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What are the benefits of having one of these in your shop?  I have a 12" dewalt sliding miter saw.  I have never used a radial arm saw before, so I thought I would ask.  Looks like mounting a dado blade you could use to make drawers and stuff pretty easy?  If you have a radial arm saw, what do you like using it for?  Thanks for any replies.

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I have an older craftsman 10 RAS, I use it for many of the same things that you use a miter saw for.  Dadoing is pretty easy with it also. for more ideas of how to safely use it and other uses  try looking  at this site : http://www.mrsawdust.com/  look around the net and you'll find some more sites detailing other uses for the saws a quick search yielded a couple of videos :  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GRvh_NW4j4g  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QBLhvQ6eP04

and a pretty good article on the RAS http://woodworking.about.com/od/toolsequipment/p/RadialArm.htm

be sure to read and follow the safety tips, like all our power tools if improperly used they can be dangerous.

With your 12- inch Dewalt, you should be good to go.

Jerrod , I agree with Robert in two ways , they can be used in many ways and they can be very dangerous !!!! If your interest is cutting dados and have a table saw ,this may be the way to go !!!  And if you still want to get a ras be sure to check out all the sites and videos on how to use it safely !!!  And not to scare you , but a few years back I cut one of my fingers about half way off , but the good news is that they sewed it back on and it still works, just not as good as it used to, so be sure to read and follow all the safety tips !!!!

I agree with James, they can be extremely dangerous. I never got hurt with one but had a couple of close calls at a furniture factory I worked at.

It is important to use the right blade on one. If you get a blade with to aggressive a hook angle, the saw will pull itself right toward you.

Jerrod,

A RAS is a handy machine.  I've found it most useful for cross cutting and ripping board stock, when doing building construction.

For shop use, I find a table saw and miter slide saw more useful.  

An advantage of a RAS, is that you move the cutting machine (slide and saw blade) to the work,

while the work-piece rests on the table---

just like with a miter slide saw.

With a table saw, you need to slide the work piece along the tables surface to the blade to make the cuts.

The table surface has to be sufficiently large enough to support larger work pieces.

I've made dado cuts using a RAS as well as a table saw---either worked fine;

however, I prefer the RAS.

Reason:  the work-piece is stationery and bring the cutting blade to the work---

akin to making dados with a router and straight edge guide.

Since the introduction of miter-slide saws, RAS have become less popular.

Become totally familiar with the machines, their usefulness and limitations.

Use extreme caution, as with any and all power tools.

PS---since you have a miter slide-saw, give some thought to a job-site type/style table saw---

a very handy machine.

Thanks everyone for your comments. They looked like if your arm slipped and you fell toward the saw you could be injured pretty bad because so much of blade can be exposed. I saw one on Craigslist for $150 and thought about getting one.  I thought I could use it mainly for dado cuts because you could set it up with the blade and use it for that.  I know it doesnt matter but I like to see the cut happening and cutting dado cuts on the table saw doesnt allow for that.  Seems like changing out blades on table saw could get old. 

I liked on the video that Robert shared that you can rip long stock but that guy needed to add some stuff to make it more safe.  While I was watching the video guy was wearing gloves and I was like I wouldnt do that and was glad to see in the comments section that people were pointing that out.  I think you could build some type of clamping section that holds the board tight against your working table but allows the board to move without the board jumping so much, it would keep pressure on the board a few inches before and after the blade.

Thanks everyone, I am learning new stuff everyday

Jerrod,

1. When using a table saw, one needs to be standing firmly---wearing suitable footwear---feet spread shoulder width apart, and in an upright position, or with the upper torso slightly leaning forward.

Keep arm and hands to the side of the saw blade---NOT over it or in front of the blade.

Use a blade guard, whenever possible.

DO NOT drink alcoholic beverages, while operating machinery.

Practice safety precautions.

Become totally familiar with the power tool machines before attempting operation of same.

2.  Changing blades:  

Make all your ''like'' cuts on all your project pieces, with one set-up, before changing blades.

For the homeowner or small shop, a machine that performs multiple functions, is the way to go.

I keep my saw blades stored in an ''at-the-ready'' location, making for rapid blade changes.

I make saw blade changes frequently, it only takes a matter of a couple minutes.

In a production shop, it may be more economical to have separate machines.

3.  Ripping long material on a RAS,  as well as on a TS,  needs infeed and outfeed extensions.

Wooden extensions are easy to make, or one can purchase adjustable roller stands, or the like.

I like this adjustable stand, by Triton--- I prefer this stand to a stand that features rollers.  

The top pivots, allowing for adjustment when on an uneven foundation.

 The pads on the frame top, provide a smooth sliding motion.

For supporting wider work pieces, place a 2x4 of suitable length, into the channel, and clamp-in-place, with the integral clamp.

Folds for easy and compact storage.

Triton Multi-Stand

PS---this handy stand functions for many uses.

4.  Use adequate ''feather boards'', clamped to the table surface or fence---

works on both RAS and TS.

Thanks for the helpful info Ken, I appreciate it.  I like that stand.  My work was remodeling a while back and I stock piled on the counter tops the were throwing out.  Now I just have to build my workbench. 

     Hi, Jerrod,  I've read all the comments posted,and agree with all the advice given. I'm now retiried,and have been a serious woodworker for some 40+ years. I have a radial arm saw too. I was a carpenter at 19,in the Seabees, in vietnam. The only power tool we had was a ras, which I used daily. I went to school to be a carpenter,and was trained on all kinds of power tools. I'm going to tell you something,please, don't take it the wrong way. I'm NOT talking down to you. Any ras can be dangerous. VERY dangerous !! I'ts one of the tools I ALWAYS approach with a lot of caution. Each time, every time. I love mine, but I'm experienced too. If the arbor is long enough, it will take a dado set. Most ras will crosscut about 12" and that's all. That means no long dados. While it's true you can rip cut, using a ras; I don't do it often. I use a table saw. Also it's a good idea to use a negative hook blade in both the ras and the sliding miter too. Gives you more controll, less chance of the saw to pull itself toward you, which will happen. Can't type anymore. Hope this helps. Good luck to ya !! Be careful.          Dave

Dave great post , and to the most important point , ras are good saws , but you must respect them and most important be safe , JIM

David

Any helpful advice I will take and try to incorporate it into my habits.  Thanks for sharing.  My background is in general contractor type work (never did it as a job, but have remodeled a few houses with friends and family through the years) and I have just never been able/wanting to build stuff until now.  I have a couple kids and would like to build stuff for them and hopefully it will hold up and maybe pass it down to their kids if we are blessed for that to happen.

 

Thanks everyone

Jerrod,

Start out with some simple projects---

items that you can use around the house,

then venture out from there.

House remodeling/refurbishing/refinishing/upgrading is a good way to go.

You'll learn a lot, with all the various tasks involved, 

whether exterior as well as interior.

Peruse various books that you can find at home centers, and the like.

Lots of helpful info to help get you acquainted with many various tasks for a homeowner. 

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