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Sawdust Creator
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey Guys....

So i've got a really nice table saw......and a decent miter saw.......but I'm really finding that i'd like a dedicated crosscut saw for wider boards and narrow panels. So......i'm thinking radial arm saw.

I've been watching on craigslist for a while now.....and here's where i'm at....

I've seen 100's of craftsman saws.......for anywhere from 20 bucks to 500 bucks.....and while i've used one before and it was fine....if i'm going to get one, restore it, built a long table for it......i'll probably keep it for a long long time so i'd rather get the right one for me.

I've also seen both delta and rockwell saws that are of the turret variety.......but they are defiantly harder to come by...

And then last but not least...i've seen a number of dewalt designs.....


My primary concern is crosscut capacity.....and quality. I don't ever intend on changing the angle on it.....no ripping on it....no routing or other uses....its strictly going to be for cross cutting.....


Which models would you recommend I look for?


thanks in advance guys....
 

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I have a craftsman radial arm saw. If you cut a lot of hardwood it can get aggravating. The machine just lacks the power. I often make a cut and bring the blade to a stop because it lacks the power. If you are watching craigslist for a used saw I would look for an old Dewalt commercial saw.
 

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where's my table saw?
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strictly cross cutting

I have several 12" Craftsman RASs and they are fine. The 12" has more power and can run on either 120 V or 220 V depending on the model you get. Cross cutting is limited to 16" or so, not very much IF you are working with sheet goods like plywood for cabinets...

Why not consider a vertcal panel saw? I made my own:
http://www.woodworkingtalk.com/members/woodnthings-7194/albums/panel-saw/

Here's akit that pretty reasonable:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/DIY-Sliding-Panel-Saw-Hardware-Kit-/281191079778
 

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My advice would be to pass on anything Craftsman. You can get them to hold 90º if you leave it there, or not. Many have done that, but I had one (2 actually) that wouldn't and these were both of the "desired vintage" models. I now have 3 Dewalts (only one in the shop) and use it for a lot of crosscuts, but it also replaced my miter saw so it does the miters and other angles. Best of all, it always returns to 90º when I'm done. The Delta/Rockwell turret arms will as well. What you may find is that you intend to leave it set for cross cuts, but it's so useful in pother ways you'll find other uses. So my advice is to keep looking for a Dewalt (certain models) or the turret arm. If you find a Dewalt, it would be useful to ask for advice on that particular model, since B&D really screwed the pooch on the later models (early 70's or so and newer)
 

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I have an old Craftsman and it's some serious iron. It's fine for me but I can't compare it to the other models you listed or other Craftsman's as I've never used those others.

One suggestion I would give - if you get one, use it for Dado'ing as well as crosscuts, for your 90 degree dados. Many times it works much better than using the t-saw, particularly with a fence and stop block.
 

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I've had several 10" craftsmans' (4), and they just haven't done the job. I bought a Delta Multiplex 20a (8"), and fully restored it. It works like a champ. So much so, that I'm looking for a Multiplex 40 (12-14") to restore.

Like you, I have the miter saw and table saw, but it's nice to have something dedicated to crosscuts and accurate miter cuts.
 

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I had a brand new 12” Craftsman back in the ‘70s before sliding miter saws were available. I used it to cut door and window headers for house framing. It was great for that but I have to admit that I got real tired of adjusting it. At the time I didn’t know any better and thought that was just the way it was. I sold it back then to help pay for my education.
I wish I still had it, but if I had it still today, I think I’d figure out a way to wield it so I didn’t have to adjust it anymore.
I don’t have one of the new 12” miter saws and don’t know if dado blades will work on them, but I use my 10” RAS for dados.
 

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What the others have said is spot on go Dewalt or delta. I have a Dewalt MBF and have had a few Craftsman and I can tell you from my experience the Dewalt is hands down the better saw. Mine is the 9" and I am on the look out for a bigger one :yes:
 

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Sawdust Creator
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
bisley45 said:
What the others have said is spot on go Dewalt or delta. I have a Dewalt MBF and have had a few Craftsman and I can tell you from my experience the Dewalt is hands down the better saw. Mine is the 9" and I am on the look out for a bigger one :yes:
So what's your cross cut capacity on the dewalt?
 

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on the MBF that I have it is about 14-15" but if you set the fence back you could get about 16 1/2 but that is getting very close to the blade at start up. I have a line on a 14" dewalt that I am going to go look at it has a 22" cross cut I believe. but also one thing to consider is on the bigger saws like the one I am going to look at they are most likely 3 Ph so that is something else to consider.
 

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Ive had a number of Craftsman ras's in my shop over the years.
By far the best model is the one in the picture (not mine) Note, round motor end. That model can still have problems. On my last one, one day the arm would not lock up solid. Had to remove arm, and dissassemble to repair (hit with a hammer a few times)
One nice thing about that model, is the flat motor bottom, that has 2 tapped holes in it, just waiting for you to attach a router mount. It works great for dados etc. the router can be left on when using the ras, for sawing.

That said, I found a Red Star, Multiplex 30-A (Delta bought Red Star to get in the game) The saw is a big improvement over the CM. Perfectly smooth travel. Ridgid arm. The turret arm saws have the least deflection in the arm, of the different ras's (For laughs, in a box store, take a scms, with the motor/blade extended all the way, push sideways on it with a little pressure. You will be amazed!)

As far as not using for miter cuts. Why not? My Red Star doesn't have a detent at 90 degrees, so I have to set it to 90 deg. and make a test cut. Readjust as needed. Usually takes a minute or less to get right on. The miter function is handy to use.

If you can find an older CM ras, in decent shape go for it. Then in the future, if you find a better one you can always, sell or turn in the old one for the bounty. Emerson, is offering a $100 turn in on the old CM ras's. It's a shame they don't offer it on the newer pos saws. Some of the saws on the recall are pos ones, which should be put to rest, but not the old ones.

I wouldn't want to go without a ras in my shop (hobby only)
 

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Old School
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I find RAS's a necessary tool in a complete shop. I've always had at least two. One that stays at 90°, and one that does miters. They are one of the most complex tools to use, set up, and maintain. They do all kinds of things, and have mechanisms that tilt, raise/lower, tighten, pivot, rotate, etc. Much to keep after. But, using them often keeps your maintenance routine very minimal. Once set up, unless something breaks, tuning up is easy.

As for crosscut length, I lucked out with finding a used Atlas 14" 5hp. for $200. It had over a 20" crosscut. It worked out great because one of my CMS's, a 14" Makita used the same blades.






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I personally don't think a radial is at all necessary. I learned the trade with a ras for cross cutting face frame stock. I also learned how to true one up about once a week in that process. I also learned that a solid tsaw with a sled is all one needs. And doesn't require constant checking and truing. Ive since spoiled myself with a 16hp holzer horizontal panel saw. But no matter the job I spend 90% of my time on the table saw. Just my opinion
 

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Sawdust Creator
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
It's awkward to cut down long boards on a tablesaw with a sled in my opinion. Hence why I'm going to get a radial arm saw.
 

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It's awkward to cut down long boards on a tablesaw with a sled in my opinion. Hence why I'm going to get a radial arm saw.
I'm actually surprised that there aren't more postings on the negative side. There are a a few that are dead set against them.
When I first decided to buy one for myself after years of not having one, I found myself in constant defense over my decision. :smile:
My only problem was the space it takes up and I ended up moving it outside, but thats only due to poor planing on my part. There are plenty of ways of adjusting the height to utilize the tables of other equipment like the table saw or whatever.
 

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Ryan said: <<It's awkward to cut down long boards on a tablesaw with a sled in my opinion. Hence why I'm going to get a radial arm saw. >>

That's exactly what I thought to myself when I saw Cali's post. Also, I recently cut nine angled dados on each of two 2"x4"x10' pieces of pressure treated lumber to make a ladder. My lowly Sears RAS was great for that chore. Plus it's better than a table saw for cutting rough lumber.

Bill
 

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Sawdust Creator
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
That's the only thing I want it for is cross cutting. I'll never rip or miter with it. Just using it for crosscutting to rough dimensions.
 
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