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  • #16
    Re: Radial Arm Saw

    Originally posted by Andy_M View Post
    The thing about radials is, they're dangerous. Any time a blade can move, there is increased risk. And, the blade can "climb" onto the work and kick the carriage at the operator.
    -Andy
    Andy:

    Would that apply to a sliding miter saw as well?

    I'm looking to replace my "fixed" miter saw with a slider and always thought that for crosscuts, a sliding miter saw was likely more safe than a tablesaw... (?)

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    • #17
      Re: Radial Arm Saw

      Hi Mark,

      I've personally never heard of anyone having a climb-cut issue with a sliding miter saw. The much smaller, more compact compound slider is quite a bit more ridgid than a radial, which for all it's mass has a long arm and is, believe it or not, somewhat flexy. Plus, on a radial there are a number of adjustments and if you forget to tighten up any of them, things can get dicey. Of course that's true with any tool that is used improperly.

      Having said that, I will still contend that anytime the blade is capable of moving it's riskier than a blade that reliably stays in one position. Of course, it's woodworking, and the bottom line is these tools can hurt you. Your best safety guard is between your ears -- always use that one and your odds of avoiding injury go way up. In my view a sliding compound saw is intrinsically a safer animal than a radial.

      Like you, I also don't like crosscutting on the tablesaw. I don't find it as much of a safety issue as I do an inconvenience (as long as you never use the fence and the miter gage at the same time!). I generally have my tablesaw, 12" radial and a 12" non-sliding compound miter saw set up... each has operations where it is clearly faster, easier and safer than the others. It's too easy to crosscut on one of those other guys than it is to fool around with doing it on the tablesaw... plus I have no room for crosscut sleds and all that other jazz that people use.

      -Andy

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      • #18
        Re: Radial Arm Saw

        Mark and Andy,

        Just so you know, I've done lots of ripping on my 1974 Craftsman 10-inch RAS which I purchase new, back then. Never once had a kickback! I have had it climb though, but that's been totally my fault, when I'm not paying proper attention and trying to rush a cut. The thing of it is though, if you use a negative hook angled blade, I've been told that the chances of "climb" are diminished considerably. Never tried that though, as I usually buy my blades locally.

        As far as ripping is concerned, I'm extremely cautious and take considerable measures, always ensuring that my anti-kickback pawls are sharp and properly adjusted, along with the spreader. I also use a remote switch which places the motor control in my hand, at the end of the board where I'm feeding. I have had a couple of occasions where I've stalled the saw, but it's never kicked back on me. First time it happened, the motor overload breaker kicked. I realized then that I needed to take some measure, and that's why the remote switch.

        Funny part about the RAS is that I went that way on a recommendation for a "SAFE" saw. When I was fourteen, I witnessed my father loose a couple of fingers and mangle a third on a table saw (cutting a rabbit joint). A few years later when I was taking advanced wood shop, the teach noticed that I was staying the he!! away from the big power tools. He wanted to know what was up and after I explained, he introduced me to a big DeWalt RAS. Explaining that it was a lot safer than any table saw, because you always knew where the blade was and you could directly feel how the cut was doing. So, my first big power tool was the RAS!

        I didn't buy a table saw until just a couple of years ago (Ryobi BT3100). I love it, and it now gets all the rip chores. But, my RAS is central to the shop, does all the crosscut work and trim stuff. I can't imagine trying to do that on the table saw, it must be rather clumsy.

        In any case, if you're concerned with "climb" try using a negative 5 degree hook angle. Often recommended is the Freud, (I can't put my hands on the number at this time, sorry). Also, should mention that on my Emerson-made Craftsman (113-29461) the power switch is right next to the carriage handle where it rests right under my thumb... never could understand why they moved it on later models.

        CWS
        Last edited by CWSmith; 05-18-2009, 04:35 PM. Reason: typo

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        • #19
          Re: Radial Arm Saw

          CWS

          I think you may mean these blades by Freud for use on a miter or radial arm saw as they have a -5 degree hook angle.
          http://www.freudtools.com/p-20-thin-...erbr-nbsp.aspx

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          • #20
            Re: Radial Arm Saw

            >> As far as ripping is concerned, I'm extremely cautious and take considerable measures, always ensuring that my anti-kickback pawls are sharp and properly adjusted, along with the spreader.

            Congrats! I think being careful goes a long way toward keeping one injury free. Like you, my first saw was the 12" Dewalt and it was my only saw for a long time. You can pretty much do anything on a radial.

            But... you have to consider a radial arm to be like your neighbor's dog. Even if it hasn't bit you yet, it wants to.

            Interesting story about your shop teacher. I guess everyone has their own perspective. But I sure don't agree with him! That blade is moving and it's possible it might do so without your consent!

            My Dewalt is a pretty big machine with a lot of power. My rip kickback happened with everything properly adjusted. I am very careful, been doing this for 30 years, and am still anatomically complete. The blade hit something in the stock that it didn't care for, and it let me know about it. The anti-kickback arm was simply bent out of the way like it was made of an old coathangar. The blade shroud, an aluminum casting, was shattered.You aren't going to stop an angry 12" saw with a 240 volt motor with that stuff.

            The wood caught my hand and the impact broke the 4th and 5th metacarpels. My fingertips nearly touched my elbow and the torn tendons have never fully recovered. My career as a rock guitar superstar was dealt a serious blow. Of course, I wasn't very good anyway.

            I still have that same saw, and I use it on every project. But I would NEVER advise anyone to rip on a radial. The dynamics want to lift the workpiece, which is intrinsically unsafe IMO. That dog is salivating when you rip on a radial.

            But that aside, IMO a good radial is THE most versatile saw you can own.

            -Andy

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            • #21
              Re: Radial Arm Saw

              Yikes, I can certainly understand your point of view. My 10" RAS is no where near as powerful, but I quite imagine it will kick the heck out of a board if I'm not careful and/or it hits something it doesn't want to accept.

              Sorry to hear of your injury, but I'm very glad you didn't loose anything. I've seen the table saw give some pretty mean kicks on jobs where I was working as a teen. I've always been more than happy to stay well away. But that said, I really like my little Ryobi and its sliding miter table. Still, I always approach it with a bit of trepidation and think through every cut and move and "what if" before I turn the darn thing on. (Do the same for the RAS, but I'm mindful to keep my hands well clear of the path.)

              Thanks for the follow-up Andy,

              And Woussko,

              Yes, that's exactly what I meant. I haven't tried the blade yet, but that's the recommendation that I often hear when discussing the RAS. Thanks for the clarification.

              CWS
              Last edited by CWSmith; 05-18-2009, 10:14 PM.

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              • #22
                Re: Radial Arm Saw

                >> "Still, I always approach it with a bit of trepidation and think through every cut and move and "what if" before I turn the darn thing on. (Do the same for the RAS, but I'm mindful to keep my hands well clear of the path.)"

                Thank you for this very important "think it through" comment. I think many of us do the same thing (I sure do) and following your advice is absolutely key to keeping all your parts attached. Despite having way too much gray hair and having done this for a looong time, I will still make a dry run (motor off) after I set up a difficult or unusual cut on any machine... just to make sure that there are no sticking points, that I can safely advance the wood past the blade to the outfeed support, that the power cord doesn't get hung up (an issue with routers and portable saws) etc. And sometimes doing this shows me a better or safer way, or that I need to come up with a completely different setup.

                One of the thing I learned early on is to be mindful of my "force vector". That is, the direction I'm pushing things during an operation. When the best laid plans of mice and woodworkers go astray, the last thing I want is my hands to be applying pressure in the direction of a fast-moving sharp item. So I always try to have things arranged so that my "force vector" will direct my fingers away from cutters, not into them.
                It's worked (knock wood) so far.

                Thanks again for the excellent comments.

                -Andy

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