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Thread: Radial Arm Saw versus Table Saw

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2004
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    Meridianville, AL
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    345

    Question Radial Arm Saw versus Table Saw

    I am new to wood working and was recently given a radial arm saw(Craftsmen 10" with mobile stand, dado blades and other asstd blades, wired for 220v ) and I just bought a DeWalt 745x table saw and I find that I am using the radial arm saw more than the table saw. My question is what do the rest of you think of the two types? I have a Bro"out"law who is a carpenter and if he says he wouldn't own a radial arm. But then he's like most of our brother in laws's, way out where the bus don't run I am a novice woodworker and I expect as I grow in the craft I will use the table saw a lot more, is this how it was for the rest of you?
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Houston, Texas
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    I've owned a RAS in the past and while it can be very useful in woodworking IMHO the table saw is the more versitle tool. I also feel that many things we do in a safe manner almost daily with a TS are much more risky when attempted on a RAS. That is not to say you can't do them safely, only that you have to exercise more care.

  3. #3
    I bought two used RAS's at sales thinking they would really come in handy. Spent way too much time trying to keep them set correctly...finally sold them both on ebay. TS hands down.

  4. #4
    The tablesaw is the primary tool for ripping. The radial saw is more of a crosscut saw, but lacks accuracy. A compound sliding miter saw is an accurate machine that out performs the radial in crosscuts.. So it no longer has a place. Where accuracy is not that important, like in rouph framing large Radial saws like the Comet are popular...a couple of degrees doesn't matter. In joinery and furniture making it is essential. I started using a radial saw many years ago and do not reccomend it. A good tablesaw is a primary machine in every woodshop.
    "All great work starts with love .... then it is no longer work"

  5. #5
    I have both an RAS and table saw and while I did use the RAS frequently in the past, I have moved nearly all of the operations to the table saw and my SCMS. The RAS will be up for sale as soon as I get it claned up, more to free up shop space than anything.
    If I had the room, I'd hang on tot he RAS and use it for rough-sizing boards and some dado/notching work that is more easily done on that machine, particularly when working with large post-type wood. But, I don't have room so the RAS goes.
    I think you will naturally gravitate to the table saw, especially when you get into it more, build a few jigs etc.

    Have fun, but be safe first!
    "Because There Is Always More To Learn"

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Dallas, Tx.
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    1,335

    Ras.....

    Key word here Jack is given. You use what ya' got. This question has popped up many times, but since you are new, well. I use my RAS at my shop for niney degree cuts. I'd use it in conjunction with my table saw. Just set the RAS to cut 90's only. Once it's set, don't move it. You can make a jig for 45 degree cuts, but I wouldn't move the setting from 90. A good blade and setting and you'll have a usefull tool. Remember, it's free. Way back when, I built a coffee table with nuthin' but a six and a half inch Skill saw. Dados and all.
    Phil in Big D
    The only difference between a taxidermist and the taxman, is that the taxidermist leaves the skin. Mark Twain

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Meridianville, AL
    Posts
    345

    saws

    Yeah at this stage of the game I wasn't going to turn down a barely used tool of any type! I have noticed already that it is pretty hard to align properly. I have a compound MS and it does make more accurate cuts when I think about it. But once again I wasn't going to turn down free stuff Maybe I'll sell it and use the money toward a good buy a Jointer instead, any suggestions on brand, type? THANKS!

  8. #8
    Hey Jack.....

    I agree with all the others. At one time I had both a TS and the RAS. I think I spent one time getting it setup and aligned but never really used it enough to justify the time spent. The only thing I really used it for was doing crosscut dados. Now I either use the TS or the router with a jig. The SCMS has replaced the RAS in regards to crosscuts.

    When I re-sided my house I flipped the blade around and used it to cut the siding, j-channel, corner posts, etc. Worked great. Ended up giving to my bro-in-law who has a construction company. He still uses it for siding.


    Brian

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    South Windsor, CT
    Posts
    3,304
    I have a Dewalt (B&D) RAS and have had 3 different TS's. The TS's get more use, although until I got my SCMS - I kept looking at clearing off the RAS for crosscuts.

    I'd say that a RAS is perfect for rough construction like building picnic tables, where you don't need light-tight joints. If you want a RAS that will provide such repeatability, you're talking about some serious money for something like an old Dewalt or a new "Original" brand RAS - big bucks.

    I wouldn't use the RAS for ripping, especially having a TS.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Dallas, Tx.
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    1,335

    The Balde!!!!

    I forgot to mention the Oldham Woodworking Wizard. It's a 60 tooth blade for RAS that is fantastic. I bought it when Payless Cashways was going out of business. Got it for a song, but I don't think they are that much anyway. Best blade I ever had on the RAS. And, I am a commercial shop. Use it quite often.
    Last edited by Phil Phelps; 07-08-2004 at 10:30 AM.
    Phil in Big D
    The only difference between a taxidermist and the taxman, is that the taxidermist leaves the skin. Mark Twain

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    3,789
    As Mark says about the RAS: "So it no longer has a place". I am now gloating a bit , becuase even when they were popular, I did not like them and a RAS never did have a place in my shop.

    My opinion is that you should have turned down the RAS even though it was free. Nothing is really free -it takes up space and it takes up your time to use it even though, since you already have both a TS and CMS, you have better tools.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Meridianville, AL
    Posts
    345

    Cool ras

    Well as they say never look a gift horse in the mouth. I took it because I figured even if I wound up not using it I could sell it as it is practically new. So As all I'm out right now is some space I'll hang on to it till my need for space out grows my need for another tool Obviously this is one of those tools that you either like or you really don't like

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