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Thread: Anybody do any lumber ripping on their radial arm?

  1. #1

    Anybody do any lumber ripping on their radial arm?

    Since my table saw bit the dust, and I'm low on funds, I've been eyeing my radial arm saw for ripping.
    I must say that I do love using my Festool circular saw for anything I can come up with, but ripping with it is a bit slow.

    Anyone out there really do any ripping with their RAS?

  2. #2
    I did a bunch of ripping when I had a RAS and while it took some time to get set up it worked pretty good. I would not use the 90-degree setting when turning the saw but rather index the blade against the fence so that I knew that it was parallel. That gave me the best cuts but the table saw is still the tool of choice when available to you.
    "Because There Is Always More To Learn"

  3. #3
    I agree that you should check your saw for proper alignment. Also make sure you use the splitter and run the blade down into the wooden table top so the teeth clear the bottom side of the board. Replace the normal fence with a continuous piece so you don't get any hang ups when pushing the board through the cut. It is extremely important to use push sticks to finish off the cut. Also don't stand in the path of any potential kick backs. I'm not sure if a blade with negative tooth rake is recommended when ripping. I know they are for cross cuts.
    Lee Schierer - McKean, PA

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  4. #4
    Join Date
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    I did it but it was a little hairy and a pain switching it around. Bought a cheap little table saw for ripping. I've since bought a Uni-saw so it's much easier now. I'd use the Festool first, see if they make a better blade for ripping. Still use the RAS but just for cross cutting.

  5. #5
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    For many years my Craftsman RAS was the only woodworking saw I owned, so when I needed a board ripped, that's what I used. I never had a problem with kick back. Lucky, I guess. Proper saw alignment is very important, just like on a table saw. Many saws allow you to tip the blade guard down to act as a hold down for the board.

    John

  6. #6
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    I think the RAS does just fine for ripping as long as you use it properly. I think all the bad rap on the RAS is due to operator error and the very human trait of never wanting to accept blame for anything. With that said, I'd never use it for a rip cut if I had access to a table saw. Like someone above said, best tool for the job.

  7. #7
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    I did it in the early days when that's all I had. Took longer to tune it up for a proper rip than it was worth. Even then, the accuracy was not as good as a mid-level table saw would give. Scary too, that blade right out in the open never made me comfortable. Hard to feed the last few inches of a board too. Never again. Don't get me wrong, my radial arm saw is the most used tool in my shop.... for crosscuts, just not for ripping.

    Hit garage/yard sales or Craigs list for a cheap $100-$200 Used table saw. Even at that price, it will do a better safer and easier rip than the RAS. Then you can save up for a good saw.
    Last edited by Mike Circo; 10-20-2011 at 10:44 AM.
    “Never attribute to malice that which can be explained by stupidity”

  8. #8
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    See all of the above. I've done it for many years without a problem. Good alignment, good rip blade, hold downs (I used Board Buddies), and the splitter.
    Bill
    On the other hand, I still have five fingers.

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    It's always funny ... until somebody gets hurt ;-)

    Three words, here (or is it two ?): anti-kickback pawls. Don't leave home/rip without 'em !



    Critical ? I dunno. One more safety measure, though.

  10. #10
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    Personally, I won't rip on my RAS. But what happened to your TS? Unless an elephant sat on it what could go wrong other than a dead motor or maybe a bearing? I don't mean to sound harsh, but if you could find the funds to buy a Festool saw, you probably can afford to fix your TS. And you're going to want it again sooner or later anyway, so why not make it sooner, and safer.

  11. #11
    Join Date
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    I haven't yet needed to rip on my 14" dewalt RAS, but my crummy 10" (3hp) craftsman RAS was used for ripping quite a bit. I've ripped sheet goods, 3/4 pine, and 2x material. Nothing major or highly critical, and I didn't have a single issue. EVER

    I actually liked ripping on the RAS better than I did on my old contractor series table saw.


    I say go for it.
    Husband to 1, father to 8
    2 girls and 6 boys (in that order)
    Life Is Full Of Blessings
    The Lord is my Rock and my Refuge.

  12. #12
    I would rather play on the freeway. Seriously, using the RAS for ripping is probably one of the most dangerous things that I've ever done. The flying missile/wood that hit the garage door was the fastest thing in my garage. I think most people who post replies on this forum are very clever and have had a lot of experience. While they may state that it is a routine practice for them, it doesn't mean that it is safe for you. I'm sure that you've read the posts by now of people who state that they never use any of the safety devices on their table saw and still have all their organs and appendages. Ripping with a RAS requires a lot of forethought and planning. If you are proposing using the RAS for ripping and have not thought it out, I would say keep thinking and work out all the angles before you even start.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerome Hanby View Post
    I think the RAS does just fine for ripping as long as you use it properly. I think all the bad rap on the RAS is due to operator error and the very human trait of never wanting to accept blame for anything. With that said, I'd never use it for a rip cut if I had access to a table saw. Like someone above said, best tool for the job.
    I have ripped thousands of feet of lumber on my Dewalt. I agree with the operator error comment.

    AZCRAIG

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
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    The OP came here for guidance, so he's obviously not thinking about doing this thoughtlessly.

    I've had kick back on my table saw, but I still use it.
    I've almost broke my wrist more than once with a D handled drill, I still use big drills.
    I've had my DP grab junk out from under the clamps, I still use the DP

    I could go on about EVERY tool I own and talk about at least one close call.


    It all boils down to operator awareness, make your self aware of what "said tool" can do if things get nasty, then plan for the worst and pray for the best.

    And wear the right gear
    Husband to 1, father to 8
    2 girls and 6 boys (in that order)
    Life Is Full Of Blessings
    The Lord is my Rock and my Refuge.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by John TenEyck View Post
    Personally, I won't rip on my RAS. But what happened to your TS? Unless an elephant sat on it what could go wrong other than a dead motor or maybe a bearing? I don't mean to sound harsh, but if you could find the funds to buy a Festool saw, you probably can afford to fix your TS. And you're going to want it again sooner or later anyway, so why not make it sooner, and safer.
    That's exactly it, John.
    The other day I was ripping on the TS (Dewalt 755) and it started smoking.
    Sounds like the motor is fried.

    I got the Festool circular saw, back when I was making $5K/week profit.....but as we know, the economy has taken a dump, and funds are tight.

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