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Radial arm saw

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JFC

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I have the old Default Radial arm saw i bought years ago , model number = Orange and Black one . I got it second hand and the guy that sold it to me had the blade set up to cut pulling towards you . I put a new blade in and set it to cut away from me as im sure this is how its supposed to be . Ive not used it for a while as i found cutting the shoulders by hand was more accurate . Have i got the saw blade in the right way round ? When i bought the blade i told them it was for a radial arm saw so i assume they sold me the right thing ?
 

Chris Knight

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The rotation of the blade on a RAS should push the work back to the fence. So set the blade on in the correct orientation to do this and make sure the motor is also orientated to do this. The motor is on the right in a DW RAS.

With a RAS you need to exert some pressure to stop the carriage rushing towards you.
 

jasonB

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I've got one the same9orange & green), as you stand using the saw the teeth at the bottom should be facing away from you. This is always one of the problems with RASs, they tend to climb cut even with negative hook blades, if you try to use then with a push cut there is a risk of wide boards being lifted off the table.

I hardly ever use mine, will get round to changing it for a sliding compound with trench facility some time.

Jason
 

JFC

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Ive got the metabo sliding compound mitre saw with the trenching facility ( a bolt you move up and down ) i use that rather than the radial arm saw but i was looking at the Radial today and thought why have i still got that its rubbish . Just thought i may be doing something wrong . And im glad you mentioned they are hard work to use water as i thought it was just me that had it set wrong again .
 

Jake

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You are doing it wrong, by the sounds of it. RAS cuts on the pull towards you, unlike a SCMS.
 

JFC

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Jake if thats the case then i am doing it wrong . Thanks for putting me right on that ill try it tomorrow :D
I have tried pulling the saw towards me but find it labours the machine sometimes to stopping point , thats why i assumed it worked on the push away cut that didnt sound as labouring on the machine .
 

Chris Knight

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There's some confusion developing here!

The RAS should be set up with the blade as Jason and I have described in different ways. The teeth on the lower side of the saw should be cutting back towards the fence.

The cut is started with the blade behind the fence and the carriage pulled towards the operator. The tendency is for the carriage to rush towards the operator and it needs to be slowed down, otherwise it will likely jam quickly in the cut and then necessitate setting the saw up accurately again. The amount this happens depends on the rake of the teeth and blades with a strong hook angle should be avoided to reduce this tendency. You can use a blade with a negative rake but I generally used a blade with moderate hook and kept my arm stiff to restrain the carriage (when I had a RAS)
 

JFC

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Got that and have tried both ways . On thinking about it the first job i did with the RAS was with mdf , maybe i should get a new blade and try again . Im only keeping the saw in the hope that one day i will find a Dado cutter for it :lol:
 

Sawdust

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Are people dead against radial arm saws now? I know the Americans don't like them, claiming they are dangerous (and then use unguarded table saws ??).

I've had a Ryobi one for over 10 years and I think it's great. When it finally gives up alltogether, I intend to buy a Dewalt.

Conversely, compound mitre saws and especially sliding ones scare the s**t out of me!

Mike
 

mailee

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I have the Elu radial arm saw and am delighted with it. OK, they do need a lot of attention and tend to drift a bit after a few uses but I have had one for a number of years now and use it most of the time. I also use it with the dado cutters which speeds up trenching for me. I think I would be lost without it now. I do have a radial mitre saw too but use the Elu much more.
 

SlimShavings

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Only uninformed americans are against the radial arm. i have two old Rockwell turret heads I use in the shop all the time . One has a regular blade and one has dado head in it. :D
 

Chris Knight

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I like them too but the subject has received nearly as much coverage in the past as dados - as your will see if you search on RAS or Radial Arm saw
 

Scrit

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RASs have their uses (i.e. crosscutting and trenching), which is probably almost every joiners shop I can think of has one or two. I reckon they only become scary if you want to rip timber on them.

JFC

If you are going to buy a new blade, make sure that it's a negative hook blade designed for a RAS as it will cut b eter.

Scrit
 

Sgian Dubh

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Mike, there has developed over the last ten years or so a general disparagement of radial arm saws. I suspect this developed along with the rise of chop saws and sliding chop saws which seem safer to those with little or no experience of radial arm saws.

For old hands like me that have always had radial arm saws around in the workshop they are a tool that, just like any other, have their good and bad points.

I do find the many newer radial arm saws quite finicky and tend to lose their settings, but that's because they're, well, a bit dinky. The modern chop saws many of which are just as dinky with similar monkey metal castings, etc., are often easier to adjust and made to work acceptably, and I suspect this the secret of their rise in popularity.

A good heavy duty radial arm saw with 700 or 800 mm of travel can be a real boon in a workshop if it's set up and maintained properly. I'm always pleased to see a good one around as it allows all sorts of cross cutting operations to be done easily that are often more difficult or impossible with other saws. Slainte.
 

JFC

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I agree the RAS is a good bit of kit i think my main problem is as you say If they are set up properly . Mine only has a 700mm bed and needs to be moved out of the way for me to use another more useful machine , so when i go to use it again i have to reset it and normally dont , therefore it cuts out of true. My workshop is around 6m x 5.5m and when built i never intended to earn my living from it . Now i have filled it with machinery as ive expanded and the RAS is tucked out the way . I think it needs a whole wall to be set up properly with a nice bed at least 3m long but then most machines could do with that space ie the mortiser the rip saw , router table spindle moulder etc .
 

Chris Knight

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It was lack of space that caused me to sell my RAS. I am not sure it needs a lot, if any, more than a big SCMS however - not that I have ever owned even a small miter saw...
 

JFC

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Water your right the RAS and MS need the same amount of room but a MS is far more portable and quicker to set up if it is out off set . My Ras is designed to sit in one position and stay there with a home made bed the MS works anywhere with roller stands and is designed for easy maneuverability ( thank god for spell check ) :lol:
 
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