Some Radial Arms Still Live

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Forum topic by ctsdeglpks posted 04-23-2019 07:50 PM 524 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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285 posts in 737 days

04-23-2019 07:50 PM

Topic tags/keywords: radial arm saw ryobi

Not sure where to post this one so I felt the lounge would accept it. I was going to post a picture of my little Ryobi RAS on Fleamo’s excellent posting of his restoration but felt that would be out of line, so I will post it here.

Nobody sells Radial Arms anymore because to many people were sticking there hands into the blade path. I still find it one of the most used saws in my shop for quick work. My 30 year old Ryobi saw was the best workshop gift I ever received, an offering from my wife. It still gets used all the time.

RAS’s developed a bad name among some circles. If you don’t practice a firm hold on the feed handle they can grab and mess up your cut. If your not always aware of where you place your hands you can loose some fingers and they have a reputation of not being very accurate. I have found the little 8 1/4” Ryobi very user friendly, for quick work the cuts always meet with my needs and most of my dadoes are cut with a router bit in a collet on the outboard motor shaft, a nice option. My dust collection set up works quite well with a self built discharge hood and connection to the blade housing.

I have always wanted one of DeWalt’s old, vintage, heavy duty models, for my ventilated workspace, if one turns up I,m ready to make a bid, ha, ha.

14 replies so far

View pottz's profile


5056 posts in 1349 days

#1 posted 04-23-2019 10:57 PM

join the club carlos i love my craftsman and like you its the most used tool in my shop.the saw is only as dangerous as the person using it.ive been using them since i was about 12 years old and have never had a mishap yet.once you understand the dynamics of the tool you wont have a problem.your right about them being inaccurate though,but i use mine strickly for 90 degree cuts and have no love one of the old dewalts myself,i know a guy thats restored about 6 of em to factory condition but wont let go of one.

-- sawdust the bigger the pile the bigger my smile-larry,so cal.

View ralbuck's profile


5966 posts in 2631 days

#2 posted 04-23-2019 11:31 PM

POTTZ is totally correct!

All tools are only as safe as the operator! I gave my RAS away when we moved to the west coast from the Fargo ND area.

-- Wood rescue is good for the environment and me! just rjR

View ctsdeglpks's profile


285 posts in 737 days

#3 posted 04-23-2019 11:52 PM

If he ever changes his mind POTTZ let me know, if the burn is within reason ha, ha. In 1961 the original model sold for $199. Heres a picture of that saw that was on the cover of the 1961 “Home Workshop Handbook”.

View CWWoodworking's profile


438 posts in 544 days

#4 posted 04-24-2019 01:32 AM

I would have one if I didn’t have a vertical panel saw. I love being about to rip 8 ft length in plywood with no fuss.

Thought about buying an old craftsman I found for 100$. In the end it wouldn’t have gotten much use.

Anything with a blade can be dangerous. Although the vertical is about as safe as it gets.

View ctsdeglpks's profile


285 posts in 737 days

#5 posted 04-24-2019 01:56 AM

Yes anything with a blade can be dangerous, but so can life and you can’t let that stop you from living. I agree with the panel saw idea, I have lots of plans for one, from DeCristoforo’s easy one to the appeal of Shop Notes centerfold model. I want to build one for my ventilated workshop so I can break down large plywood panels before bringing them into the wood shop. With dimension lumber I bring them into the wood shop and they go right on a long counter with the Ryobi RAS installed in the middle so I can cut them to rough size right away. This makes everything easier to handle for performing other operations later. Until I find the time to build the panel saw, sheet material gets broken down on saw horses with straight edge guides, before I bring them in.

View CWWoodworking's profile


438 posts in 544 days

#6 posted 04-24-2019 02:18 AM

Carlos, I have the saw above. I don’t know if you want to spend the money, but I consider it a wonderful machine. The best investment I made, besides drum sander.

you could leave it set up to rip lengths, and then cross cut on the RAS. This would be a great system.

I have a tv stand I make that uses basically a full sheet. All parts are cut in 7 minutes and I’m on to the next thing. It is also great for squaring solid tops.

View ctsdeglpks's profile


285 posts in 737 days

#7 posted 04-24-2019 03:10 AM

Thats a nice system, but if I purchased one I would be missing out on the best part of my hobby interests, building stuff. Now some machines run best with the weigh and accuracy of heavy, machined, iron. For those, if I can find a used one, I can afford and rebuild, its almost as satisfying as building my own. A panel saw is an easy build, the plans are just crying for me to build one, and see if I can improve on it. Now if time would only co-operate.

View mike02719's profile


102 posts in 4151 days

#8 posted 04-26-2019 10:58 PM

RAS were very popular back in the 60’s and 70’s. I had a Craftsman 9”, which was very dangerous and ultimately recalled. My friend modified his to hold a router and it was very useful. I have scars on my left hand from trying to make length wise cuts. It was built in between my workbenches as they acted as infeed and outfeed tables. After my second accident, I replaced it with a compound chop saw and never regretted it.

-- Mike, Massachusetts

View ctsdeglpks's profile


285 posts in 737 days

#9 posted 04-26-2019 11:33 PM

To each his own, we all have our favorite tools. I have had my Ryobi RAS for 30 years, I have built two houses with it, one 1500 sq.ft. one 1200 sq.ft. and a number of additions, I’m not just saying that, I have pictures, and I didn’t just direct contractors to build them, I BUILT THEM, and never had a single injury. In the mean time I have owned 3 miter saws, my first one a heavy iron base Skilsaw brand I finally burned it out 4 years ago, I have two other models that I use regularly mostly for outdoor work because they are easily mobile and I have them on light stands. My RAS was also mounted on a light stand so I could move it around, but for the last few years I have permanently mounted it midway on my wood shop counter and when my project wood comes into the shop it gets broken down to rough sizes quickly on the RAS, no muss no fuss. The only injury I have ever had was not with a power tool at all, but while cutting duct work for a heating system long after I should have stopped for the day, one slip of the snips put 6 stitches on the back of my hand. The wife and the doctor made a bigger deal of it than I thought it deserved. I have been in an out of the workshop for going on 50 years.

View CaptainKlutz's profile (online now)


1245 posts in 1859 days

#10 posted 04-26-2019 11:47 PM

Correction: Radial Arm Saws are still sold new today!
US mfg: (Woodcraft sells Original Saw)

There are several Chinese local brands still selling radial arm saws, including; Zicar, Rico, Chancs, EverFine, and Golden Universe.

If you want to buy a new radial arm saw, any of the above companies would be happy to take your order at IWF or AWFS exhibition, if you can’t stop by factory.

If you believe marketing folks who sell RAS;
16” RAS are still commonly used tool for industrial cross cutting, especially on heavy framing timbers. Although new style Up-Cut cross cut saws are replacing them as the prices drop and become competitive with ancient way of cross cutting wood.

Sorry I sold my Delta 12” 7790 RAS due to space constraints, it was a beast.


-- I'm an engineer not a woodworker, but I can randomly find useful tools and furniture inside a pile of lumber!

View ctsdeglpks's profile


285 posts in 737 days

#11 posted 04-27-2019 12:05 AM

Yes Captain thankfully they are not outlawed yet, just not popular, so most retails don’t carry them any more. I have not heard of any of those brands before and I wouldn’t buy a Chinese RAS. I have had to many Chinese tools fail on me.

I have walked into many lumber stores that still run the big 16” RAS’s to break down customer purchases to length, I have no desire for a 16” (What would I do with it? Ha, ha) but most of those lumber stores are now running 12” sliding miter saws, and I bet they replace them alot more often than they ever did the big iron RAS’s. But I guess they have less inexperienced employees cutting their fingers off who should never have been allowed near those saws.

I make it a point to buy what I want, not what a salesman wants me to buy. The schools are auctioning of there old RAS’s, one I like, like a DEWalt, may come up yet ha, ha.

View OleGrump's profile


249 posts in 709 days

#12 posted 04-28-2019 11:54 AM

Wow! Dad had a good ol’ Dewalt like the one in the picture, and it was about a 1960 model, too. We used that saw a lot. My grandfather LOVED using it, and made spiffy seven foot table cabinet with drawers for it. We three brothers have passed it around between us from time to time, due to space constraints, moves, etc.
It’s too bad that too many young folks don’t appreciate a good radial arm saw. Then again, with today’s youth, most of ‘em don’t know a screwdriver from a chisel, and to them, if it ain’t on a digital screen, it just ain’t. Very sad.

-- OleGrump

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

22538 posts in 3470 days

#13 posted 05-08-2019 03:01 AM

I have an old Craftsman and had mine do some really neat work. Now it is set up with a Craftsman wobble dado on it and I use it strictly for cutting dados. The only problem I ever had was when the brake shoe disintegrated and the spring inside was spinning around and throwing sparks in my sawdust. I checked with Sears and the brake is no longer available, so I just removed it and it works fine.
A RAS is an orphan now and should be increasing in value as a vintage machine!!

Cheers, Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View ctsdeglpks's profile


285 posts in 737 days

#14 posted 05-08-2019 03:24 AM

Here here Jim. I have seen lots of Sears Craftsman models offered up for sale in the used market up here. Sears has gone out of business in Canada so I am just waiting for parts to become hard to get, I have a couple of their riding tractors and have stocked up on blades and other parts just in case. Trying to think ahead haha.

North Bay public works auctioned off a couple of DeWalt RAS’s last year. My bids got beat out so there is still some demand for them out there. Patience, patience I keep telling myself, I’m not getting any younger though lol.

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