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Dewalt Radial Arm Saw

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waveman2010

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I have just bought one of these for £70 in really good working order. THe guys who sold it to me warned me of peices of wood flying through windows and such like and seemed glad to get it out of thier workshop. Have I bought a useful tool for the workshop or something I'm going to want to sell on quickly. The manual does not suggest and special safety precautions.
 

bosshogg

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You have bought one of the most versatile woodworking machines available, so don't be put off by hearsay and fear from those who haven't a clue.
Best advice I can give - learn everything about your machine - especially how to set it up properly.

Here are a two articles to help and get you going.

http://sawdustmaking.com/Radial Arm Saws/radial_arm_saws.html

http://www.joneakes.com/learning-curve/75-radial-arm-saws

If you drop me a PM I will also send you a full set up set of instructions...bosshogg :)
 

Dodge

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I swear by my radial arm saw, the thing to remember is that it is a crosscut saw and in no way should be used for ripping boards along their length.

I know if you read the dewalt book it says you can by turning the head but take a word of advice - DONT DO IT!

Rog
 

doorframe

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Hi... I've got a small Dewalt RAS in a very run down state, awaiting some TLC. I did a few quick cuts out of curiosity when I got it to the workshop then put it aside for a rainy day. The 1st cut nearly took my head off! A length of pine about 2" square. As I'd not used one b4, I pushed the saw forward into the work piece and it took off like a rocket. (hammer).

As long as you pull the saw towards you, into the workpiece, you will be cutting down into the piece so it should stay put. :wink: If you can clamp it, that may be advisable.

HTH

Roy
 

Roxie

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I too have a Dwalt RAS and agree with others it is a very useful piece of kit. One thing I will say, make sure the blade has a NEGATIVE rake.
Happy usage
John
 

Hudson Carpentry

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I have had a few touchy moments with mine but the inverter that powers it has cut power and instantly stopped the blade. Its been when the blade catches and deflects because I pulled it through the material to fast. Its a great addition to any workshop!
 

mailee

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Huds has hit the nail on the head. Never pull the saw through the wood too quickly. You will soon guage how fast to do it. I have two RAS and would not be without them. My main one is an Elu (DW)1251 and the second smaller one is a Ryobi which I use with a Dado setup I also have a SCMS which I use for angled cuts. But the RAS is by far the best piece of kit.
 

EssexChris

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+1
I would agree if you treat it with respect and pull through the wood slowly it’s a fantastic bit of kit. It’s easy to get carried away with repeat cuts and pull to quick.
Almost silent when compared to a SCMS with its brush motor screaming away, that only gets used for angular cuts now.

Chris.
 

studders

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Apparently the main reason these saws pull themselves through the cut is that the arbour bearings are set too loose. I adjusted mine to give a stiff (ish) slide and it was much more controllable.
The tip came from Mr Sawdust's Book, available from the site Bosshogg linked to.
 

kirkpoore1

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studders":bkclg80g said:
Apparently the main reason these saws pull themselves through the cut is that the arbour bearings are set too loose. I adjusted mine to give a stiff (ish) slide and it was much more controllable.
The tip came from Mr Sawdust's Book, available from the site Bosshogg linked to.
Another big factor is the blade hook (rake) as John pointed out above. A positive hook on the blade will mean the saw will tend to be self-feeding. Go with a zero degree or negative degree hook.

Kirk
 

waveman2010

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Thanks for the advice and links chaps, I'll do a bit research into setting it up as it looks like something I'm going to use alot in the future. I'm thinking these guys have just rushed in and scared themselves.
 

Wouldchuk

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Thanks for the links - I've been meaning to post for some time now on how to get my DW720 RAS to behave itself. I bought it second hand and have never got it running right. My first and only effort was to replace the table using kitchen worktop (there is a very good thread on here somewhere which details this which i shall dig out), problem is that i just havent had the time or patience to spend on getting it tuned up, partly as the workshop itself is still under development and I keep moving it around etc.

My biggest problem currently is that it cuts square to the fence, but the angle of the cut is off my a couple of degrees - the index pin locks it just off square. This means I have to compensate by tightening it up outside of the locking pin locating. Not a good idea and if you read the book it early on highlights that this is the path to ruin!! (hammer) I need to get the blade unit running in plane with the table, which i think is the main culprit - adjust the table bed, not the saw unit. The book gives some excellent descriptions on how to do all the adjustments and in the right order so at a tenner it is a worthy acquisition. Just need to find the time.

A question - currently I have the leg kit, but its not great on space management and I was thinking that in the new workshop design i will build a solid base cabinet/worktop onto which i can locate the saw base permanently, doing away with the legs altogether. I trust this just needs a very solidly built unit, as square to the floor as possible, with good solid mountings for the saw to the unit.

Does anyone have any photos maybe of how they have located their RAS, with a decent sized table bed, onto a base unit as opposed to using the legs??
 

misterfish

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I have the older 1251 and as well as the manual it also included the Dewalt Powershop Handbook which I have scanned as is no longer available http://www.drosera.f2s.com/RAS/DeWalt_P ... ndbook.pdf - Have a look at appendix 3 as it gives more info on setting up and adjusting which you may find of help.

I had no legs with my saw and initially built a support assembly using 4x2 cls timber with an mfc cladding and kitchen worktop offcut. But I had to change the plan while building it as a problem I found was that the RAS got in the way of sawing long timber on my mitre saw bench which is on the left, so I ended up with the RAS on a 4x2 framework mounted on heavy duty slides to allow me to push the unit back to the wall or slide it forward and lock in position for use.

The actual RAS table is also a piece of worktop with a couple of spacers at the back to allow the fence to be moved backwards and forwards which allows longer cuts on thinner material.





I am (still) planning to replace the current old free standing mitre saw bench with a built in unit so that the table of both saws is the same height allowing easier working on long lengths

Misterfish
 

tomatwark

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As other have said a RAS is a great bit of kit when used properly.

I have a Dewalt 8001 in the timber store for rough cutting stuff to length and a Wadkin BRA in the workshop.

I use the Wadkin for doing odd tenons and trenching and cutting the odd bit to length as it is next to my work bench.

As Rog has said DO NOT RIP stuff on it.

But set it up and use it.

Tom
 

mailee

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This is how my RAS is mounted into a bench.

I have mounted it on a table made from 4x2's and the MRMDF top is levelled to the benches at each side. I have since moved shop since this was taken but it is still set up the same. HTH. :wink:
 

RogerS

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That's a neat idea, Mailee. Just bought one at Pugh's auction. Dead chuffed...good price as well. Always wanted one. Bosshogg's links are very handy
 

Grahammon

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Dodge":3qoflj69 said:
I swear by my radial arm saw, the thing to remember is that it is a crosscut saw and in no way should be used for ripping boards along their length.

I know if you read the dewalt book it says you can by turning the head but take a word of advice - DONT DO IT!

Rog

I know this is an old thread, but I really disagree with those that say don't rip with a radial, I've had mine for 20 years or so it is an old DW110 and use it for both cross cut and ripping. I try and check my saws setup fairly regularly using the manual, right angle to the fence and saw table, blade parallel to the fence for ripping etc.
I carefully set the anti kick back jaws and on narrow stock use two quite long push sticks, one to keep the wood pushed against the fence and the other to push through the timber. I keep the feed rate such that the motor doesn't strain and slow down. I stand to the side, so if something was to happen it would pass me by. I cut regularly cut 8x4 sheets 3/4 ply and mdf (I get my wife's help to,handle the large sheets), and just last week cut an old 1 1/2" thick old mahogany lab bench top into strips for a friends garden seat.
I have had kickback once when I first started using the saw when ripping, the wood hit hit me on the chest, and it hurt, since then following the above points it havent had kickback again. if I had room for a table saw then I probably would have bought one however kick back can happen on a table saw. I use my radial saw for everything.
I can see from this gentleman's website he is an extremely talented craftsman, but sorry I don't agree with you on this issue.
I do agree with those that say get a good quality blade and keep the blade sharp, I tend to use branded multiple tooth blades ranging from 40 to 60teeth or so.

When cross cutting I always make sure my left hand is out of the the line of cut, on two occasions over the years again when i started using the saw, the saw blade has snatched and climbed the wood very very scary, the blade moved about an inch to the left of its normal cutting line, this was on cutting thicker stock 2" hardwood I thnk it was cherry, thinking about how I cut thicker,stock now i hold the handle firmly and tend to cut the wood in small jerky movements cut, push back a little, cut push back, cut, push back cut etc again the older the blade rather the more blunt the blade the more careful you have to be, thin stock up,to 3/4" is easy peasy.
Graham
 

Downwindtracker2

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My dad bought one '61, and I've used it ever since. To keep your hand away from the blade, pull with the left and hold with the right. I use a thin kerf blade but a proper RAS blade would likely be better. Use the antikickback pawls, if they are still on it for ripping, they work. And stand aside. They are accurate but a pain to set up.
 

Jelly

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I would tend to sit somewhere between the two camps when it comes to ripping on an RAS; None of the failure modes that cause an RAS to kick back are specific to the RAS, and are common to all circular saws, thus it's not inherrently unsafe if the machine is properly guarded, well maintained, the set-up is correct and the anti kickback mechanism is fitted and properly engaged.

The danger comes in when setup isn't just so or one fails to understand the limits of the machine and tooling.

I've highlighted setup as this is the point where a woodworker has a great deal of opportunity to introduce risks, by inadvertently encouraging a failure mode, lets take a look at the possible modes of failure, and what factors increase the risk.

  1. Timber bends into saw kerf after cut, compressing the blade.
    • Improperly securing or failing to engage the riving knife.
    • Pressure applied behind the cut with push stick.
  2. Timber presses against fence, presses on blade and binds.
    • Blade set with Toe-In to fence.
    • Fence uneven or not adequately secured.
    • Blade not in true.
    • Failure to properly secure or Excessive play once secured in Arm/Carriage/Cradle.
  3. Gullet becomes full of sawdust/shavings during cut, blade binds.
    • Inappropriate blade.
    • Excessively thick workpiece for blade Diameter/Motor Power.
    • Poor Extraction.
    • Lack of blade cleaning/lubrication working with resinous timber.
  4. Motor stalls due to excessive feed pressure.
    • Material unsuitable for tooling, i.e. Exceptionally hard woods.
    • Excessive Feed Speed.


Each of these can be mitigated with a little thought, many of which will be familiar to table saw users.
  1. Use of riving knife.
  2. Set blade dead parallel to fence (Check by using a square to draw a line at right angles to both fence and blade), Use dedicated rip fence extending only 1/3 of the blade depth past the start of the cut, maintain Blades and saw carriage regularly.
  3. Use appropriate Ripping Blade (Less Teeth, rip specific geometry), rip material of max 1/4 blade diameter, Clean and lube blade before ripping or if obviously soiling during ripping.
  4. Gentle pressure, never force material into the cut.
.

It ought also go without saying one should never stand in line with a workpiece either.
 
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