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  • Radial Arm Saw

    I am an intermediate level but improving woodworker and home improvement buff. I am beginning to expand the benchtop tools in my shop. I have a quality table saw I'm happy with but am considering a radial arm saw. Seems like this would greatly simplify cross cuts and dadoes on longer length boards. Can anyone comment on the practicality and advantages over the table saw and portable electric tools. Thanks.

  • #2
    The radial arm saw is one of the most versatile woodworking tool available. With a variety of attachments and options available, there's little a RAS won't do. But on the other hand almost every job a RAS can do another tool can do better. Miter saws are easier to set and cut with, table saws make better rip cuts and using a router table is much easier that the molding head on a RAS. RAS is a good tool to have in a shop mainly for versatility, not its competence at any one job.

    I hope this helps,

    Jake

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    • #3
      I concur that the radial armsaw is on of the most versatle tools made how ever this is also one of the most dangerous tools ever made also. If I were just starting i would purchase as my first tool a power mitre saw. The repeat accuracy is unduplicated in a ras. As far as dadoing i prefer a router I find the bottom cut to be much smoother. Plus as we wood workers all know any excuse to buy a new tool!!!!!! or bit.

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      • #4
        We use the power mitre saw 90% of the time now, where we used to use the radial arm saw.

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        • #5
          I have used a radial arm for about 20 years and spend quite a bit of time fine tunning it. Once everything is flat, level and square, it will do some amazing things. If it's off, it will be a source of much headscrtching and frustration.

          Before you set one up, make sure you have a "square" square.

          I use 3/4 MDF for the table with a 1/4 inch masonite top (I spray automotive "trim" adheseive to join the 2. It holds them in place, but allows you to remove the masonite when it's chewed up or you need to tweak the table.)Get this "dead flat" first, then use the square to get the fence at 90 deg. to the blade. Now you can deal with the toe and bevel adjustments.

          Do this right and you won't be sorry.

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