radial arm saw comparision

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Forum topic by 3285jeff posted 01-24-2016 01:38 AM 1428 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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184 posts in 2450 days

01-24-2016 01:38 AM

well I have posted on here about a craftsman radial arm saw about making adjustments,,,and after trying everything to get it square ,,which I have had no luck,,i was told that I shouldn’t compare all radial arm saws with the craftsman and was told to get either a dewalt or delta Rockwell,,and I have found both,,,the dewalt is model number 790 and at this moment I don’t know the model of the Rockwell but it has the swivel turrent in the middle of the arm,,im not a pro by no means but if you have one of these saws could you give me some input on which do you think would be the better saw,,not only user friendly but in making adjustments,,and both are 12 inch where the craftsman was just 10,,and also ,,I went and looked at both saws,,and the 790 seemed like a good saw but I have been looking at videos on you tube,, and neither one of the saws look alike,,,,didn’t know if they made two different sizes of that model,,,,all input would be greatly appreciated,,thank you

8 replies so far

View conifur's profile


954 posts in 1884 days

#1 posted 01-24-2016 03:56 AM

Just add it to your garbage and get a CP miter saw. Cant make a silk purse from a sows ear.

-- Knowledge and experience equals Wisdom, Michael Frankowski

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

6172 posts in 3225 days

#2 posted 01-24-2016 12:55 PM

I answered the other post, but that 790 would be a great saw. The key to the Dewalts is the solid cast iron arm, and the ones that have the height adjustment on the top of the column (as opposed to the middle if the arm) are all solid cast iron. The 790 was made after B&D bought the brand, but before they raped the original design to screw it up. Once tuned it can be laser accurate and hold that tune. The manual for it is available over at OWWM, and if you get I have a couple of pdf files on tuning that are very good I can send (I’ll need you e mail). But that’s true of the Rockwell also. It is a top notch saw, but some of the 10” models did have 3/4 HP motors, and that’s less desirable than the more powerful motor of the 790. The manual for the Rockwell is also available (I think) over at OWWM.

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

View mountainaxe's profile


153 posts in 3237 days

#3 posted 01-24-2016 10:44 PM

Before you scrap your RAS, I’d suggest downloading the book Fine Tuning Your Radial Arm Saw, at It’s an incredibly easy to use manual for tuning Craftman RAS…worked wonders for mine.

-- Jeff, "The things I make may be for others, but how I make them is for me."

View TTF's profile


154 posts in 3909 days

#4 posted 01-25-2016 03:31 AM

I have 2 Dewalt RAS – I love them both. I also have a new Rigid sliding miter, which I use a lot. All in all, I like the old saws better – solid as a rock.

-- Troy | | The more I see nature, the more I am amazed at the Creator. - Louis Pasteur

View TheOtherMrRogers's profile


42 posts in 2913 days

#5 posted 01-25-2016 02:30 PM

Radial Arm Saws were VERY popular after WWII all the way up through the 1970’s. Today, very few people recommend them, and the reasons are easy to understand.

The RAS can be adjusted to incredible accuracy and it relies on a good, not butchered, table to give accuracy and safety. Over time, the saws in use fell out of alignment, and tables got chewed up in normal use. So the RAS’s in use became less and less accurate, and more dangerous.

If you buy a RAS, make a new table with good material to the right design, and spend the 1 or 2 hours aligning it. Doing this will give you a saw that is better and safer than many saws for many cuts. The only exception might be ripping. I would only buy a RAS with Cast Iron Arm (Old DeWalt or Delta).

My DeWalt can crosscut to within 0.012 degrees. There are few tools in any workshop that can be this accurate.

If you are not willing to make the table and align the saw, don’t buy it.


-- For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?

View Vic Vanderkooi's profile

Vic Vanderkooi

26 posts in 1617 days

#6 posted 01-25-2016 02:42 PM

I have the DW 790 that I picked up for $75. I absolutely love this saw. I spent some time setting it up. I recessed it into my workbench and made a new table for it. Set up a square fence system and I was ready to cut. It is dead on accurate and has not budged on accuracy in the last 10 months that I have used it. Maybe I was blessed to find a good one but I highly recommend the 790.

-- Vic (The Silent Woodworker)

View SirIrb's profile


1239 posts in 1962 days

#7 posted 01-25-2016 02:51 PM

Both are good RAS.

Depends on if you want to make chips asap. If so I would look at condition and base it off that. if you are up for a rebuild (which is quite fun) then get the one you want and rebuild it. Does one have a larger blade than the other? If so then I would get that and rebuild if necessary. HP?—same.

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

View MrRon's profile


5901 posts in 3975 days

#8 posted 01-25-2016 04:14 PM

If you can immobilize the arm on the Craftsman saw so it cuts only at 90°, that is fine, but if you want to be able to make cuts at different angles, get a different RAS. Both the Dewalt and Delta saws are good saws. The “Original Saw Company” RAS is also a good saw made in the USA, but expensive.

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