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Thread: Radial Arm Saw ????

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Kemah, Tx. - Houston Suburb

    Radial Arm Saw ????

    I am thinking of buying an older Radial Arm Saw. I build furniture and am not a carpenter. Other than cut-off work, is there any real value in a RAS for a furniture maker?

    By the time I build extension tables for it, it will take up quite a bit of space. Cost is not the question.

    My questions to other furniture makers are..........

    Is it worth the space it takes up?

    Will I wonder how I ever got along without it?

    How accurate are the cuts in regards to play in the Arm?

    How well does it serve for dados.

    I can see where it might eliminate a few jigs.

    Thanks in advance

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    somewhere east of Queen Creek, AZ - South East of Phoenix
    If I had the room in my shop I would have one, I'd use it for cross cutting and Dado work.
    "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

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Mountain Home, Arkansas
    My father was a furniture maker, his big Delta RAS was his #1 'go to' tool.
    That was long before the popularity of the 'chop' style saws of today. His would rotate 90 degrees for ripping. He used dadoes plenty.
    I would say any play in the arms is good reason to take a pass on it.
    If solid and price is right go for it. Always saleable later if you decide it isn't for you.
    "Folks is funny critters."

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

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Billings Missouri near Springfield Mo
    I you like spending all your time keeping it square go for it. I grew up using a Dewalt RA saw and totally amazed I still have all my digits. It dose have its place in a shop if you have the room for it but as an only saw not so great.

    This is just my opinion and worth what ya pay for it.
    A Turn N Time
    Components for John Smith Organs and the Hobby Organ Builder

    Frog Pond Guitars

    Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Reno NV
    Grew up using one. Cross cut, ripped, dados. Did it all.

    Recently inherited a 1946 model multiplex that I'm incorporating into my shop. The thing is built like a tank.

    From what I've heard, the old ones are pretty solid and will cut straight all day long. At some point they got a bad name because some manufacturers made some short cuts in the manufacturing of them. Sheet metal supports, yadda yadda yaddas.

    If you want one, I'd probably steer away from anything with digital read outs and fancy doodads and go old school.

    Here's a link to the cabinet I'm making for mine.

    And the table

    And a couple of pics

  6. #6
    I agree with Frank...if I had the room in my shop...I would have one. room

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Delton, Michigan
    if room isnt a problem i vote to get one its great for breaking down lumber to rough dimension crosscutting.. its not my go to tool for ripping at all and i dont use it to trust for angles either ,, if i had a better one perhaps but mine isnt one of them but i do like the crosscut feature..
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Portland, Oregon
    They seem to be readily avaliable, at least out here, on CL at great prices.
    Jesus was a Woodworker

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    ive had one for years and i use it to rough cut lumber and when i need ALOT of parts crosscut the same size. with the new things called sliding miter saws they have taken alot of what most did on a radial saw and made it easier. i will use it for cutting door parts as not to kill the trigger on my chop box. thay have a place in the shop but i wouldnt go out of my way to find one or make room for one. as far as dados go i am luck enough to have a sliding table saw and dont have to use the radial for that. just a side note i DONT pull to cut on a radial i use a 0 hook and push i dont like saws jumping back at me.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    The Heart of Dixie
    I wouldn't be without one. Next to my table saw it is my most used tool. Mainly I use if for cross cuts but I do not hesitate to do angle cuts with it either.

    Condition is EVERYTHING! Get a good one properly set up and you can do a lot with it. Get a bad one and you will become one of those that hate them. Of course some people just don't like using them regardless.

    Stay away from the crapsman.... I mean Craftsman. Sears did more to ruin the name of the RAS than all others put together. There are some good ones out there but they are few and far between. If money is not an issue there is a company out there that make new (OK rebuilds) old DeWalts. The name escapes me at the moment but the are not cheap but they come out of there in new condition.

    Original Saw company maybe?
    God grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway,
    the good fortune to run into the ones I do,
    and the eyesight to tell the difference.

    Kudzu Craft Lightweight Skin on frame Kayaks.
    Custom built boats and Kits

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