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  • Radial Arm Saw

    I am in the market to buy a Radial Arm Saw. I thought Ridgid made one but I can not find one on their web page. Any feedback on a good Radial Arm Saw world be helpfull. I would even consider a used one if it were in good condition. I live in Northern California.

    Thanks in advance,
    Dale

  • #2
    Take a good look at Delta. There aren't many choices for table saws - Craftsman and Delta primarily - but the Delta has several models from 10" to 18". There seem to be a number of good reviews about Delta RAS. I have one and find that it is easy to set up and operate.

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    • #3
      NB, did you mean to write that there aren't a lot of choices for RAS?
      I bought a new RAS for my father about ten years ago when they were still made by Emerson tool co. and it is a nice saw, with very good safety guards. I'd look for used, since so many people say they'd like to get rid of them. I personally really like them, and started out on a Craftsman RAS.

      [ 02-23-2005, 01:22 PM: Message edited by: DK ]

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      • #4
        Dale,

        Ridgid (Emerson Electric actually) stopped making thier Ridgid brand RAS last year. I'm a big RAS fan and have owned and used one extensively since the early 70's. I believe Craftsman and Delta are probably the only two major brands left on the market unless you go to something very expensive and industrial. Personally, I'd probably look at either of those and compare them closely. Maybe its me, but I wasn't the least bit impressed with the workmanship on the Delta's that I saw. Frankly even the Craftsman isn't up to the quality of my old 1974 RAS, but the Delta's "fit and finish" just seemed to be rather crude. Pitted casting, poor paint, etc. Of course, that doesn't necessarily say it doesn't cut well or hold its settings!

        In the last decade or so, I think radial arm saws have taken a back seat due to the increased popularity and refinement of miter saws, especially "sliding" miter saws. Furthermore, the RAS has taken a really bad rap with regard to safety issues. The latter being that they will "self-feed" if you don't know how to use one. Hence the "guard" issue.

        When I was a kid, I watched my father remove a couple of fingers on a table saw and my wood-shop teacher noticed that I stayed the heck away from any table saw. He introduced me to the RAS and "taught me well" how to use it and it's very distinct advantages. Personally I like the blade on top where I can see what it's doing and hence forth, it became my favorite woodshop tool. There are many things you can do on a RAS that you can't do on a table saw, but there are some things in which a table saw does have an advantage.

        Good luck on your quest. Look seriously at the features and workmanship on whatever you hope to buy and don't be afraid of looking at the "used market". Above everything else, read and learn how to use it properly.

        CWS

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        • #5
          I would look for a used Craftsman. They are well built and last for ages. If you find one get the Model and serial number then go to the recall site to see if you are able to get a free upgraded gaurd and table. Emerson Saw Recall
          When you do get one you may want to look into a blade with a negative hook angle to prevent the blade from trying to 'self feed' while cross cutting

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          • #6
            That recall is something you should check against the serial number and I believe they still honor it, but it's for the saws from the 70's that I started out on. If you go to OWM website and look at a picture of the Craftsman RAS circa 1970 you'll see why there was a recall.

            http://www.owwm.com/PhotoIndex/detail.asp?id=1329

            The one I bought my father 10 years ago has a really good blade cover that completely covers the non-cutting area.

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            • #7
              Yes, I think they still have the recall running. I got the new guard assembly for my 1984 10" Craftsman® RAS last summer. Came with a new table top (all three pieces), new support arms for the top, and complete instructions on installing it, as well as the new guard and handle of course. Took only 8 days to arrive once I filled in the serial number on their web site.

              The new guard is almost identical to the current Ridgid RAS guard.

              [ 02-24-2005, 04:06 PM: Message edited by: Bob D. ]

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              • #8
                Actually the recall covers 10" saws made up to 1992 and 8.5" up to 1995. Mine was from the late 80's and still had a similar gaurd to the one in your pic link

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                • #9
                  I checked out that picture... Man, my 74' looks brand-new compared to that beast. I guess the fellow never heard of cleaning or oiling the tool.

                  The retrofit can't be applied to my particular model for some reason. But, the saw still works as great as ever and I always considered it a bit dangerous, but actually less so than a table saw. But I guess that's all a matter of perspective. You aren't supposed to leave the saw running or unattended or forward of the fence! On mine, the switch is located right next to the handle where you can operate it with your thumb: Make the cut, push it back behind the fence, and shut it off.

                  I've read a lot about the "self-feeding" problem and how dangerous that is, but frankly I've never had that problem, as I was taught to control the saw through the cut. I don't know anyone who would just stick a piece of wood in a table saw without some effort of controlling the feed... so the same applies to the RAS.

                  Just my opinion, but I do love my RAS,

                  CWS

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                  • #10
                    A RAS was my first big power tool. Always a lot of adjusting and tweaking, but sure liked it.

                    I'd say if it was going to be your main saw, get a good Delta or high-end Craftsman (really don't know what they make now). I'd tell you to look for used DeWalts, but I think they stopped making them over 30 years ago. There are some wear points in the carrage attachement to the arm and detents on the post---just don't know if you could get parts. Otherwise, it was a great saw.
                    Dave

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                    • #11
                      My mistake. I looked at that link again (hadn't looked at it in years) and saw the dates covered. I think I bought my father his new RAS in 94 so that explains why it didn't have the old style guard.

                      I too share your affections for the RAS. I learned on my dad's 74 Craftsman and have never felt any more at risk with them over a tablesaw.

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                      • #12
                        Hey DK! Pehaps you should check the run on sentence in your first post before you start correcting grammatical errors in my posts. Also, if you are from Toronto - we spell honour with a "u" included.

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                        • #13
                          I didn't realize the error you made was grammatical.
                          OK, so I'm not cut out to be a writer.

                          In addition, I don't spell well. Since there aren't any Canadian English spell checkers on an American Forum( or any at all on this forum), I use Microsoft Word with an American English dictionary.

                          I do live in Toronto (never said I was from here), but I am American. As I see it, honor is spelled correctly.

                          Sorry if I offended your sense of honour.

                          [ 02-27-2005, 02:36 AM: Message edited by: DK ]

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                          • #14
                            My suggestion is to look for an old Dewalt on Ebay. Those are the best at holding their calibration.

                            Sincerely,

                            MikeN

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                            • #15
                              radial arm saw

                              I don't know your tool situation but if you are just starting out I would suggest a Sliding Compound Miter Saw and hold off on the radial arm for awhile. That and a cross-cut sled for your table saw you might find you don't need one. I have a 10 inch Hitachi SCMS and I love it.

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