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Thread: How important is a radial arm saw?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Stockport, England
    Posts
    161

    How important is a radial arm saw?

    As I've mentioned in another thread I'm going to be leaving my workshop and moving in with a fellow cabinetmaker. We sat in the pub last night and over a few beers worked out the layout of our new shop.

    The only thing we couldn't agree on was my 24" radial arm saw. I use it a lot; he's never had one. I think we should find space for it; he doesn't see the need.

    We have a big sliding table saw with cross cut facility so I can see that a RAS is not totally essential. I could be influenced by the fact that it's only three years old and I paid a lot of money for it! I'll get about a quarter of it back on ebay.

    I should mention that it's a European model and so will not take dado cutters as the spindle is very short.

    What does everybody think?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Mountain Home, Arkansas
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    11,828
    You said earlier, you two will not be partners, just sharing space. It is yours, you use it and like it and, presumably, have found it beneficial for your business. In my mind, the fact that he doesn't want it is not a factor. He doesn't have to use it but you can as you wish. I understand you said there is a space issue. Sorry, problem #1. If at all possible, find the space or, perhaps, put in storage for a while.
    "Folks is funny critters."

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

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    The Heart of Dixie
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    4,268
    Lots of controversy on most forums about RAS's, but I love mine! I do almost all my cross cuts on it and most of my angled cross cuts too. I wouldn't want to be without one! Others however don't want to be in the same room with on. I guess they are afraid it will jump off the arm and climb cut through their chests.
    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.
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    North West Indiana
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    6,098
    As much as they scared me (after one instance of it jumping on top of the board and racing towards me!! ) there wasn't a better way of crosscutting straight or angles,,,, until the sliding compound miter saw. Will never have another RAS again.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Oak Harbor Washington on Whidbey Island
    Posts
    3,134
    Having a RAS is a matter of personal view point & fear factor.

    If you don't know how to safely operate one you'll always be afraid of it.

    (Insert) A negative hook blade will help a lot for those who don't have one. I have never had one & have operated this saw for 41 years & never had it jump on top of the material.

    The saw jumping up on top of the material is a prime example of not controlling the saw.

    This may or may not necessarily be the fault of the operator because many people have never been taught how to control a RAS. No power tool should be used without proper instruction especially a RAS.

    Below is the best way I know of describing how to control a RAS. If anyone can describe it better please jump in.

    The way you control the saw is by hold your arm fairly stiff (not bending much at the elbow) while rotating your upper body until your blade is almost through the front of the material & then gradually bending your elbow. If you start out bending your elbow the saw can take over & shove you arm back & jump up on top of the material while shouting I coming for you Ha Ha. Not to mention the damage it can do to the saw & you.

    Having said that I don't & have never ripped material on one I am not necessarily afraid to do so but with a table-saw always available & circular saw available I don't see the need to.

    The summer when I was 14 Dad set me up cutting roof truss parts for a spec house we were building on the side before he went off to his day job & I've been running one ever since. I have the original saw I cut those trusses on in my shop.

    This is an answer to Jonathan Shively's...


    As much as they scared me (after one instance of it jumping on top of the board and racing towards me!! ) there wasn't a better way of crosscutting straight or angles,,,, until the sliding compound miter saw. Will never have another RAS again.
    Last edited by Bart Leetch; 10-11-2007 at 05:44 PM.
    "Forget the flat stuff slap something on the spinny thing and lets go, we're burning daylight" Bart Leetch
    "If it ain't round you may be a knuckle dragger""Turners drag their nuckles too, they just do it at a higher RPM"Bart

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Mountain Home, Arkansas
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    Advice on how to use was not what Duncan asked. He has one, uses it, obviously still types . I surmise, he still has his hands. My father used his in his professional shop all his life and died with all his fingers and limbs. This is a space/work relationship issue.
    "Folks is funny critters."

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

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    ozarks
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    4,993
    don`t sell tools for a loss duncan......better to store it than take a bath.
    [SIZE="1"] associated with several importers and manufacturers.[/SIZE]

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    No, not all of SoCal is Los Angeles!
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    9,076
    I'll agree with Tod. I have sold a couple nice tools at a loss because I found I didn't use them. I probably should have stored them and advertised their availability till I got a better price.

    Iif you are only sharing space and the situation calls for you to crowd or give up space on another of your tools that is your decision. If you have agreed to pool your tools and share the space and its contents, that would be a matter for discussion.

    If someone I shared space with had never had a router table and made sculptured bows or something that never required an RT; I would still have one in the shop as I find it useful for my work.
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    London, England
    Posts
    35
    Hey Duncan,

    I had a similar situation a few years ago when I moved out of an industrial unit. The RAS was packed up and put in storage (no second hand value) five years on it is still there. Do you know what, even though I have a dado cutter and the original DW/Elu adaptors I have not missed it as the 12" SCMS has taken its place...

    ... The only reason it is still there is that it is right at the back under a ton of 'stuff'.

    Ralph
    Did I mention it rains over here?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Punta Gorda, Florida
    Posts
    902
    I don't miss mine now that I have a tablesaw and a sliding compound miter saw but mine was not very good to start with to say the least. If I really liked my RAS I do not see any harm in keeping it if there is any way to work in into the space that you have and see how much that you use it as time goes on with the two of you working in there. They do not really take up much room when they are up against a wall.

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