Michigan woodworker here, been doing hobbyist level woodworking since I was 6 or 7 being taught by my grandfather
Recently I come in to possession of his woodworking tools and looking to take a deeper dive into the world he introduced me
That said I don't see myself using my "new" radial arm" saw to rip sheet goods anytime soon
Love getting project ideas and advice from experts and those passionate about the craft
Welcome to a fellow Michigander!.
OK, I am aware of all the dire warnings about ripping on a RAS.
It can be done safely, especially with larger panels. Here's what you need to know:
Which way to feed the panel into the spinning blade. You must feed against or into the blade's rotation, not with it, which will propel the piece, acting as a "self feed".
The second thing it to rotate the blade cover counter clock wise, so the nose of it just "kisses" the top of the workpiece. This will prevent the work from lifting up off the table from the blade's rotation.
Finally, NEVER allow your hands or fingers to be in a direct line with the blade. They must always be 3" or so off to one side.Always use a push stick or sacrificial piece is used to push any workpiece through and past the rear of the blade.
As to the original table... it's not really wide enough to support a large panel OR long pieces to cross cut. I removed my 3 piece table and replaced it with a single 3/4" plywood top about 24" from front to rear and about 6 ft wide, left to right. It has about 40" or so off to the left for supporting cross cut pieces. I used some 2" angle under the top which is bolted right to the saw's base. No problems what so ever.
The RAS gets a bad rap, and is undeserving when some simple precautions can be taken to improve safety. Dust control is another simple to cure issue. A small box at the rear with a port open to the bottom where a shop vac can draw in the sawdust which is propelled off the front of the blade works real well for my 90 degree crosscuts.
This saw is set up at 90 degrees "permanently" for precision. I don't want any variation that I may get by changing the arm angle and counting on the stops for miters. I use a crosscut sled or a really good miter gauge on the table saw OR a sliding compound miter saw for the rare miters I make.
Can you have too many RAS's ?
Not according to mdntrdr: