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Radial Arm Saw

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aldel

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Season's greetings to all

I have been following all the posts on the pro's and con's of table saws with considerable interest for some time but rarely see anything mentioned about radial arm saws.
I have an Elektra Beckum Pk200 which is fine but a real pain to move around (its on castors) when I want to use the sliding table because of the limited space available. I originally was going to buy the Kity with induction motor but didn't when I heard the company was in difficulties.
I have had an Elu Ras 1251 for several years and find that I regularly use it in preference to any other saw. I bought it second hand for £200 and it has proven to be by far and away the most used and versatile machine that I own.
It cross cuts, rips, works at compound angles, will cut dished cuts, rises, falls, cuts tenons, rebates, slots etc, etc. It has an induction motor and one end is threaded to take a chuck for polishing mops etc. It has a standard 30mm bore and it is very easy to change a blade. The instruction manual even shows it fitted with a dado cutter. It is possible to mount a router on it!
OK I know that you can't saw an 8x4 sheet in half with it but I can use a hand saw for that.
I admit that ocasionally I have to double check that it will cut square after being returned from say a 45 degree cut but I can live with that.
I have mine set at the same height as my work benches to make a long cutting station.
In my garag ---sorry workshop I am limited for space and find the radial arm saw a godsend for every day working.
So, if like me, space is at a premium, don't overlook a Radial saw in preference to table saw.

Cheers aldel
 

Woodythepecker

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Aldel, your quite right the ras can be very useful. I would not say that i prefer them to a table saw but at times they can be every bit as good.

Also if you need to use a dado head cutter i would rater use one in a ras then a table saw.

Regards

Woody
 

Chris Knight

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Oh goody!! We have a fine argument going on in another thread on the pros and cons of dados and dado heads. Now we can have one on the merits of RAS versus tablesaw versus bandsaw etc. :lol: :lol: :lol:

Now I shall just get outta here
 

Newbie_Neil

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Excuse me, but what has happened here?

Threads about mdf, dados and now the merits of a RAS. :shock:

The variety is excellent and all we need now is for someone to start a Leigh vs Rat thread and we'll have a full house. :wink:

Cheers
Neil

PS Chris, I love your smilies.
 

Aragorn

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I have the DW RAS (can't remember the number: it is one of the smaller ones). It is possibly the least used machine in my workshop.

It does have it's uses very occasionally, but most of the time I find it's accuracy is a barrier to choosing it above another of the more dedicated machines that do the same job.

For example - I would never use it for crosscutting - I have the Makita! Ripping? You're having a laugh aren't you! Never tried it - it seems so dangerous and I have a perfectly good table saw. etc. etc.
 

Midnight

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OK I know that you can't saw an 8x4 sheet in half with it but I can use a hand saw for that.
ummmmm...... been there.....done that...(thanks to the cordless circular saw from HELL..).. got the T-shirt... got a proper circular saw too...

electrickery can be a wonderfull thing.... sometimes...

:wink:
 

Jaco

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Had my DW RAS for about 10 years. Great saw except for the $&^)^$!! table that has to be aligned far too often. Bump it and you are out!Out!Out!
Use for all my crosscut as i got my hands on a 2nd hand Rockwell table saw (excellent price) which i use for ripping and large sheets.
:D :D
 

aldel

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Aragorn,

You have a table saw and so prefer to use that for ripping, of course, that is sensible. If you did not have room for a table saw then use the RAS.
You say the RAS is dangerous but you have never tried it for ripping!!?
Come-on, what sort of conclusion is that from an experienced woodworker?
In defence, the Radial arm has positive anti-kickback devices plus riving knife, wheras the table saw only has a riving knife.
All machinery can be viewed as dangerous, I am very wary of the spindle moulder - just take care to use them properly.
My original post was not to sing the praises or virtues of table versus RAS.
My point is that , if space is at a premium and you can't fit in a table saw then a RAS is an alternative to be considered.

aldel :eek:
 

Newbie_Neil

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Hi Aldel

I think, at least two members, would suggest that if you want an alternative to a tablesaw that you get a bandsaw. They would probably say that you should get a bandsaw in preference to a tablesaw.

Now I realise that you were thinking in terms of saving space,but perhaps the bandsaw could help in that area as well?

Cheers
Neil
 

Woodythepecker

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Aragorn wrote:
I would never use it for crosscutting - i have the Makita! Ripping? You're having a laugh aren't you! Never tried it - it seems so dangerous and i have a perfectly good table saw. etc. etc.
You say that you use it occasionally but if you do not crosscut or rip what do you use it for? Overhead router? Now that does look dangerous, but each to their own. As long as you enjoy what you are doing who cares what you use. Aldel seems happy with his ras and thats al that matters, isn't it?

Regards

Woody
 
A

Anonymous

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Aldel

I think Neil's point is quite valid especially when you consider the price of a reasonable bandsaw (£200-300) compared to a cheap RAS (£750+ for cheapest dewalt)
 

Woodythepecker

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Tony i think you will find that Aldel already has a ras.

Regards

Woody
 

devonwoody

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QUOTE The variety is excellent and all we need now is for someone to start a Leigh vs Rat thread and we'll have a full house.


They have already done that?
 
A

Anonymous

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Woodythepecker":377h2mrj said:
Tony i think you will find that Aldel already has a ras.

Regards

Woody
Woody, I KNOW that! :wink:
Aldel's post is intended to recommend a RAS to other people in place of a table saw. I simply posted to point out that they are rather expensive.
 

Newbie_Neil

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Hi DW

devonwoody":1wdcewln said:
They have already done that?
The point I was trying to make was that, as a board, we seem to have matured enough to have an adult conversation about all of the major woodworking war zones without it denegerating into a free for all. :D

I think that's really healthy.

Cheers
Neil
 
A

Anonymous

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Woodythepecker":1901sksd said:
Tony, sorry my mistake.

Regards

Woody
No probs :)

I would quite like a RAS but the price is about 300% higher than I would pay for one - especially when I already have a table saw which I don't realistically see a RAS replacing (just supplementing) for the kind of work I do
 

Aragorn

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Hi Aldel
Possibly a case of wrong end of the stick here - I was merely describing my own uses and prejudices - not making any recommendations. I didn't say the RAS was dangerous - I said it seemed dangerous to me! Personally I would be scared to use the RAS for ripping - that's just me. I've never tried it and have never needed to as I owned a TS before the RAS. Like any machine - it must be safe enough when used properly, I've just never been tempted to try. I've been using a TS since I was 7, so I just feel more comfortable with them now.
When space doesn't allow for a TS then the RAS could be a good choice alternative. I might recommend a bandsaw instead for ripping, but again, where space is a premium, the RAS may be even more versatile again.
So I agree with your original post. It's just, for me, the RAS is very rarely used.

Woody, my main use would be making trench cuts using the DW groove cutter (made for the DW RAS) for certain applications where I wouldn't want to use the TS or router. An example would be multiple half-lap joints in long lengths of wood. More and more I am favouring the router, but when there are a large number of cuts to make, the dado cutter in the RAS is best because I can set up the blades to within 0.1mm width tolerance, and the safety of the cut is not affected by the length of wood, as it is on the TS (if that makes sense).

These days, I almost never make this kind of joint, as I can make more accurate, attractive and quicker M&T joints with the Leigh FMT, so M&Ts have become my joint-of-choice above half-laps. So the RAS has become almost redundant, for me, not because it isn't a useful and versatile machine, but because I prefer other methods.

Sorry about the perceived tone and implication of my original post.
 
A

Anonymous

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hmm, well, I too have the DeWally DW720 RAS, and use if for both cross-cutting and ripping with no problems what-so-ever (even if I have verified recently that the anti-kickback fingers on mine aren't made right!).

I've seen loads of posts on various forums about ripping being 'scary' on the RAS - I don't really understand that view - the kickback fingers work a treat, and there's the riving knife there too to reduce the risk of binding.

Biggest moan I have with mine is the problems keeping the table parallel to the arm, so the saw can be used to cut tenons (the reason I bought the RAS was seeing Anton Fitzpatrick use one to cut all his tenons on "woodworks", H&L) - if table and arm aren't parallel, you end up with twisted M&T joints :(

However, having sung the above praises, in hindsight I think I would have bought a decent capacity bandsaw over the RAS, and am thinking of getting rid of my DW and replacing it with just such a BS (no space for both). As a matter of personal preference, I don't own a table saw, and never will :)
 

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