Radial Arm Saw


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19 minutes ago, Ibboykin said:

heavier than a dead minister

I've never heard this idiom.  I tried a google search to find its origin but came up empty...one guess about a "priest" being a heavy mallet to kill fish...sounds like a stretch.  Any ideas where it came from?  I don't get the meaning at all.

You're from Kentucky...the other few comments I found seemed to be from the southeast part of the country.  One list in particular from North Carolina.

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20 minutes ago, Eric. said:

I've never heard this idiom.  I tried a google search to find its origin but came up empty...one guess about a "priest" being a heavy mallet to kill fish...sounds like a stretch.  Any ideas where it came from?  I don't get the meaning at all.

You're from Kentucky...the other few comments I found seemed to be from the southeast part of the country.  One list in particular from North Carolina.

Eric, I do live in Kentucky but I'm Mississippi born and bred. There is a great book you should get about Southern colloquialisms that even discusses origina. The book is titled: 

"Butter my Butt and call me a Biscuit". 

https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0740785672/ref=mp_s_a_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1495290868&sr=8-2&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_QL65&keywords=butter+my+butt+and+call+me+a+biscuit&dpPl=1&dpID=6143vL4z8oL&ref=plSrch

as to my minister saying, an ole Baptist minister carried so many secrets of his flock that at time of his death, he weighed a ton

 

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Guest Randy

I owned one for many years and used it for cross-cutting. I don't think it's a real safe tool for anything else regardless of it's stated flexibility. If the tool can be setup so that it cross-cuts square, it's a great tool for rough or finish cross-cutting lumber. It has great capacity and the large table makes it easy to get larger boards onto the table for cutting. The main reason I got rid of mine was that it would never stay square for crosscuts and it took up a lot of space in my shop.

Be careful though. Because the blade spins in the same direction as you are pulling the saw to cross-cut, the saw tends to want to shoot toward you while cutting. As long as you are controlled about the cut, it will not be a problem, but it's a little hard to get used to at first. Even though It's likely you can rotate the head horizontally or vertically 90 degrees for ripping and other possible operations I wouldn't try to use it for anything but cross-cutting. Those other operations just aren't safe.

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  • 11 months later...

The Craftsman RAS, that I bought new in 1974, has a heavy, cast iron arm, and retains its accuracy, but in order to make sure it will make a perfect, square cut, I never change anything on it but the height of cut.   I haven't adjusted it for over 20 years, and still call on it to make perfectly accurate shoulder cuts for tenons, and other such square cuts.  One thing I like about the old Craftsman is the location of the switch.  It's right under your thumb, after you grab the handle.   I don't like to turn one on, and then reach for the handle.

A friend gave me another, newer one that's not cast iron, and it's a piece of junk, but I do keep a dado stack on it for quick jobs that don't need to be pretty-like specialized roof ladders.   I'll give it to someone for scrap metal if another old one, like my other one, ever comes up for sale for little or nothing.

The newer one has enough flex in the arm to be scary, not enough mass in the motor to help fight grabbing,  and I see why they get such a bad reputation.  My old, heavy one, is not scary at all to operate.

The old heavy, cast iron Dewalts, and newer Omga's are fine.  I've never had my hands on one of the OSC ones, but am sure they're good.  Stay away from anything that's not massively built.   That one of Mikel's should be okay.

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29 minutes ago, Tom King said:

The Craftsman RAS, that I bought new in 1974, has a heavy, cast iron arm, and retains its accuracy, but in order to make sure it will make a perfect, square cut, I never change anything on it but the height of cut.   I haven't adjusted it for over 20 years, and still call on it to make perfectly accurate shoulder cuts for tenons, and other such square cuts.  One thing I like about the old Craftsman is the location of the switch.  It's right under your thumb, after you grab the handle.   I don't like to turn one on, and then reach for the handle.

A friend gave me another, newer one that's not cast iron, and it's a piece of junk, but I do keep a dado stack on it for quick jobs that don't need to be pretty-like specialized roof ladders.   I'll give it to someone for scrap metal if another old one, like my other one, ever comes up for sale for little or nothing.

The newer one has enough flex in the arm to be scary, not enough mass in the motor to help fight grabbing,  and I see why they get such a bad reputation.  My old, heavy one, is not scary at all to operate.

The old heavy, cast iron Dewalts, and newer Omga's are fine.  I've never had my hands on one of the OSC ones, but am sure they're good.  Stay away from anything that's not massively built.   That one of Mikel's should be okay.

If you think the 1974 Craftsman ras is a lot better than the newer one you are right.

I've had both.

A good Dewalt is even much better than the 1974 Craftsman. Day and night.

 

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I'm sure it is.  As long as I have something that works for what I want to do, I'm good, and this one has been paid for the last 44 years.  My stuff gets moved every year or two, so the Craftsman is heavy enough to move.  It's still on the 6 foot long stand, with castors, that I built for it the day I took it out of the box.   I don't know how many times I've changed the 3/4 plywood top on it though-the one in the picture is at least 15 years old.  I just use blocks of wood screwed to it for stops for multiple runs.  There were something like 160 of this particular shoulder cut to make on this job.

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By all means use the saw you have. I think it's one of last of the best CM ras's. You might Google, Emerson radial arm saw recall.

They will send a post paid box, for you to return the motor, and send you a copy. For $100.

Think, I'm going on my 16th return! Shop money!

You can be sure, I had and used the same model  saw you have until the DeWalt showed up, then got $100 for it.

FYI. A more powerful Ras, doesn't try to self feed much at all.

 

 

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I remember the recall, but I like this one fine.   I don't have any reason to spend more money on another one.   These days, I do so many different things, that this one might not get used for years at the time.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Seems to be that these old tools are probably more accurate than some of today's miter saws. My dad has had one of the old craftsman, the one norm had, forever and still cuts perfect 90s and 45s. With that said I prefer the miter due to portability and size in my small shop as I try to work outside if ever possible. 

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Let’s skip portability for a moment.  

Have you ever used a radial arm saw to cut dados?   Something you can’t do with a miter saw.  

If a person has the room, the radial arm saw is a great addition. I love having both in my shop. 

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I've used my sliding miter saw for dadoes too.  Once.   A jig/guide with a router is by far the easiest way to make good ones.  I keep the POS 10" RAS for dadoes that don't have to be perfect, like roof ladders.  If I'm working on a roof high off the ground, steep, or simply a pain otherwise, I'll make a roof ladder specifically for that job.  I get a premium price for working on a roof, but requirements are still both safe, And comfortable.  You can't do good work anywhere unless you can be comfortable, and take your time.  With the RAS set up for it, it doesn't take long to make one.   I don't want to trust screws alone, but with dadoes, they can be made strong, and still lightweight enough to handle.

I'd probably just use the router jig, but someone gave me this RAS, and I tried it once, and decided to keep it for that purpose.  It comes in handy for other carpentry jobs too, like making sawhorses, and various jobs that I would not have thought about using it for if it wasn't sitting there ready to go.  I keep the stack on it set to fit 3/4 plywood, and use the same machine to thin down the ends of whatever is going in the dado, like the steps to a roof ladder made from dry 1" thick decking boards.

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A router usually cuts cleaner dados than a saw blade. How much better is debatable. I find my dado set cuts very acceptable, dado, in my ts, or ras.

Just much easier and faster in the ras. 

I find it faster than using a router and moving the guide each time.

One advantage is having a ras, that isn't a pos.

 

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