Radial Arm Saw Bench Build - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 24 Old 10-03-2013, 11:56 AM Thread Starter
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Radial Arm Saw Bench Build

Here is my Radial Arm Saw Bench build in my third car garage stall. I looked and looked on craigslist for an older DeWalt RAS and finally found one. The previous owner I purchased the saw for had painted it red, I think down the road I would like to strip it and restore it to a more original look. But for right now I want to get it in use. The table will have about 7-1/2' to the left of the blade when I'm finished. The two douglas fir ledgers top and bottom are screwed into the studs with #14 wood screws and washers. The top is made up of 2x4 white wood that is joined by lap joints. The extension in front of the saw is lap jointed all the way back to provide support. The kickers have a fishmouth cut in the top for the 2x4 top to land on. Currently, it is very secure, I can put my whole weight on the front extension with little movement. It will get even more secure when I skin the top with 3/4" cabinet ply and then a sacrificial 1/4" hardboard top. I'm still designing a fence for it and would like to have a rule and a stop block system for repetitive cuts. Eventually, it will have dust collection behind the saw, which is why I left some room between the back of the saw and the drywall. I'll post more pictures when I have updates.

If anyone has any ideas, pictures or suggestions for the fence I would appreciate the information.
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-luke

Last edited by <*(((><; 10-03-2013 at 12:07 PM.
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post #2 of 24 Old 10-07-2013, 09:14 AM
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Something I'm finding with my RAS is a need for a good hold down system for cross cut, ripping, and molding work. It may feel like a waste but making different fences for dedicated purposes. The ability to change them out easily and have them line up accurately has made life easy. But the work horse in my shop is my RAS . No table saw like you. Sadly no room for one.
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post #3 of 24 Old 10-07-2013, 10:04 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WoodSimply View Post
Something I'm finding with my RAS is a need for a good hold down system for cross cut, ripping, and molding work. It may feel like a waste but making different fences for dedicated purposes. The ability to change them out easily and have them line up accurately has made life easy. But the work horse in my shop is my RAS . No table saw like you. Sadly no room for one.
Thanks for the reply! So would you recommend something like a t-track built into the top (that runs perpendicular to the wall behind) that the fence would attach and detach from? I've thought a little about that, but was trying to figure out if it would be needed, but having different fences for different uses would be helpful. I guess one could make a stop on each of the t-tracks so that it is easy to find square to reset a fence. I guess the t-tracks could be used for hold downs as well.

-luke
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post #4 of 24 Old 10-07-2013, 10:33 AM
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That's in the right direction. For me I like to have the fence sit down in the table top. I'm in the process of amping up my fas to. With the t tracks you have some things to look out for. First off its aluminum, so you have to keep it out of the way of the saw. So that leaves it to be mounted as far back as you can ( and make it 'jump' the fence) Or you can mount it closer to you. The trick is keeping it true to the fence. At one point I had a 7 ft aux table on my RAS with a rule and stop, but it was destroyed. With measuring its important to know what the saw is used for on a day to day basis.
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post #5 of 24 Old 10-07-2013, 07:32 PM
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Nice build Luke. Keep the pictures coming. I would like to see how you finish it up. Are you planning to use one solid top or are you going to mount the top on you saw and key off that for the two sides. I have some pictures of mine in My Photos. I used 3 pieces for the top but I put the saw on adjustable feet so I could put it in the same plane at the table top. That worked out pretty well plus I also have a place to stick and extra square.
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post #6 of 24 Old 10-07-2013, 08:26 PM
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TMA nice layout for your ras. I'm going to see if I can't dig up my wife's camera to get pics of my setup. It might be a day or two. ( and I thought my shop was messy)
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post #7 of 24 Old 11-04-2013, 12:15 AM Thread Starter
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I finally got some more time to work on my RAS bench and skinned the top with 3/4" cabinet grade ply and some 1/4" hardboard. Next up will be building a fence system for it with some stop blocks. After that I have plans to build some dust collection, cabinets, shelves and maybe a little pegboard above the bench behind the fence. Below the bench will be storage for my rolling thickness planer and jointer as well as some cabinets in the future.
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-luke
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post #8 of 24 Old 11-04-2013, 12:34 AM
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I am very interested in this because I recently picked up a RAS. My table saw (Skil 3400) is a piece of crap, so I am thinking about using the RAS instead of the TS like Simply does and having more space in my garage as a result.
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post #9 of 24 Old 11-04-2013, 12:58 AM
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As much as I like my RASs ...

I would not give up my tablesaws. I know all the warnings about ripping on the RAS, but it can be done safely for some operations. However, you must have a blade cover/guard because the blade is fully exposed at some points, unlike a table saw where the blade can be lower into the table.

The other danger is not having a splitter like a table saw. If you only use plywood or sheet goods rather than lumber you won't have as big an issue, because the material is stable and won't close up on the spinning blade.

Another issue is holding the work firmly down on the table. You have to counteract the blade which is spinning upward and tending to lift it off the table. Holdowns are a must. It's just too much work to rip on the RAS, unless you have wide boards, and lot of them set to the same width...JMO.

I like ripping on the tablesaw, using the rip fence. I like cross cutting on the RAS and use it exclusively for that, set at 90 degrees. I'd be lost with the table saw.

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 #10 of 24 Old 12-14-2013, 05:49 PM Thread Starter
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Just an update on my RAS build. I got a few more hours to work on it this afternoon. Since my last pictures I have added some pine on the front to cover up the plywood and hardboard edge. I also finished the fence. I used 1-1/2"x1-1/2" aluminum angle attached with 5/16" bolts through the top. Then I had some 3/4"x2" oak that I reclaimed from a job at work, that I faced the angle iron, attaching it with countersunk carriage bolts. I also chamfered the bottom edge of the oak for a relief to allow sawdust a place to go and prevent it from keeping a piece out away from the fence. I made the short 8" section of oak to the left of the blade moveable to allow for a stacked dado to fit and be able to adjust to have adequate support behind varying blade widths. Overall, I'm happy with how it has turned out so far.

Things I still have to do is buy a kreg track and stop setup for the fence, build drawer cabinets below and cabinets above. Also, I need to get around to building my dust collection setup which will involve building a hood behind the RAS.
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post #11 of 24 Old 12-14-2013, 06:18 PM
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very nice Luke!

Looks like Massey Ferguson Red to me!

You DO know you've got the blade on "backwards" right?

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 #12 of 24 Old 12-14-2013, 07:45 PM
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I remember humping one of those monsters on the job sites. Ugh.

This is my repeat cut system for my cut off saw. The material is 8020. Found on eBay. I've used it on many shop built tools including a panel saw.

Why the RAS?

Nails only hold themselves.
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post #13 of 24 Old 12-14-2013, 07:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodnthings
Looks like Massey Ferguson Red to me!

You DO know you've got the blade on "backwards" right?
Knowing the history with these saws The Massy red is best left as is.

Great tips for safer ripping Bill. It's a heller when it goes south.

Real nice job on the build Luke.

Al

Nails only hold themselves.


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post #14 of 24 Old 12-14-2013, 08:18 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodnthings
Looks like Massey Ferguson Red to me! You DO know you've got the blade on "backwards" right?
Yeah I still haven't changed it since I bought it, that's how the previous owner had it as well as his paint scheme which I would like to try and take back to more original colors.

-luke
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post #15 of 24 Old 12-14-2013, 08:21 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Al B Thayer
Knowing the history with these saws The Massy red is best left as is. Great tips for safer ripping Bill. It's a heller when it goes south. Real nice job on the build Luke. Al Nails only hold themselves.
What do you mean about the "history if these saws?"

-luke
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post #16 of 24 Old 12-14-2013, 08:28 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Al B Thayer
I remember humping one of those monsters on the job sites. Ugh. This is my repeat cut system for my cut off saw. The material is 8020. Found on eBay. I've used it on many shop built tools including a panel saw. Why the RAS? Nails only hold themselves.
Hmmmmm...I'll have to check out that 8020, I'm sure it's probably cheaper than buying that kreg kit for $115.

As far as, "why the RAS," because I would really like one to do dado work as well as repeatable cuts.

-luke
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post #17 of 24 Old 12-14-2013, 08:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by <*(((><

Hmmmmm...I'll have to check out that 8020, I'm sure it's probably cheaper than buying that kreg kit for $115.

As far as, "why the RAS," because I would really like one to do dado work as well as repeatable cuts.
I've got a lot less than that in the rail. All you have to do is lay it in place and mark it. then drill holes and mount the rail using the lower slot. They are very true and stiff. This one is in the 15 series 1.5"X3". The slide stop is made from their door hinge knuckle. I used a shoulder bolt found on eBay for less than $2. The knuckle was $9. The wood is mahogany with a brass bearing I got in one of those drawers at Lowes.

The possibilities are limitless.

Al

Nails only hold themselves.
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post #18 of 24 Old 12-14-2013, 08:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by <*(((><
What do you mean about the "history if these saws?"
A lot of guys think radial arm saws are unsafe and not precise. However.....I for one think they're a great tool....can't wait to get mine up and going.

The tools don't make the craftsman....
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post #19 of 24 Old 12-14-2013, 09:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by <*(((><

What do you mean about the "history if these saws?"
Very dangerous saw. That's the biggest reason they aren't made except by a very few. But you have the best one ever made. Im pretty sure its still sold but I don't know the name. You can roll it down the road and it would still cut true. When we humped it from job site to job site. We really put it through the ringer. We used to set it in the house we were building and leave it till the house was done. Only covered it with a tarp. I remember cleaning the snow off it to use it.

Al

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post #20 of 24 Old 12-14-2013, 09:15 PM
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Radial arm saws are no more dangerous used properly than a table saw or miter saw. They're still sold under delta, craftsman, and a few higher end brands. They fell out of favor with the spread of cheap miter saws.

The tools don't make the craftsman....
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