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The Old Fisherman
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Discussion Starter #1
As I am sure many of us do, I am always looking on CL and Ebay for deals on tools etc... One thing that I see on a regular basis is really good prices on radial arm saws. I have both a 10" table saw and 10" compound miter. What would a redial do for me that the TS or CM wouldn't? Is it worth looking into buying one? :eek:
 

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It won't do anything a TS and CMS will do, but it does some things a lot easier than those tools. I won't be without an RAS again (went without one for 3-4 years). But others say they will never own another one. Now, most of them had Craftsman RAS, and I'll bet that's mostly what you see on CL....at least that's the case around here. Some of them (the older ones) can be good, but any made after about the early 70's or so are pretty much labeled as junk that will make you curse the acronym RAS. So, I suggest you get one, but it has to be a good one, and to me that would be an older Dewalt (the solid cast iron arm models, about pre-65 or so) or any of the Delta turret arms.
 

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Sawdust Creator
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It all depends on what model you buy if it's easy to adjust or not. My dewalt 1030 locks back into 90 every time perfectly.
 

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Old School
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I like RAS's. I think they are a definite addition to a woodworking shop. If set up properly, you can crosscut long lumber more easily than on a TS. You could do repetitive cuts, rabbets and dadoes more easily than on a TS. If you have the room and can get into the details of setting one up I think you'll enjoy it.




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I have used nothing but a RAS since I started woodworking 40+ years ago. Having a table saw would be nice, but I don't do fine cabinetry, so a RAS does everything I need. Ripping is much more accurate and easier on a TS but I don't do much of it. I also have a miter saw set permanently at 45 degrees because I do a lot of that and as pointed out above, keeping a RAS true is at least a minor pain compared to a TS with a good fence.
 

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The Old Fisherman
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Discussion Starter #8
I appreciate the response and advice. Just have to decide if I want to make the investment and if I have the space. I think I will just keep my eyes open and if I see something I can't pass up...but I think I will live with what I have for now.
 

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Sawdust Creator
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If it's something you don't need today. I'd watch for an old cast iron dewalt (see my rewiring my radial arm saw thread) or a delta turret model. They are the sought after models.....my dewalt will crosscut 14 inches at 3 inches deep, and I can crosscut almost 16 at 3/4 deep. It's a great tool if you find a good one.
 

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The Old Fisherman
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Discussion Starter #10
If it's something you don't need today. I'd watch for an old cast iron dewalt (see my rewiring my radial arm saw thread) or a delta turret model. They are the sought after models.....my dewalt will crosscut 14 inches at 3 inches deep, and I can crosscut almost 16 at 3/4 deep. It's a great tool if you find a good one.
Biggest problem is that most of the time the people selling the RAS barely know what the brand is, let alone what model they have but I will keep my eyes open for delta's.
 

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Deltas and dewalts....I actually think the dewalts are a better option but either are good.
 

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If it's something you don't need today. I'd watch for an old cast iron dewalt (see my rewiring my radial arm saw thread) or a delta turret model. They are the sought after models.....my dewalt will crosscut 14 inches at 3 inches deep, and I can crosscut almost 16 at 3/4 deep. It's a great tool if you find a good one.
I totally agree with that statement. I've had 4 craftsman RASs over the years and have got rid of them all. I now have a SCMS and a Delta Multiplex 20a. I really want to add a Multiplex 40, but the ones that I find are across the country. Once I get the 40, the SCMS is out the door.:thumbsup:
 

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If you can find an old DeWalt, it will be worth your time, otherwise don't waste your money. Unless you are in a lumber yard, a radial arm saw is clumsy, dangerous, not accurate, and did I say...DANGEROUS! Most people hate the blade guard so they get rid of it, which exposes half the blade. Now, you add to that the fact that if you aren't careful when pulling the saw head forward, the blade will grab and the saw head will come flying forward and send the board flying against the wall, all the while, trying to amputate your arm.

You can rip on a RAS, but here again you have to watch for kick back.

Here is a link that shows a lot of old DeWalt saws. I have one of these, but hardly ever use it anymore....

https://www.google.com/search?q=16+...e%3Dproduct_info%26products_id%3D1744;438;470

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Buy yourself a quality circular saw like this one and make some ripping jigs. That will be a lot better use of your money...

http://www.cpopowertools.com/dewalt...ewndw384,default,pd.html&xsell=dewrdw364kr--6
 

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A radial arm saw is no more dangerous in crosscutting than any other saw....people removing blade guards and disposing of them are asking for problems. That's not the fault of the saw....utilizing a CORRECT blade for a radial arm saw fixes the self feed issue....and, make sure you have a good grip on the saw handle before you start cutting.

I'll agree ripping isn't a good idea....and it's much safer to do that on the tae saw. But if someone throws away the blade guard, and raises the blade up on a table saw it's just as unsafe. Let's be honest, any one I these tools had the risk of cutting off an arm or worse.... But used properly, they can all be used effectively and safely.
 

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Now, you add to that the fact that if you aren't careful when pulling the saw head forward, the blade will grab and the saw head will come flying forward and send the board flying against the wall, all the while, trying to amputate your arm.
That actually would be a pretty incredible happening, with odds approaching the winning of the Powerball. If the saw self feeds too quickly, all it will do is stall in the workpiece. That, in turn, is trapped against the fence and doesn't go flying anywhere. You would have to purposely stick your arm in the blade for the balance of that misguided rhetoric. To be sure, using the right blade will solve a lot of the problems other see in an RAS. But like Ryan said, it's no more dangerous than any other tool that's designed to cut wood, it just has to be used correctly. I'm never seen anyone use one with out the blade guard (OK, I read some guy who admitted it, once) but I'm guessing the reference is to the part of the guard that drops down over the lower 1/2 of the blade. That was a later introduction on the RAS, and most of the earlier model didn't have that feature.
 
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