The Radial Arm Saw is the Most Versatile of Stationary Tools. Ridgid radial arm saw

Tool Talk #7: Ridgid 12″ Compound Sliding Miter Saw

Well over half of the emails sent to me are on the subject of tools. I have no objections to responding to them but I thought it would be beneficial to start a video library of sorts to briefly touch on what I think of a particular tool or set of tools. These won’t be in depth tool reviews as I know very few people are interested in that kind of thing and I really don’t want to go over all the details. Instead I’ll just FOCUS on the things I like about the tool, things I don’t like about the tool, and would I buy it again. I have a huge list of “episodes” that can be made and plan on releasing one per week. Hopefully this will be helpful to some people.

Ridgid 12″ Compound Sliding Miter Saw

Specifications for the Ridgid MS1290LZA can be found here:

I received the saw as payment for work completed so I did not purchase it out of but also did not receive it for free.

What I like:

  • 12″ blade gives a little extra cut capacity over a 10″ blade. Not 100% necessary but it has been handy a time or two.
  • 13.5″ of sliding cut capacity. Again, not 100% necessary but if you don’t have a table saw with a crosscut sled this will be able to cut items like shelving material to length.
  • Very smooth and repeatable left and right angle adjustments. I don’t use the compound feature so I can’t speak for that.

What I don’t like:

  • The left fence extension on my unit is not parallel with the fence and causes cuts on taller material to not be 90 degrees. This problem was resolved by removing the fence extensions. I haven’t missed them since removing them so as of right now it’s not a huge concern.
  • It’s HUGE. This saw definitely takes up a lot of space. That might be a concern if you are limited for space. I really don’t like how much space I had to dedicate to it when I designed my miter saw station.
  • The laser is activated by the blade spinning so it’s not convenient to use for quick reference or positioning.
  • The insert plate is lower than the rest of the table surface. This means when the material is being cut the bottom of the material is not supported and can result in more tearout during use. A good, clean blade as well as pushing the saw front to back when making through cuts can reduce or eliminate tearout though.
  • Dust collection is horrible on this saw right out of the box. That’s more of a generic miter saw problem rather than specific to this saw though.

Would I buy this miter saw again?

As I stated earlier, I did not purchase this saw out of I received it as compensation for work I did for another company. However, would I buy it if I had to rebuild my shop tomorrow? Probably not. I think I would much rather try harder to find an older radial arm saw that is in good condition and pair it with an inexpensive, non-sliding 10″ miter saw than purchase this particular saw. If I couldn’t find a decent radial arm saw I would probably settle for a regular 10 or 12″ miter saw. I never use the compound bevel feature and if I needed to make a sliding bevel cut I could do that much easier at the table saw. The sliding feature can also be replaced with a table saw crosscut sled. That being said, I’ve got it and it’s doing what I need it to do so I have no plans to replace it with something else.

Flush Trim Router Bits

25 Комментарии и мнения владельцев

I agree with you on radialarmsaw. I bought a used old radial and craftsman was giving a retrofit kit for my saw for free they stopped providing. Love the setup I use this to cut stock to length. I just bought a cheap slider and plan on building into my new fangled work bench.

Great video as always. I’m fortunate to live in the country on acreage and my 12″ miter saw is on a mobile stand. I just roll it out into the drive of the shop so I never have a dust collection problem.

This is probably a naive question, but why do you always cut a tiny bit along the top as you pull the saw back? Just curious what this does differently than if you were to start the cut with the saw closer to you and then slide/push it forward. By the way, thanks for everything you do. You’re more helpful than you could imagine. I wish there were more hours in the day to catch up on your older videos!

Thanks for the kind words 🙂 The tiny cut along the top is to score cut the top and prevent tear out. You start the score cut with the saw pushed forward and then carefully climb cut towards your body for the rest of the score cut. This way the cutting teeth of the blade are pushing the wood in on the cut first instead of pulling out resulting in a super clean cut. Once the saw is pulled forward all the way the saw is dropped below the material and then pushed back to complete the cut. On the full depth cut the material is already removed on top from the score cut so you don’t have to worry about tearout on that side and because the blade is actually cutting the rest of the material starting from the bottom side of the material and cutting in the bottom side will be a nice clean cut as well. Hope that made sense.

I had to re-read your response a few times, but your explanation makes perfect sense. I look forward to supporting your work in a few weeks when the t-shirts come in – thanks again!

Love these videos, gives a different perspective on shop tools. I bought a radial arm saw in 1977, it was my first stationary power tool. And yes I still have it and love it. It does, however, take up a lot off space too. Not so much from side to side but front to back you also have the same dust collection problems as the miter saw.

Thank you for the information I’m thinking about getting a new miter saw. I have been watching your videos and they all have been very helpful.

I bought a older radial arm saw a couple of years ago but only kept it for a few weeks. Too large, too limited and my shop is only a two car garage. It was great for rough cuts but accuracy was lacking. Bought a Festool kapex next. That worked better but for the price I expected much better quality. Way too much plastic for me. When Bosch came out with their articulating arm saw, I dumped the kapex like a hot rock and never looked back. The 12″ Bosch is twice the saw for half the price. Can go flush to the wall and all controls up front. The smoothest action I’ve ever felt. One of those purchases that I wouldn’t change a thing. Also now available in a 10″ version.

Great review bud! I just use a little 10″ DeWALT and so far has been great. I would also like the radial arm saw one day! Thanks and have a good one!

Jay, I recently purchased a WEN brand 10″ sliding compound saw, because I liked yours so well. I do own a Hitachi 10″ Compound Miter saw, but I was not happy with the fact that anything larger than a 1×6 wouldn’t cut in a single shot. Both are rather cheap, but neither have good dust collection abilities either. Hence I am building my own version of your cut station as you read this. Thanks for all the great videos, I watch all, and share many.

Thanks for the review and please continue with why it’s good or bad for your application. Some of what you don’t like may not apply to some of us out here but is good to know. I have a 10″ Craftsman that I use primarily for cut-offs. Precision cuts are done on the 10″ table saw. Of course size is limited. Good review Jay, keep it up.

Thanks for the candid video review as always, Jay. I use the Bosch 12sd 12″ sliding miter saw with your station design (that I purchased- thank you). It’s not nearly as bulky as the Ridgid; 13 1/8″ from back of the saw to the fence. I was able to modify your dimensions; the top cabinets are 6″ shallower, but I DID have to make then 1″ taller to accommodate its height. I was also able to narrow up the saw area (width) by over 13″ and add more drawer room. The Bosch doesn’t have a laser, but I really don’t miss it, because mine is well-lit, and I just lower the blade to show where it lines up when accuracy is key. It’s not like Bosch paid me to bring their saw home, but in hindsight I’d definitely buy it again. Just my experience and opinion!

Almost all ridged and any other Good American brand names are all made in china and I really think if you are going to buy a brand name IT should NOT be chinese junk. keep up the good videos jay love your stuff! SORRY about the vent

Dust collection. I am getting ready to build a miter saw station and dust collection is one thing I am trying to design. Listening to your explanation of how yours works, I thought it might be worth trying to split the 4 inch hose into several smaller ports and try that. When I was messing with my router table dust collection, I found that several smaller holes to let air in the front works a lot better than one big one. So that’s my logic. I will let you know how it works out.

Got a USA built Bosch 10″, and I’ve been using it since 1998 with a Freud fine cut blade you can split hairs with. It’s done three renovations and been loaned to friends. It had the power cord cut and replaced a couple of times. No laser sighting or frills. It just lasts and lasts and the guard never gets in the way either.

I also have that saw and I agree it’s way too big. Plus it only came with one clamp – should have one for each site. I guess the bevel is for people who do a lot of crown molding and stuff but I don’t. Mine is an older model and the laser is not lined up with the blade (and not adjustable) so it’s about 1/16 inch off – totally useless. I think this has been fixed in newer models. On the plus side – it’s BIG and powerful. Makes great cuts, and the angle adjustment is easy and locks well at many common positions. Thanks for the way you review tools and your approach in the videos.

I pondered over a radial arm saw for years but convenace of portability won out ( I was a finish carpenter ). I bought my first slider why hitachi came out with the 8.5 instead of a 15 inch miter ( and you think a 12 inch is big ) because of the difference in price of the blades and having them sharpened I also ran a 12 inch DeWALT compound set up for crow latter own and upgraded the 8.5 to a 10 inch makati dual compound slider they had a 12 but I couldn’t lift the dang thing. Most or the guys I worked with went DeWALT sliders The guys I worked with specialized in homes above 14,000 sq ft or large comer ail finish work. I’ve had as many as 16 miter stations in one building plus a few table saws scarred about some compact some builder grade, the real big stuff stayed at the fabrication shop

Ridgid offers a Lifetime Warranty. So as for those imperfect extensions, so as long as you registered it, you can most likely get those replaced. AS for the venting done by Jim Hess, I wish ridged was an American Built products. At least they have US customer service in the Carolina’s. But lifetime warranty can not be beat. I have many Ridgid battery op products and the 10 in miter saw. They have replaced or fix products with no questions and have replaced my four batteries at lest four times. It’s great not having to buy batteries. Good video.

The Radial Arm Saw is the Most Versatile of Stationary Tools

Chris Baylor is a woodworking expert and writer with over a decade of hands-on commercial carpentry experience. He has studied under master carpenters and also designs wooden tools and furniture, sharing tutorials on websites including Woodworkers Workshop and Homemade Tools.

Few woodworking machines are as versatile as a radial arm saw when you consider the number of operations it can perform. Once you add one to your arsenal of woodworking tools, you may find that it is your go-tool tool for most operations. In workshops with limited space, it can stand in for several space-gobbling tools.

The radial arm saw uses a design that is unusual for stationary power tools since the entire motor and blade unit mounted on an overhead arm moves through the stock during crosscuts, rather than the stock being pushed through a stationary blade (like on a table saw). During rip cutting and other functions, it works more like a table saw, with the stock being pushed through the saw blade that has been temporarily locked in place

Uses for a Radial-Arm Saw

Radial-arm saws are heavy, bulky machines that typically are not very portable. They are also fairly expensive and are somewhat difficult to keep in alignment. All these factors make them more common in dedicated wood shops, where portability isn’t a concern and the owners can master their use. While it is mainly a crosscut saw, this tool can be used to rip, cut bevels or miters, dadoes and rabbets, form moldings, and in some cases, even serve as a guide for a router.

There are trade-offs to all of this versatility. For one, many radial-arm saws are more difficult to set up cuts than some other tools. For instance, to cut compound miters, it’s easier and quicker to set up a compound miter saw than a radial arm saw. To rip-cut stock, a table saw is a much faster setup. A radial-arm saw can handle both tasks with ease, which gives considerable value despite its hefty purchase price.

How to Use a Radial-Arm Saw

As with all tools, be sure to read and thoroughly understand the instructions that accompany your tool before you begin to use your radial-arm saw. Making sure that your saw is set up properly as per the manufacturer’s specs will not only teach you the features of the saw but how to use it safely. Each technique will require specific knowledge.


When crosscutting with a radial arm saw, set the blade depth just below the surface of the table. If you’re using your saw for the first time, you’ll end up cutting some grooves into the sacrificial tabletop, so lower the blade to the cutting position after the saw’s motor is up to speed. Never free-hand any work on a radial-arm saw. Always hold the stock securely against the fence.

as you pull the saw toward you, through the stock, the blade’s rotation is cutting away from the body. This will cause sawdust to blow away from the user, but it can also cause the saw blade to lurch or climb forward toward you as it cuts through the stock. With this in mind, keep the pressure on the handle and don’t let the saw determine the speed of the cut. The motion of pulling the saw toward your body and then holding it back while the blade is cutting can take some practice. Some users adapt to this peculiarity of the saw by starting crosscuts with the blade pulled forward and pushing the spinning blade back toward the fence to cut through the stock.

Dadoes and Rabbets

The radial-arm saw is the perfect tool for cross-cutting dadoes and rabbets, particularly when making tenons or slots for shelf standards. Raise the blade away from the table and install your stacked dado set to the thickness desired, making certain to install it in the proper direction for the rotation of the blade.

Once the dado set is installed and the blade guard reattached, use a scrap piece of stock to help you determine the proper depth of cut for your dado. When the setup is complete, cutting dadoes and rabbets is as simple as making standard crosscuts. The same dado set also makes cutting tenons a breeze.

Miters and Bevels

A radial arm saw can typically cut miters of up to sixty degrees to either the left or right, and bevels of up to ninety degrees, but typically only in one direction. While this allows a radial-arm saw to cut more complex compound angles than a compound miter saw, it can also be a bit more challenging to get the angles just right. Always check to make sure the clamping levers on the saw are locked in place before beginning a cut.


A less popular, but no less useful function of the radial-arm saw is to use it to rip stock. While there are some limitations of widths of cut that can be performed on a radial-arm saw, once the setup is completed, it is no less difficult to use than a table saw. When setting up your radial-arm saw to rip, be certain to always make use of the anti-kickback assembly, consisting of a riving knife and pawls. The riving knife is designed to help keep the stock from binding on the blade.

If the blade jams during a rip cut, the pawls are designed to grab the stock and prevent it from kicking back. Make it a habit to always set the depth of the riving knife and pawls to the size of the stock, according to the instructions that come with your radial arm saw. When ripping melamine or other plastic-laminated stock, the pawls may not grip the stock in the event of kickback.


  • Special attention should be given to the blade guard. The saw should never be turned on without the blade guard securely in place, nor should the lower section of the guard be permanently altered so as to keep it above the base of the table.
  • Make certain that the guard can be easily lifted with the operation of the saw and that it drops back into place when released.
  • When setting up your radial-arm saw, install the entire unit with a slight backward slope. In this way, the saw will be prevented from sliding toward the user under its own weight.
  • Never begin a cut until the saw blade has reached its maximum speed.
  • Control the speed of the cut, which will not only make for safer use but will also produce better cutting results.
  • Always double-check that the hand holding the stock against the fence is clearly away from the path of the blade, not only when cross-cutting, but also when ripping. Use feather boards and a push stick as necessary.

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Home » Latest Tool Reviews » Power Tools » Miter Saw » RIDGID 10 Inch Sliding Miter Saw R4210 Review

RIDGID 10 Inch Dual Bevel Sliding Miter Saw

10″ Dual Bevel Sliding Miter Saw

Manufacturer: RIDGID Model number: R4210 Price: 349 Power source: 120V AC Motor size: 15 Amp Weight: 47 lbs

10 inch dual bevel miter saws fill a huge percentage of job site miter saws. RIDGID recently released a new 10″ dual bevel sliding miter saw which replaces an older model MS255SR. This is a completely new design that features an impressive 0-70° left and right miter capacity. We were eager to get it in the shop for testing and evaluation and how it stands up to other 10″ miter saws we’ve reviewed in the past including the group from our 10″ Miter Saw Head-to-Head article.

RIDGID R4210 Out of the Box

Right out of the box the first thing I look for on any miter saw is the fit, finish, and most importantly the accuracy. I started off by checking the squareness of the fence to the blade. The saw was ever so slightly out of square when checking with a machinist square. Adjusting the miter gauge was an easy process and the directions in the users manual were easy to follow. The entire process only took five minutes and now the saw is dialed in nicely.

Assembly is very simple with only the blade and dust bag needing to be attached. The miter saw comes with a stock RIDGID blade that most users will want to replace at least if you’re doing any finish work.

One of the things that stands out most to me about this saw is the fit and finish of the table and fence. The machined parts are flat movement is easy and smooth.

Lateral Head Deflection

When I first mentioned this saw on our Social Media channels several readers asked how this saw compared to the recently released 12″ version and more specifically lateral head deflection. While I don’t think lateral head deflection is that big of a deal if you’re using the saw correctly, apparently it’s an issue many guys are worried about (I myself think much of that can be controlled by being careful about applying lateral pressure on the tool during cuts).

I decided to do a simple test and compare the lateral head deflection of this saw to my Bosch 12″ glide saw in the wood shop. The 12″ glide is my go-to shop saw and I’ve had great luck with it and use it for all my wood working projects. For both saws I extended the saw out to it’s furthest position, applied a lateral load, and measured the head deflection using a gauge.

The Ridgid saw had approximately 1/32″ of an inch later deflection and the Bosch had approximately 1/16″ of an inch. Let me say I didn’t use any sort of measured lateral load. I simply pushed against the saws as evenly as I could. So please take these results for what they are, just a quick and dirty comparison, but there’s clearly a difference between the two saws.

radial, most, versatile, stationary

RIDGID R4210 Performance

For me, a good miter saw is one that produces accurate cuts and offers easy to use controls. In addition, I’m interested in well built tools that will withstand the punishment that daily jobsite use demands.

After a quick adjustment of the miter gauge the saw was very accurate with miter cuts and cross cutting. I really like the blade shadow line compared to using miter saws with a laser. The shadow really allows users to visualize the kerf for more accurate cuts.

Like most miter saws we evaluate the dust collection system isn’t all that great. While the long dust shroud is a good attempt it’s still not that effective. I’d saw with the dust bag attached it picks up about 30-40% of the dust. When my shop dust collection system attached to it the dust collection improves just over 50% or so. Hopefully one of the tool companies figures out a really effective system for miter saws i the near future.

Overall Impression Ridgid R4210 10″ Miter Saw

10″ sliding compound miter saws offer users a more portable solution for jobsite projects compared to heavier, larger 12″ saws. Typically the slightly reduced cutting capacity is a fair compromise for a saw that’s easier to move around. The Ridgid R4210 10″ Dual Bevel Sliding Compound Miter Saw is an excellent option for contractors and DIY’ers looking for a versatile, quality saw at an amazing low price. Weighing under 50 lbs this saw offers everything users are looking for including a shadow cut line and the ability to miter out to 70 degrees both left and right! Throw in Ridgid’s Lifetime Service Agreement and it’s hard to ignore the value of this saw at just 349! If you’re in the market for a new 10″ miter saw this one should be on your list to consider.

Sliding compound miter saws and portable tablesaws made them obsolete, but some remember them fondly

The evolution of power tools has been dramatic in the last few decades. Actually, it’s been dramatic for longer than that when you think that just a few generations ago framers were still swinging hammers, trim carpenters were using miter boxes, and cabinet makers had to know the difference between a cross cut saw and a rip saw. It’s interesting how some outdated tools seem to hang on because they do one thing well (think biscuit jointers and aligning glue-ups). Other tools seem to disappear. Raise your hand (or post a comment) if you still use a radial-arm saw…

That’s what I thought. Once the staple of any carpentry shop and home garage, this multi-talented cutting tool has fallen out of favor over the past decade with new innovations in the power tool market. (In fact, I couldn’t find a single Fine Homebuilding article on the subject.) And the topic of its demise recently surfaced in the Breaktime forum. (free registration required)

Where did all the radial-arm saws go? “I was looking around last night and noticed that radial-arm saws have largely disappeared from the consumer market place,” writes Mike Mills. “I did notice that the top dollar chop saws, err, … excuse me, I meant to say, ‘miter saws’ are now coming with a sliding arm. This makes them very much like a radial-arm saw.”

In short, sliding compound miter saws (the bigger cousins of the chop saw) have taken the place of the radial-arm saw. With a blade diameter as large as 12 in., big cross-cut capacities, and an ever-growing number of do-dads and whiz-bang features, these tools have many benefits over their predecessors.

“They are lighter, way more accurate, hardly ever go out of adjustment, and safer,” reads one reply in the forum.

“Radial-arm saws tended to bite people because the rotation of the blade could hog the saw into the work and toward the operator,” reads another reply. “It’s safer because you plunge the saw into the work and push against the rotation. If it jams it tends to get thrown out of the work, not into it.”

Radial Arm Saw

Long live the radial-arm saw While the high-end chop saws do offer a lot of features, radial-arm saws did have some unique capabilities that can’t be reproduced in a single tool. For example, have you ever tried ripping lumber on a sliding compound miter saw?

“Some things like cutting dados are easier on the radial-arm saw and you can raise and lower the blades on a radial-arm saw,” another comment reads. “Also you can rip boards but to me thats what my table saws are for and much less dangerous.”

Mike Hennessy, another breaktime member said he’s still a fan: “My RAS was my first stationary power tool. It still has an honored spot in my workshop. I use it far more than my ‘chop’ saw when building furniture-type stuff,” he said.

Radial-arm saw memories When I was a kid, I used to spend a lot of time in my step-dads shop (he was a contractor in the Bay Area), and the beefy radial-arm saw that was parked in front of the piles of building lumber is the one image that sticks in my mind to this day. Everything about it screamed tool. But that was a long time ago. Since then, I’ve never pulled the trigger on one, nor do I plan to.

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I always liked radials but with no shop to speak of can’t imagine owning one now. But, 20 or so years ago there was an article in Fine Woodworking featuring fine furniture built on a radial and included tips on how to tune one up to get super accurate cuts.

radial, most, versatile, stationary

Hard to find good information on RAS Yes! But still a great tool. Do to life circumstances I was forced to move my Hobby shop from a full 2.5 car garage to a 10 X12 shed I just built over the summer. Of course lots of my tools are in storage and when I had to decide between the table saw and the RAS I chose the RAS. It can be used to replace many shop tools not just used for cutting. You can with a little set up time and care in use do anything on a RAS that you can do on a table saw, plus use it as a disc sander, you can mount a router on it to replace the router table, use it as a shaper, mount a drill chuck on it. Yes table saws are generally quicker to set up and safer to use but with the right care RAS can be a great shop asset. Specially when your shop is small.

Most well equipped shops I’ve been in have one and the old timers still swear by them. I had an old DeWALT (one of the old blue ones) and it ran like a champ. The biggest advantage of a RAS over a chopper is that you can flip the switch on a RAS and let it run continuously. This is a big plus when sorting or culling stock or cutting big packages. This summer I made parts and pieces for twenty sets of twelve-over-eight reproduction sashes. In one three hour period I made over four hundred cuts. That’s going to put a lot of stress on the motor and brake of any chop saw.

Bought my radial arm saw in 1966 when I was 15 and it was my only stationary tool. crosscut, rip, sand, drill, router, shaper (did I miss anything?) With a belt sander, scroll/jig saw, hand drill and pipe clamps I made furniture and cabinets. It was 30 years later that I started to replace the saws special functions with a table saw, drill press, router table, sanding center, shaper, etc (I do have to admit these new tools are a lot safer to use than the radial arm attachments.)

jross I hear you but the stay on feature you mention also makes the RAS much more dangerous then a sliding Miter saw. Not that I feel it can not be used safely but just like a table saw it is much more dangerous then a miter saw with a blade break that stops the blade after each cut. Now a RAS station in a shop with enough space for long side extensions is very handy and they were much easier to setup for dust collection then miter saws. But on the job site a you just can not compete with a sliding miter saw with a good stand. I hear you guys about all the stuff you can do with attachments on the RAS but if multi-function is what makes for a good tool then we should all have shop smiths. but how many professional wood working shops use a shop smith?? Multi function tools are not for professionals that need to do many different jobs. You do not want to constantly switch setups from one task to another personally if I was setting up a new shop the RAS would not be in my top 5 must haves although I would not remove one from my shop ether they are still useful but most RAS are used 90% of the time for cross cutting and in shops that have them they are used almost exclusively for that why? because you simple can not be switching setups to use it for other tasks when 5 min later you (or someone else if you do not work alone) may need it again for it’s main task. And for that a 12inch sliding miter saw can do just fine. And for the other jobs you use it for 10% of the time that a sliding miter saw can’t do it is ofter better to just use a tool specifically made for that task. Top five stationary tools for me are #1 table saw with large out feed and side tables and number 2 second table saw #3 planner #4 Jointer #5 Band saw. (I do not consider routers and router tables stationary tools) Then after that in no special order is Drill press, lath, mortising station, molding cutter and large belt feed sander and a bigger shaper with power feed. then after all that maybe a RAS. Why because I do not want one tool station that does many tasks I want dedicated stations for each task. That is why I have more then one router and router table, and more then one table saw. And I can get 2 12 inch sliding miter saws for the cost of one RAS (unless you buy a used RAS).

I have always had a RAS and don’t understand the fuss about table saws. Seems to me that table saws are trying to copy everything that RAS have done for decade. I consider the table saw more dangerous than my RAS. It may be that I have never had one that was very big or didn’t have the proper fence or something that I was doing wrong. I recently bought a brand new RAS at a yard sale. The owner was a carpenter by trade. He hated the RAS and I got it for 20.00. I’m talking a brand new 10″ Craftsman with laser light and all! He swore it was useless and that it couldn’t cut a simple 90 degree cut. When I got it home and checked it out I discovered he had screwed and bolted the back fence in place! Do I need to say it was not mounted straight. A 3 1/2 inche cut would be off by 1/4 of an inch! I disasembled the machine and put it back together using the instruction manual that was still in the plastic bag that had never been opened! I don’t have to worry about living in a house that he might have framed. I would know it! I already had a RAS that I love! I could not find anyone that I could give it to. No one had room in their small shops or garage. I finally sold it to my neighbor for the same 20, who stuffed it into a small shed with his other treasures. It is currently supporting a bag of ferilzer and a few yard tools! This seems to be the disadvantage of the RAS. People just do not have room for it! Last week I killed some time in the tool department at Sears while my wife shopped. Sears only had one RAS on display and probably had 20 Miter Saws. A long time ago I put my saw on locking casters. I framed in the area beneath the saw and had a rather large cabinet to store all kinds of stuff. I made a contraption to catch the majority of the dust but most of the time I roll it outside when I’m going to use it so dust is my neighbor’s problem. I built a second sacraficial table on top of the original and every few years I will replace it. The table is a little over sized which helps in ripping large, hard to handle stock. I see people who mound their RAS as part of their work bench and to me that turns it into a Miter Saw. I can cut right and left compound miter cuts that the Miter Saw engineers are still dreaming about! I recently put crown molding up in three rooms of my house. I made a jig that in essence is nothing more than a second fence. I didn’t have to turn the molding upside down and backwards to make my cuts! I placed the molding in the second fence just as it would be on the wall. I also used a 12″ miter saw. Between the two of them I couldn’t understand all the fuss about the difficulties in cutting crown molding. I will admit to reading many back issues of FHB before I started the project. Out of 10-12 inside corners and half that on outside coeners I didn’t make more that 2 cuts at the wrong angle and I credit that to the RAS and reading FHB. This was the first time I’ve done crown molding and it was easy with both saws. My shop will always have a place for both, provided they don’t wuit making RAS to where I can’t get a replcement when the time comes!

I purchased the Sears saw in the picture in 1973, using it to build furniture, my timber framed house, cabinets and more. Still runs true and like a champ. think I got my money worth. It still is used almost daily, an old friend.

This radial arm saw review is for anyone who is considering or owns a radial arm saw

We had an ras at school it was mainly used to break put rough lumber but there was a great instructional video from the 70s that showed you how to do anything with it. It really is the most versatile tool in the shop just very dangerous if you don’t know how to use it. If anyone is on the Vancouver ca area I recomend stopping by bcit and watching it for a laugh. I saw one student feed wood into the side of the blade to put a curve on the ends of a coffee table. Everyone was afraid of the saw though because the teacher told us a gnarly story about a girl who sawed her arm right off.

I started banging nails in the early ’70’s. everyone had a radial. I had a chance to pick up a used Delta for a good price and did; a 10″ double arm model. Used it for about two years. Quickly learned that whoever thought you should pull the carriage to you was a [email protected] idiot. And you’d best use feather boards to keep it from pitching 2x’s through the wall whilst ripping. But I built a number of houses with it and used it for a lot of cross dado stuff. But in about ’75 I sold as I’d gotten a Makita chop and a Delta contractor’s saw.

Yes I have a 12″ one. Delta 33-890 Single Phase 120 I am on my second motor, the first one I had was 70’s These motors were Delta’s worst. The motor blew out after getting jammed. Guess what? Delta does not make a 120 single phase motor anymore. So luckily I found one on ebay. A mint Rockwell 12″. The seller took the motor off the saw and sold me just the motor. It took my delta tech a couple of hours to install, but now this motor hums and looks like it will last a liftime(like it should) I think the radial saw is a great tool and the one I find myself using very often for crosscutting mostly. Delta still uses the original design and castings on the 33-890 from pretty far back. I would love to add the new Unisaw some day to my shop and replace the Delta contractors saw I own. They saw is also great and has a lot of milage in my home shop. I used it to rip over a hundred IPE 2×4’s into 2×2’s for a fence project.

A radial arm saw was my first stationary woodshop machine too (a 10-inch Sears) and it is still in the shop gathering dust thrown off by the other machines. I do like it thoughby swinging the arm out of the way, it provides another benchtop and the six huge drawers are handy for storing accessories for other machines I have.

I have built many fine things with the BD RAS I bought back in the 70’s. I built furniture with it for many years and until about 8 years ago it and a “skilsaw” were the only power saws I owned. I used the RAS to help build my workshop where it still is used for cross cutting long lumber. I now have a TS with a 52″ top surface, but still prefer the RAS for cross cutting long parts. Several friends have chop saws, but other than portability I don’t see any big advantage. I don’t think the RAS is any more dangerous than any other properly used cutting tool. Even hand tools can do you damage if not used properly. I know people who should not be in the same room as a power tool. As for space, I don’t think a RAS takes up much more space than the now popular chop saw if the chop saw has a nice in/out feed table to properly support the work. Chop saws are more portable, but I think the main advantage is to the manufactures. they can sell a smaller, fewer heavy parts, less costly (to them) saw for the same or more money as the RAS. from where I sit, most of the difference is HYPE.

Wow I am not believing this article. I am a woodworker that does it for a living and I sware by my 1971 Montgomery Ward radial arm saw. It was my dad’s and he Showed me the art of using it correctly. It is lubed and in tune and I can change settings in seconds. I have thrown more boards out of a table saw than I ever have a RAS. Mine and many others I have seen have teeth that prevent kickback when adjusted properly. I now have a full shop of tools but still use the Ras everyday. FOR EVERYTHING. I use it to route, with sand, cut and even have used it for a drill press. I have dual speed spindles opposite the blade and I can change chucks blades and do everything faster than I can put dados on my table saw. People have not been properly trained. AS far as a shopsmith is concerned I would take one in a heartbeat. Again any tool that does multiple jobs take up a lot less space it is just a matter of knowing what to do to use it properly. I own a Makita, rockwell and delta chop saws and they are not even mounted in my shop I dont use them except on job sites. I have a full shop including a shaper, lathe and drill press. Personally the detail work I can do with an overhead router on the RAS far supercedes the detail I can accomplish on a router table which I also own. I guess it boils down to preference. but probably mostly about training, or should I say the lack of it!

I bought my Delta 10″ back in the mid 70s, after I bought my first house and had lots to repair. It got me through that house, then the next house where I converted a 2nd floor porch to a sitting room 14 X20 with 5 ea 5X5 sliders looking out to the back yard. Now I’m in the country, rebuilding a 200 year old Post and Beam where nothing is plumb or straight or even machined. the main members are all hand hewed, and I ripping off 3 layers of siding to go back to the clapboard style. I’m using rough cut Larch, and the 5/4 trim boards all pretty much have to be ripped to width. This August the RAS suddenly quit! I have a young neighbor down in town who “fiddles” with all kinds of stuff, so he came over, we removed the motor, and he took it to his shop. Called me the next day. he found 35 years of caked on saw dust inside the cowling. The soft start switch and the thermal overload switch had both burned out. Delta had to search (the model has been out of production for a decade or so) but found them in an hour and called back. For 60 including shipping I was back in business in a week. I have a chop saw which is good for certain things, but we have found problems with it. I agree with others. the RAS is great for cutting certain dados, ripping (sometimes. I like my cabinet saw for ripping, but I can easily move the RAS to the back deck from the shop, not the 450 pound cabinet saw), compound miters, etc. I think safety is an issue. someone mentioned 2X4s sailing through a wall. I think when ripping, you want to turn the head so the blade rotates toward you and you push the work into the blade, then it can’t grab the piece and fling it.

I’m still using my Sears RAS, which I bought used for 200 about 25 years ago. No real reason I chose it over a table saw except that it was the only used saw in the classifieds the day I was looking for a saw. I should get rid of it and get decent table saw, as it overheats every time I try to rip any 2X stock, and I have a nice DeWALT 12″ miter saw that is both portable and precise. The table saw I have is an ancient Sears, which I found on the side of the road. Rigged up a motor mount (out of wood of course!), bought a pulley and a belt and it was back in business.

Sliding miter saws in a shop waste space behind them to accommodate the sliding bars that support the saw head. Good Delta Pro-Radial saws are much more rigid for doing things like a dado or cutting 4 x 14 headers and don’t waste that space. Miter and chop saws are great for doing trim. For me you need them both.-right tool for the right job.

Try doing bookshelf dados on a 10 foot long pair of verticals with a miter saw or even a table saw. That is where a RAS really shines. Also, if you put in a fresh fence once the saw is set, it is sooo simple to space the dados precisely.

I have two Sears RAS’. They come in handy for multiple setups (dados,rabitts and tendons)that leave the tablesaw open. As far as ripping with RAS’, yes it can be done but just because it can doesn’t mean you should. I’ve seen that accident and I don’t want to witness it again. It’s not seen on worksites anymore but I cannot see a small shop without one. RAS’ are like routers in that they are very flexable for smaller shops. Larger Shops have more automated machinery that eliminates the need for a RAS. Watching “Norm” showed me years ago how flexible and useful RAS are in a shop and I’ve never looked back.

While working part time in a custom furniture shop in the 60’s, I was shown how innacurate the radial arm saw can be. Sure, you can adjust it to be accurate, but push it laterally and it very willingly changes course. But while building my own house, part time, in the 80’s I discovered how well it cut ganged studs. It still has its place but should never be anyone’s first major tool. That should be a table saw.

i bought a craftsman in 79 and used it for years to gang cut studs and siding. it was a bear to move with it attached to the table. so it fell out of favor with the advent of sliding miter boxes. it sat around until i needed space and it moved out to the side of the of my neighbors thanked me profusely for the gift. this was 2007.

The dangerous “CLIMB” cut, when its blade is pulled through a crosscut, is the trademark of the RAS. It should be avoided, at all times. And, when ripping, the motor and spindle of an RAS can wobble, bounce and deflect enough to grab the workpiece and fling it across the shop. Massive, solid, table saw trunions and spindles don’t dance around like the overhead RAS arm. Rugged slide arms with heavy ball bearings and a strong pivot bearing don’t allow the “play” in a chop saw that is common to the RAS arm. Simply said, science and physics put the RAS at an overwhelming disadvantage. As already stated in other postings here: Use the right tool for the job. ‘Right’ encompasses safety as a premium. Long live the table saw and the sliding miter saw. Eventually the RAS bigots will all pass away and the bones of their extinct machines will be recycled. In the meantime we will all read their stories of being too cheap, or uninformed to equip themselves properly. Lore and legend still finds it way into print from guys who refuse to let their beloved RAS dinosaurs die. They are underwhelming.

I have had a Sears 10″ RAS since 1962 and have improvised a couple of unusual applications. I found that I could cut aluminum jigplate in any thickness by using a 10″ Delta blade with zero rake angle on the teeth, pushing the blade into the aluminum stock clamped against a wood fence. The blade tip speed is several times what the machinist’s handbooks recommend, but going slowly and carefully works fine. It leaves a beautiful finish, as good as a milling machine. I have also used it as a surface grinder, with a discarded surface grinder wheel mounted with a hub adapter to fit the saw spindle, to clean up worn valve tappets from an OHV Mercedes engine. I took very light skim cuts with the tappets clamped in an improvised fixture. Not exactly carpenter work, but meeting my needs!

I have had a Sears 10″ RAS since 1962 and have improvised a couple of unusual applications. I found that I could cut aluminum jigplate in any thickness by using a 10″ Delta blade with zero rake angle on the teeth, pushing the blade into the aluminum stock clamped against a wood fence. The blade tip speed is several times what the machinist’s handbooks recommend, but going slowly and carefully works fine. It leaves a beautiful finish, as good as a milling machine. I have also used it as a surface grinder, with a discarded surface grinder wheel mounted with a hub adapter to fit the saw spindle, to clean up worn valve tappets from an OHV Mercedes engine. I took very light skim cuts with the tappets clamped in an improvised fixture. Not exactly carpenter work, but meeting my needs!

The Craftsman 12″ radial arm saw on the first photo is the same saw I’ve been using for twenty plus years in the center of a 24′ table. Usually use it to cut large/rough boards to size, dado lap joints and use the wire wheel on the right side for cleaning things up. Don’t use it too much for anything else since I have an 8-1/4″ Ryobi radial arm, 12″ Milwaukee slider, Hitachi 12″, DeWALT 12″, Makita 10″ and a few others. The 12″ Craftsman radial arm seems to be the best saw for dadoing 4x4s and other large pieces. I went from a small 24×24′ shop years ago to a 40×60′ shop, now everything has it’s place, and. I seem to accumulate more “stuff” with the extra room!

Whatever happened to the radial arm saw? Well, my DeWALT 9″ RAS is still sitting in a prominent place in my workshop since I bought it in 1957. I have a tablesaw but my RAS is well-tuned, has a good Forrest blade and is still my choice for accurate crosscuts. May be time for a rebirth of that type of tool.

I am surprised that a manufacturer has not put a swivel-head on a sliding chop saw. Viola, a compact radial arm saw. You could then rip fine with it. Just wait. I’ll bet you see one of these in the next year.

I still have the Craftsman that I inheirited from my father-in-law. As a matter of fact it is the same exact model that is pictured above without the table surface attached. I have considered getting rid of it but haven’t quite been able to part with it. It would be a lot handier for quick cut offs it I could stop piling stuff on it when it is not being used.

I still have the Craftsman that I inheirited from my father-in-law. As a matter of fact it is the same exact model that is pictured above without the table surface attached. I have considered getting rid of it but haven’t quite been able to part with it. It would be a lot handier for quick cut offs it I could stop piling stuff on it when it is not being used.

Bought 10 inch RAS in 1966 when I got off of active duty in the Army and was living in a rental house with only a 12 by 16 foot storage area to work out of. Moved two years later and had a dedicated 8 x 10 area. Used the RAS to build furniture and for mods to my house. Bought a used 12 in craftsman RAS at a commercial shop going out of business sale and donated the 10 in model to a charity where the maintenance guy didn’t have any saw. Used that 12 in radial for the next twenty-five years. 10 years ago mover into a new house with a dedicated 34 x 32 foot shop. The RAS still in an intergral part of my shop and sits in the middle of one of the 24 ft walls. It is the most used tool in my shop, mostly now for crosscut ( rough and finished) and for dados. I now have a shaper and routers but find that the RAS is still the most versitle for certain kinds of moulding operations. The key to its use is checking that it the settings are still acurate and buildind jigs which have good safety guards attached to prevent injury when things could get jammed. My table saw (10 in craftsman) gets the most use for ripping but I still carefully use my 12 in RAS for ripping thick 4 by material. As my old Industrial Tech woodshop teacher always said: “respect that they can bite you and you won’t get hurt”. Thr RAS may be fading but I don’t think that it will dissapear. Thanks to all for their Комментарии и мнения владельцев. PS I reciently lost my electric brake, any suggestions on where to start looking for over 30 yr old parts?

I have a 1970 Montgomery Wards RAS and I LOVE it. The adjustments are easy and extremely fine (very accurate). It can drum sand, route, dato, compound miter, rip, cross cut and more. My greatest complaint. it’s noisy. Very noisy. But I keep my headphones on the arm, easy to grab. All power tools are dangerous. I expect that more guys have lost thumbs on table saws than there are RAS’s out there (either neatly slicing them off or busting them from kickback). You need to use some good common sense and stay aware of what you’re doing. no matter what tool you’re using. I’ve never had an accident with mine (yet) and I use it a lot. To each their own. (If you want to use a dangerous tool, that’s extremely effective, try a crooked knife! It’s one of the finest hand tools ever invented.) I’m keeping my RAS and dreading the day it fails. And yes I bought the first sliding miter saw (Hitachi) that I could find, many, many, many moons ago. It gets lots of use too.

I bought a 12″ DeWALT RAS back in 1977 I have a molding head cutter and a set of dado blades for it. I even used it as a drill press. I used my RAS for everything back then. Around 1984 I bought a table saw, I thought I was living high. I was able to set two things up at once. I don’t use it the way I did back then, but it is always set up and ready to cross cut. Call me sentimental but special feeling when I use it.

I picked up and restored a 1956 DeWALT GWI about 9 years ago. I have 8″, 10″, and 12″ blades for it and quite a few moulding cutters. Just this weekend, I used it to rip some Ipe decking at an angle from 3.5″ to 0″ over a 20″ length. Not an easy thing to do on my tablesaw. In the past, I’ve ripped wedges 1/4″ wide on one end and 6′ long to true up leaning walls. I suppose I could make some sort of jig for a tablesaw to do this? I prefer the RAS to the tablesaw for dado cuts, since I can see what the blade is doing. The RAS can also be used as a jointer (I don’t have the space for one of those). Straight cutters with a moulding head, combined with a custom fence do the trick. In a few years, I expect to be moving. When I do, the tablesaw will go on Craig’s list. The RAS will move with me. George

I bought my 10″ Craftsman RAS in the mid-70s. It was my first stationary power tool and still runs like a charm. It is dedicated to in-shop duty, unlike my 12″ miter saw (and stand) that moves with the job. The RAS is most useful when making repetitive cuts that require stops or jigging.

I had no idea all you RAS users were out there! My first stationary power tool was my 10″ Sears RAS which I still use today, some 30 years later. It received a new sacrificial top, new fence and a new kitty litter pail dust collector this summer. Like many of you I don’t use my RAS as much as I used to as my table saw and miter saw have taken on a larger share of the load. The RAS does have a place in my shop and always will.

For those that still like and use their radial arm saw do not read further. For me the radial arm saw has died the death it deserves. It is the only tool that has hurt me, when mine was stolen 23 years ago I was at first angry that someone would steal a tool, but gradually grateful that it was gone and then secretly hopeful that the saw would punish the thief in a kind of divine justice. Multi-purpose tools can never be as effective as dedicated tools. Not a sermon just a thought.

For those that still like and use their radial arm saw do not read further. For me the radial arm saw has died the death it deserves. It is the only tool that has hurt me, when mine was stolen 23 years ago I was at first angry that someone would steal a tool, but gradually grateful that it was gone and then secretly hopeful that the saw would punish the thief in a kind of divine justice. Multi-purpose tools can never be as effective as dedicated tools. Not a sermon just a thought.

I love those big DeWalts for fast cross cuts. Those big GEs can cut 6 boards at a time. Check out the successor at Home Depots under the name “The Original Radial Arm Saw” or something. Black and Decker sold the original to them when it bought DeWALT. To me, they left the heart of the company to someone else and only walked off with the name.

The simple fact of the matter is. You really need both a RAS, and a Chop Saw. I am a general contractor in the San Diego area. We build custom homes from the foundation to the roof, and everything in between. I have a cabinet shop where I have two RAS’s set up, and a Chop box as well. There is no beating the RAS when it comes to cross cutting. The fact that a 14″ 3hp RAS has far more power than any chop saw, or sliding compound miter saw on the market today, and that is a huge benefit. The point being that each saw can do something the other one can not! Cutting multiple pieces all the same size, the RAS wins that challenge easily. Cutting up base, casing, or crown, the chop saw wins hands down. You need them both. I have a 14″ Delta-Milwaukee RAS set up for cross cuts. Then a 12″ DeWALT chop saw set up for miters. Then a 10″ Delta-Rockwell RAS set up for dados. They are all permanently mounted on an 18′ table with a fence. I have four or five other slide compounds, and chop saws that I use for job site work. To say that the RAS is extinct, or a thing of the past is a stupid comment. I can’t think of any professional cabinet shop that I’ve been through, that doesn’t have a RAS or a cutoff saw of some sort. A chop saw just wouldn’t hold up with their tiny little motors. I think the author of this article makes a mistake when he tries to feed us this line. “In short, sliding compound miter saws (the bigger cousins of the chop saw) have taken the place of the radial arm saw.” I think a more accurate take on the overall view would be to say “the sliding compound miter saw is geared toward the home owner and hobbyist. Someone who is not a professional, and has no need for a RAS.” They can get by with a sliding compound miter saw. But a true professional (a production framer, or a production cabinet shop,) would never be able to get by with only a compound miter saw. They need a big powerful RAS. And that’s all there is to it!



Stgeorge above who signed his post paul, I promise I am not picking on you when I say this but i have to address what you said. YOu said you are a teacher in a woodshop. If you dislike it and wont teach it then you could be part of the problem. My father taught me well. If teachers would do the same instead of teaching that it is a chop saw with a big motor the new woodworkers would not be afraid of the RAS. I consider it one the safest tools I use. It has its guards and the overhead arm lets me see everything all the time. I can control the wood using the kickback guards and It does everything. I have some very expensive tools in my shop but use the old RAS more than any of them. Yes it is loud but that is why I have hearing protection. I replace the table on it as needed and keep on going from there. Im concerned that it is a tool that has truly caught a bad rap. I have worked with carpenters that are scared of it until I show them all that it can do safely. Teaching is the key.

Bought my Craftsman in 1970. Only bench type saw that I have ever had. Only one run away in all of those years whrn cutting a 2 x 4 taper on length on the flat. My Dad and I were both supporting, run away came with my Dad at the wrong end (blade pushing piece toward him). No other mishaps, cuts true, ordinary adjustments, expected table replacements and general maintenance. I am not planning to change saw style in my new shop and yes I have and do some fine detained wood work. ADVANTAGE: I can see the blade and always respect what it can do so I am always sober and attentive as to what I do. SAFETY is the UTMOST. Marc

A 10″ Craftsman came into my life about 30 years ago. used. and I just finished squaring it up today for a bed building project. I’m doing a lot of dadoing right now, always cross cutting, and no small amount of ripping. By the way, quite a few years ago, after a perhaps slightly dull blade did “hog” up onto the wood and scared the bejezus out of me, I started ripping from the opposite direction, so that the blade cuts from the bottom surface to the top of the wood as I push the stock through. I keep the sawdust guard fairly low to prevent sawdust blowing up into my face, and do have to pay close attention to not feed it too fast, but that’s true for whichever direction I’m pushing it. I appreciated the comment above that an RAS tends to FOCUS your mind toward safety. Of course all these screaming, spinning pieces of sharp metal tend to do that, but maybe moving the RAS blade back and forth toward your face tends to heighten the effect!

Gee, I should have read this before I bought the Delta 33-890 I just got for 450 (being facetious). I have a 12 inch Ridgid dual miter sliding chop saw on the great stand but find a radial arm invaluable for things like repetitive length cuts and dado slots that are spaced in a repeating manner. There is a huge difference between a wimpy saw and a massive and solid one. There are also huge differences in how they cut with great blades. Just an upgrade to a high end blade seems like a saw upgrade. I am building the new saw into a stationary bench with 8 feet to one side and six to the other. For cuts that are a few inches or unevenly spaced I use a series of blocks that can be added or taken off the fence each time another cut is made. I also like the cutoff piece to be clamped down so it can’t jam against the blade because it’s up against a block. For precision cuts and dado work I consider the radial arm to be a huge asset in my shop, it’s the tool of choice to do a few things the best they can be done. It takes the place of some accurate crosscuts I would otherwise have to use the table saw for.

Q: What Ever Happened to the Radial Arm Saw? A: Black and Decker bought the DeWALT brand and promptly destroyed it by using industrial cheapening techniques in order to appeal to the burgeoning crowd of DIY’ers. The combination of a cheaper, lighter weight, and thus less safe saw with the unrefined skills of the DIY user resulted in mass casualties. Other low cost/lesser quality brands such as Craftsman, Skill, Rockwell, and Montgomery Wards saw that there was a buck to be made and jumped on board, more casualties followed, and a bad reputation for the entire field of radial arm saws grew. As noted, the SCMS was introduced as a safer, more portable alternative and has become the replacement standard. The bad reputation and heaps of the cheap/dangerous versions of RAS’s still abound in the shops of modern DIY’ers who, on average, have a much better understanding of their proper usage than the DIY’ers of the past. Note: I have a 1940’s DeWALT GW. It is heavy, tight, powerful and much safer than most. I use it almost exclusivly for cutting dados. DC

I have a 10″ Craftsman that I bought used in excellent condition on a stand for 60. I think that of all of the shop tools I’ve ever used, only the ShopSmith is more versatile. If you have limited space, the RAS is indispensable for the variety of tasks that can be accomplished on the single tool. John

I’m surprised that no one has mentioned the recall on Craftsman radial arm saws manufactuered by Emerson Tool Co. and sold by Sears. I had an 8 inch model that I purchased used in 1967. A couple years years ago I felt the blade guard was not working properly. While searching for a fix, I stumbled across this website: “” It seems I was not the only one with problems. Emerson has issued a recall and will supply a free repair kit or repurchase your saw if a kit is not available. My saw was old enought that no kit was available and I returned the saw (actually just the motor) for 100. It was more than I paid in 1967. My 12″ DeWALT chop saw now sits on the table the RAS used to occupy.

Precision cutting EconOdome struts is only possible with a radial arm saw. Many of the cuts are made at 25 to 35 degrees above horizontal. I do not know of a miter saw that leans enough to make the pointed ends on an EconOdome strut. If someone out there is underemployed and wants to put a radial arm saw to good use, please contact me via econodomedotcom

I have a DeWALT 16″ 7.5 HP 3PH RAS in my home shop and it still has many functions that I use it for that the little chop saws will not do. But for the average consumer the chop saw has taken over.

For a small home shop without room for multiple stationary tools, the RAS is a workhorse. I’ve had two Craftsamn 10″ saws over a period of 25 years or so and they just keep working. Like anything, asking one tool to do so much does have some compromises, but overall a great compromise.

I bought my Rockwell Delta radial arm saw in 1963 while I was a student in college. It has moved with me from Ohio to Wisconsin to Michigan and I use it daily and on nearly every project. Several years ago, I bought a nice Milwaukee sliding compound miter saw to use on projects at my daughter’s or son’s house and became quite concerned about safety and frankly, I just didn’t know how to use it. My RAS holds a prominent position in my shop and I only use my table saw to rip wood. Crosscuts, dados and many other cuts are performed on the RAS. I wouldn’t give it up or anything and if it went down on me, I would buy another one.

I’ve been a woodworker for 50 years and also have homebuilding experience. While many will say a table saw is the most dangerous tool on a job site. I think a Radial Arm Saw takes first prize. Hogging, the amount of exposed blade and the saws penchant for going out of alignment caused me to give mine away years ago. Every once in a while a miss it but not enough to make me get another, even if it was free.

I commented before about doing dado cuts on a ten foot board which is almost impossible with a table saw, completely impossible with a sliding miter saw and certainly more difficult and time consuming with a router. With a RAS and a new fence to gauge the cuts it is a breeze. The one caveat I use with ALL my saws is to have a top quality blade and keep it sharp. I use appropriate FOREST blades on all my saws including the hand held circular saw and have NEVER had a hog or kickback. Having said all that, I use my DeWALT 10 in almost exclusively for cross cuts and have no trouble keeping it accurate because I do not move the arm except vertically.

There’s a reason why every lumber yard and home center has a radial arm saw. It’s better for some stuff than anything else. That said, it sure has a lot of flaws when trying to do precision work.

For decades the radial arm saw got it done for me seeing as how it would do it all for a home owner, raising a family, do it yourselfer, on a limited budget with limited space. Now years later as an empty nester and a high end furniture maker in my golden years I use my 12″ 2 HP 220 volt Delta RAS exclusively with a 8″ dado blade dedicated to making tenons and dados, can’t beat it with a stick as they say.

Hi All, I have a 20yr old, just out of the box new Craftsman 10″ RAS for sale; see the pics/info here:

In my opinion the Festool track saws/MFT3 table combination put the nail in the coffin for the RAS. Anyone still working with a RAS is someone who simply prefers to live with a dangerous dinosaur that takes up a lot of otherwise valuable space.

The tragically under powered DeWALT 9″ has been a main stay and a legend in my family since my Grandpa went out to collect a bill from a client and came home with one of those instead, much to my Grandmothers dismay. That was in the 1960s and it’s still a work horse today as is my dads, when we’ve got a tricky compound miter it’s the go to tool even with a Makita SCMS. While it is a little unnerving to use it does it all and I’ve seen pictures of guys using their RAS as everything from a motor for a lathe to a shaper and to hog out a bowl.

Sure miss my old Craftsman 10″. I didn’t have space for it after I remarried and moved. I could handle LONG stock because I had an opening in the left side wall where stock over 8″ could stick out side. It was great- I could dado a full 12″. I had cut molding with it, even ripped with it as well. As far as I am concerned, those so called miter saws are nothing more than what they were original designed for- chopping steel tubing, stock, angle iron. Then some guy decided he could cut wood with it with a wood saw blade. I don’t have the space for a slider-(had one- tooooo much slop in the tubes- I could cut better with a dull hand saw) and wouldn’t have another- if I had to buy it. I have a 12″ Rigid “chop saw” that is fine for cutting stock to length, but for miters, I use a sled on the table saw. Several Комментарии и мнения владельцев made about “DANGEROUS”. What tool in a wood working shop “AIN’T” dangerous? All of them is my answer. Where the danger comes in- is when YOU enter the shop and reach for the first “ON” switch.

I can’t imagine woodworking without my 12″ DeWALT RAS. Clearance, draw, tilt swing all over MDF bed and fences easily replaced. Fixed height dados are simple. With an adapter, CNC bits turn this beast into a multipurpose boring/milling machine, let’s see a compound sliding miter mill aluminum block. I’ll come back and post a picture of the dust collection port I made, collecting dust behind a RAS is problematic. This simple port mounts to the rear of the arm and swings with it, and adjust vertically. Stays behind the blade in all configurations and snug to the table. “A day without sawdust is like a day without sunshine.”

Have had my Craftsman 10″ radial saw for over 35yrs. It has moved with me 5 times We are getting ready to move it to our retirement home where it will have a prominent place in my new shop. I remember choosing it over a table saw because it was more versatile back in the day. ( still don’t own a table saw)Yes I’m old school LOL though I do own a power miter for trim work.

The people who think radial saws are dangerous probably have either never used one or used one until it jumped at them and then rather than learn from their experience just fled. Those same people should probably not be using hand-held circular saws, either. I have used my 10″ saw both for my own pleasure and in a former business since 1978. I’ve had to replace a few parts but it’s been a great saw. Too many people think they need cabinet grade table saws to cut kindling. They don’t stop to think how much space it takes to use one. I’ve got mine on an RTI (I think that’s the brand) cart with built-in infeed/outfeed tables. With the rollers down it is barely 4″ wider than the basic saw and the wheels allow me to move or turn it so that it can cut material in very confined spaces. Oh, and as for the jumping blade problem: get one with a negative hook angle and you shouldn’t have any trouble. An RAS combined with two sawhorses, a shooter board, and a circular saw can accurately cut plywood for cabinet carcasses. You can spring clamp a piece of scrap to the fence for making repetitive cross cuts. Etc. It’s not the only tool one should ever hope to have in the shop, but it is definitely a good one to have in a small shop.

About 10 years ago a friend had just given me a bunch of poplar and mahogany boards and as we were loading the last of them on my truck he asked if I had any use for a RAS. He had a late 1940s Delta-Milwaukee 12/14″ Multiplex given to him 20 yrs prior and had squirreled it away in an old outbuilding and never got around to using it. Didn’t even know if it ran. Not one to turn down a massive chunk of cast iron wearing the iconic Delta logo I said yes and we chained it to his skid-steer bucket, loaded it up and home with me it went. All 500 lbs. of it. A new power cord was all it took to get it running and what a sweet addition to my shop it has been. Mainly used for crosscuts it saves time by not having to go back and forth with multiple set-ups on my table saw. I know the RAS has a reputation for inaccuracy by bumping the arm etc. but I have not found that to be a problem. The old Delta holds onto it’s settings pretty well due to its mass and the fine machining of the adjusting devices. I really enjoy using it and would not want to be without it.

Like some of the previous Комментарии и мнения владельцев a Craftsman 10″ RAS was my first stationary tool purchased in the mid 70s. I always thought the tendency to hog into the work was from a dull blade. It reality it was furnished with the wrong blade. As BGodfrey commented you need a negative hook angle blade in a RAS. After many years I read Saw Blades 101 at Rockler and bought the right blade. From Rockler:”Radial-arm saws and sliding compound miter saws, on the other hand, require a blade with a very low or negative hook angle to inhibit overly fast feed rate, binding and the blade’s tendency to “climb” the material.” I still use my RAS, more safely now, along with my added chop saw and Delta Contractor Saw. They all have their uses.

I had to go back out into the shop after reading “What ever happened to the Radial Arm Saw” to make certain mine was still where I put it. It’s still there. Back in 1978, my very first “big” purchase was a Sears Craftsman 10″ RAS. Still have it, still use it, still build cabinets and furniture with it. Yes, I have a sliding compound miter saw AND a BD Professional 10″ miter chop saw. Both the “portable” saws have their place. usually at a job site. But my RAS is still my “goto” machine. I know, make a sled and use the table saw, but sliding the pieces up on the table of the RAS is so much easier and stable. (Okay, I upgraded the table top to a 1 1/4″ mdf right after I got it and increased the length and depth.) Just feels safer even if it might want to “walk” over the board if I’m not paying attention. which is why I pay attention when using that RAS. Could not have built so many things without that wonderful RAS from Sears in 1978. Give it up when I die. and a few of the relatives have already asked for it when I go. Maybe in a few DECADES.

My dad had a Craftsman radial arm saw when I was growing up. We used it a lot for numerous projects. One day we were ripping a piece of wood and he had me support the board as it began to fall off the table. Suddenly the radial arm saw grabbed the board and shot it right into the palm of my hand. I had a lovely laceration that required 5 stitches. He got rid of it shortly after that incident. I haven’t see one since. I can see how dual bevel compound sliding miter saws have largely filled the RAS market, but they still lack a lot of features that radial arm saws possessed. Being able to rotate the entire saw 90 was nice, and the extra sliding capacity was handy. Both features are obviously missing in the miter saw arena. I guess their safety, along with the posession of both a miter saw and table saw, led to the death of the radial arm saw.

Interesting to see this article. I thought I was the only hold out. I think the sears model you have in the article is what i have. I agree with Комментарии и мнения владельцев. Have had one in my shop since 73 and use for all those posted jobs. Especially doing dado’s on deck posts and thick pieces. I also have moulding heads that i often use and a drill chuck which works well when you have deep material. The only thing is they tend to go out of square quickly and require constant adjusting. Trick is don’t move them around. Keep up the great articles. Mardi

There is no sliding compound miter saw on the market that is as accurate as a good radial arm saw. Not the consumer grade Craftsman ones but the good DeWALT and Red Star (later Delta) saws. And they are not dangerous if used for crosscutting and not some of the other operations like ripping. They have a much larger capacity than even the largest capacity sliding compound miter saw and can do things like dados in case sides more easily than using a router or table saw.

I’ve had a 9″ Shop Mate. ( I think thats the name,) That I bought used for 20 years now. I use it as a dedicated square cut saw. never moving it out of square.I’ts totally dependable.

I too am a fan of classic woodworking tools though not sure the radial arm saw is so far gone as to be considered “classic” or “antique” (I still have one in storage somewhere). Despite the nostalgic feelings I have for this particular tool I have to agree with the prevailing logic that the modern-day swingarm miter saws are infinitely safer to use.

If you enjoy precision woodworking, and spend the rest of your life never having had the experience of operating a properly tuned and outfitted DeWALT RAS that’s at least 50 years old, my heart aches for you. I repeat: PROPERLY TUNED AND OUTFITTED. I have a DeWALT 12″ CSMS that has roughly 2 hours of actual use on it. I don’t mean run time, either. It’s great for certain things that don’t require anything better than 1/32″ accuracy. I use it. If you made me part with it I’d put another DeWALT in it’s place. THAT DeWALT wouldn’t be a Chinese chop saw, no matter how many bells and whistles were on it. It would be an even larger capacity’50s RAS, with new bearings in the motor. PROPERLY TUNED AND OUTFITTED. Swinging a Forrest WW1 TCG blade. When you see one crosscut a dado in long stock for the first time it takes about a week to get the stupid grin off your face. You have to understand that these things had safety devices that were almost never used correctly. Hardly anyone that owns one even knows how to adjust it correctly, or even why you can’t throw any old blade on it! Want to cut to within 1/128″ every single time? Don’t go to China unless your looking for a superior egg roll. I’m going to bed

I noticed that the post is a few years old but Google brought me here and I had to raise my hand in praise for my old DeWALT Power Shop, 10 inch. As important to my work as my table saw, the DeWALT is a good machine. When working in my shop, I use it frequently for mitering (cross cutting lumber, both square and bevel cuts), squaring small panels, cutting rabbits, dadoes, and tenons. I use it less frequently for rotary planing, disc sanding, and ripping. The saw is well set up, maintained, and very accurate. The key is in knowing how to set the machine up, maintain the machine, and understanding how to use the machine correctly. negative rake saw blades, such as those recommended for use in my sliding compound miter saw, are a must for safe and proper use of the radial arm saw. Much of the radial arm saw’s bad reputation results from trying to run an aggressive saw blade. Books such as that published by the famous Mr. Saw Dust as well as the factory instruction manual are invaluable resources for radial arm saw users. I have other tools: routers, shapers, table saw, planers, joiners, sanders, miter saws and so on, but I will use my radial arm saw until some ungrateful kid comes along and puts me in a home. Thank you for remembering the Radial Arm Saw.

I noticed that the post is a few years old but Google brought me here and I had to raise my hand in praise for my old DeWALT Power Shop, 10 inch. As important to my work as my table saw, the DeWALT is a good machine. When working in my shop, I use it frequently for mitering (cross cutting lumber, both square and bevel cuts), squaring small panels, cutting rabbits, dadoes, and tenons. I use it less frequently for rotary planing, disc sanding, and ripping. The saw is well set up, maintained, and very accurate. The key is in knowing how to set the machine up, maintain the machine, and understanding how to use the machine correctly. negative rake saw blades, such as those recommended for use in my sliding compound miter saw, are a must for safe and proper use of the radial arm saw. Much of the radial arm saw’s bad reputation results from trying to run an aggressive saw blade. Books such as that published by the famous Mr. Saw Dust as well as the factory instruction manual are invaluable resources for radial arm saw users. I have other tools: routers, shapers, table saw, planers, joiners, sanders, miter saws and so on, but I will use my radial arm saw until some ungrateful kid comes along and puts me in a home. Thank you for remembering the Radial Arm Saw.

MF Ournier. Clearly you know what you are talking about but just to be here, I should mention that I can think of four professional shops that have Shop Smiths, 3 with the old 10-ers and one with a mark V. One of the shops is mine and I keep it next to my radial arm saw. Not common among the pros, I suppose, but, if equipped with variable speed, they are a very handy drill press. I concede that my sliding miter saw leaves= the shop more than the radial saw that I have mounted on a trailer and even the old Stanley miter saw that I keep on a shelf above the radial arm saw in my shop, but when I have a big job I tow the radial arm saw out and use it to cut an entire framing package. Nothing beats it for 300 plus identical square cuts

I have a RAS which I use for crosscutting, rabbits, dados, and handholds on a beehive box. Ultimately, I try to use the most appropriate tool for the job at hand be it table saw, RAS, or miter saw.

Before chop saws came out, there was the old Sawbuck, which was a cumbersome cross cutting saw that we used a lot on our jobs, way back in the 80’s. I bought my first radial arm saw, a 10″ Craftsman, probably in 1979. We actually set it up on the job for a while and used it every day cutting everything. It eventually ended up in the shop and it was my most used tool, even more than the tablesaw. It’s still set up in the shop, but I’m the only one who ever wants to use it. It usually gets pushed aside to make room for a chop saw station. As mentioned by a previous comment, no chop saw or table saw can do some things as well as the radial arm saw. I did shelf dadoes with it, rabbets for various cabinet projects, quick and precise tenon cutting for various sized projects. I even did some shaping using a router bit on the drill chuck set up on the back end of the motor. Clearly its day is passing, but there was a time when its versatility offered options to multitask certain shop jobs that otherwise would have required more space-robbing tools. It should be voted into the Contractor’s Hall of Fame.

go into any Home Depot or Lowes and see what is in there. a RAS. They used it yesterday. 31 May 2015. to cut some stock down for me. I have one. Yeah, you have to tune it up, but I tune my chop saw up just as well. It has ridden up on me a few times and then the circuit breaker pops. The chop saw can get caught up to if you don’t have it snug in the fence. You can buy one now because people are just about giving them away. So, RAS are not “gone away” suddenly, I would say.

I’ve had a radial arm saw since 1985. I bought it to assist in turning an unfinished basement into a finished one. Now, 2019, I still have it and continue to use it for all types of woodcuts, dadoes, etc. It has rough cut lumber, ripped plywood, made molding, pretty much you name it. The versatility I most appreciate. If it involves wood and a straight line cut, the saw can be configured to do it. Yes, it has to be re-calibrated occasionally and I’ve had to build a couple new table/fences over the years but it still does the job. Someday my son will inherit it.