nod

vintage radial arm saw OR new sliding compound miter saw

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I realize the two do a couple things different, but as I'm adding new (to me) equipment to the garage, I'm curious what people think would be of choice first?

 

I've got an older hitachi miter saw that works well, but I'm mostly looking for something to do some crosscuts since I have a crap table saw. I'm on the hunt for that too, but think i'd get more immediate work out of either of the above. The obvious price differences aside, is one more useful than the other? Or is the scms just today's version of the radial arm? minus the dado blades? A man's only got so much cash to buy these new toys. Trying hard to figure out where to allocate the funds. thanks in advance

 

 

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I have a but having said that I think you'd do better to get a SCMS.  Some have depth stops so you can make rabbets in multiple passes.  Having said that, the radial arm saw can do cross cuts wider than miter saws, it can rip, it can drill holes, it can rout grooves, cut dados, and do planing too.  Some people swear by radial arm saws (Check out Frank Howarth - "Frank Makes" - on YouTube) and some people swear at them.

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damn. wrote up a complete reply and not sure where it went. Well, lots of Craftsman around here mixed in with various vintages of dewalts (running $50-300). This is what really caught my eye and got me thinking. http://sfbay.craigslist.org/nby/tls/4329188523.html

 

Not sure what I should be looking for in regards to - buy this one / don't buy this one

 

thanks for the feedback. Glad I don't have to rush out and spend 3-400 on a new SCMS. 

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I use both.  Buy the RAS when you find a deal, which may take some time, so otherwise start with the slider.

Tom, how good of a 'deal' is needed?

that link above is $35, but most appear around 100-150. I see a Delta model 10 for $85. Granted, none of these are 5 minutes away. Most are within an hour, but I could do that no problem. 

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Any price is no deal if it's not going to be something you can fix, tune up, and use.  I'm still using the Craftsman like Jay posted about having for sale.  I bought it new in 1974, and have it tuned to cut perfectly square crosscuts-that's all I use it for.

 

I'd say for any one you find, try to find a manual for it online, and if you can't find one, pass on it.  The good ones are adjustable to take out slop in the roller bearings, and have some method to true up the blade to be perfectly in plane with the motor travel, and square to the table.

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Any price is no deal if it's not going to be something you can fix, tune up, and use.  I'm still using the Craftsman like Jay posted about having for sale.  I bought it new in 1974, and have it tuned to cut perfectly square crosscuts-that's all I use it for.

 

I'd say for any one you find, try to find a manual for it online, and if you can't find one, pass on it.  The good ones are adjustable to take out slop in the roller bearings, and have some method to true up the blade to be perfectly in plane with the motor travel, and square to the table.

Thanks Tom. I really appreciate the notes. I found an 11pg write up on history and info of RAS's. sounds like getting them set up properly is critical. Older machines have more iron, but might not have part available. newer, the opposite. Duly noted on the slop and adjustability.

 

I'll keep on the research. I've bought a couple older tools cheap that have ended up taking way more time to refurb than were worthwhile. Would have been easier/cheaper (in time mostly) to just spend more on some quality new stuff. I guess that's always the balancing act though. 

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I just did a Google search for "craigslist radial arm saw" and Delaware came up first.  There must be 50 RAS's for sale in Delaware, including even an Omga.  If the Omga wasn't 3-phase, I'd go get it.

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Ill just give you a tid bit of input. A ras in one of the most dangerous tools you will ever own. Ive seen more fingers lost to a ras than any other tool and two of them were mine. One they put back and the other is a frankenfinger both separate instances. If you get one mark your cut  lines or something to help you remember exactly where the blade is going to go. That said we have a OMGA and its a great saw.

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oh geez. Very sorry to hear that. but yeah, I realize unprotected spinning blades are no joke. I've read a few bits about how dangerous these can be. no fence to protect your fingers, it's all out in the open... thanks for the tip about marking cut lines. I had not thought of that, but can instantly see the value. I've been seeing some really good/interesting precautions on cross cut sleds. obviously these are a bit different, but using some similar concepts could help I would think. 

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The best RAS out there have solid cast iron arms, not the kind that have multiple pieces bolted together to make up the arm. My favorite models are Dewalt 10 and 12" saws from the 50's through the 60's. Parts are easily available for these saws from Wolfe Machinery and some other sources. 

 

If you want a restoration project then definitely look to picking up one of these. You can check with the folks over at owwm.org for tips on what to look for when going to buy a saw. If you do not want to do any restoration work at all, then skip an older RAS and instead buy the sliding miter saw. A tuned up RAS will be considerably more accurate then a sliding miter saw, excepting the really really expensive newer sliding miter saws which basically just equal the RAS performance. A RAS has greater cross cut capacity (depending on model) and it can turn the blade parallel to the table which is really great for making tenons on big stock.

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You have to be careful with the Dewalts they recently stopped making parts for them. The dewalts today are the original saw company and I got a notice stating they are no longer going to supply parts.

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Any price is no deal if it's not going to be something you can fix, tune up, and use.  I'm still using the Craftsman like Jay posted about having for sale.  I bought it new in 1974, and have it tuned to cut perfectly square crosscuts-that's all I use it for.

 

I'd say for any one you find, try to find a manual for it online, and if you can't find one, pass on it.  The good ones are adjustable to take out slop in the roller bearings, and have some method to true up the blade to be perfectly in plane with the motor travel, and square to the table.

I know I need to drop the price on mine and I'm not trying to push it on nod, but yes the Craftsman is a good saw.  I hope he can find one.  It's funny you mention it...I do have the original manual and all the safety parts.

 

Having said that I still think he should buy a SCMS and a router.  Or maybe forget the SCMS.  Get a good circ saw and router.

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I know I need to drop the price on mine and I'm not trying to push it on nod, but yes the Craftsman is a good saw.  I hope he can find one.  It's funny you mention it...I do have the original manual and all the safety parts.

 

Having said that I still think he should buy a SCMS and a router.  Or maybe forget the SCMS.  Get a good circ saw and router.

Just keep making it easier for me. thanks.  ;)  Good circ saw is in the shop. Router is on list as well. Too many toys, i mean, tools to purchase. Trying to go at this with somewhat of a systematic approach. I've read too many posts about waiting to "buy the tool you need for that particular project". I like this theory, sure. But I can't run out and drop a couple K because I want to build a small box for my wife. 

 

If you were closer, I might be into the saw knowing it's coming from a good place. I'm in california, so that's not an option unfortunately. As for RAS, there are a ton available around here. Mostly sears craftsman, but some interesting old dewalts. A couple better looking shape than others of course. 

 

SCMS is still a dream tool, but the bigger expense is what holds me back. Plus, I really like the idea of cutting dados with the RAS. Somebody (you?) mentioned they could be done with certain SCMS's. I'll have to look into that detail more. 

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I have the Bosch 12" SCMS.  I like it for the fine work as I have a Forrest Chopmaster blade on it - the only draw back I am having is that it came from the factory not true and square.  I did all the adjustments and still not true.  Someone told me that the two sliding arms on some of their saws came to the customer a small amount "twisted" and not perfectly true to each other.  There is a fix but I have not had the guts to try it yet.

 

I also have a very old Craftsman RAS, 10".  I only use it for cutting rough work.  Use a cheap crosscut blade that if it hits a nail or something, not the end of the world.  I like having a choice and versatility of two different types of saws. 

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Seems like the more I read and hear, the RAS is a controversial love it or hate it tool. Thanks everyone for the feedback and additional info. I'm just in need to get more serious tools in the shop and trying to be economical about it all. But I sure know that usefulness and safety are critical. thanks again.

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Seems like the more I read and hear, the RAS is a controversial love it or hate it tool. Thanks everyone for the feedback and additional info. I'm just in need to get more serious tools in the shop and trying to be economical about it all. But I sure know that usefulness and safety are critical. thanks again.

It's all in your particular perspective.

 

When I took woodshop in high school not a single machine had a guard or an emergency stop switch or an equipment ground wire.

An early test of manhood was gripping the electrically energized frame of the wood lathe (which had a fault, switch was off) with one hand and grabbing the cast iron heating radiator with the other hand. It was only 120 volts.

 

Once a student demonstrated he could safely operate the machines, he could do so without supervision, matter of fact the shop teacher spent most of his time out of the shop..

 

Even though I was pretty much dumb as a stump, it was very obvious that if I wanted all parts of my extremities functional for the rest of my life it made sense to be keenly aware as to where those extremities were in relation to the spinning blades.

I think it is what those goofy Republicans rail on about these days -- personal responsibility.

 

I wore out 4 radial arm saws in my day as a small building contractor.

My employees used to cut their submarine sandwiches on the radial arm saw.

 

Along came the litigious society of today and the wussification of the male population, it's a sad thing to see. Heck I'm eighty years old and not a bit scared of a radial arm saw.

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ghenges,

  

    Compared to you ole timer, Im still wet behind the ears, and Im 49. Like you though todays, male gender arent quite what they used to be for sure. Perhaps it because as they grew up they couldnt play baseball on the school playground, or some other little johnny mommy said something or another.

    Ive been in the heavy construction field for over 30 years now and still yet after being on a dynamite crew, a Seabee, and building bridges and skyscrappers in my civilian life.. Im proud to say I still gots all my parts n pieces. Youre right... all one has to do is be aware of where them parts n pieces is and with a little bit of quick reflexes you'll be ok. I love my "Old School" Delta Rockwell Super 990 Radial Arm Saw. And I aint skeered to run it... i just keep an eye on my parts n pieces.  OORah to ya ole timer... and I agree to what your line about "personal responsibility" says from begining to end..some are goofy.

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