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April 08, 2020, 09:15:04 PM

Author Topic: Radial Arm Saw  (Read 475 times)

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Offline Jamier

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Radial Arm Saw
« on: December 20, 2019, 05:25:35 AM »
PB, I have an opportunity to get an old Craftsman radial arm saw. I’ve never used one but I can see some advantages, specifcally, very long square cuts, much longer than I can make with my compound miter saw. The downside is that it is very much a “shop tool” and would require, more or less, a permanent place, and it is not a small tool. Do you have any experience using one and do you think it’s worth making a place for it? Can It do things that a combination of other tools cannot?

Jamie
« Last Edit: December 20, 2019, 05:28:54 AM by Jamier »
James Robbins

Offline Paul Birkeland

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Re: Radial Arm Saw
« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2019, 07:27:19 AM »
If you don't have the space for something like that, I wouldn't take it on.  Radial arm saws can be useful, but a table saw that folds up can be far more convenient to store while you aren't using it.
Paul "PB" Birkeland

Bottlehead Grunt & The Repro Man

Offline Jamier

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Re: Radial Arm Saw
« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2019, 08:27:38 AM »
PB, thanks for your thoughts on this. The only reason I gave this consideration is that it’s free. I can make the space for it but, I really don’t want something that large sitting around unless it gets a lot of use. I already have enough stuff that I should be getting rid of.

Jamie
James Robbins

Offline galyons

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Re: Radial Arm Saw
« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2019, 06:02:51 PM »
...but I can see some advantages, specifcally, very long square cuts, much longer than I can make with my compound miter saw... 

TMI Warning!!! IME there are two days of satisfaction with a Craftsman RAS, the day you acquire it and the day you pawn it off on some poor dupe.  Perhaps the vintage 100 series is somewhat an exception to that reality.  A Craftsman, yes, will make long cuts, but consistently square is probably not possible. You can painstakingly align the saw in all axes, but the moment you pivot to rip, mitre, or bevel, it will almost never return to square alignment. They were poorly constructed of cheap materials to be peddled as impulse purchases to indiscriminate hobbyists.

Raymond DeWalt invented and popularized the RAS for the trades.  Emerson, (the contract manufacturer for Sears) fired the starting pistol for the race to the bottom to make cheap consumer targeted RAS $#!T.  If you look at vintage ('50-60's) AMF DeWalt's they are constructed to withstand a direct  nuclear hit.  Many are still in use today. (Mine is about 1959 vintage.) Once Black & Decker bought AMF, they joined Emerson in making ever more crappy saws.  Depending on your use and definition of long cuts, a quality table saw, compound mitre saw or sliding compound mitre saw is, IMO, a much better choice than any post 70's consumer RAS. 

I have and use my RAS and it consistently earns its footprint in the shop.

There is a reason Craftsman RAS's dominate the used for sale market. It is not just because they were produced in massive quantities.

Of course, as in all things, YMMV!!

Cheers,
Geary




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Offline Jamier

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Re: Radial Arm Saw
« Reply #4 on: December 20, 2019, 06:43:20 PM »
Geary,

     Thanks for that info. This saw is pretty old and needs some work and probably a new motor. After thinking about it I have decided that it’s a project that I really don’t want to take on. Thanks for your help on this.

Jamie
James Robbins

Offline Paul Birkeland

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Re: Radial Arm Saw
« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2019, 06:02:38 AM »
I'd also add that a track saw can be exceptionally space conserving and far easier to use on a 4x8 sheet compared to a table saw, especially if it's just you doing the cuts.  On the downside, you need a sacrificial working surface.
Paul "PB" Birkeland

Bottlehead Grunt & The Repro Man

Offline Jamier

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Re: Radial Arm Saw
« Reply #6 on: December 21, 2019, 07:08:11 AM »
Yeah, I have a Bora track and it is remarkably good even with the extension. The saw plate wants to push the camber adjustment on my saw off by a few degrees which can be a PITA. I have to check that every time I make a cut. I have a Dewalt 368 and it really doesn’t want to adapt to the plate so I probably should get a different saw for this task.

Jamie
James Robbins

Offline 2wo

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Re: Radial Arm Saw
« Reply #7 on: December 21, 2019, 05:45:22 PM »
I would pass on the arm saw as well, I have one and it has been pretty much completely replaced by my chop saw. Anything more is better done on a table saw or for the limited work I do, just a pattern guide and Skill saw...John
John Scanlon