber ?

Some photos here would help.
For one , rip a piece half way along , turn the saw off , and a take a pic .

Last edited by Manuka Jock; 02-09-2014 at 04:53 PM.
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post #6 of 30 Old 02-09-2014, 05:27 PM
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I would rip with even the cheapest table saw before I used a radial arm saw.

It sounds to me like you may have a blade problem instead of a saw problem. Getting the fence the correct distance from the front of the saw blade should not be that difficult. Make sure the fence is essentially parallel to the blade. Again that should not be particularly difficult. If the distance between the blade and the fence is just a hair wider at the back that is OK. You do not want the fence to be closer to the blade at the back. In a worst case scenario you could even clamp a smooth, straight board in place of the fence and that would work.

As long as the fence does not move during the cut and you have a good blade all should be well. Just take it slow and easy and use push sticks.

George
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post #7 of 30 Old 02-09-2014, 05:36 PM
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One more book

This one is very often recommended as "the best"
http://www.mrsawdust.com/

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 #8 of 30 Old 02-09-2014, 05:40 PM
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Is your table saw blade sharp? A dull blade can cause a lot of problems aside from the obvious; a slow cut that tends to burn. I've found that when my rip blades get dull they vibrate and cause a terrible cut. I fought with tuning the table saw it a while before realizing that a sharp blade made all the problems go away.
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post #9 of 30 Old 02-09-2014, 05:56 PM
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I've ripped a bunch of boards with a RAS.....That was before I was educated by this website an learned that I was doing it all wrong

Fortunately I never had a mishap, but I will say that I take extreme caution whenever using any power tool!

I did get rid of the RAS and got a pretty good table saw.....sometimes I wish I had it back!

So you can get it done but listen to the ones that are more experienced on here and be careful!

"It don't take all kinds, there just are all kinds"
Granny Clampett
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post #10 of 30 Old 02-09-2014, 06:02 PM
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I found this

Quote:
This review is from: Delta TS220LS Shopmaster 10-Inch Deluxe Bench Saw with Legs (Tools & Home Improvement)

If you are on a tight budget and need a bench-top table saw this saw is good choice. At half the price of the DeWalt and Bosch bench tops and $150 less than the Makita benchtop the Delta is a great value for what it can do. Its a basic saw that performs adequately. The fit and finish is only average.

The positives are that it is quite light compared to the DeWalt and Bosch, about as light as the Makita which makes it easy to transport from job to job. It has a very strong motor every bit as good as the DeWalt or Bosch but a bit noisier. It has not bogged down on me even when ripping wet pressure treated lumber.

Negatives are that it has a crappy fence although a lot of saws do. DeWalt wins hands down for the best fence. Miter slots are too small to use standard accessories except the miter gauge that comes with saw. Bevel adjustment is somewhat difficult to set and disengage. No insert for a Dado blade. Insert plate sits out of flush with table so that your work piece can get hung up.

Bottom line: Great for those on a budget that do not need high performance out of a bench top.

Update: After using this saw for 9 months now I have to give it only 2 stars at best. I am pretty tough on tools because they get transported to job sites and bounced around in the truck. This saw just has not held up well at all to jobsite use. It now has so much vibration that you will get very heavy blade marks when ripping even with a brand new good quality blade. Parts have fallen or broken off. Its got a strong motor but overall quality is lacking. It is now only useful for rough work. There are better choices out there for portable saws.

http://www.amazon.com/Delta-TS220LS-...ews/B00006JZZM
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post #11 of 30 Old 02-09-2014, 06:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jarheadmike
I have only been working with wood for the past 6 years and have slow put together all the major tools needed. The only issue i have right now is getting a good square cut on planned/joined lumber. After i have prepared the work piece with my planner and joiner, ripping the board down to size has become a problem. I have a cheap portable table saw with a crapping fence. The cuts turn out horrible even after I take a lot of time and care adjusting the fence. I have adjusted the blade alignment, the blades not warped, and the motor bearings are nice and tight. Finances are not good enough to upgrade the table saw until my tax return comes are maybe even longer. Would ripping boards with my radial arm saw get better results and what type of tune ups should be done to it? The saw was a hand me down from my wife's grandfather and barely used. Normally i would utilize the hobby shop on base to mill everything out, but with government cut backs all Marine Corps Base hobby shops have been permanently shut down. Please Help, my hobby is my sanity! Table Saw Delta Shopmaster TS220LS Radial Arm Saw RYOBI RA-200
There is a recall on your RAS. I recommend that you quit using it. The recall notice says that cracking in the plastic motor housing which results in a sudden catastrophic failure in which the blade assembly becomes detached resulting in lacerations.

In real world terms: The blade comes loose and comes back at the operator, still spinning at 3500-rpm, and cuts the bejesus out of them.

Please go to the Ryobi site, for details. They may still be giving cash payments. I found it by googling Ryobi and your model number.
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post #12 of 30 Old 02-09-2014, 06:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jigs-n-fixtures View Post
There is a recall on your RAS. I recommend that you quit using it. The recall notice says that cracking in the plastic motor housing which results in a sudden catastrophic failure in which the blade assembly becomes detached resulting in lacerations.

In real world terms: The blade comes loose and comes back at the operator, still spinning at 3500-rpm, and cuts the bejesus out of them.

Please go to the Ryobi site, for details. They may still be giving cash payments. I found it by googling Ryobi and your model number.
Besides using a potentially defective tool, it's hard to decide what's worse......the video's operator using gloves or wearing a long sleeve shirt.

there's a solution to every problem.....you just have to be willing to find it.
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post #13 of 30 Old 02-09-2014, 06:36 PM
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here's the recall notice!

Don't use that saw!
http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Recalls/2006/...chment-Hazard/


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 #14 of 30 Old 02-09-2014, 06:52 PM
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As an aside, you might want to check on Amazon for an aftermarket fence like this one: Rousseau 2600 PortaMax Jr. Table Saw Table Top and Fence System.

And for others: Ripping on the RAS Is perfectly safe but you need to do it right. Which is not how most manuals say to do it.

Use an anti-kickback saw blade with a negative hook angle.

Bury the blade into the table, leaving just enough room under the motor to clear the workpiece.

Feed the workpiece in so that the cutting lead of the blade pushes the wood down onto the table.

The good side should be facing up. There is no possibility of kick back.

Remember the RAS is not a tablesaw. They work differently, and the safety precautions are different. Technics and blades that are correct on one are not correct on the other.
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post #15 of 30 Old 02-09-2014, 07:33 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you to all who replied. The post talking about my table saw with issues years later really hits home. I have had the delta a lot longer then any other shop tool. I am using a homemade feeder table and understand its importance from working in a few hobby shops over the years.

I have rebuilt the fence with 3/4" plywood making it taller for feather boards and stop blocks. I put several layers of polyurethane on it. I also spent a lot of time and care ensuring it was built square to the fence. I am still unable to remove a small amount of rock in it. I did have a warped blade but have already replaced it. Should I just scrap the fence, use a straight edge and if it still there assume it's bad bearings?

By trade I am a metrology (calibration) tech and have a good working knowledge of physical & dimensional measurements. Some times I think that's most of my problem, trying to make things perfect.

As far as the arm saw, I saw the recall and inspected the housing for damage and have continued to do so for the few times I used it. My combined mutter saw handles most of that kind of work. The recall what's you to turn in the motor on your dime and they will send you like 50-70 bucks.

I have made plenty of shadow boxes and made a cabinet for my wife. Primitive, which my wife loves, is easy to make but it drives the perfectionist in me crazy. Shaker style furniture is my goal, but until I resolve this issue I'm just making firewood.

I attached a picture of the table saw w/fence and a piece of cherry with the saw marks.

Thanks again and I appreciate any words of wisdom. No go on arm saw, got it!
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post #16 of 30 Old 02-09-2014, 07:50 PM
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I agree ...mostly

Quote:
Originally Posted by jigs-n-fixtures View Post
And for others: Ripping on the RAS Is perfectly safe but you need to do it right. Which is not how most manuals say to do it.
YUP.


Use an anti-kickback saw blade with a negative hook angle.
That's sounds OK.

Bury the blade into the table, leaving just enough room under the motor to clear the workpiece.
Sounds like this is where you go off the book! This is the first I've heard of this technique, but I understand your reasoning. Usually it is recommended that the blade guard be rotated around so it's just "kissing" the top of the work, holding it down, since the rotating blade wants to lift it off the table.

Feed the workpiece in so that the cutting lead of the blade pushes the wood down onto the table.
I don't get this at all... The blade is always trying to lift the work off the table because it's rotating teeth first into it. I hope you don't mean feed the work in from the "rear" rather than the front of the blade ... a climb cut which would want to launch the workpiece. Unless I'm missing something here?

The good side should be facing up.
YUP.
There is no possibility of kick back.
There is always some possibility of kickback IF the work leaves the fence, or pinches on the blade, just like on the table saw. Anytime the plane of the blade and the fence are not parallel the work will bind, causing a kickback.


Remember the RAS is not a tablesaw. They work differently, and the safety precautions are different. Technics and blades that are correct on one are not correct on the other.
Exactly. The RAS teeth are entering the work trying to lift it up, whereas the table saw teeth are pulling it into the table....when they first enter the work.

Since this thread as been essentially answered ..."don't use that saw"... this discussion will be beneficial for others with questions about "ripping" on a RAS. If this is an issue we can start a new thread.

A long fence will be best for ripping so that any bow in the board can be located "in" towards the fence. I used a 24' long fence when I straight lined some cypress here: http://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f2/evil-machine-28461/

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)

Last edited by woodnthings; 02-09-2014 at 09:02 PM. Reason: added bold for emphasis
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post #17 of 30 Old 02-09-2014, 08:11 PM
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I won't post anything that will prompt you to rip with the RAS, or make suggestions that sounds like it makes the procedure safer. In looking at your table saw fence, you might have better luck with laminating the sides with a Formica type laminate, or make fence faces out of Melamine. A polyurethane coating IMO isn't the best surface to allow a smooth movent of material.







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post #18 of 30 Old 02-09-2014, 08:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jarheadmike View Post
I attached a picture of the table saw w/fence and a piece of cherry with the saw marks.
Did the saw rip that piece of cherry accurately , are the dimensions to the millimetre , is it square ?

The saw marks alone are not generally a saw issue , blade or fence .
Some timbers burn a tad when the feeder pauses in his work
Planing or sanding the timber usually fixes that .
Shouting loudly at the feeder usually doesn't
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post #19 of 30 Old 02-09-2014, 08:59 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Manuka Jock View Post
Did the saw rip that piece of cherry accurately , are the dimensions to the millimetre , is it square ?

The saw marks alone are not generally a saw issue , blade or fence .
Some timbers burn a tad when the feeder pauses in his work
Planing or sanding the timber usually fixes that .
Shouting loudly at the feeder usually doesn't
the cuts are pretty close to square, it's the swirling saw blade marks in the wood not the burn.
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post #20 of 30 Old 02-09-2014, 09:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jarheadmike View Post
the cuts are pretty close to square, it's the swirling saw blade marks in the wood not the burn.
In my experience , same reason for both , a pause and a bit of rock and roll.
It happens.

Ripping timber is breaking down work , not finishing .
Allow yourself a mil or two in the rip for further machining.

Out of curiosity , how much over timber height do you raise the blade ?

And where is your riving knife in all this ?

Last edited by Manuka Jock; 02-09-2014 at 09:58 PM.
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