Radial Arm Saw - Yes/No - Router Forums
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-13-2020, 07:18 AM Thread Starter
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Default Radial Arm Saw - Yes/No

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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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-13-2020, 07:49 AM
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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.

Getting old ain't for sissies.
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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-13-2020, 08:10 AM
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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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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-13-2020, 09:55 AM
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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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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-13-2020, 10:28 AM
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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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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-13-2020, 11:14 AM
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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.

The more I do, the less I accomplish.
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-13-2020, 12:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Biagio View Post
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 sellerís 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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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-13-2020, 12:56 PM
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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.
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-13-2020, 04:15 PM
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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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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-13-2020, 05:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FordTrax View Post
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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