All Replies on Radial Arm Saw (Is it worth the size?)

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View gadawg31's profile

Radial Arm Saw (Is it worth the size?)

by gadawg31
posted 02-13-2015 06:00 PM

19 replies so far

View RogerM's profile


800 posts in 2877 days

#1 posted 02-13-2015 06:17 PM

Depends on you and what you will be using it for. The old Craftsman RAS are not very accurate and can be a bit dangerous. Delta made some nice ones and tended to be more accurate and a little more versatile. Most people go with a sliding miter saw now days.

-- Roger M, Aiken, SC

View distrbd's profile


2252 posts in 2925 days

#2 posted 02-13-2015 06:25 PM

Are you planning to buy a sliding miter saw?
If I were you I would keep it ,set it up and use it for a few projects,you’ll soon find out if you are better off using the space it takes ,for another tool that you need such as a drill press or drum sander,bandsaw,etc.

-- Ken from Ontario, Canada

View gadawg31's profile


23 posts in 1748 days

#3 posted 02-13-2015 06:33 PM

distrbd, I already have a sliding miter saw and kind of plays into my hesitation of setting this up. I will probably set it up temporarily and see what kind of responses I get from here, to help with my decision making. Thanks.


View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5683 posts in 2972 days

#4 posted 02-13-2015 06:40 PM

I will not be without one ever again, but that’s me. I think you will get by without it just fine. I use mine (a Dewalt) for mitering, dadoes, bevels (on longer boards), and just crosscutting to length. I don’t have a miter saw in the shop…mine sits in the shed for home improvement projects.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View ToddJB's profile


8537 posts in 2609 days

#5 posted 02-13-2015 08:37 PM

I built mine into a bench/miter station, so it really doesn’t take up any extra room. I, as well, would not be without one ever again. I set it to dead nuts 90 and leave it there. So I can do quick and accurate cross cuts and dadoes that I can see. And I use the miter saw for all the angled cuts.

Here is a build pic:

And here you can see the set up against the back wall with the miter beside it:

-- I came - I sawed - I over-built

View Sawdustonmyshoulder's profile


488 posts in 4107 days

#6 posted 02-13-2015 08:58 PM

I do like mine. The first big power tool I bought back in ‘83. Had it ever since. My shop is a bit larger than yours though. If you can build it in to a series of cabinets, it won’t take up too much room. I put mine in the middle of the largest wall. Now I can cross cut 16 foot material on either side of the saw. Great for roughing out large boards. You can get by with a sliding miter saw but the RAS has dado uses. I have even done some raised panels on it as well as ripping with it pre-tablesaw days. I like to refer to them as the Dark Ages but it did a great job.

-- The more skilled you are at something, the worse you are at it when someone is watching.

View robert triplett's profile

robert triplett

1566 posts in 3583 days

#7 posted 02-13-2015 09:18 PM

Ditto the dado use. I couldn’t decide whether to keep the almost new radial arm saw I had whenI got a slider, but then I did some dado work and I am glad to have it.

-- Robert, so much inspiration here, and now time to work!!!

View MinnesotaMarty's profile


129 posts in 1696 days

#8 posted 02-14-2015 02:55 AM

Today I was looking at the New Bosch “Sliding” Compound Miter saw. I love it. But, $599.00 it better be nice. This conversation reminded me of some of the benefits of a RAS is the ability to put on dado blade to do dadoes. Youtube woodworker Frank Howarth uses a RAS with a dado blade as a “permanent” setup in his shop just for cutting dadoes.
I have got a job coming up where I am going to need to cut dadoes quickly and at a pretty regular pace. Or drawer building with a dado is a good strength compromise to a dovetail but, a lot easier to attain with minimal setup.

-- I can see the cheese heads from here and it is great.

View Patch2020's profile


97 posts in 1719 days

#9 posted 02-14-2015 03:48 AM

I have always had one and probably always will. As a matter of fact I have two in my shop now and one in my stepdad’s shop. One is set up sharing tables with my miter saw and the other I use the other as a spare and special cuts. My stepdad has a metal shop and I keep a miter saw, radial arm saw and table saw there where I don’t have to run to my shop when I’m working on things at their house.

-- Patch2020, Tennessee

View a1Jim's profile


117711 posts in 4056 days

#10 posted 02-14-2015 03:53 AM

I blew mine out years ago,it took up to much room and I did not use it that much. I know there are others that have gotten use to using their’s and they have room for a radial arm saw.

View bigblockyeti's profile


5893 posts in 2199 days

#11 posted 02-14-2015 04:05 AM

I think I’d have to agree with several previous posts, if your going to perform many dado cuts across the grain then it could be useful. That’s really the only area in which they excel until you start talking about much larger blades and more powerful motors. If not doing much dado work I’d skip it and use a router for what work you do have to deal with. I’ve personally turned down three free radial arm saws for this very reason.

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

View exelectrician's profile


2339 posts in 2906 days

#12 posted 02-14-2015 06:12 AM

I have seen more than one RAS looking forlorn at my local transfer station (city dump). Why would people take them to the dump you might ask? Well for one, sliding chop saws are so much safer! and I could go on and on about how much better they are.
However there are die hards out there that simply will not recognize that truth, so they will write thousands of words supporting thier reasons for getting a RAS.

-- Love thy neighbour as thyself

View woodenwarrior's profile


252 posts in 2673 days

#13 posted 02-14-2015 06:36 AM

The Craftsman RAS I inherited from my Dad was the same saw I learned on when I was just a boy. As I got older and my woodworking skills have become more advanced, the less I found myself using it. I eventually sold it. I have found my slider miter is far more accurate and easier to keep that way. I do miss some of the functionality of the RAS but all things being equal, the space is being much better utilized now.

-- Do or do not...there is no try - Master Yoda

View MrUnix's profile (online now)


7468 posts in 2677 days

#14 posted 02-14-2015 07:29 AM

I have seen more than one RAS looking forlorn at my local transfer station (city dump). Why would people take them to the dump you might ask?

Don’t have to ask.. around here, you can’t give them away so you have no choice but to haul it to the dump :)

I have one, and use it occasionally for cross cuts as it’s there already setup and ready to go at a moments notice. Yeah, it takes up a bit of room, but it makes a darn good table since most of my work bench is already covered with other crap!


-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View ohtimberwolf's profile


934 posts in 2831 days

#15 posted 02-15-2015 12:42 AM

I bought a new one in ‘88’ and still have it. I use it a lot! However, I do not have a sliding miter saw just a 12” delta miter saw bought at the same time.

I almost got rid of it when we moved to the city but kept it and have never regretted that. It all matters to the person themselves as to what to do. If it is free, try it out, you can always get rid of it even if you rob the motor and junk it or offer it back to the original giver. larry

-- Just a barn cat, now gone to cat heaven.

View gadawg31's profile


23 posts in 1748 days

#16 posted 02-17-2015 02:41 PM

Thanks everyone for the great input. I did some moving around this weekend, so I am going to set it up and see what happens. I like the idea of having a dedicated station for dadoes and other specialty cuts. I believe I can make this work, by possibly integrating my miter saw into the opposite end of the RAS table. This way I can use one end for all my miter cuts and the other end will have my RAS for those special cuts. Thanks again for all the ideas. I will try and get some pics once I get it all setup.


View SirIrb's profile


1239 posts in 1709 days

#17 posted 02-17-2015 06:52 PM

Professionally when I used to do this all day long I used a RAS for a few years before we got a whirlwind up cut saw. Even though those things look very dangerous I would take them any day over a RAS. In the shop before we did everything on the Table saw. stile and rail cross cuts were to the fence. Personally, I would use a chop saw over a RAS any and every day. Dado on a table saw. I just dont like RAS because the cheap ones are cheap and the good ones stare at me with a Im-gonna-take-your-arm look. This comes from a guy who isnt the safety guru and will try about anything at least once.

-- Don't blame me, I voted for no one.

View Adam's profile


41 posts in 2707 days

#18 posted 02-18-2015 01:27 AM

I’m a fan of mine, it’s excellent for cross-cutting dadoes as others have said. I also use it to cut multiple parts to the same length in one cut using a wide stop block.

View Arlin Eastman's profile

Arlin Eastman

4262 posts in 3040 days

#19 posted 02-18-2015 01:33 AM

All I can say is if I had a chance for one I Would make room for it but I do not have a miter saw either

-- It is always the right time, to do the right thing.

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