Radial arm saw


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The biggest problem with untrained people using ras is , the wrong blade is fitted. I have been using them for years in a professional shop and it has always had a negative rake blade fitted, this removes the snatch. Used properly it is a very versatile piece of kit. No one should use one unless they are trained.
I bought 3 as a job lot in the UK along with other stuff.....
tried one ....NEVER again.....esp compared to a modern miter saw.......
Took em to France and sold em for a fortune.....
paid £25'ish each, sold em for €400.....
glad to be rid of them......these were prof models....all cast iron and heavy.....
I have collected a range of Radial Arm Saw literature - manuals and how-tos - It's around 450Mb shared here 465.13 MB folder on MEGA


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I’m intrigued, and my perception may well be wrong. I thought most mitre saws required a negative angle blade just like a RAS? After all the cut is exactly the same.
I’ve had a Wadkin RAS for years, IMO far more versatile, accurate and as dangerous as any Compound Mitre Saw.
Although as far as I know all RAS saws claim the same level of versatility, there is IMO a huge difference in build quality and hence utility as well as safety that this results in. I would personally not buy a Dewalt or Elu machine but would buy a SCM or a Wadkin BRA as an example. For me you need a very ‘stiff’ frame to ensure that the blade cuts both accurately and without becoming trapped in the cut due to the frame flexing. You won’t flex a Wadkin or a SCM, even if you stand on the arm!
I have the Wadkin BRA 14. It's a good performer. I cut all my tenons on it. It is great for cutting housings and cutting timber to length including fairly hefty baulks. And, it is good for producing multiple components for a production run.
The Wadkin was modelled on the big American radial arm saws. Even original DeWalt saws used to be this chunky before they were made of flimsier material.
RAD A Saw is not as simple/easy to use as a sliding miter saw to use...esp hight adjustment and the angle table locks.....
if all ur doing is cutting long lengths in a pro shop with decent tables.....why not.....
I dont think many pro shops would buy a new one now....
it's a thing from the past......
@clogs I suppose it’s what you are used to. The height adjust on a Wadkin BRA is simplistic and rock stolid when adjusted. It’s far simpler than any height adjustment I’ve seen on a CMS. There are defiantly 45 degree indents for both the swing and the tilt, ie for two axis and there may be a couple of others on the swing (can’t remember, don’t really use them). What I can say, is that when properly setup I will buy a few pints to anyone who can with any modern compound mitre saw equal the accuracy of the saw. Ie. Move from say 45 degrees compound to 90 degrees and back and produce absolutely spot on repeatable results. (No light on any cut when measured with an accurate gauge). The RAS I own is the most accurate saw I’ve ever had / restored / used.

For me the big advantage of the RAS is both its ability to trench and to mould and trench using modern spindle moulder tooling. This is something no modern Compound mitre saw can do. I can think of other ways of doing the same task, but none are either as simple or as quick to setup.

SCM still make and market RAS saws.
I’m intrigued, and my perception may well be wrong. I thought most mitre saws required a negative angle blade just like a RAS? After all the cut is exactly the same.
I’ve had a Wadkin RAS for years, IMO far more versatile, accurate and as dangerous as any Compound Mitre Saw.
With a CMS, I either plunge in with travel locked or, for bigger pieces, lift the blade over the work, drop and cut away from me (conventional cutting?) RAS, pull towards with stiff arm (climb cutting).

Is that not what you do? My wood machining books are too old for CMS info!

That said, my Bosch GCM CMS did come with a -5deg blade. I assumed it was just safer in case someone tries to use it like a RAS.
@guineafowl21 Thats interesting, the way you cut. I’ve seen it in a number of uTube stuff and always wondered why they used the saw (what is to me) incorrectly. The cutting action of either a RAS or a CMS is exactly the same. They should (I believe) both be fitted with negative rake blades. RAS most definitely I’ve checked almost all makes manuals, CMS only a few. It’s my understanding from a lot of reading about safe use of RAS hat you should only climb cut. The reason is that the climb cut push’s the stuff down onto the table and into the fence, which is the safest. If you conventional cut, ie pull the saw out and then cut pushing it back the blade it trying to lift the stuff off the table. If it does succeed and you’re holding the stuff, your hand follows where ever the wood goes. That can end in a long wait for a hand surgeon.

I’ve checked a few CMS and as an example the Festool state that the work piece MUST be clamped and then conveniently cut. Well, that’s good practice, if, and it’s a big if, you clamp the workpiece. I think that almost everyone doesn’t clamp the workpiece and then this type of cutting is ridiculously dangerous. I’m guessing they recommend this form of cutting because if the saw does climb onto the workpiece it’s neither sufficientky stiff/ strong enough to take the loads and / or the motor is too feeble and could stall possibly causing a fire.

The Festool Kapex blades are negative rake (-5 degrees).
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@deema It’s probably worth opening this up for others to chip in, so I’ve pinged a post over to Trevanion at the other forum. He’s pretty good with machinery techniques old and new.

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