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WTB but whats best? TS or RAS

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  • WTB but whats best? TS or RAS

    I am new to advanced wwing and getting ready to buy a table saw or radial arm saw. I have been told by guys I work with the RAS is better than a TS, can anyone point me in the right direction. I'm planning on doing both deck and furniture jobs.

    Thanks.

  • #2
    I gave away a RAS---never used it. I have a compoung miter saw for decking/trim/framing, a table saw in the tool trailer, and table saw in the shop.

    I cannot size sheet goods on a RAS. I tried ripping boards on the old RAS----scared the peewaddin' outa me.

    Just have no need for a RAS.
    Mac<P>Problems are opportunities in disguise

    Comment


    • #3
      Mountaineer,

      I'm definitly a RAS fan. I've owned one since 1973 and at this date I do NOT own a table saw. For me, the RAS is ideal. I built an 18 x 25 ft deck with it, a couple of tables, cabinets, workbench, bookcases, and other "odds and ends" using the RAS as the primary saw. I simply love the thing and find it ideal for a limited-space shop.

      The RAS is versatile, great for cross-cuts, miters, and compound miters, and even ripping... if you do it right? My particular RAS also has an accessory end on the shaft opposite the blade arbor. Removing the blade, the saw can then mount a drum sander or drill chuck on the accessory end. With the chuck, it is great for horizontal boring.

      The RAS can be positioned at almost any angle or position along X, Y, and Z planes and with proper reference and instruction can perform a myriad of cutting tasks. However, because of this multiple axis design, it requires a number of adjustments to ensure the saw's accuracy. That proves to be a drawback in comparison with most table saws. Proper alignment of the RAS can be a real pain for some and it requires frequent checking. Because the saw hangs from an overhead arm, it is probably more prone to being knocked out of alignment.

      Also, there are many people who do not properly use the RAS. Concerns of kickbacks and blade "climbing" are experienced by too many people who do not seem to comprehend its proper use. I've never had a kick-back and I'm diligent with regard checking alignment and paying attention to the feed rate during crosscuts. So, I have yet to have the RAS surprise me and I still have all of my fingers! But then, I treat the tool with a great deal of respect!

      One of the arguments that I run into all too often, is the function of cross-cutting. There are many who insist that the saw be pulled forward and then pushed back into the workpiece to do the cut; with the argument that pulling the saw forward into the workpiece causes the blade to climb as a result of "self-feeding". I can only envision that these same folks use their circular saws by pulling them backwards! The RAS requires the operator to properly control the saw as it feeds through the cut. Similar conflic exists when ripping! Ripping on a RAS, requires the wood to be fed into the back of the blade, with the lower guard and anti-kickback pawls properly adjusted. Any other way can be an accident waiting to happen!

      However, with all of this taken into consideration, I think you will find that most woodworkers and home craftsmen prefer the table saw! There are also some cuts (like doing finger joints) that you cannot do safely on a RAS. From what I've read and heard from others, the table saw also appears to be easier to align and keep aligned.

      Cost-wise, I think you'll also find table saws much better priced and certainly in a wider variety and with a multitude of manufacturers. At present, the only two brands of RAS, that I am aware of, are Delta and Craftsman. Emerson/Ridgid did market one up until about two years ago, but that is no longer the case, to my knowledge. IMHO the Delta is way over priced. The Craftsman is just under $600, which is a lot of money when one considers that the same $ will buy you the Ridgid 3650!

      Over the last decade or so, the RAS has lost much of its attraction in the face of the compound miter saw. Hence, there appears to be very little market for an RAS today.

      I hope this helps,

      CWS

      Comment


      • #4
        Like CWS a RAS is the only saw I have used since I started in the late 80's. I find that I can do anything I need to do on my RAS (never liked finger joints) including full sized sheet goods again with proper setup, outfeed rollers etc.
        However, as CWS mentioned the RAS has fallen out of favour in recent years and as such there are few choices for the begining WW. I doubt you could come close to the quality of the saws that CWS and I have on todays market and as such you may spend most of your time aligning the saw instead of cutting wood. As much as I like my RAS if I were purchasing today I would have to buy a good TS and SCMS.

        BTW CWS, you can still get a top quality RAS from General, they just cost a few more $ than we paid

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        • #5
          I've had both for more years than I care to remember--but once I bought a power mitre saw, the RAS just gathered dust, so I sold it. (sold the table saw, too. Bought a new 3650) Jim

          Comment


          • #6
            Thank You All for your input. I did look at the Craftsman RAS but it has been placed on close out, I am told a new mode should come out in a few months.

            Thanks Again.

            Comment


            • #7
              I HAVE BOTH A RAS AND A TABLE SAW(CRAFTSMAN AND RIDGID, RESPECTIVELY). IF I HAD TO GIVE UP ONE OF THEM, I'D GIVE UP THE RAS. THE DESIGN OF THE TABLE SAW ALLOWS FOR SAFER, MORE CONTROLLED RIPPING AND CROSSCUTTING. THE RAS DESIGN RELIES ON A CUTTING MECHANISM SUSPENDED, COUNTERACTING GRAVITY AND CAPABLE OF MOVING ACROSS THE CUTTING SURFACE. I'VE TRIED RIPPING SOME SHEET GOODS ON THE RAS AND IT SEEMED A LITTLE SCARY AND IS LIMITED IN TERMS OF CAPACITY.
              IF YOU\'RE WORKING HARD, YOU\'RE DOING IT WRONG

              Comment


              • #8
                I've had both in my woodworking life, so I can speak to the issue. My first large tool was a RAS---back in the 70s----at that time---RASs had loads of accessories----they were trying to compete with Shop Smiths as being a one tool does everything type of tool.

                Even now, they have advantages-----easier to layout and do dados---downside, the blade rotation wants to climb, so you have to exert a lot of force with a dado set.

                With the proper guard, they do well with molding head cutters for raised panel doors.

                They are very unsafe for ripping narrow stock.

                They are also a pain to keep in alignment. You get used to it, but it's much more of a chore than keeping a TS in alignment.

                TSs----can handle sheet goods (within reason)---do a great job of ripping----good cross-cutting except with long boards (which is the strength of a RAS or CMS). You can do dados, though it takes a little time to get your set-up.

                If you were doing decks, fences, trealeses, pergulas, etc., I'd get a RAS--- for both hardwood and sheet goods for furniture, get a TS.
                Dave

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                • #9
                  Gotta be careful with those "guys at work". I work with guys that tell me Budweiser's the best beer, Bose are the best speakers, and MickeyD's is the best restaurant!

                  The RAS can be even more dangerous on some operations than a TS. I'd go with a TS first, then add a good sliding CMS if you want deep crosscut capability for long boards.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I have both and both serve me well. Everyone says how dangerous a RAS but if you never put your hand in front of the blade there isn't a lot of danger.
                    I had a buddy that was much more proficient in Wood working than I was tell me a table saw was the only way to fly. However a few years ago he bought a RAS. He had used one for a number of projects and realized it's usefulness.

                    A lot of guys say just get a Compound mitre saw or a slidding compound mitre saw. Well I let them make me dissatisfied with my RAS and I went out a bought one.
                    Here is what I learned. It took nearly as much room as the RAS did. Has the same accuracy/adjustment problems the RAS did and didn't have the capacity.

                    People will talk about blade climb but if you get a negative hook tooth angle on your saw blade and use normal care it won't be a problem. Other's complain about blade climb with a dados. But if you ask them you will find they are cutting a 3/4 inch dado 3/4 of an inch deep in one pass. Yes you can get blade climb but on a table saw you can kickback. In any case I have been cutting dados with my router and I think it is better than either RAS or a table saw.

                    I think the RAS is more versatile than a table saw. I also think many cuts are easier on a RAS because you can see with your doing.

                    One thing you have to make sure you never put your hand in front of the blade any time the motor is on and use all the guards. Which you can and still see you cut unlike many tablesaws whose guard hid the actual cut line.
                    My thoughts.
                    Rev Ed

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