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RAS versus TS

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  • RAS versus TS

    I am new to woodworking, other than highschool shop many years ago. In an effort to get back into it, I bought a Ridgid RAS because of its ability to crosscut, rip, bore, sand, and miter.

    Issue: After reading all the postings about how dangerous the RAS is versus a TS, and the fact that many of you seem to avoid ripping at all costs, I am thinking I made a mistake. I will be making garage cabinets (frame+drawers+doors) for my initial projects. I do not see myself making anything much more fine at this point. Perhaps later.

    Q: If I have NO power say equipment (just starting) and no formal training (just starting) would you suggest I stick with the TS versus the RAS?

  • #2
    I started out with a table saw. I don't know about it being safer. I believe that a power tool is only as safe as it's operator. Many people have been biten by the TS. I know I have, "ONCE". Fortunatly I didn't have to lose any body parts to learn my lesson. I didn't realize that you could rip with a RAS, but the setup looks a bit more busy than ripping with a TS. I've never used a RAS so I can't really say which would be better though.


    • #3
      Catman, I've got both of them and I would prefer the TS.I've been woodworking for years now and I find myself using the TS about 85% more than the RAS. I guess it depends on what you are using it for. I mainly make small crafts and things.
      I am in the market for a good used "RIDGID" RAS though. It will make my "Ridgid" shop complete. Right now my RAS is a Craftsman 10".There is nothing wrong with what I've got but I would like to go all "Ridgid".


      • #4
        I have had a Craftsman RAS for almost 30 years (made by the same folks that now make Ridgid), and have used it to build all the cabinets for two kitchens, plus many other projects. I don't remember losing any blood over the years (beyond the usual wood slivers). As my only precision saw, I used it for all kinds of ripping as well as cross-cuts (which proves you can cut from both directions on a blade).

        I recently bought the TS3612 and love it. I get more precise cuts, in part because of the metal (rather than wood) table and fence. I feel a little safer with the table saw, but I never felt a real problem with the RAS. I have only made a couple cuts on the RAS since I bought the table saw.

        Given that you own the RAS, I wouldn't rush to dump it. But if I were starting out, I would recommend a table saw if you have room for it (the motor sticking out the back makes it very hard to store in a garage). If/when I sell the RAS, I may buy a miter saw to replace it for the crosscuts on long boards.


        • #5
          I'm probably going to get myself in hot water for saying this but...
          The debate between an RAS and TS is about the same as the debate between a spinning reel and a bait casting reel in bass fishing. The bait casting reel is a mite more precise but the spin casting is a lot easier. So when I'm trying to fish like a pro I use the bait casting reel. However when I'm just out to enjoy fishing I use the spinning reel.

          I find the same to be true between the RAS and TS. The table saw might be more exact. Your dealing with iron against iron, things are solid, movement is limited to just the wood. In a radial arm saw there is a wood table and a wood fence, there in the capability of movement in just about all directions that has to be dealt with, and the saw moves.

          I find the RAS is easier to use for cross cutting and dadoing but leaves much to be desired ripping. The table saw is excellent for ripping but everything but through cuts are blind and sometimes hard to imagine.

          I use both. I use the RAS for almost all long crosscuts and most dados and the a tablesaw for all ripping and small crosscuts.

          I have had my RAS for thirty years, it is an old Craftsman and made by Emerson. It has performed flawlessly and I really like it. It was as someone else said before my first precision saw and I have never regretted the choice.
          Rev Ed


          • #6
            As others have said, ripping isn't the best feature of the RAS. Use care and planning for any ripping and do dry runs to see where your hand placement will be--push blocks, etc. Be sure to properly adjust the anti-kickback pawls.

            Was just in HD today, flipping through the Rigid accessory listing---they still make a load of very neat accessories, which make the RAS, potentially, one of the most versitle tools in your shop. Just learn to keep it aligned and watch your hand placement, and enjoy.