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radial arm saw vs. good miter saws

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  • radial arm saw vs. good miter saws

    A while back I picked up a RAS off of craigslist for 50 bucks. It came mounted in a cabinet-type frame with no top, fence, or blade. I cleaned it up, put a top and a fence on it, added a blade, and it works ok, but I have to go slow on my cuts. It's an old craftsman RAS from roughly late 1970's, from what I can guess (matched up close with a manual I found on OWWM).

    Anyway, to the point....anymore, is a RAS any better than a good sliding Miter Saw? The RAS I have just doesn't seem to have the power (and it's on a 20A circuit by itself) but the basic 10" CMS I have just doesn't have the capacity for cutting wide boards. Just wanted to see who thinks what about which.

  • #2
    Re: radial arm saw vs. good miter saws

    Originally posted by Jalon View Post
    A while back I picked up a RAS off of craigslist for 50 bucks. It came mounted in a cabinet-type frame with no top, fence, or blade. I cleaned it up, put a top and a fence on it, added a blade, and it works ok, but I have to go slow on my cuts. It's an old craftsman RAS from roughly late 1970's, from what I can guess (matched up close with a manual I found on OWWM).

    Anyway, to the point....anymore, is a RAS any better than a good sliding Miter Saw? The RAS I have just doesn't seem to have the power (and it's on a 20A circuit by itself) but the basic 10" CMS I have just doesn't have the capacity for cutting wide boards. Just wanted to see who thinks what about which.
    I have a 12" CMS, but want a RAS in addition so that I can do dados on long boards (think bookshelf sides).

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    • #3
      Re: radial arm saw vs. good miter saws

      a lot depends on what one is wanting to do with it,

      my shop is crowed, and guess where the miter saw sits, on the radial arm saw, which one do I use most, the miter saw, both are 12" saws, but if I want to cut a 12 wide board the arm saw is great, or dado or lap cut, but for jsut cutting and mitering average items, the miter saw is faster and IMO safer, and when cutting miters it set up faster, but I would not want to be with out the arm saw either, but if I had to choose one or the other I would choose the miter saw. Easier to move and use and will do about 90% to 95% of what a arm saw can do or may be more correctly what you normally do on or with a arm saw.
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      • #4
        Re: radial arm saw vs. good miter saws

        I have a 1974 vintage Craftsman RAS which was made by Emerson Electric. I've never had a power problem with it, but then again, I can't compare it to your SCMS. My 10" Ridgid CMS is fine, but of course it doesn't compare in any way to the RAS.

        Regarding power, the CMS would appear to have an edge with it's higher RPM univesal-type 15 amp motor. My RAS employs a 3450 rpm induction moter that draws about 11 amps. The motor on the RAS appears to be a lot beefier than on my CMS. The RAS spec say's it developes 2.5 hp and to me, it feels like it's got a lot more torque to it..

        The RAS will give you about a 15-inch crosscut, more bit more if you have the fence further back, but I don't like it in that position. The RAS is certainly going to be heavier and will take a lot more care in setting up and also in keeping it's alignment. Your SCMS is designed to be a portable tool and frankly, there's nothing portable about the RAS, IMO.

        I do think the RAS is a superior tool when it comes to versatility and for accuracy. Properly setup, I don't have any of the problems that my little Ridgid 10-inch CMS has when it comes to beveled crosscuts. For that matter, any of the compound angle cuts that I have performed have always come out as planned.

        So, the RAS is a nice addition to your shop. I do think it deserves a permanent setup with infeed and outfeed benches on the left and right, so you have plenty of room when you do your crosscut. Basically mine will eventually be agianst the center of the wall in the new shop and will act as a crosscut station. I will have a Herc-U-Lift mounted so that I can wheel it into the garage if needed. But otherwise, it's positon will be mostly permanent.

        I hope this helps,

        CWS

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        • #5
          Re: radial arm saw vs. good miter saws

          Do you have to go slow because the saw tends to bite the wood and stall? Try a RAS blade that has a negative hook angle. The Freud LU91R010 would be one example

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          • #6
            Re: radial arm saw vs. good miter saws

            Hadn't thought about a blade with a negative hook angle. Guess I'll have to try that out. Everything else seems aligned, but it was slowing down cutting through 3/4" MDF. Thanks for the blade tip.

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