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[OT] Radial arm saw vs table saw

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  • #31
    On the DeWalt Table saw I posted above.... YES replaced the POS miter gauge with a good one from someplace... can't remember right now. The rip fence is perfect, I can not imagine clamping a board onto another board and using a hand circular saw. Life is too short, buy the tools you need and do it right, when your done, put it on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace.... or give it to one of your kids for Pete's sake!
    Retired - Journeyman Refrigeration Pipefitter - Master Electrician - Fine Line Automation CNC 4x4 Router

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    • #32
      Originally posted by JoeLee View Post
      I don't know about the rake, I haven't seen any blades that were marked specifically for RAS. I have seen blades with the blank tooth behind each cutting tooth to prevent the blade from biting in too deep which I guess would apply to climb cutting typical of RAS use.

      JL.................
      Saw blades have positive, zero, and negative rake.
      Terms that apply to any cutting edge device.
      They are not marked. You just have to know what you are looking at.
      Advertising is not going to hold your hand all the time.

      -Doozer
      DZER

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      • #33
        I still use the Craftsman table saw I bought in the early 80's. I've used it for making everything from cabinets to bird houses. I bought a RAS about 10 years or so ago to cut vinyl siding when I built and sided my garage/shop. As said it great for crosscuts on long stock. In my opinion it is easier for repetitive angle cuts than the table saw, like when making 20 bird houses. I leave the guards on the table saw unless cutting a slot or dado, and use push sticks whenever I can. A guard cannot get distracted like the human brain. I envy you folks who never make a mistake.
        Tom - Spotsylvania, VA

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        • #34
          Originally posted by flathead4 View Post
          I envy you folks who never make a mistake.
          Whenever I approach a power tool to use, I remember a sign I saw at a lumber yard over their saw about 60 years ago:

          This blade turns at 10,000 RPM, whether your hand is in it or not.

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          • #35
            Originally posted by flathead4 View Post
            ...I leave the guards on the table saw unless cutting a slot or dado, and use push sticks whenever I can. A guard cannot get distracted like the human brain. I envy you folks who never make a mistake.
            I've got an overarm dust collector setup on my table saw. So it acts as a "do not enter" signifier for cuts where I can have the collector shoe in place. The rest of the time I'm all attention. If I can't focus on the saw I don't do any sawing that day.

            I also use push sticks a LOT. Not so much a stick as a push "shoe". It's even shaped much like a high top from the side. The grip area being the up high on the ankle area. And the idea is that if anything causes the push shoe to try to kick back my hand will hold the "ankle" and the toe will kick back and lever my hand up and away... At least that's the hope.

            WMGeorge mentioned another possible option. Although he doesn't like them I've used a circular saw with two saw horses and three or four sacrificial pieces of wood between horses and panels. Long straight boards clamped in place are slightly slower for breaking panels down to working size. But if not used frequently it has the advantage of taking up very little space when stored. And sawhorses, while a touch more bulky, are a pretty universal shop accessory. And the long straight boards fit up and away easily. For once or twice a year sort of use there's much to recommend this option.

            Consider as well that a table saw takes up a lot more space. With the saw being stationary we need a full 10ft or so on the input side for panel and operator and 8 feet on the outfeed side for the sheet extending out. If using straight edges and a circular saw we only need a small amount of room around the sheet. Not a big deal for outside. But could be an issue in a smaller size shop on a rainy day.

            Ripping long boards isn't as nice to do with a circular saw. It's possible of course. But not as handy as doing the job on a table saw. So if you see yourself doing that a lot then the table saw is the right choice. But once you start looking at boards that are more than about 4 to 5 feet long you'll want that outfeed support table for sure.
            Chilliwack BC, Canada

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            • #36
              Thanks for the advice and experience. Looks like the table saw, along with the miter saw I already have, will do what I need. I don't expect to do any fine cabinet work, so even a rough used saw should be fine. However, I have not heard back from the seller so it may no longer be available. It's been listed for 4 weeks. It should be worth $40, anyway.

              I also found a Rockwell Model 10 contractor's saw listed for $100, but I think it will be too big and heavy for my purposes and space.

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              There's also an old Sears Craftsman table saw for $50:

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              And an old Wards Powercraft saw for $50, on Craig's List.

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              http://pauleschoen.com/pix/PM08_P76_P54.png
              Paul , P S Technology, Inc. and MrTibbs
              USA Maryland 21030

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              • #37
                I'd pay the $50 more and get the Rockwell (if the motor and the elevation and tilt mechanisms all still work); a good clean up and rust removal, and that would be a nice saw.

                It looks pretty much identical to a Delta contractor saw I had about 15-20 years ago.
                Lynn (Huntsville, AL)

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                • #38
                  Originally posted by BCRider View Post

                  For doing small joinery cuts? Almost all the time. For precision cross cutting or other cuts using a table sled? ALL the time. For breaking down plywood or ripping stock? A nice feature for sure.

                  A splitter is the one component in the whole rig that can stay in place for every cut and serves well. The pawls and cover could only be used for how I use my saw about 1/3 to half the time.
                  I'm late to the party... this is exactly what I was going to say. Anyone who says blade guards and pawls don't get in the way hasn't been doing any fine woodworking. The riving knife, on the other hand, is very useful and is rarely in the way. Only time I have to fuss with it is when putting on my dado stack.

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                  • #39
                    It you are getting more into some wood working, get a table saw. My 10" Craftsman was bought in 1973, and has only had one replacement motor. I use it still.
                    Don't confuse a table saw with a contractor's saw. While they operate the same way, they are not the same. Table saws are fairly heavy in that their table is cast iron. Contractor saws are light weight for portability and can sometimes be frustrating when they move around. I have a Ryobi CS that literally moves 6" when the motor is kicked on from the torque. I'm used to it but was alarming when first put to use.

                    I've used my table saw with fine blades, coarse blades, dado blades, and molding cutters to make moldings, and quarter rounds out of old 2x4s. In a pinch I even used a masonry blade to cut some flat tiles..but the grit is a pain to clean up, and I wouldn't recommend it.

                    Simple home made wooden fixtures like a slide bench, or "feather boards" help make production runs simple and results on multiple work pieces, repeatable.
                    You will definitely need a good fence that fits the table, and a cross slide that adjusts to various angles. A few tools to square up the blade and reset the dials to accurately set angles and you will off and running.

                    One thing you MUST DO. Respect that blade. Always be aware of it no matter what you are doing, whether with or without the guards. Personally, I think the guards tend to create a sense of safety that I believe can be even more dangerous than running it without the guards.

                    Know what pinches a work piece and eliminate that situation or you might be plucking some projectiles out of you body parts. It is no different than running a metal machine, you know it can kill or maim you so you are careful about fingers, arms, sleeves, jewelry, work pieces, tools, belts and spinning chucks. No different on a TS.

                    Now, it you can let us know of a reasonably priced lumber source........
                    S E Michigan

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                    • #40
                      From my observation the table saw gets more use, and the Radial Arm Saw is just the precursor to the little portable chop saws that show up on the pickup truck tailgates at just about every job site out there where wood type materials need to be cut. Table saw for the shop. Little chop saw for the road. Radial Arm Saw for the museum.

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                      • #41
                        Originally posted by SLK001 View Post

                        Whenever I approach a power tool to use, I remember a sign I saw at a lumber yard over their saw about 60 years ago:

                        This blade turns at 10,000 RPM, whether your hand is in it or not.
                        Funny you mention that. When I was a kid I went into some cabinet shop with my father. There was a sign above the table saw that read "Blade Does Not Stop For Fingers".

                        JL....

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                        • #42
                          Originally posted by tom_d View Post
                          From my observation the table saw gets more use, and the Radial Arm Saw is just the precursor to the little portable chop saws that show up on the pickup truck tailgates
                          After owning a Radial Arms saw for over 20yrs, I would refute that.
                          My interests were in cabinet and furniture making, the radial arm offers many options the others don't.
                          To me, it all depends on the end product you wish to create.
                          All have their uses, like anything, you pick the right tool for the job, simple!

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                          • #43
                            Originally posted by PStechPaul View Post
                            ...Rockwell Model 10 contractor's saw[/URL] listed for $100...
                            That is exactly what you want. Make space for it. You could pickup some shorter fence rails to use if you really are cramped for space. And put a good carbide blade on it. Forget about all the other junk.
                            Last edited by ezduzit; 06-15-2021, 08:54 PM.
                            12" x 35" Logan 2557V lathe
                            Index "Super 55" mill
                            18" Vectrax vertical bandsaw
                            7" x 10" Vectrax mitering bandsaw
                            24" State disc sander

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                            • #44
                              The radial arm saw sits mounted against a wall, always ready to go with a flip of the switch. I use it quite often. I could use a swing saw as well for the lion's share. But a radial arm saw excels at lap joints

                              The table saw needs to be hauled out of it's hiding spot and made ready with clearance and run off tables. its. I hardly ever get it out unless I have some box to make.
                              In fact, without a sled fitted to the guide grooves, I find a table saw near useless for even cabinet jobs.

                              They were called cabinet saws for the longest time, not sure where the "table" part came along.

                              Still, each has their place.

                              Any more, I've become a router mechanic. Rip it on the band saw, clean it up on the jointer, fit it with the router.

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                              • #45
                                Originally posted by ezduzit View Post

                                That is exactly what you want. Make space for it. Yo could pickup some shorter fence rails to use if you really are cramped for space. And put a good carbide blade on it. Forget about all the other junk.
                                Agreed. Rockwell made some nice tools. It might be bigger than you need, right now, but you will find space for it. And when the fence is off and the blade down that's some solid worktable space there. That's a heavy saw on a good sturdy base. Maybe a piece of plywood to cover the top when not in saw mode.

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