RAS Blades: Which for ripping?


MJK
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I have a circa 60's Craftsman RAS. I'd like to get a premium all-purpose 10" blade for good smooth cuts when crosscutting and ripping. I'm thinking Forrest, or possibly Freud. (I like Forrest being Made in USA, and offering factory sharpening.)

All the blades I've been using over the years have a positive rake. Most of the forum comments I read about RA saws are related to having a blade with negative hook teeth (like the Freud LU91) so it pushes the board down when crosscutting, and I totally get the physics of that. But, when it comes to ripping, most just say "Don't do it." That's fine if you have a table saw to use instead, but all I have is my radial arm. Seems like a blade with a negative rake would push back more than a positive hook blade when ripping.

So, what I'm trying to determine, is what's the best blade architecture for a RAS for crosscutting AND ripping?

-- Michael

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Michael - A sharp blade with a very low to negative hook is considered the safest option for a RAS, especially ripping operations, which are usually considered more dangerous on a RAS than crosscutting. It can be tough to find good blade choices for general purpose RAS use...most have 60T to 80T, which is a lot for ripping. I would not choose a typical 40T general purpose blade with + 20° hook angle (like the WWII), or any hook angle nearly that steep.

The Freud LU91 is a solid choice. The Forrest WWI and similar Infinity 010-060 are also good choices foro a very clean cut. The German made Onsrud miter blades on Ebay are a good choice, and often go for dirt cheap. Leitz used to make a 30T negative hook blade for RAS that should rip well...I bought one for my uncle once....(if Mike Jackson is still with Leitz tooling he might be able to get one for you mjackson@leitztooling.com )

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I agree with Knotscott as far as the negative hook but unless you are underpowered I would go with a full kerf blade but this is just my opinion. It has been many years but I have done a lot of ripping on my RAS and I had done a lot of it with a general purpose blade, once I heard about and switched to a negative hook I never went back!

Nate

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Michael, I have an old Dewalt RAS MB, with a 8" blade, and I have done plenty of ripping on that saw. If you have the antikick back pawls, you should be set. I currently use a Freud LU83R008 with a 10 degree negative hook. I tried the Forrest TCP blade, and found it to be too aggressive. I only use my for crosscutting, since I have tablesaw, but wouldn't hesitate to rip on it, if need be.

Good luck,

Scott

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RedOak - You're messin' with my dream, but doesn't look like that will happen at this late stage. Trying to make the best of the situation. I find myself thinking about some sort of community co-op woodworking club where all the tools would be available. But, that's another dream.

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It doesn't even have to be a full sized tablesaw. Look at one of the many benchtop models. Or is you can scrape together a bit more, consider a bandsaw. It really makes me shudder when I hear of guys ripping on a RAS. Lots of bad things can happen in a very sudden fashion.

Roger

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I won't argue that having a TS and BS are very nice as I wouldn't want to part with mine but as long as you use your head a RAS is an effective and precise tool and can be very safe as well. I used mine for ripping for years and never had an issue and use it evry time I am in my shop for crosscutting (even so I also have a 12" MS I love my RAS). Getting a blade vs selling a tool that is honestly not in high demand and buying a new saw is a big difference. Then you have to look at the fact that do you buy a cheap saw to get you by or save up and get a good saw, all add up to be more than a new blade.

Nate

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I took my wife to the Woodworking Show in Sacramento last weekend, and felt she gained a better understanding of good tools. We have talked about the safety issue of a RAS vs a TS, and maybe a TS is the way to go. I also got jazzed about bandsaws and resawing. I appreciate everyone's comments and help. Michael

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