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Radial arm saw - fixed or mobile?

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  • Radial arm saw - fixed or mobile?

    Is it better to keep a RAS fixed, in one spot? Or, with the right wheels/base, and lotsa care, can it be moved around a little in a garage? My floor is not nearly perfectly level, would that eliminate moving it unless it uas used only in one exact spot to which it was leveled?

    I'm kind of leaning toward keeping it fixed, because it just seems that its adjustments/alignment would be better preserved that way.

  • #2
    Scott--your inclination is correct, IMHO---I used to own a RAS, with casters. The trouble is, you need something to grab and the biggest "handle" is the table or arm---both of which can get out of whack. Actually, the beauty of the RAS is that you almost never need to access the back---I'd leave it against a wall.


    • #3
      I'm in total aggreance with Dave. If you have the space in your garage, I'd put it in the center of the back wall. Then you can build some cabinets for storage on both sides and use the tops as wood support. That is what I did and I would not change a thing, ever. It's worked out very very nicely.

      John E. Adams<br /><a href=\"\" target=\"_blank\"></a>


      • #4
        Your RAS workstation is awesome [img]smile.gif[/img] Makes me want to buy a RAS just so I can have a workstation like that (as if I could make something that beautiful at this stage in my woodworking development)
        "Did you put the yellow key in the switch?" TOD 01/09/06


        • #5
          Wow, that's goregous Woody.

          I've got the same basic idea, but with two hopefully minor variations. My water heater is just about where the vertical thing comes up behind your cabinet on the right. That will keep the saw from being all the way against the wall. But that is good because the breaker panel is right behind the saw and the set-off from the wall will enable quick access to the panel if I need it. Second, I certainly can't build cabinets as nice as yours now, I'm just learning. Maybe later on, but if I tried it now they would wind up looking like some kind of Red Green meets Homer Simpson nightmare.

          Starting right at the water heater in my garage, and going all the way to the far right wall (looking at it like your photo), is the laundry area. It is all open, and I will have over 8 feet of clearance to that side of the saw. To the left is currently a 9'8" worktable at the wrong height. It is as old as the house, 35 yrs. I'm going to cut it down to 6'6", put it on wheels and keep it strictly for automobile work. I'm currently restoring, albeit slowly 'cause it is also my daily driver, a 1985 Mazda RX-7 GSL-SE, and also do all the maint. on our cars, so I need a table I can risk getting dirty with car crud. Think I will build a simple table, same size, 6'6" also on wheels, but to the same height as the RAS, and keep it clean for wood working. Will "stack" both tables out of the way against each other/the wall when not needed.

          Since my garage ceiling is open my saw needs to be covered to protect it from falling dust, crud, etc. Also have a family of Carolina Wrens that uses an eve vent right where the saw will be as entrance/exit, so need to protect from birdy poop. Thought about mounting an inexpensive very wide window shade to the wall, or on standoff bracket I make, behind saw and using that as self-storing cover.

          Why not evict birds and cover up broken screen in eve vent? Because this is Florida, and our county is having one heck of a "bloom" (big rise in population) of black widows over the past few years. I kill several very big ones each month around here and in the garage. Guess what Carolina Wrens eat?

          [ 01-22-2004, 05:50 PM: Message edited by: Scott C. ]


          • #6
            While I definitely agree in principle with having the RAS as a truly stationary tool, my shop layout requires that all my large tools -- including the RAS -- be mobile. The price for flexibility obviously is greater set-up time, but with some care I've been able to make it work out satisfactorily.

            Heavy duty locking casters and a series of wedges and shims are a necessity.

            Good Luck,