Using Radial Arm Saw as a Panel Ripper - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 7 Old 03-02-2009, 01:10 PM Thread Starter
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 10
View Guitarman1's Photo Album My Photos
Using Radial Arm Saw as a Panel Ripper

Hi: I've got a Craftsman 10" RAS that is about 20 years old. I used it extensively to help remodel my first house. It had digital read-out for measurements that worked poorly, so I tore that all out. I decided a few years ago to remove the stock table and replace it with a table of MDF about 16' long that would allow me to manage longer boards comfortably. I figured I could use the space underneath for housing tool cabinets on casters. I also figured I could use the top with jigs for my biscuit jointer, put a chuck on the threaded spindle on the back end of the motor to devise some sort of horizontal mortiser, and use the radial arm to mount a pin router. During a yet to be completed remodel of the shop, I needed space to store some oddball stuff, and I tired of the empty space in the saw's metal cabinet, so I built and installed a bunch of drawers that hold all sorts of cutting tools while I wait to finish laying out the shop. With other distractions in building the shop and some other remodeling projects around the house, I have yet to create a new table for the RAS and put it to use. I am now at a point of getting back to that project.

I've read repeatedly that the RAS is prone to go out of allignment, and a number of folks have used that as reason to recommend against the use of the tool. In the time since I purchased the RAS, I've gotten a nice table saw and a 10" sliding compound miter saw, so I am not sure I want or need to use the RAS for most of the functions it is designed for. In fact, I'd almost like to be rid of it for the space, but after the time and effort invested in building in the drawers (along with the personality they've given the tool)and in consideration of some of the other benefits I outlined above for use of the thing and its sprawling table, I have thought of a special use I might like to put it to, but I'm wondering how effective it would be for this use and I hope some will have experience to share with me in this area. This use would allow me to keep the saw set up in one way and adjust only the distance of the motor from the column, so I hope it would make it less likely to go out of allignment over time.

Specifically, because of a handicap I have, I find "ripping" sheet goods to be difficult, except with a portable circular saw on a cutting table, and that is difficult to do cleanly and with accuracy. It occurred to me that if I mounted a fence the length of my proposed long table on the RAS, made the table wide enough to support a good part of the width of a 4x8 board lengthwise, constructed a pair of outriggers adjustable to the height of the RAS table to support the remaining edge of the board that hangs over, and mounted a fence well back toward the column of the arm, I could use the tool specifically for "ripping" sheet stock. If I put the fence well back toward the column, I can set the blade at a distance greater than 24" from the saw's blade, so I could rip to most useful widths. Having the fence well back on the table would also make some of the other uses I have outlined for the table more convenient.

Some people seem to cringe at the idea of ripping ordinary narrow stock on the RAS, but I wonder if this use would be reasonable and effective, as long as I set the table and fence up so that all is level and parallel and assure that I have adequate support for the width of the boards. I don't know for sure, but it strikes me that with the weight of sheet stock, as long as I use the safety equipment on the guard, kickback would be very unlikely. I mostly wonder how clean a cut I would be likely to get with this arrangement, or if anyone has any other thoughts on the suggestion. Thanks in advance for consideration.
Guitarman1 is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 7 Old 03-02-2009, 03:11 PM
No Longer Here
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 6,839
View rrbrown's Photo Album My Photos
Where do I start

1st I have ripped with my 10" Dewalt RAS and found it some what dangerous. either the blade rotation pulls up on the sheet which would require a feather board or hold down of some sort to make it safer, The anti kick back fingers work but I'm not a big fan. If you have a brain fart like I did when I first started out and didn't cut from the right direction, the sheet will be shot out like a bullet. Had to replace my neighbors window. I think a better way is to build side and outfeed tables for your table saw (Room Permitting). As for all the other so called purposes for the RAS they are all kind of dangerous as is alot of the multi purpose tools. Finally if you set it up to do one job it should stay aligned.

I to have to build a long table and fence for my RAS but I plan on setting it up for straight cross cuts. I also plan on building a horizontal router table into the same RAS table/fence. I figure it would work well to cross cut face frames and shelves ect especially if I use a good crosscut blade. I will use the horizontal router for raised door panels, M&T, moldings and any router job that you would normally have to stand the work on edge when using a router. Room permitting I may even try and build my regular router table into the same table.
rrbrown is offline  
post #3 of 7 Old 03-03-2009, 08:03 AM Thread Starter
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 10
View Guitarman1's Photo Album My Photos
Smile About the Brain Fart

Thanks for the response. I am amazed to hear of your experience, but that is just what I need to know. That was sheet material (ie, MDF or plywood) and not ordinary narrow wood stock, though? I was hopeful this might work out, because I have a fair sized shop, but there are two lolly columns right in the wrong place that make it a job to use the table saw for all its potential uses. I can probably manage to do so, but I'll have to move it around to use it in one place for ripping and in another spot for crosscutting broad stock. That leaves the issue of having dust collection ducts that are either mobile or in two different places with blast gates. At least I've got the table saw on a mobile base, so I can make it work.

I may end up, if time allows, making myself a panel cutting saw and just leaving it in the room outside my shop where I have a plywood storage rack. Then I wouldn't have to move full sheets as far to begin with, but this is a hobby, and there are so many things I could do, it starts to get crazy. You can end up spending more time on creating the shop than on using it! Anyway, thanks, again.
Guitarman1 is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #4 of 7 Old 03-03-2009, 08:32 AM
where's my table saw?
 
woodnthings's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: SE, Michigan
Posts: 27,592
View woodnthings's Photo Album My Photos
Question Been there, done this:

You wrote: "Specifically, because of a handicap I have, I find "ripping" sheet goods to be difficult, except with a portable circular saw on a cutting table, and that is difficult to do cleanly and with accuracy. It occurred to me that if I mounted a fence the length of my proposed long table on the RAS, made the table wide enough to support a good part of the width of a 4x8 board lengthwise, constructed a pair of outriggers adjustable to the height of the RAS table to support the remaining edge of the board that hangs over, and mounted a fence well back toward the column of the arm, I could use the tool specifically for "ripping" sheet stock. If I put the fence well back toward the column, I can set the blade at a distance greater than 24" from the saw's blade, so I could rip to most useful widths. Having the fence well back on the table would also make some of the other uses I have outlined for the table more convenient."
Good idea if you have the 16 feet of space
Ripping with a RAS? I have posted on this previously, that a RAS "with the blade above the work" is always trying to LIFT to work off the table...unlike a TS which PULLS the work down toward the table MUCH SAFER! So when ripping with a RAS you must rotate the guard to kiss the work piece and prevent it from lifting up.
Another issue is ripping the narrower strips you mention, It can be done with push sticks and possibly a hold down roller on the nose of the guard, a feather board, or just a right angle cleat adjusted to the thickness of your stock mounted to the fence, Probably all of the above because of the other problem above. If you are normally ripping 3/4" stock, then make your back fence 3/4 off the table and just screw a cleat to it, slip the stock under it, a 1/2 or so should hold it down. That is, the cleat will hang over toward the blade from the rear towards the front capturing that thickness of stock on the right side. It's hard to explain.....doin my best...CAN'T BE TOO SAFE.
I used the same set up when building additions. Cross cut all day long, easy. Rip with a 2x12x16' as the long table with a 1x2 screwed to the back edge as a fence. Full length support for 4x8 ply. Just my opinion, bill

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; 03-03-2009 at 03:04 PM.
woodnthings is online now  
post #5 of 7 Old 03-03-2009, 10:28 AM
Just makin chips fly
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: FL an NC
Posts: 642
View The woodsman's Photo Album My Photos
Useing a RAS as a panel ripper

I would not use it for that,especially if you have a table saw.To me that is one of the most dangerous things you can do in the shop.I have done it in the past and even though I don't have one now ,I have used them for years and have had more than one board get away.Just to dangerous.
The woodsman is offline  
post #6 of 7 Old 03-03-2009, 11:38 AM Thread Starter
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 10
View Guitarman1's Photo Album My Photos
Thanks, All

To Woodnthings, I had no plan of ripping narrow stock on the RAS, just large sheet goods. If even those, with their heavy weight, still have a tendency to get lifted up, I think I will just use the radial arm for my overhead pin router and forget the saw component! Then I won't need a fence at all, and it will allow for a broad work surface I can put to all sorts of use. At the same time, I won't need as long a table if I don't need enough length to feed 8' stock in and out of the blade, so it will save space and material. Thanks to all who've responded. The response seems to be unanimous, ripping even big stuff on the RAS is more trouble than it is worth.
Guitarman1 is offline  
post #7 of 7 Old 03-03-2009, 03:51 PM
where's my table saw?
 
woodnthings's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: SE, Michigan
Posts: 27,592
View woodnthings's Photo Album My Photos
U R vry Welcome!

From woodnthings,... bill

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; 03-03-2009 at 04:06 PM.
woodnthings is online now  
Reply

Tags
radial arm saw, ripping sheet stock, tool adjustment

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Radial arm saw owners bigredc Power Tools & Machinery 22 03-12-2011 11:43 PM
If you own radial arm saw bigredc Power Tools & Machinery 28 10-20-2010 11:35 AM
craftsman radial arm saw? nylarlathotep2003 Design & Plans 12 09-10-2010 04:03 PM
Radial Arm Saw Problem Thalweg Power Tools & Machinery 4 04-04-2008 01:11 AM
sears radial arm saw byronjc General Woodworking Discussion 5 03-26-2008 08:27 PM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome