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Just looking for opinions. I have a good table saw and have seen some good prices on radial arm saws on CL are there advantages to having both in the shop? I know the table saw will do most anything I need to do but are there certain things the radial arm saw are better at?
 

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I think so. A RAS is very good at crosscutting. It can cut long boards that would be a major hassle in a table saw. It also is good at crosscutting rough lumber. If the board is a bit twisted or cupped, a RAS doesn't care. A table saw cares a lot!

What a RAS is not good at - Ripping. Unless you really know what you are doing. But that's what your table saw is for.

A tip: Get a negative hook angle blade for a RAS. That way the blade is less likely to dig in and take a run at you. Also, go for a 60 or 80 tooth blade, as you'll be crosscutting.

A lot of guys like to cut dado's on a RAS because they can see the dado head as it's cutting.

Bill
 

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I agree with dodgeboy. I have a ras and ts. Most crosscuts are done on ras. Try cutting a few inches off a 10' board on a ts! On a ras, it's a piece of cake.
All rips on ts.
Love doing dados, on ras.
I needed to cut lots of dados in 2 - 7' 2 x 4's Clamped the 2x's together and cut the 9 dados, in both pieces, in a few minutes.
Cutting a cove, is easy to do, when you see the cut and lower the blade to the desired depth.
I have a crowded hobby shop, but I wouldn't part with my ras.
 

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Yep.... Gotta have both... I do a lot of dado work on mine....As far as ripping, it's a good way to end up in the hospital....!!

My old craftsman has an arbor that takes a collet for router bits..
The motor turns pretty slow for that kind of work, but I did use it
for rounding over some cabinet doors for the shop....

For cross cutting and using a stop for making multiple blanks, you can't beat it....
 

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Just looking for opinions. I have a good table saw and have seen some good prices on radial arm saws on CL are there advantages to having both in the shop? I know the table saw will do most anything I need to do but are there certain things the radial arm saw are better at?



I would rather have a 12" Sliding Miter saw.:yes: If you crosscut a lot of stock over 8-10" make yourself a table saw sled. Lotsa ideas on You TUBE
 

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Just looking for opinions. I have a good table saw and have seen some good prices on radial arm saws on CL are there advantages to having both in the shop? I know the table saw will do most anything I need to do but are there certain things the radial arm saw are better at?

In MY opinion (if you have a limited budget) you would be better served by buying the best quality sliding compound mitre saw that you can afford.

The only 'good' radial arm saws (in MY opinion) are the old school sort that are large and expensive and really 'need' a large type production shop to be really 'useful and worthwhile' in... The 'china' RASaws out there currently are garbage not worth buying... :thumbdown:


I have spent a pile of hours using the 'old school' radial arm saws that cost a fortune in large production shops... Can easily do the same stuff for less money with a good tablesaw and good sliding mitre saw.

Depends on how much you intend to use it - HOW you intend to use it - and how 'portable' you wish to be...

Joe-blow / Harry-Homeowner - Does NOT 'need' a RAS to get stuff done in MY opinion. (unless he just likes to spend money on stuff he don't 'need')
 

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where's my table saw?
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yep!

Table saws RIP best, and come with a Rip fence. RAS crosscut longer boards best because you move the motor/blade across the work NOT the entire long board.
I keep a RAS set at 90 degrees for cross cuttting only. Go to any Lumber Yard and you'll find a RAS set for crosscutting boards to length. Even my Home Depot has one along the back wall for that.

I wouldn't be without one in my shop. :no:

If you can find one for <$150, the old cast iron Craftsman type, that's the best. I found a 12" for $50.00 on Craig's list. They do take up more floor space, but if that's not an issue, I think they are a valuable addition. I used mine recently with a insert stop to cut shelf dados at even spacing. .... with perfect alignment on every shelf. Here:
http://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f27/shelf-spacing-made-simple-using-ras-47095/


I made a special table and fence for a large barn door project so I could straight line RIP 14'
Cypress boards. The fence was a 20' - 2" X 6" and the table was made from 2 - 12' 2 X 12's
for a total run of 28 feet! It had to set up outside for that length. The entire project is here: http://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f2/evil-machine-28461/




 
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I believe they both required in a home shop. You do need to be particular about the RAS, however. It's bad reputation (IMHO) came from the terrible marketing led mostly by Sears as trying to sell it as a one tool shop. Some of the attachments offered were ridiculous, and almost never worked as billed. The basic design of the Craftsman saw was quite as bit more complicated than it had to be, and so they developed a reputation for not holding their settings, or returning to zero. That's why you'll often see users leave them set at 90º. Many of the saws you see for sale are no doubt the Craftsman saws. Some of the oldest ones were very good saws, but why take a chance? Get an older Dewalt (ask here for advice on models) or a Delta/Rockwell/Red Star turret arm and be prepared to be surprised. I went without an RAS for a few years before I acquired a Dewalt...I'll never be without an RAS again.
 

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Though perhaps not a requirement...Once you have one that holds its settings reliably, it is a convenience that you won't be willing to do without.
 

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A tip: Get a negative hook angle blade for a RAS. That way the blade is less likely to dig in and take a run at you.

This type of warning is a misconception, and should be explained. No matter what type of blade is on the saw, the motor cannot "run at you". With very thin materials, it could be aggressive to cut at a fast rate and push towards the operator testing the operators' resistance in holding the saw. This is a matter of "feel" for the operation while cutting.

With a properly set up saw, you will have a substantial table to cut on. The arm and connective mechanicals holding the saw motor and carriage aren't loose. So the normal cutting force with the blade spinning down in front of itself will exert some forward motion. If all is in place and there is no movement (up and down) to the table, the saw blade simply has no ability to jump on top of the work and come speeding at you.

What you may feel when cutting is the normal cutting energy in a forward motion. You will still have that forward motion feeling even with a negative hook blade, but it's not as obvious. A properly set up saw with a sharp blade does a fine job as intended.

Radial Arm saws are IMO one of the most unique machines in a shop, as they have a variety of adjustments and settings that do many things. There's rollers, pivots, bushings and bearings that allow rotation and tilting. There's lock handles, knobs for limiting movement, and release levers. Parts can go up and down, rotate, slide, and swivel. IOW, a tool with as much or more parts than other tools, that can change for its operation. It's worthwhile to get a manual, and spend some time learning the workings and adjustments of the saw, and how to set it up.

Once you learn the ins and outs of the mechanicals, and the operation of the saw, work on getting a feel for the control you use in making cuts. You will learn what the resistance feels like while pulling the saw into the work and completing the cut. All the time while doing this, think safety and where you keep your hands, while setting up for your cut, while making the cut, and how to safely move material for repetitive cuts.

IMO, once you have educated yourself with the saw, you will gain an appreciation for its use. And yes, my opinion is that it's a good addition to a shop.





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Whether having both a radial arm saw and table saw in a shop would largely depend on what work you are doing and the size of the shop. I like having both however the radial arm saw takes up a lot of space. I also make kitchen cabinets with faceframes often where I run the faceframe material S4S and cut the parts to length on the arm saw. The fence has a tape measure on it making it easy and quick to set the stop to the size I need.

On the other hand if was making only small projects or furniture I think the space the arm saw takes up wouldn't be worth it. Besides you can get more consistent accurate parts from a table saw than you could ever get with a radial arm saw.
 

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Get an older Dewalt (ask here for advice on models) or a Delta/Rockwell/Red Star turret arm and be prepared to be surprised. I went without an RAS for a few years before I acquired a Dewalt...I'll never be without an RAS again.
I agree. I've had 3 Craftsmans over the years, but the best one that I've had (and still do) is a 1950 Delta Red Star that I tore down and rebuilt that I have mounted on a table in line with my SCMS with a roller assembly in between.:thumbsup:
 

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I agree. I've had 3 Craftsmans over the years, but the best one that I've had (and still do) is a 1950 Delta Red Star that I tore down and rebuilt that I have mounted on a table in line with my SCMS with a roller assembly in between.:thumbsup:
I also have had a few Craftsman ras's over the years, and finally found a Red Star. A great ras!
I'll bet if you extended the motor/blades on your scms and the Red Star ras, and put mild side pressure on each, the difference, in deflection would be huge! I tried it with all the scms saws in the box store, and couldn't believe the deflection. Yet, people who have them swear by them.

A few years ago Fine Woodworking did tests on ras's, and measured deflection. The Delta turett arm ras, had the least by far.
 

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As someone pointed out earlier,
A good production RAS is worth it if you have the space for the footprint they take up in the shop. Ussually they are 3ph and very large. I used to have one but to be perfectly honest....IMO...the modern DCMS's have replaced them. As far as ripping...that should be done on the table saw. Yes it can be done on a RAS but it can be very dangerious. I used mine mostly for cross cuts ONLY.

Everyone has thier own personal needs for certain machinery and if space is paramount a RAS will start eating that up.....if that's the case get yourself a decent 12" DCMS.




B,
 

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Well I have also had some home shop type 10" ras craftsman, dewalt. They were ok and can be had very cheap $50-$100. Knowing what I know now I would only buy a bigger type 3hp industal. They can be had for $200-500. I paid $200 for my 14" dewalt 3hp long arm 28" rip.
 

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Regarding the comments on negative hook angle blades and my statement that an aggressive blade on a RAS can "Take a run at you": By saying this (and I suppose most people that have used a RAS know this) I did not mean that the the saw blade and motor are going to climb on top of the wood, careen toward the operator, break loose and chase him around the shop. What I did mean is that an overly aggressive blade can quickly 'dig in' and and stall the motor as the blade jams itself into the wood. I know this because it has happened to me and others. No harm is generally done except to the operators underwear.

I also know that since replacing my RAS blade with a negative hook angle blade (a Freud LU91 that's made specifically for RAS's and sliders) it's much easier to cut with the saw and not have to worry about the feed rate being difficult to control. I feel this makes the RAS easier and safer to use and strongly recommend this type of blade.

Bill
 

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I agree

Even with a zero hook angle the saw/motor needs to be resisted with a strong grip as it's pulled into the work AND even more so if the worth is 2" thick ... it will want to "climb cut", my words, my experience.
 

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woodnthings said:
Even with a zero hook angle the saw/motor needs to be resisted with a strong grip as it's pulled into the work AND even more so if the worth is 2" thick ... it will want to "climb cut", my words, my experience.
I agree....
 
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