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  • RAS or SCMS

    Hi All,

    I have a mid 1970s Craftsman RAS that was just given to me. I need to either replace the stand or mount the head unit to a bench as the current stand is rusted out. Besides that appears to be fine.

    Before I was given the RAS, I was looking into purchasing a 12" SCMS.

    Now I am trying to determine if I should fix the RAS and purchase a CMS or ditch the RAS and buy a SCMS.

    Most of my work will be done at home for typical outdoor projects, etc and moulding.

    Only big advantage to the SCMS is portability.

    Looking for advice here.


    -Peter W. Lent<BR>PMi Solutions<BR>

  • #2
    You can't beat the price of that RAS. I think my dad has that same saw...and another even older. Both still work great.

    I have the Ridgid RAS on the factory stand with a hurculift+. My dad mounted his older unit onto a 5 drawer tool chest. I like it, alot. I am planning on doing the same and will use the hurculift on my band saw. The drawers are perfect for storing blades and other items.

    Buy a mid-quality tool chest and save about $450!!
    keep makn\' sawdust!...just don\'t breath any.


    • #3
      I have a early 90's Craftsman RAS and a 12" Delta CMS. I have two complaints about the RAS. First, even after locking the arm into position, the arm can be "bumped" plus or minus one degree while in the locked position. I find myself having to spend way too much time making sure I get the "exact" angle that I want, without getting drift. With the CMS, dead on every time, no movement. I have heard others having the same complaint. Second, seems next to impossible to keep a flat table surface on the RAS. The original top was particle board, long since replaced with MDF top. Both tend to sag after awhile. Now that I have the CMS, I'm seriously considering ditchng the RAS in favor of table saw.


      • #4
        Well I have a TS3612 so that covers the need for the TS. Just wondering if the space in the shop could be used better by something else instead of the RAS


        -Peter W. Lent<BR>PMi Solutions<BR>


        • #5
          I also have the ancient Sears RAS made by Emerson (as in Ridgid until recently). Mine has always been mounted on a fancy stand made from scrap 2x4, with $10 worth of casters from the old equivalent of Home Depot. Even has the optional nails in the side of the stand where I hang the unused blades.

          To get an equivalent width of cut, you don't just need a CMS, but a Sliding CMS, which is a French word for "costs as much as a brand new RAS". When I saw that price, I reconsidered, and have continued to use the old RAS.

          The original high density particleboard table had an adjustment to remove any sag, so mine was still flat after 25+ years. I have always used a 1/4 inch plywood or comparable sacrificial cover to preserve the main table. I recently made a smaller table, since I now also have a 3612, making 12 inches (rather than 18-20) a long crosscut, and it leaves more room for the car in my garage "shop."

          The "move the arm" miter cuts are close but not exact. But if you leave the arm in place, and cut the "other end" from the "other" side of the blade (may take some contortions) then the errors cancel and you will have perfect joints. If it moves after you lock the arm, there is an adjustment inside the column to fix that (ugly job, allow an hour).

          The "tilt the head" rather than "move the arm" miter cuts (boards horizontal rather than vertical) seem to be dead on every time.

          So bottom line, if you are a cheapskate like me, the RAS works fine.


          • #6
            I have had the Ridgid RAS for about 3 years. I would assume it is basically the same as an old Sears saw. For the first year or so I could not keep it adjusted. You could bump it one or two degrees and if I made a miter cut and returned to 90 degrees, it might be off 1\16 inch in a 12 inch crosscut; sure used to make me mad, but I had it set up like most others I had seen. So I got a little mad one day and tightened the hell out of everything. It ain't real easy to crank up or down or move the arm to cut miters, but I dont have to strain either. So, for the last 2 years I have not had to adjust it again, not even minor adjustments; dead on 90 and 45 cuts. I still check it with a square every time I use it, but still have not had to mess with it. I guess what I'm saying is if you take all the slack out of the adjustments, it may be harder to mave the saw up or down or swing the arm, but it sure stays in alignment.


            • #7
              I have the Ras, and the 1060. For rough cutting lenghts, the miter saw takes the heat with a coarser blade, plus all the construction grade cuts. The RAS, well, it handles the finer cuts. Final cuts to exact length after milling, routing, etc, and holds a good 60 tooth cross cut blade. Do very little ripping with it, unless the table saw is set up for some exacting cuts with a dado stack, then to not mess with the that, I'll change to a 40 tooth combo and rip if need be.

              Bottom line is, having both is very advantagous, time saving, and with a great deal of better results. It's all a matter of preference, and mine is to have both. And when I can afford it, I'll add a 2nd miter, 12" slider.

              My RAS sits upon it's origan legs for now, but the future hold a mobile cabin it will sit on, that will include much better dust collection.
              John E. Adams<br /><a href=\"\" target=\"_blank\"></a>


              • #8
                fatboy made part of the point i was going to make. you would in my opinion be better off with the miter saw. i have an old carpenter friend who told me a long time ago to stay away from the RAS as they near impossible to keep the blade true. especially if you already have a table saw. go with the miter saw. in addition to the portability, much more accurate and you can make multiple cuts without concern of the the blade falling out of true


                • #9
                  I know they can be tempermental but I just like radial saws. Remember too that you cannot cut dadoes, mold, or rip on a slide miter saw.


                  • #10
                    Would you even need a SCMS or a CMS enough?
                    What applications are you planning to use that would require the sliding feature?

                    - Jimmy


                    • #11
                      I do not know if I would need the slider, and standard miter saw might work. Was just thinking that if I am going to do it, might as well go all the way. Figured if I am going to replace the RAS, it might as well be with a slider (to be comparable)

                      Most projects would be landscaping projects, moulding (crown/base/chair) etc. Plus I am building my entire shop from scratch.

                      Thanks for all of the opinions/advice. I need to buy a miter saw no matter what, so the main question is to keep the RAS and get a regulat CMS or ditch the RAS and get a SCMS.


                      -Peter W. Lent<BR>PMi Solutions<BR>


                      • #12
                        I too am partial to the RAS. I've been using one for so long that I am used to the tweeking required for the more critical cuts.... I also prefer to dado on the RAS...moving the blade through the wood on the narrower pieces.

                        And, Let us not forget...this RAS of which we speak is FREE.
                        keep makn\' sawdust!...just don\'t breath any.


                        • #13
                          Now that you mention dado, it is another advantage of a RAS. As Bob noted, you can't with a miter saw. But a RAS is even better than a table saw for this use...

                          In a table saw, the blade enters the edge of the wood, and comes out through the face, so requires a premium blade to minimize chip-out. In a RAS, the blade enters the face, and exits through the kerf, so virtually no chip out.

                          With all the discussion about quality of dado blades, I didn't understand why I was happy with my very old, relatively cheap dado - until I remembered that I almost always use it on the RAS rather than the table saw.


                          • #14
                            I'd have to second (or third) the sentiment on the dado on the RAS. It's so much easier and more accurate on the RAS.

                            I've got the Ridgid RAS and a Delta 10" CMS. Between those two I could never foresee the need for a SCMS. If you've already got the RAS and don't have a portability need for the slider, you could save some bucks by going with the CMS.
                            \"Last year we couldn\'t win at home.<BR>This year we can\'t win on the road.<BR>My failure as a coach is that I <BR>can\'t think of anyplace else to play.\"<BR> - Coach Harry Neale, Canucks


                            • #15
                              For cutting horizontal miters (like picture frames) either a CMS or RAS will do. However to cut vertical miters (like base board molding) only a CMS will do. If you cutting something wide that a CMS can't do usually the length is not a factor and you can make the cut on a tablesaw.

                              I think most dadoes are best done either by router or tablesaw. To me the RAS has enough arm sag and table give that dadoes aren't uniform depth.

                              Besides a RAS with a dado blade attached is menacing looking and once while dadoing a piece of hard maple I had the blade climb the cut and walk across the top of the wood at me. After I changed my pants I took the dado blade off and made the cut by taking many passes with a single blade and chiseling out the waste. I now do it almost exclusively using a router.

                              In general I think a tablesaw and CMS should be the first consideration then and if you have the money and the space a RAS.
                              Rev Ed