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Thread: radial arm saw

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    radial arm saw

    I am looking for a radial arm saw. There are lots on Craigslist. But since it is a long way to see one, I have a question before I proceed.

    Is the arbor on the usual 10" Craftsman long enough for a dado blade set to 3/4"? Occasionally there is a Delta or DeWalt available. If that makes a difference.

  2. #2
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    I did have a radial arm saw many years ago. I sold it after my first SCMS arrived in the shop. (There is only so much floor space!)

    I am very aware of the kickback problem and do understand the multiplied forces when using the dado blade.

    And goodness knows I've milled a couple of miles of dadoes with the router.

    That said, I have a special application for a dedicated machine with vacuum hold-downs which is based on a radial arm motor and carriage, though the arbor must be long enough to accept thick cutters, like a dado set.

    It will be a quicker turn around of pieces. And the darn things are very inexpensive these days.

    My question is addressed to those who still have one and can easily check if their model has the desired long arbor.

    I just got another order for another 12 feet of floor to ceiling bookshelves. I won't be working on them until next spring, so I have time to make a machine to help me out with these things. The winter is for turning projects.

    Thanks for your concern.

  3. #3
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    While I no longer have my Radial Arm Saw, I did use it many times with a ¾" dado setup. It was a Craftsman 10" saw.
    Jesus was a Woodworker

  4. #4
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    I will tread on peoples toes when I say this I am sure, but you know what debate RAS can stir up! I will not say don't buy a craftsman because there are a few good ones out there. But I will say most(many) of them were not well built and didn't hold up. Craftsman produced thousands of them and many were value engineered to the point they were junk in a few years.

    To your question as far as I remember, yes you can use a Dado set on them. And there isn't a kick back problem, they will run at you which if you have your hands where they should be doesn't endanger you. Just make you soil you pants. But a proper blade will stop that.

    I had two in my shop at one time. And older one my dad bought in the 60's I think. A new one my FIL bought in the 80's. The 60's model was better built but it just could not be aligned and make it stay. Plus there was sloop in the arm. Maybe it could have repaired but I just was not impressed by it at all.

    The new one was junk. Couldn't cut a straight line if you held a gun to it's turret! Adjustments were near impossible to get too and then it wouldn't stay set. I forget what else but it had 2 or 3 problems. I refused to use it for anything other than very rough cuts.

    After that I said no more Craftsman. Neither of them was up to anything better than rough carpentry work.

    I am a DeWalt fan and have a large 12" that I love. BUT there are worn out DeWalts out there too. So you have to be careful but IF IT WERE ME, I would hold out for DeWalt or Delta or if you can find one and old Red Star, that name doesn't sound right but they were bought by Delta and became the a Delta. These are typical better built and worth repairing if they need some TLC.
    God grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway,
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  5. #5
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    I think as long as it's not the 7 1/2" blade model (what an odd sized blade), it should have an arbor long enough.
    Darren

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

  6. #6
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    My father had a Delta RAS in his shop. He was a professional cabinet/furniture maker. I believe that saw was the most used tool in his shop. But it scared me just watching him use it. The potential for serious injury is, I believe, much greater than with a table saw. Can't deny the versatility. But that just increases the opportunity for injury, IMHO.
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

  7. #7
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    Thanks for the info. Jeff's reply was most helpful. Many of them out there seem to be in good shape, at least from the looks department. I don't but wonder if they have been sitting around for years and almost never used, Craftsman especially. Like Pop bought one because it was the thing to have and then Sonny inherited it and it has been collecting junk on top of it since.

    Some are literally in pieces. That could be interesting. My intention is to make it very non-adjustable.

    It also seems to me that a negative rake tooth blade would work better, just like a SCMS. I know that a regular table saw blade in my SCMS can make its operation a little squirrely. And having said that, realize dado sets don't have a negative rake. Hmmmm....

    Maybe Norm just had a strong arm.

  8. #8
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    Aug 2007
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    Reno NV
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    I inherited an old 'red star' saw. Red Star Radial Arm Saw

    The thing has plenty of swing and is built like a tank. Weighs about as much as one too. From what I can tell I think it was manufactured in the 40's.

    Not much in the way of detents or anything to set the angles, so when changing angles it will have to be checked against a square or angle gauge.

    I'm looking forward to rearranging my shop in a while and incorporating this into the layout. I've used them before and understand the risks, but I like the versatility of what you can do with them.


  9. #9
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    Cool, Brent. Now that is a beast!

    Haven't seen one of those yet. But now that I know what one looks like....

    BTW, what were the good years for Craftsman and how can you tell?

  10. #10
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    Carol, Here a DeWalt that looks good, I'm headed over to Chandler in a little while ya want me to call em ?

    http://phoenix.craigslist.org/evl/tls/2020274448.html
    "There’s a lot of work being done today that doesn’t have any soul in it. The technique may be the utmost perfection, yet it is lifeless. It doesn’t have a soul. I hope my furniture has a soul to it." - Sam Maloof
    The Pessimist complains about the wind; The Optimist expects it to change;The Realist adjusts the sails.~ William Arthur Ward

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