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I am trying to get back into woodworking. I have some good equipment including a decent 12" miter saw. However, it would be nice to have a SMS. I love older equipment so in my mind I have been wondering about the Radial Arm Saws (RAS). I don't have a big area for a shop but a SMS take some space - so perhaps a good smaller Dewalt or Delta RAS would be a option.

It would be just a cross cutter/angle cutter in liue of the SMS. I know ripping on them could be dangerous due to kick back but I thought perhaps with a negative kerf blade they might be a good alternative to a SMS.

What do you think?
 

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I have an old Craftsman RAS with attachments (sanding disk, molder/planer with cutters) that you can have, if you want to drive to central Texas. I never use it and it's just taking up shop space.
 

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I have two...an old Craftsman 8 1/4" which I've used a lot over the years and an old Dewalt 10" that I bought last year. The Craftsman I've used for ripping, making tongue and groove, frames (miter angles), etc.

I do like using them and they are safe if used properly. I will be getting rid of the Craftsman as I don't need two. Although, if you go to the Dewalt RAS forum on Delphi you will find some that have LOTS more than one...it's a Dewalt cult. Delphi Forums Login*-*Welcome! Please log in.

Mr. Sawdust wrote a book about RAS, Dewalt specifically, that is "everything you always wanted to know about RAS but were afraid to ask".

There are many on this Forum that would rather not use a RAS...take all the responses and then decide...visit the Delphi site, worth taking a look...
 

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I have three old DeWalt RAS and love them all - each is set up to do different tasks. They are the most desirable ones considering their age - mine are all late-50's, early 60's models and work great once adjusted up. These 110v models are preferred:

1030
MBF
925
GWI

Keep an eye out on CL for them. Unless they are recently serviced with new motor bearings and slide smoothly/quietly in the arm, don't give more than $100-$125 assuming you can see them run and cut well.
 

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I very recently parted with my beloved DeWalt after 40-something years.
1. Never had a problem with kick-back while ripping - follow the instructions.
2. As the sole saw in the shop, bit of a nuisance changing from rip to cross-cut to mitre to bevel, especially if a blade change is required - the guard can be fiddly to remove and replace. Part of following the instructions.
3. Dust control is a problem. There were some great ideas on this forum some months back, and it was a question of adapt or replace.
4. The decision to replace came from wanting a TS for the sort of cuts a RAS is not good for, e.g. box joints. No space for TS and RAS (the latter takes up a surprising amount of space) - one-car garage.
5. But I still wanted the simplicity of an SMS. So I opted for the Bosch Radial Glide Saw, which does not require space behind the saw for the sliding bars.
I must confess to having seller’s remorse about the DeWalt, but after routers became commonplace, I never did use all the attachments I had bought.
 

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My late brother had a Craftsman RAS and did a lot of projects with it, but I'd rather have and use a table saw. I had a 12 inch DeWalt miter saw but the blade deflected so my miters were always off slightly. So I've never regretted getting a good table saw. I have a Bosch SMS, but really only use it for cutoffs and the odd project here and there. It is very accurate.
 

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I very recently parted with my beloved DeWalt after 40-something years.
1. Never had a problem with kick-back while ripping - follow the instructions.
2. As the sole saw in the shop, bit of a nuisance changing from rip to cross-cut to mitre to bevel, especially if a blade change is required - the guard can be fiddly to remove and replace. Part of following the instructions.
3. Dust control is a problem. There were some great ideas on this forum some months back, and it was a question of adapt or replace.
4. The decision to replace came from wanting a TS for the sort of cuts a RAS is not good for, e.g. box joints. No space for TS and RAS (the latter takes up a surprising amount of space) - one-car garage.
5. But I still wanted the simplicity of an SMS. So I opted for the Bosch Radial Glide Saw, which does not require space behind the saw for the sliding bars.
I must confess to having seller’s remorse about the DeWalt, but after routers became commonplace, I never did use all the attachments I had bought.
My condolences to you over losing the DeWalt RAS but that Bosch saw looks amazing. Should cover a lot of ground for you - especially with a 12" blade! And portability is another plus over a bench mounted RAS. Each tool has its strengths...
 

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I made my living off the Dewalt RAS, and always had one at home. Now I have a Craftsman, not sure of the age, but one of the older and use it on every project.Since I have a table saw, that I use for all the rip cuts,the RAS is my main cutoff tool up to 14"with an 80t Freud blade give glass smooth cuts. I also bought a Dewalt 12" SMS which I only have used twice on sawhorses in a location away from the shop. I have figured out a way for DC on the RAS that collects 99% of the saw dust for crosscuts.
Herb
 

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Herb, I was referring to your setup, which I had planned to copy unashamedly, but then decided to go the TS + SMS route instead. I found the dust problem to be worse on crosscut than rip (where your scheme would have been the answer), but even with the vacuum attached, the rip position spewed dust everywhere.

Have only just unboxed the Bosch Glide saw (have yet to unbox the Bosch TS), but out of the box it is dead-on at 90 degrees, and has a 13-something inch cut with the 12” blade. Very smooth cut with the premium Bosch blade supplied. When it wears out will consider a Freud blade. Dust collection not wonderful, but miles better than the unmodified RAS.

Incidentally, I opted for the Bosch TS over the (locally) less expensive DeWalt, Makita and Metabo, largely because of Stick’s unreserved recommendation. Since we get the EU models here, the downside is that the arbor is 30mm, and will not take a dado stack or the Freud box joint blade set. The up side is that the outfeed extension and a sliding right cross-cut table are built-in.
I noticed that Bosch had taken some earlier criticisms to heart, e.g. the blade guard on the TS has been improved, and the Glide saw has a double laser guide.
 

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I am trying to get back into woodworking. I have some good equipment including a decent 12" miter saw. However, it would be nice to have a SMS. I love older equipment so in my mind I have been wondering about the Radial Arm Saws (RAS). I don't have a big area for a shop but a SMS take some space - so perhaps a good smaller Dewalt or Delta RAS would be a option.

It would be just a cross cutter/angle cutter in liue of the SMS. I know ripping on them could be dangerous due to kick back but I thought perhaps with a negative kerf blade they might be a good alternative to a SMS.

What do you think?
Radial arm saws got a bad rap back when they were way more popular, around 40 plus years ago. The problem in most cases was using the wrong blade on them. In my opinion you should only use low, or preferably, negative hook with them. With a table saw the blade rotation has the force of the cut towards the table. With an RAS or SCMS the force wants to lift the work off the table unless you are using negative hook geometry. That was the problem most of us had when using them I think. We were using table saw rip blades. I know I was guilty of that. As far as function, I don't see a lot of difference between them except the RAS has a much greater reach. You do need to get the beds level on them and that can take a while sometimes.
 

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@Cherryville Chuck You are right and i still do that blade wise. the 80t is much like a crosscut blade, I have never used a straight rip blade for cross cutting,but combination blades for the table saw and have had little problems if I don't try to force them. I don't think in the beginning they had negative hook blades, they must have been invented later. I might look at them if they have one that gives as smooth a cut as the 80t combination blade. Right now I use the same blade on both the TS and RAS.
@Biagio If I ever give up on the RAS the Bosch Glidesaw is the one I would replace it with You made a good choice on new saws. Are you going to mount the 4100 on a cabinet or use the Fold up stand. I abandon the stand because it was more for transporting and setting up at job sites. The TS comes with a decent blade too and I have had mine sharpened once and it is even better. It still has enough carbide for another couple of sharpenings if needed.
I hooked up a 6" diam. hose from my DC system to the back of the 4100 for dust control, and it works very well.
Herb
 

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The operational steps are also out of the ordinary and assuming a truly safe approach to running these saws is imperative. The Delphi-based DeWalt forum has excellent information to get oriented safely with these tools and I wouldn’t attempt to use one without schooling myself well first. Used improperly, they can scare you but are very flexible and well worth owning.
 

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Frank
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I personally use a RAS for cross cuts. If project is larger, I use a sled on table saw. Could I do without RAS? The answer is yes, but I also use the table as a work space. If I was just starting out in woodworking, I would get a sliding miter saw. If you are near Richmond, Indiana I know of a Dewalt RAS for sale.

Frank
 

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I have a Craftsman RAS that is 70 years old that my uncle bought the year I was born. It is my main go-to saw in the shop. I very seldom use my table saw. I also have a Dewalt miter saw that I only use when I go to another location to do some work outside the shop.

If I had room for anything else in my shop I would go pickup the old Craftsman RAS Chris has in central Texas so I could have two different setups at the same time.

It really depends on how you set up an MS or RAS to how much space they take up. You could have several setups side-by-side using the same fence system.
 
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I personally use a RAS for cross cuts. If project is larger, I use a sled on table saw. Could I do without RAS? The answer is yes, but I also use the table as a work space. If I was just starting out in woodworking, I would get a sliding miter saw. If you are near Richmond, Indiana I know of a Dewalt RAS for sale.

Frank
In my cramped space I do the same - the TS is a workbench too - especially for small glue-ups where I need a true flat surface. But for dados and crosscuts, I use my RAS collection. The TS is a mostly a rip machine. occasional flat miter cutter, and now a miter boxmaking cutter with my new jig. Every tool has a strength - so buy more tools!!
 

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I have 2 RAS a very old Dewalt and a newer Craftsman with many attachments I use them all the time. I would always want one in my shop but you must be very careful using them. My dad and I made tons furniture and stuff just using a just a RAS. We ripped many many boards but a RAS is definitely not my choice for ripping. They work great for cross cut daddos and many other operations If I didn't have the room I would pick a good table saw and sliding compound miter saw. Just my opinion.
 

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I had several RAS's over forty years and I can provide an opinion or two:

1) they're heavy;
2) you'll need to build, level and plumb your own material platform;
3) you'll need a substantial stand for support and stability;
4) the stand will occupy at least a square yard of floor space;
5) dust collection is virtually impossible with RAS;
6) they are an incredibly powerful saw;
7) used RAS's are usually very cheap;
8) every cut that you can make with an RAS you'll be able to make with a SMS more conveniently;
9) neither the RAS or SMS are designed to rip. They can do it but it's awkward. A used contractor's table saw is better and safer for that.

That said, if you have limited space (like I do), an SMS on some kind of a foldable, portable stand is a better option and there are many used saw/stand combinations out there.. . .both table saws and SM saws. They fold up and store nicely to free up floor space. Good luck to ya. (Craig's List is your friend).
 

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I had several RAS's over forty years and I can provide an opinion or two:

1) they're heavy;
2) you'll need to build, level and plumb your own material platform;
3) you'll need a substantial stand for support and stability;
4) the stand will occupy at least a square yard of floor space;
5) dust collection is virtually impossible with RAS;
6) they are an incredibly powerful saw;
7) used RAS's are usually very cheap;
8) every cut that you can make with an RAS you'll be able to make with a SMS more conveniently;
9) neither the RAS or SMS are designed to rip. They can do it but it's awkward. A used contractor's table saw is better and safer for that.

That said, if you have limited space (like I do), an SMS on some kind of a foldable, portable stand is a better option and there are many used saw/stand combinations out there.. . .both table saws and SM saws. They fold up and store nicely to free up floor space. Good luck to ya. (Craig's List is your friend).
I agree with almost all these points but would emphasize the advantages of a stable, bench mounted saw for more delicate cuts, which an RAS does very well. I own three classic DeWalts and they speed the workflow nicely when you're knocking out a cut list at the start of a project. But each to his own...
 
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