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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 12" dewalt miter saw, single bevel non slider...nothing fancy that is now sitting on its on dedicated miter saw stand. It does a great job but anything over 8" wide I have to take to the table saw or break out the skil saw. So I'm thinking hard about buying an RAS. Craigslist is loaded with them for between $100 and $200 with the majority being clean craftsman units with cabinets mounted underneath. I know they take up a good bit of room but I could really see the benefits of having one. Does have anything to add as far as pros/cons? How are the craftsman units concerning reliability and accuracy? Anything to watch out for or avoid? Thanks!
 

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The older Craftsman can be good saws, or not. Why take a chance...get an older solid cast iron arm Dewalt (common models: MBF, 1030, 925, 1400, some others) or one of the Delta Rockwell turret arm saws (any of them), tune it up properly and don't look back. I replaced my miter saw with an RAS, it now sits in the shed for home maintenance jobs.
 

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The older Craftsman can be good saws, or not. Why take a chance...get an older solid cast iron arm Dewalt (common models: MBF, 1030, 925, 1400, some others) or one of the Delta Rockwell turret arm saws (any of them), tune it up properly and don't look back. I replaced my miter saw with an RAS, it now sits in the shed for home maintenance jobs.
I agree fully! I've had 4 older Craftsman RASs and have sold them all. I bought a Delta/Red Star RAS that was made in 1950 and tore it all down and refurbished it. It's a lot more accurate than my SCMS. If I ever have the chance to get another one like that, only larger, I'm going that route.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
So older dewalts or delta/Rockwell is what I need to look for? I know a guy that has an older craftsman 50's or 60's era RAS that I can probably pick up for next to nothing. I like my miter saw and its very accurate but I'm missing the ability to crosscut wider width longer pieces that are to awkward for the table saw. I would also love to have the about to put a dado stack on it and use it that way.
 

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Do what you want but in my opinion, most who bemoan the lack of accuracy/inability to hold zero (90°)/hard to maintain in an RAS are referring to a Craftsman. That said, as I mentioned earlier several who have the older models, say early 70's or older, get very good service out of their Craftsman RAS. I had 2, and neither was worth a poop...even after I spent countless hours trying to get them tuned. Just remember, a bad RAS will make you cuss the day you first heard that acronym! On the other hand, a good one will make you wonder how you ever got along without it.
 

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I agree with Toolman2 100% on this. I have had over 10 CM ras's, of which I used 5 of them. (Turned the rest in for the $100 bounty)
Then also found an old Red Star, turret saw and will also keep it, unless a larger Red Star or Delta, turret saw shows up. The Red Star is rock solid, and, is a pleasure to use.
The 60' and 70's,CM ras's are the only ones I believe to be the best of the CM saws. A picture of one is below. Recognizable by the rounded motor end. If I didn't find my Red Star, I would be still using the old CM saw.
A plus with the CM saw, is the flat bottom motor has 2 threaded holes, where I mounted a router mount, as in the first picture. The router, can be left on while using the saw. It just reduces cut thickness capacity about 3/4" A steel or aluminum mount, would reduce it less.
An older CM saw is better than no ras.
 

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Once properly set up, my CM RAS served me well. Bought it in 1978, used it for everything until I got the TS. Since it was not part of the recall, I sold it for lack of room in the new shop.
I do miss it for the wide cuts as you describe.
The molding head was kinda scary.:blink:
Bill
 

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A very usfull addition to a ras, is a column stop. A split collar, that you put on the column, and lock in place to limit lowering the blade. Great if you need to make a number of deep dados, where you want to make them in a number of cuts. I needed to make a lot of 1 1/2" deep dados in a douple of 2x4's, and clamped the 2x's together, so I could cut both at the same time. Then Made the first dado in 3 passes. After the final cut, I locked the collar, at that height. On the remaining 20 or so dados, I made the first cut, cranked the blade a bit lower, and made the second cut, then lowered it until the collar stopped it, and made the final cut, at the same depth as the first dado. Making the 20 or so dados in the 2, 2x's went very fast.
Below is a pic. One could be made from wood, or even a hose clamp would work, but take longer to adjust.
My previous post, showing the ras mount, also shows the collar, on that saw.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I found a delta super 900 RAS on Craigslist near me for 245. Super clean? Is anybody knowledgable about these particular saws? There is hardly any old iron near me. But I have my pick of $100 craftsman's. just my luck. I don't want something I'm gonna have to fiddle with constantly, that negates all benefit of having one.
 

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Fred Hargis said:
Do what you want but in my opinion, most who bemoan the lack of accuracy/inability to hold zero (90°)/hard to maintain in an RAS are referring to a Craftsman.
So if I intend on using one for 90 degree cuts only, how do the craftsman ones hold their accuracy??? Was the inaccuracies a function of changing the angle often, or even only using for 90's caused a problem?
 

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where's my table saw?
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The Craftsmans will hold a 90 once you set and lock it

The issues came from changing the arm to miter and back and forth to miter at 45 degrees. That's where the detents that set the degrees might be slightly off at 45 degrees. I use mine at 90 degrees all the time wioth good accyracy. Other brands were more accurate, heavier and cost more. You can always get one, set it up and see how that particular one behaves, you may luck out. Miters can also be done at 90 degrees using a jig the holds the work at an accurate 45 degrees.
Like these:
http://search.yahoo.com/search?ei=utf-8&fr=ytff1-tyc-inbox&p=miter jig for radial arm saw&type=
 

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A lot of folks do what woodnthings mentioned, leave it sit at 90 and work around it (successfully). The first one I had wouldn't even do that, so I guess it worse than others. But I'd set it exactly at 90°, and then 5 cuts later it would be off ever so slightly...that one went back to the recall.
 

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where's my table saw?
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worth $200 ?...easily!

Probably worth $350.00 in my opinion. That's the good one with the turret arm, gives you lots of possibilities. :yes:
 

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Probably ought to grab it while you can.....if it runs and moves smoothly (nothing frozen) there isn't very many things that can be wrong that can't be easily fixed.
 

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Resetting the saw to 90 deg, after doing an angled cut, is no big deal for me. My Red Star doesn't have detents, and if it did, I would still do a test cut, and check with a square each time just to be sure. Usually takes me 2-4 test cuts, to get it nuts on 90 deg. Less than 1 minute.

One problem I had with an old Cm ras, was the saw had play, when locked at 90 deg. Turned out to be the locking device, inside the head, got spread apart. I must have knocked into the arm. A bit of a job to get all apart, and wack it back in shape with a hammer, and a fairly pita job to get back together. Only happened 1 time in 7 years of using CM ras's
 
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