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  • #16
    Re: Considering a Radail Arm Saw

    These pictures simply represent my take on making small angle cuts. Certainly if you want to make bevel and angular or even angled bevel cuts on long stock, the RAS is the perfect tool. Just set the arm and/or the bevel to the task, and position the stock and then pull the cut. You're limited only by the amount of room you have on the side of the RAS.

    But here, my needs were simple wedges to support stair treads and 45-degree corner support blocks for my bookcase bases. I'm probably not that experienced with a table saw, though I know it's not a particular big challenge. Still, it concerns me how close I need to get to that blade with short cutoffs, especially since I'm sliding the stock through the blade. I much prefer to have my stock fixed and well supported and have the blade move through the fixed-in-position stock. But, I wouldn't do this on my CMS either, as I think there's not enough fence support and the chop-action just doesn't feel comfortable to me for such small parts.

    On the RAS, it's just a simple operation, that begins with cutting a guide block for the needed angle and then clamping it to the fence, making sure that you properly space it for the thickness you want from the blade (absolute point of the angle or perhaps, as in the case of a stair support wedge, a 1/4-inch or so blunt point). Again, if I had a long piece of stock, I'd be much better off changing the arm position, rather than working like this.

    For the 45 guide, I made it big, simply because I had a left-over piece of veneer ply of that size and angle. As it is, it's easy to clamp it directly to the table and when not in use, I hang it on the side of support table.

    Hopefully the picts are self explanatory. If there are any questions, I'll be gone for the next ten days; sorry,

    CWS
    Attached Files
    Last edited by CWSmith; 10-25-2009, 07:41 PM.

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    • #17
      Re: Considering a Radail Arm Saw

      CWSmith, thank you!! That's a great start on learning. I went by Sears today and looked at the RAS they have. It seems like a decent machine. I mentioned to the hubby how mad he'd be if I came home with at $700 RAS today and he said "Then what am I gonna get you for Christmas?" !!! So, it seems like I have some time to make a good decision on which RAS to get, but I have made the decision to get a Radial Arm Saw.

      Thanks everyone for all the help! It's so great to know there's folks out here in the Intarwebs that will help out and volunteer such good thoughts and advice.
      I put it all back together better than before. There\'s lots of leftover parts.

      Comment


      • #18
        Re: Considering a Radail Arm Saw

        Not wishing to hijack any threads (seems like Sandy's made her decision anyway)...

        ...but CWS... have you got shares in Home Depot? I love shots of peoples shops, just for the background info. See what others use. And in your case, Ryobi Scroll Saw and grinder. Behr paint, Homer buckets, HD leaf bags, the list goes on

        Ryobi seems (barely) adequate to me. I have several cordless tools from them (Black Friday special, $69 for drill, flashlight, circular saw, hand vac, nailer and three batteries). I used the circular saw on 3/4 plywood the other day, and it bogged once, but did actually make the cut, which in turn made it possible to get the plywood into the basement shop.

        Ryobi tools - "for when 'barely adequate' is good enough".

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        • #19
          Re: Considering a Radail Arm Saw

          First off, HD is the only place in town without making a 40 mile round trip.

          Second and foremost, I've owned Ryobi-made Craftsman tools since the late 60's and all have proved more than adequate.

          I'm a TTI fan, I've only found one Ryobi tool so far that has fallen short of expectations. While the build quality of Ridgid is better, there's certainly nothing at all wrong with Ryobi. They're innovative, cost effective, and durable. I notice a lot of contractors who use Ryobit too.... so perhaps it's the way you use them!

          But so much for making your point and my counter-point, I'm out of here for the next 10 days.

          CWS

          Comment


          • #20
            Re: Considering a Radail Arm Saw

            I have quite a few from TTI too. Ryobi & Ridgid, but also "Performance Power Pro" from B&Q in the UK. As a side note, B&Q is a clone of HD, even down to the orange aprons and signage. One has definitely ripped the other off, I suspect HD was first. Anyway, the PPP cordless tools have the very same shaped mounting for the batteries, although the alignment splines are different. Just for S&G, I Dremeled the alignment splines out of the PPP charger (which is one of the better integrated ones, rather than el Cheapo that came with the Ryobi kit), and it works just fine. Now I can charge 2 of the 3 Ryobi batts at the same time. I wish they were completely interchangeable, but as I said above, adequate will do.

            I too seem to live in HD, though I do have quite a choice (5 or 6 HDs, 3 or 4 Lowe's) within easy distance. They opened a new store only about 5 mins from my house. Perhaps I ought to buy shares in HD.

            Stupid thing is, I drive past a rather well stocked lumber warehouse to get to the HD, but I'm content reducing plywood and 2x4s to matchwood before I trust myself on anything expensive. My first proper hardwood project may well be this side of Christmas though.

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            • #21
              Re: Considering a Radail Arm Saw

              Originally posted by VASandy View Post
              OK...I misspelled!! RADIAL Arm Saw. Jeeeeez....when I make a mistake I wish it was something I could fix but you can't fix Titles. Oh well...pardon my faux pas!

              I've been doing some tinkering in the shop lately. Since I'm working and commuting a good distance now (92 miles to work, 92 miles home each day), I don't have near the time I used to have. Which, btw, explains why I've been absent from the forums so much!

              While working on this latest project, I've come across a couple things that have made me think having a RAS would be a good solution to some problems. It's taking time away from actually DOING things to reset the TS3650 from crosscut to rip cuts. I think that having a RAS would save that time at the very least. Plus, since my Delta miter saw is just not cutting angles properly, I'm doing all of that on the TS. I love the accuracy of the TS, but again I'm taking lots of time to set the angle and then reset. I find I'm doing this at least 3 or 4 times each time I'm working on something. Maybe if I did better plans (well ok...any plans), or thought through the process more I'd be more efficient with this, but that's not how I work. I draw up simple plans mainly to check proportions, but I worry about joinery as I work through the project.

              Ok...most of you have figured out by now this is a highly justified way of saying "I gotta get NEW TOOOOOOLS!!!" The question is, Does this really justify getting a RAS? It seems like the Craftsman at $650 or so is the only one in my price range. The Delta RAS looks great but .... wow ... it's pricey! Are there other manufacturers with decent RAS's?

              Thanks for helping me out with this important decision. I appreciate any and all comments...except those of you who will point out that I really don't NEED the tool.
              I recently acquired my grandfather's Craftsman RAS. Hardly use the table saw anymore. I can pull a pin, rotate the saw 90 degrees and make rip cuts every bit as accurate as the table saw but with a lot less effort and preparation.

              A sliding miter saw and a RAS will cover just about every project for the casual handyman.

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              • #22
                Re: Considering a Radail Arm Saw

                sandy..it sounds like you are considering the RAS because you are not happy with your delta miter saw. i have a TS, RAS and , oddly enough, a delta miter saw. for picture frames and cross cuts to managebly sized material, i believe the miter saw should be the tool of choice. a RAS is a highly usefull tool, but can be something of a chore to set up properly. if the tool that would perform the application you are attempting is a miter saw, and you are not content with the accuracy of your delta, get a better miter saw. personally, i find the best tools are the ones with the fewest moving parts. hence, i dislike SCMSs in general. just my $.02.
                there's a solution to every problem.....you just have to be willing to find it.

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                • #23
                  Re: Considering a Radail Arm Saw

                  Thanks Jim and Finer. Yeah, an SCMS can be a very good tool. Personally, I think I'm more comfortable with the RAS though.

                  I'll have to spend some real time and tune up the Delta MS. It's supposedly a very good tool. I can only imagine the problems I'm having are my fault.

                  One reason I'm turning to the RAS is it's ability to make fine cuts along with it's much greater width capacity.

                  I really appreciate everyone's help and advice!! Thanks!!
                  I put it all back together better than before. There\'s lots of leftover parts.

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Re: Considering a Radail Arm Saw

                    and for those who still can't choose between a miter saw and a RAS:

                    http://newyork.craigslist.org/wch/tls/1439065397.html

                    sandy...if a RAS is still in your future, i would echo the craigs list comments that have been posted here. there are some good deals out there, especially if you can find one from the late 60's (like mine) or early 70's (like cwsmith's) which have the cast iron support column which holds the adjustable post onto which the travel arm is mounted. these older machines, made by emerson, seem to provide long and useful service.
                    there's a solution to every problem.....you just have to be willing to find it.

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Re: Considering a Radail Arm Saw

                      VASandy- I too have an old craftsman radial arm, and truthfully it has worked well for a long time. I just moved it in rearranging my shop, and I will need to re adjust for square, but in general it does very well for crosscutting. I also love the large table area that it has.

                      However if I was doing a lot of tight miter work I would prefer a miter saw for more accuracy. If you are doing picture frames, a new sliding miter may serve you better in my opinion. Just make sure whichever one you get, if you go that route, is adjustable for square. I think most are but it doesn't hurt to ask.

                      I have had my eye on the dewalt 717 sliding miter. Crosscuts nearly as much as my RAS. Can be had for $479 delivered from a couple of tool companies like Northern, and I think Tyler, and Dewalt outlet.

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                      • #26
                        Re: Considering a Radail Arm Saw

                        Sandy

                        If you can find a good radial arm saw in excellent condition and which has a nice big and good bench/table with it, then you really can do some serious work. The problem may be how to get it home and also have enough room to setup and store it. You'll want to be sure to get a good blade with a negative hook angle made for radial arm saws. Please, never use the blade for a table saw. It will dig in and lift the wood off the table. This gets dangerous at best. As for what you can do with this machine, it can do anything a sliding compound miter saw can and more. If you can set it up correctly you should expect excellent cutting. I do think you should look at both Bosch and Makita miter saws however and remember they too need special blades in order to safely use them. The included blade may not be bad, but there's better blades out there. With the miter saw you can setup a portable or stationary work table to help support long boards. The machine (not made for some time) you would have liked was known as a "SawBuck" which was a cross of a sliding compound miter saw and a small radial arm saw. Delta used to make them and I can't for the life of me understand why they were discontinued, especially after using one for about a week on a project. For people that know about the Ridgid Miter Saw SUV, the SawBuck came with such only it really was a nicer design.

                        Sandy, What is the largest (normal) board you would want to miter, end bevel or cross cut? Are you in need to doing say 24" sheets or would a capacity of say 12 or maybe 16" do it all for you? What about thickness?
                        Last edited by Woussko; 10-27-2009, 12:55 AM.

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                        • #27
                          Re: Considering a Radial Arm Saw

                          I do not know why I did not think of this before,
                          but many frame shops use what is called a LION TRIMMER to finalize the miter cuts,
                          I have always wanted one but never parted with the dollars to get one

                          but It Is my understanding they do a superb job of trimming the mitered cut, it is a "hand tool" that works similar to paper cutter, with a blade that slides and trims off a few hundreds of the wood to make a near perfect cut,




                          how to use the tool,
                          http://www.lionmitertrimmer.com/demo.htm
                          there home page,
                          http://www.lionmitertrimmer.com/index.htm

                          I think there are a number of companies that make them I do think this is the "Original" company to make them.

                          If I was doing picture frames I would seriously consider the tool in my shop.

                          (here I open my big mouth and it kinda looks like it may be hard to get new, I did not try to call the number on the site but many of the where to buy links say no longer available) but I think I would still try to find a used unit if all else fails,

                          a number of places sell a copy of one, http://www.google.com/products?hl=en...-8&sa=N&tab=wf


                          one more link for a book on making picture frames, shows the trimmer being used (not sure how much one can read of the book on line)
                          http://books.google.com/books?id=EI-...0miter&f=false
                          Attached Files
                          Last edited by BHD; 10-30-2009, 06:10 PM.
                          Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
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                          • #28
                            Re: Considering a Radail Arm Saw

                            Sorry for joining late... but I think the Lion trimmer is THE way to get a really good 45. I have a Dewalt 12" RAS, and it's a great crosscut tool but not good for "perfect" miters. I don't see it as any better than the CMS. They can be dangerous, as others have said. And, don't forget, they take up a whole lot of room in the shop. I use a compound miter saw more and more these days. The RAS has its place to be sure, but cutting super accurate miters isn't it. Stack dado on the RAS? yeah.... but other tools can do that job.

                            Especially for picture frames, the trimmer is the best! Grizzly used to have a much cheaper clone of the lion trimmer. Chinese stuff (ugh) yes but some Grizzly stuff is decent. You might want to see if they still offer it. I never used the clone, but have to believe that once adjusted correctly it has to be better than RAS, TS or CMS.

                            If you don't want the trimmer, try making a simple jig for your miter saw that allows you to leave the blade at 90 degrees. I actually prefer jigs for the RAS. They work much better and are faster than actually swinging the arm. I can't imagine that you couldn't do the same thing for your miter saw. Also, if you have a 12" disc sander you can make a simple jig for that. Rough cut on the miter saw, then sand. Make the sanding jig tweakable, and after a few test sands, your miters can be perfect. Not as fast as the blade trimmer, but you might find that you don't need a to spend a dime, just some sweat equity and scrap hardwood for the jigs.

                            Good luck!

                            -Andy

                            PS - just checked Grizzly. They still have the clone trimmer, $146. Replacement blades are $55, but I bet you can hone those many times before you need new ones. And there's a couple of attachments for the trimmer as well. Check it out!
                            Last edited by Andy_M; 10-31-2009, 12:10 AM. Reason: added info

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                            • #29
                              Re: Considering a Radail Arm Saw

                              Thanks for all the replies! BHD, I have heard of that trimmer before and I had thought they quit making it. I'm glad to know it's still around. I think that may be a very useful thing to get. Thanks for the links!

                              I'm still debating the decision, but I do feel that a good RAS would be a worthwhile addition to the shop. I want to take some time and check out Craigslist to see if there's any local folks selling one.

                              If only I had more time in the shop! Ah well, I suppose that this is the time to save some cash and invest in GOOD tools that I can put to use later on. Eventually I'll have a shorter commute and more time. For now I'll keep being glad that I have a job!
                              I put it all back together better than before. There\'s lots of leftover parts.

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Re: Considering a Radail Arm Saw

                                Sandy and others

                                Another handy and less costly tool that's very worthwhile for anyone making picture or mirror frames is a good Manual miter saw. The old timer ones made by Millers-Falls where wonderful but sadly that great company went bye bye some time ago. There are a few by Jorgensen that aren't too bad and I like being able to change the blade so you can also cut aluminum and plastics besides wood. You may want to check out these and maybe you'll want to add one to your tool collection. I got one on special some time ago and am very glad I got it.

                                If the name seems familiar maybe this will refresh your memory. They make loads of bar and C clamps. They make vises too.

                                Here is info on their one pretty good miter saw. The other models I would recommend passing by as for the most part the quality of this one just isn't there.
                                http://www.adjustableclamp.com/mb-64027.htm

                                The 24 tooth per inch blade is like a large hacksaw blade and can be used for aluminum brass, and hard plastics. Think of if you needed to fix up an aluminum picture frame.

                                You can buy both this miter saw and the blades direct from their web site, but once you have the catalog numbers, you would do well to check around like on Amazon and the like. At one time Home Depot had some of them on sale, but my bet is the way Home Depot is today they sell some real POC made in China one.

                                To check to be sure you are making real 45 and 90 degree cuts you will want to get a good combination square such as this one. As long as you stay with a good name brand, you should be OK. To invest in a super quality Starrett is way overkill for woodworking. Please see picture below. You can slide the head along the rule. This makes it easy to measure and mark both 45 and 90 degrees and to also check them. A good combination square has a machined cast head and a good steel rule. I remember Stanley used to make some pretty good ones that were affordable.
                                Attached Files
                                Last edited by Woussko; 11-02-2009, 07:51 PM.

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