Use my Craftsman RAS or buy compound miter saw to build bench around

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Forum topic by De1taE1even posted 05-30-2018 12:41 AM 3464 views 0 times favorited 25 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View De1taE1even's profile


44 posts in 599 days

05-30-2018 12:41 AM

Topic tags/keywords: miter saw saw radial arm saw

Hey guys, I wanted to get a few opinions from the experts, since most my google searches take me to this site.

A friend of a friend was selling a Craftsman radial arm saw circa 1977, model 113.23100. I hastily bought it because I had been looking to upgrade my terrible Harbor Freight sliding miter saw. I should have reviewed it a bit more, but I’m only out $75, so I could probably re-sell if I wanted.

Now that we’re moved into the new house, I want to build a beefy miter station in the garage, similar to this one:

View on YouTube

I’m trying to decide if I want to build around the RAS, or buy a zero clearance miter saw, probably either the delta 26-2250, or the Bosch GCM12SD. I want zero-clearance because the station will be against the wall. I’m leaning towards the sliding miter, but I would love to hear opinions, advantages, drawbacks, etc. I’ve been a very amateur hobbyist for some time, and now that I have the room, I’d like to step up my game.

Thanks in advance!

25 replies so far

View BroncoBrian's profile


875 posts in 2560 days

#1 posted 05-30-2018 12:55 AM

I don’t personally understand the point of focusing on a miter saw. It is a rough cut tool that I keep high on a shelf unless I am building my deck or playground.

That said, this Bosch seems like a great saw for the space:

-- A severed foot is the ultimate stocking stuffer.

View De1taE1even's profile


44 posts in 599 days

#2 posted 05-30-2018 12:59 AM

That’s a totally fair point, I should have been more specific. I already have a really crappy 13 foot long bench for general garage work. My plan is to replace it with something much better and more efficient, and since I use my miter saw a fair bit, I figured I’d take advantage of having such a long work space by integrating a miter saw into it. It certainly wouldn’t be a “dedicated” miter station.

View MrUnix's profile


7579 posts in 2801 days

#3 posted 05-30-2018 01:02 AM

The later C-man radial arm saws with the stamped steel clam-shell column supports were problematic… the one you have isn’t too bad. I would hesitate selling it though, as it’s one of the recalled models, and theoretically could wind you up in hot water by selling it. Another option would be to send in the motor and get the $100.

That said – IMO, a RAS is vastly superior to a CMS or SCMS in almost every way except portability.


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

View Woodknack's profile


13002 posts in 2982 days

#4 posted 05-30-2018 01:04 AM

I would love to have a really good RAS or 3 if I had the space or that swanky Festool miter saw. Not sure if anything else is really worth the real estate of those big miter stations.

-- Rick M,

View De1taE1even's profile


44 posts in 599 days

#5 posted 05-30-2018 01:14 AM

That said – IMO, a RAS is vastly superior to a CMS or SCMS in almost every way except portability.

Oh really? I certainly don’t need portability. One of the reasons I was leaning towards the CMS is because I’ve read they’re more accurate than a RAS (The CMS is a pain to get/keep square), but maybe that’s part of the problems of the later craftsman models that BroncoBrian was talking about. Not that either is supposed to be used for “extreme accuracy” cuts, but still, I’ve finished entire projects with nothing but my Harbor Freight CMS, so pretty much everything will be an upgrade for me.

Not that this will sway anyone’s opinion, but to elaborate just a bit on what I’m looking to do: I have a pretty deep 3 car garage that houses two cars, and the third bay is open for the shop area. The front wall will be where this station goes, and in the middle of the third bay, would be a decent 220V cabinet saw on a mobile base. I’ve been looking at Grizzly.

View De1taE1even's profile


44 posts in 599 days

#6 posted 05-30-2018 01:16 AM

I would love to have a really good RAS or 3 if I had the space or that swanky Festool miter saw. Not sure if anything else is really worth the real estate of those big miter stations.

- Woodknack

I don’t think of it as a large dedicated area for a CMS/RAS. I think of it as a nice, long bench for general woodworking, that has a removable fence with an integrated CMS/RAS. I already have a 13’ long bench in the spot that the station is going, and I use it all the time. I’d basically just be replacing it with something similar, that has the saw integrated.

View Green_Hornut's profile


168 posts in 3222 days

#7 posted 05-30-2018 01:32 AM

I bought a porter cable 12” compound miter saw with lasers. 3802L. Spent some serious time dialing it in and now it cuts angles more accurately than my table saw and spendy miter gauge. Buy a cheep one, treat it like a rough cut tool, and you get what you expect. I bought an expensive one, spent time making sure it was tuned up and dialed in, and now I don’t have to worry about if it’s 90 degrees or not. It’s always right on. In my shop it’s one of the top 3 tools next to my saw stop and CNC.

Sorry, but I had one of those Sears radial arms. Same story. Neighbor selling it for a song. I bought it, struggled with it, wrecked more wood than I care to admit, luckily I still have all my fingers, sold it for a song to the next fool. Never so glad to get rid of a tool.

-- Mother Nature always bats last.

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 4250 days

#8 posted 05-30-2018 01:33 AM

Those Craftsman saws are not so problematic
if you leave them at 90 degrees. Get them
dead square and use jigs for miter cuts and
they can be pretty accurate. Not as good as
a cut-off box on the table saw for cabinet sides
perhaps, but accurate enough for some surprisingly
precise joinery. I think there was an old FWW
by Curtis Epelding about cutting demanding joints
using a C-man RAS. The arbor can be turned
to cut angled tenons on long boards for example.

The RAS is awkward but versatile. I’ve have so
many saws I’ve lost count but a RAS could
replace most of them. As in all woodworking,
it depends on the type of work you want to
do and how fast you want to do it.

View De1taE1even's profile


44 posts in 599 days

#9 posted 05-30-2018 02:49 AM

I bought an expensive one, spent time making sure it was tuned up and dialed in, and now I don t have to worry about if it s 90 degrees or not. It s always right on. In my shop it s one of the top 3 tools next to my saw stop and CNC.

This is more along the lines of what I was thinking. I didn’t know that so many considered the miter saw as a rough cut tool. I’ve always considered it to be pretty accurate. I’m certainly not disagreeing with the opinions here, it’s only my ignorance that is arguing. You gotta remember, I’m coming from an old Ryobi miter, a harbor freight compound miter, a portable ryobi table saw, etc. Needless to say, I’ve been working with wood at a hobbyist level for quite a long time, but I’m very green when it comes to higher quality equipment.

View woodbutcherbynight's profile


6033 posts in 3011 days

#10 posted 05-30-2018 03:18 AM

Take a miter saw dial it in and all and make a picture frame. Then make a miter sled take your time and dial it in for your Tablesaw. Make a picture frame. Difference in the joint fit will confirm what others have said. It is a rough cut tool. Sure some can get it to do well but it is a portable tool used on jobsites. For that purpose it works well. I have one, and it is great for what I use it for, rough cutting down stock, quick cuts for jobs not requiring a extra fine edge of accuracy.

As for having a dedicated miter saw station, why not. I have one, works well and has for many years. But I also use a miter sled on the table saw as well as two other sleds for detail work. Be creative incorporate BOTH the RAS and the miter saw into a single workstation. Nothing wrong with that. I just got done with a twin tablesaw build. One saw is for regular cuts the other is dedicated to dado’s.

Search here on LJ’s lots of much better sleds and set-up than mine. Get ideas and make some sawdust.

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

View KTNC's profile


132 posts in 858 days

#11 posted 05-30-2018 04:04 AM

Hello DeltaE1even:

I’ve never used or owned a miter saw, but I have a 1960s Craftsman RAS and recently rejuvenated a 1989 Craftsman RAS that I gave to a friend. That one you have looks to be in pretty good shape. My advice is to study up on it and learn how to set it up and use it safely and accurately. You may have to disassemble/clean it if some of the motions dont’ work. If it’s been used a lot, may need new motor bearings.

Nothing better for crosscuts of 14 to 16 inches. Also great for dados. Many will disagree with me on this .. but I use mine for ripping also. If you want to use it for compound miters, I recently started a blog series on that topic.

To find a user manual, go to
A couple good books on radial arm saw:
1. Fine Tuning your radial arm saw by Jon Eakes
2. The magic of your radial arm saw by R.J. Cristoforo
3. How to Master the Radial arm saw by Wally Kunkel

Regarding integrating the RAS with a long bench. The first part of turning up your RAS is to have a flat table and to adjust that table so that it’s co-planar with the plane swept out by moving the saw along the track and by rotating the arm about the column. That adjustment is done by moving those bars along the edge of the saw frame: the table is bolted to them. Instead of tying to make the long bench be the table for the RAS, let it have it’s own table and then adjust what the saw sits on so that the radial arm saw table lines up with the surrounding bench.

View Woodmaster1's profile


1296 posts in 3189 days

#12 posted 05-30-2018 10:39 AM

I have both a ras and a miter saw I almost never use the miter saw. I have the radial arm saw set for 90 degrees. I use my table saw for angled cuts because it is more accurate than any other method.

View ChefHDAN's profile


1496 posts in 3451 days

#13 posted 05-30-2018 12:39 PM

You didn’t indicate if you have a table saw, I started with a CMS and the whole world changed when I got my TS. As the others have said a well tuned TS with sleds etc. is the most accurate way to get your cuts. If you’re looking to step up your game, keep the RAS and find a TS.

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

View GR8HUNTER's profile


6797 posts in 1314 days

#14 posted 05-30-2018 01:20 PM

the only thing I loved about my CMAN RAS was the ability to put a dado stack on it being able to see the dado helped me out ….but mine is stored outside on scrap pile :<))

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN

View De1taE1even's profile


44 posts in 599 days

#15 posted 05-30-2018 01:22 PM

Thanks everyone for all the info! I’m pleasantly surprised by all in favor of the RAS. I didn’t expect that. Based on what’s been said, I’m going to stick with the RAS for now, and put my focus on the table saw (which was at the front of my mind to begin with, for sure).

@woodbutcherbynight I’ll be pondering different ways to incorporate both a CMS and RAS, maybe I’ll come up with something cool.

@KTNC thank you for the info! I’ll definitely be taking a look at those books. I agree that the RAS looks to be in pretty good condition. I haven’t actually done much with it yet, but all the movements are nice and smooth, and the blade is new. Hopefully I can dial it in and be good to go.

@Woodmaster1 @ChefHDAN I want a nice table saw so bad! I do have one now, but it’s your typical “my first table saw” Ryobi from Home Depot. Not knocking it too much, it has paid back its investment in spades. A much nicer table saw is another big decision obviously, but trust me, it’s at the front of my mind. My primary decision there will be whether or not to go 220V. If so, I’ll have to install it, which adds complexity, but I’ve been wanting a 220V/50A plug in the garage anyways, for various reasons.

Again, thanks for all the info.

showing 1 through 15 of 25 replies

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