What to look for in a used table saw? - Page 2 - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #21 of 37 Old 07-28-2016, 01:57 PM
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Back in the day before tilting arbor table saws I had a radial arm saw with a 20' bench set up along one wall of my shop that did the majority of my ripping and cross cuts on. My second most used saw was my bandsaw, only short pieces were cut on the table saw because it was very hard to come up with a outfeed table with a tilting top for longer boards.

In summation, you can easily get by with a radial arm saw, but that is a whole other can of worms we could get into.

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post #22 of 37 Old 07-28-2016, 03:15 PM
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Are FrankC and woodnthings really suggesting that the OP get a radial arm saw instead of a table saw? Is that the wisest advice?
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post #23 of 37 Old 07-28-2016, 03:30 PM
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Are FrankC and woodnthings really suggesting that the OP get a radial arm saw instead of a table saw? Is that the wisest advice?
You are right, what the heck do i know, the OP suggested a radial arm, I was only sharing my experience and I did warn about the fall out.

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post #24 of 37 Old 07-28-2016, 03:50 PM
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Far be it for me to say it is a wrong choice. At the end of the day what tools and equipment anyone uses is a personal choice. If the OP is considering a radial arm saw I am sure there are plenty of 2nd hand saws available. As to why new model are no longer available, I expect it was the advent of the miter saw coupled with the Emerson/Craftsman radial arm saw recall.
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post #25 of 37 Old 07-28-2016, 03:57 PM
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well, you had better own one....

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Are FrankC and woodnthings really suggesting that the OP get a radial arm saw instead of a table saw? Is that the wisest advice?

Wise advice is any advice that comes from qualified, experienced sources. Wisdom is knowledge based on experience. So, between Frank C and myself we probably have about 100 years of experience with woodworking tools. Izat good enough? Sure, there are qualifiers which I mentioned, but once you get past the nay sayers, a RAS does make some sense for someone on a low budget. I don't own 4 of them because I listened to everyone who had a negative opinion of them, and especially anyone who spouts off their opinion who doesn't or hasn't owned one. :smile3:

I don't know how many million there are out there, but it's considerable. So quite a few folks thought they were a good choice. The RAS safety recall by Emeerson Electric is a great improvement over the original blade guard and is much safer. As with any spinning cutter, if you stick your fingers in, you will come out on the short end....just sayin'
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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 #26 of 37 Old 07-28-2016, 04:11 PM
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Originally Posted by woodnthings View Post
Wise advice is any advice that comes from qualified, experienced sources. Wisdom is knowledge based on experience. So, between Frank C and myself we probably have about 100 years of experience with woodworking tools. Izat good enough? Sure, there are qualifiers which I mentioned, but once you get past the nay sayers, a RAS does make some sense for someone on a low budget. I don't own 4 of them because I listened to everyone who had a negative opinion of them, and especially anyone who spouts off their opinion who doesn't or hasn't owned one. :smile3:

I don't know how many million there are out there, but it's considerable. So quite a few folks thought they were a good choice. The RAS safety recall by Emeerson Electric is a great improvement over the original blade guard and is much safer. As with any spinning cutter, if you stick your fingers in, you will come out on the short end....just sayin'
Well, the original recall is over. They are now tryin' to buy em' all up.

I in no way featured myself as an expert. If anything I routinely feature myself as a woodworking novice. No apologies for that to be sure. However, I am 61 years old and worked in industry for much of that time repairing everything from small engines to nuclear powered submarines. I have used all sorts of powered equipment. I can clearly make a determination if a tool is a good choice or a not so good choice as a first tool.
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post #27 of 37 Old 07-28-2016, 04:52 PM Thread Starter
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Well, this is getting interesting. Is there some specific danger with those saws, other than the inherent problem with the blade lifting the workpiece upwards?

I'm a pretty cautious, read-the-instructions kind of person. All the jobs I've had have involved dangerous equipment and other hazards (I worked with venomous snakes for several years) and I've had no serious injuries yet. So unless there's some problem with the RAS that can't be overcome with appropriate safety precautions and mindfulness, I think I'll still get one.

On another note - I remember reading in an old cabinetmaking book that there is such a thing as a router head for a radial arm saw. Have any of y'all used one? What do you think of it?
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post #28 of 37 Old 07-28-2016, 05:18 PM
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Well, this is getting interesting. Is there some specific danger with those saws, other than the inherent problem with the blade lifting the workpiece upwards?

I'm a pretty cautious, read-the-instructions kind of person. All the jobs I've had have involved dangerous equipment and other hazards (I worked with venomous snakes for several years) and I've had no serious injuries yet. So unless there's some problem with the RAS that can't be overcome with appropriate safety precautions and mindfulness, I think I'll still get one.

On another note - I remember reading in an old cabinetmaking book that there is such a thing as a router head for a radial arm saw. Have any of y'all used one? What do you think of it?
I believe Bill, (woodnthings) made himself one, if so I am sure he will chime in.:smile3:

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post #29 of 37 Old 07-28-2016, 05:44 PM
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A radial arm saw can be a real help in the shop if it's the right radial arm saw but a lot of the home model saws come wanting. A lot of the home model saws lack the power to work hardwoods. You end up having to draw the blade into the wood about an inch at a time and let the saw catch up and pray it doesn't grab to where it pinches the board on the blade and stop it completely. I used a home model saw for a number of years for the most part cutting 2" cabinet parts. I've since bought a 16" Dewalt Commercial saw for actually cutting lumber.
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post #30 of 37 Old 07-28-2016, 07:23 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Steve. Good to know, but unfortunately a professional RAS is even further out of reach for me than a professional TS. I doubt I will be doing much work with hardwoods in the near future - plywood and construction lumber are all I can afford.
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post #31 of 37 Old 07-28-2016, 09:15 PM
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I'm the proud owner of an old 43 year old Craftsman Radial arm saw. I've used the heck out of it cutting mostly hardwoods for furniture projects. It's never been in the shop for repairs.
Although it's been a great saw for me, Resale on this old saw is super cheap, but I've enjoyed it and would have a hard time selling it.
When I do have to replace it, I'll get a very nice compound miter saw. (Which wasn't even available when I originally bought the RAS).

If you don't have time to do it right the first time, when will you have time to do it over?
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post #32 of 37 Old 07-29-2016, 08:44 AM
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I'm a big RAS fan. I've had a number of CM saws. I have had 3 CM RAS's in my shop. All older (late 60's - 70's models) These were by far the better CM ones. I would replace one, after finding another one in better condition, and return the motor on the old one for $100 from Emerson.
Then I found a Red Star RAS, then a Dewalt. No more Craftsman RAS in the shop!
The CM saws are decent. The Red Star (Delta turret arm design) and Dewalt are much better.
If I didn't have a Red Star/Delta or Dewalt, I would not hesitate getting an older CM RAS, untill I found one of the others. You can always get $100 for the CM motor.
Dado's are a big reason I like the RAS. I had to cut 10 1" x 1 1/2" dados in a few 2x4's. Clamped them together. Cut each dado in 3 steps. All dados cut in under 5 minutes.
Never had a problem with blade lifting work off table. When the blade starts cutting it is pushing the wood down. As long as you are pulling to cut, rather than pushing.
The PO of my latest RAS is a cabinet maker, and told me to be sure to push to cut. (Wrong imho) Then again, he also told me to be sure not to tighten the arbor nut very much. Wrong! With a saw with blade brake, tighten the nut!
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post #33 of 37 Old 07-29-2016, 11:52 AM
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Thanks Pirate! I'll be sure to take a straightedge.

Woodnthings - I'd love to visit your shop! I won't have 28 feet of space, but I can dedicate one wall of the garage to the RAS. I was planning on doing that with a miter saw, but now that I've started thinking about going with the RAS, I don't guess I really need a miter saw in the shop.

I've never seen a radial arm saw in a local home improvement store (I work at Lowe's - we just have a panel saw). In fact, I've never seen one for sale at local stores either, which is probably why I hadn't considered getting one until I started looking for saws on Craigslist yesterday and saw several RAS's for sale.

The more I think about it, the more I like the idea of getting a used RAS. I can get the saw, a dado set, and a few blades with the money I was going to spend on a tablesaw, it'll do what I need it to do for my immediate projects, and I can save up for just the right tablesaw.

You guys have been an immense help, I really appreciate all your advice!
The RAS has almost been completely replaced by the Compound Miter Saws of today. The CMS weren't around when I bought my RAS many years ago. But today I would buy a CMS.
Neither tool is as versatile as a table saw. The table saw trumps all
other saws for general woodworking. With both a TS and a CMS, there is very little you can't do.

If you don't have time to do it right the first time, when will you have time to do it over?
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post #34 of 37 Old 07-29-2016, 12:14 PM
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The RAS has almost been completely replaced by the Compound Miter Saws of today. The CMS weren't around when I bought my RAS many years ago. But today I would buy a CMS.
Neither tool is as versatile as a table saw. The table saw trumps all
other saws for general woodworking. With both a TS and a CMS, there is very little you can't do.
I guess that may be true and you would likely be happy if you have a router to make the odd dado.

However making dados is where a radial arm saw really shines, you can see what you are doing and it is so easy to set up stops for multiple cuts. Wth a little ingenuity you can make a depth stop and a carriage stop for one ended blind dados.

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post #35 of 37 Old 07-29-2016, 12:24 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks again, everyone! I've found a used DeWalt RAS at a very reasonable price; if the seller still has it on Monday I'm going to look at it and hopefully buy it.

I'm glad to hear that RAS's are good for dados. I'll be cutting plenty of them in my first big project, built-in bookshelves that will wrap around the front room of my new place.
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post #36 of 37 Old 07-29-2016, 02:52 PM
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A whole thread on RAS here

Many members contributed to this thread on the RAS:
http://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f12/r...103705/index3/

Here's my tip for making dados for shelves using a RAS and a fence stop:
http://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f27/s...ing-ras-47095/

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; 07-29-2016 at 02:55 PM.
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post #37 of 37 Old 07-30-2016, 04:06 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the help, sir. That guide for aligning the RAS that you linked in one of those other threads will be especially helpful. I will hopefully be getting a saw tomorrow!
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