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  • Radial Arm Saws

    I plan to Buy the Ridgid RAS in the next few days but I have 2 questions.

    1 Will I be able to use my 8" stacked datto blades.

    2 Other than the lack of common sence, what are the dangers of this type of saw? I have used them before with great respect, as I do with all my tools. I plan to do mostly datto cuts and I have never had problems before. Ripping concerns me but again with common sence and respect I should be fine, right?

    Mark Eburne
    Mark Eburne<BR>Maple Ridge, B.C.

  • #2
    Mark,

    1) You will be able to use an 8" dado.

    2) The best advice I can give you is to read the manual and the safety warnings carefully. Also the setup and alignment is a very important in this tool, make sure you fully understand and carefully follow the alignment proccedure.

    Jake

    Comment


    • #3
      If the Ridgid RAS manual is as good as the tablesaw manual, that's a good start.

      RAS have gained a reputation as a "dangerous" tool. It isn't, but it is not an intuitive tool. You have to learn the right way to do almost everything on it, just guessing can get you hurt. The book sold on this web site: http://www.mrsawdust.com/ is the "Good Book" of the radial arm saw. It is organized around the old DeWalts, but the principles remain the same.

      Dave

      Comment


      • #4
        Dado's are easy on the ras. Start with a new fence, set the width of the blade to what you need, and the first cut thru the fence will be exactly the width of the dado. One important rule on the ras, NEVER EVER REMOVE
        your hand from the carriage handle until the cut is complete and the carriage is again behind the fence.......Dawg [img]smile.gif[/img]
        He who dies with the most power tools wins!

        Comment


        • #5
          I think the big thing to remember is the blade moves around! Obvious? Sure, but one thing you have to keep in mind with a RAS is you can very easily pull the blade into your hands or arm. It’ll also cause your knuckles to turn white when ripping a board.

          As Jake said, another thing is to make sure it’s set up ‘right on’ and all cuts will go smoother and safer (especially that ripping I mentioned!). I’ve heard many woodworkers say that they’re hard to keep in tune but I haven’t found that to be true in my case. (A Craftsman made by Emerson in the late 70’s – It’s been a great tool!) [img]smile.gif[/img] Take your time with the set up.

          Last thing I can think of that’s RAS specific is to 'definitely not' wear a loose fitting shirt or sleeves. Not a good idea with any power tool but a RAS sits higher and is used closer to your arms and body than a TS.

          Having said all that, I love mine. I’ve done a lot of work with it and have used it safely for 25 years.


          Good luck.

          John

          Comment


          • #6
            Thanks to all for the great tips. I am still having trouble choosing which saw, Delta or Ridgid but I am leaning to the Ridgid for better features but am still concerned with the newness of the saw from Ridgid. I have always been a Delta fan and never been let down. Any thoughts here?
            Mark Eburne<BR>Maple Ridge, B.C.

            Comment


            • #7
              Jake can probably give a good guess as to how long the Ridgid RAS has gone since it's last major redesign. I'd place a small wager on at least 25 years.

              I've heard some pretty bad words spoken about the Delta 10 inch RAS from a couple guys I know locally. The Delta 12 inch and larger turret RAS's are nice machines, but the 10 is an entirely different design. To be fair, I've not used one personally. Problem with the turrets is cost, I see that amazon.com lists the 12" at $1,600.

              Dave

              Comment


              • #8
                Mark--my first major power tool was a DeWalt RAS. As was said, in general, you need to learn your adjustments, but you can make some nice stuff with it. While they aren't the best at ripping, there are a number of jobs they do easier than even a table saw.

                When Emerson made RASs for Sears, they had a wide variety of styles. The current Rigid model is the basic model, without some of the (almost silly) bells and whistles Sears had on them. Think you'd like it.
                Dave

                Comment


                • #9
                  Mark,

                  I have the Ridgid RAS and have been very happy with it. All the adjustments are there, just need to follow the proper order and take your time. When I bought mine, they were includeing a shaper and gaurd. The dust collector also works reasonably well. I have had very good results making both precise and repeatable cuts on this saw. I only use it for cross cut though. All rips go to the TS. I have upgraded the blade and added 60" tables to both sides of the saw for support and auxillary assembly.

                  The best safey advice I would offer is:
                  1. avoid ripping if you can. If not, use a lot of care.

                  2. As mentioned above, hang on to the handle at all time when the the saw is "open for business".

                  3. When finished with the last cut. raise the blade from the kerf. I found out a long time ago that between projects, the kerf my slightly swell closed or become filled with enough saw dust, etc to give the blade more bit than when I last used it thereby encouraging it to make a run at me when switched on the next time. This is another reason ot hold the handle at all times. I am very comfortable with the RAS but I also have a lot of respect for it. It can be one of the most unforgiving tools in the shop if your not careful. As you said in the beginning, common sense is the first rule. Developing good safe habits when using the RAS as well as any shop tool is a must. To me, the most dangerous tool in the shop is the one you think can not hurt you.

                  Wood Dog

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I do a lot of crosscut dados on my RAS, and yes it can be scary when you hit a knot or some screwy grain and it tries to run over you. Just keep your left hand and arm out of the way and your right hand on the handle tight.

                    I have had good results by starting with the blade forward and "pushing" it back through the work. I don't see any safety issues in doing this, it just takes a little getting used to. I do this on wide dados and in squirley wood.
                    Delta Unisaw; Delta DJ-20 Jointer; Jet Drill press; Ridgid TP-1300 thickness planer; DeWalt 12\" Miter saw; Craftsman 10\" radial arm saw; Craftsman band saw; Seco 3HP Shaper; Router Table; Penn State Tempest Cyclone; Delta Air Cleaner

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      DD,

                      I know other guys who use that technique and haven't mentioned any issues. I would think that you really want to have a good hold on the wood as the rotation would otherwise want to lift the piece up off the table vs. pushing it down and against the fence when cutting from the back of the arm forward.

                      BTW, dado use on the RAS makes a good arguement for having a dedicated fence....man what a kerf(er... I mean dado)

                      Wood Dog

                      [ 04-30-2002: Message edited by: Wood Dog ]

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Machine was designed to be pulled through. You couldn't pay me to push one. I will allow that a dado is less likely to be a disaster. How long 'til you forget and do that on a through cut?

                        Dave

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Please listen to Dave A. and don't "push" blade through. Look at the blade teeth, rotation, etc.---it just isn't logical.

                          No offense--but the absolute lamest excuse I hear, for continuing to do unsafe things with power tools is: "oh, never had a problem" ----YET!
                          Dave

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            DD,

                            I think the guys are concerned that your new nick name may wind up being "lefty." I would try to avoid that "end" of the saw (which as you know is also the infeed side for rip cuts). There are just a lot of things that can go wrong and minimizing them in your favor will probably be in the best interest of the wood worker over time.

                            I do know people who cut this way and advocate it but I personaly don't feel comfortable with it. On the other hand, the saw is sold with the capability and instructions for ripping which I don't do either.

                            I'm just not partial to feeding that tiger. Just a little stingy with my digits I guess.

                            Everybody just please be careful out there. There's nothing worse than hearing about somebody's accident. I don't want to loose any of the friends I have, or any parts of them as well.

                            Stay Focused!!!!!
                            Wood Dog

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Radial Arm Saws have a poorly deserved reputation for being "dangerous". They are not dangerous machines, but a lot of what "makes sense" is dangerous. If you know what you are doing and use the machine properly, you're fine. Cutting on the push is not proper.

                              The correct nickname for someone who had a serious RAS accident isn't "Lefty", it is "Stumpy". Accidents tend to involve entire limbs....

                              Dave

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