LumberJocks

Should I sell my Radial Arm Saw?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Power Tools, Hardware and Accessories forum

Forum topic by TheThom posted 10-27-2011 03:25 PM 4595 views 2 times favorited 27 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View TheThom's profile

TheThom

23 posts in 1274 days


10-27-2011 03:25 PM

A couple of years ago I found an old Craftsman radial arm saw at a yard sale for $75. I bought it. It was lumped with other stuff that I negotiated, so you might be able to take a few bucks off that price. I don’t have the model number handy, but it comes from that window where Craftsman made some pretty awesome saws.

Anyway, it’s a couple of years later and I find that I don’t really use it. It needs some tweaking to make the cuts perfectly true, but after doing some reading, it sounds like those tweaks don’t really last and need to be repeated frequently.

I have limited space in my garage and have this large tool that I don’t really use.

My question: is there anybody out there that swears by their radial arm saw as indispensable? Does it do things that your miter and/or table saw just won’t? If I sell it, what’s a good price to put on it?

Thanks for your input and opinions

-- "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler" -Albert Einstein


27 replies so far

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

2047 posts in 1246 days


#1 posted 10-27-2011 03:52 PM

I do swear by my RAS, but it’s not a C’man. (had 2 in the past….more or less like yours). I now have Dewalts, and find them indispensable. You do know about the Craftsman recall? For certain models,they may give you $100 for the return of the motor, they handle everything…send you a box, have it picked up and then send a check.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

3589 posts in 2713 days


#2 posted 10-27-2011 05:43 PM

I’ve used mine since 1978. The new shop layout does not allow the space, so I’m selling mine darn it.
Lots o’ luck selling it for what it is really worth. $110.00 if you’re lucky. I’ve seen ‘em go for $50.00.
Bill

-- bill@magraphics.us

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

3613 posts in 1947 days


#3 posted 10-27-2011 05:52 PM

If there was any way you could salvage the RAS, I’d say keep it. I would not ever sell mine, and I’ve had it for about 26 years. In 1985 I bought 3 Craftsman tools…..a 10” table saw, a 10” RAS, and a 3 h.p. chop saw.
All 3 are still going strong today. Not one bit of trouble with any of them. The ras is used only for cross-cutting long stock…it’s never moved out of 90 degrees. Once set up and tweeked, it’s there. I hardly ever use my chop saw. Some time back, I built a saw cabinet (that’s what I call it) and I have my chop saw and ras all on the same plane.. I can handle a 20’ board easily, and it crosscuts to about 15”...It does things a chop saw can’t, in my opinion, and I hope it last a long time….I’d sure miss it, cause it was American-made then… Here’s a pixs of my set-up…..

-- " I started with nothing, and I've still got most of it left".......

View Sawkerf's profile

Sawkerf

1730 posts in 1821 days


#4 posted 10-27-2011 05:54 PM

My first “serious” saw was a Craftsman RAS I bought in ‘76. I used it for several years, but was never really comfortable with it – and seemed to spend a lot of time adjusting it.

After I got a table saw, the RAS quickly became a place to accumulate “stuff”, and was rarely used. After I got my SCMS, the RAS got sold. IIRC, I got $50 and was glad to get it. – lol

I guess there are two kinds of people – those who swear BY their RAS, and those who swear AT them. – lol

-- Adversity doesn't build character...................it reveals it.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

10381 posts in 1371 days


#5 posted 10-27-2011 06:02 PM

Q: Is there anybody out there that swears by their radial arm saw as indispensable?
A: I wouldn’t part wiith my 1958-ish DeWalt MBF 9” RAS.

Q: Does it do things that your miter and/or table saw just won’t?
A: Yes. The RAS does crosscuts up to 19”, and my miter can’t touch that. Add a dado set and it does that task better than a TS. I use my RAS for ripping as well. Could be that my TS doesn’t have a great fence, but the RAS for ripping is a great tool.

Q: If I sell it, what’s a good price to put on it?
A: Try $150. Can’t hurt. If it doesn’t sell, let it sit for awhile then list again later for $100, etc. etc. You’ve kept it this long, why not a few more months while you sit out a good return on investment?

PS: A nice setup like Rick has shown above, if you can make the space, adds tremendous value to the tool. I’m working on my bench like that now, BTW, but won’t be including a powered miter. That only goes to ‘job sites’ when I need quick and dirty cross cuts of 8” widths or less…

Good luck!

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive

View rance's profile

rance

4149 posts in 1913 days


#6 posted 10-27-2011 06:06 PM

If you have a sliding miter saw, you could probably dispense with it. I started with the RAS passed down from my father and used it a LOT many years ago. I’ll never get rid of it, no matter how little I use it, mostly sentimental reasons.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View richgreer's profile

richgreer

4525 posts in 1827 days


#7 posted 10-27-2011 06:16 PM

I can see that I will be in the minority here. I had a Craftsman RAS and got rid of it. Part of the problem was the space it was taking up. I have 3 saws for major cuts. They are my table saw, sliding compound miter saw (SCMS) and the Festool plunge saw. There is virtually nothing the RAS can do that I can’t do nicely with one of these 3 saws. I cannot do a 19” crosscut with the SCMS, but I can do that much and much more with my Festool.

It is conceivable that a dado set in a RAS is better at some things than a dado set in a TS. I think the advantage would be marginal and not sufficient to keep the RAS.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

3613 posts in 1947 days


#8 posted 10-27-2011 06:27 PM

Hey Smitty,

I’m glad you give the info about using the dado set on the RAS.. I forgot to mention that. I did it for many years until I got my new Unisaw. Then I put my old Craftsman t.s back-to-back with the Uni, and now I use it to cut all my dados and rabbits..that’s all it does, and the Uni for eveything else. I use the Uni, along with a crosscut sled to cut all miters, so the RAS never has to be moved out of 90. I’ve thought about getting a slider, and probably will if this saw ever goes out, but until then….NOT.!!

When you get your RAS cabinet built, post some pixs of it, please….I’d like to see it.. Thanks..

-- " I started with nothing, and I've still got most of it left".......

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

10381 posts in 1371 days


#9 posted 10-27-2011 07:49 PM

TheThom – Sorry for derailing your thread, this won’t take long…

Rick – I really like what you’ve done re: RAS setup. I have a long wall (17’ or so) that I just completed in my shop space and its’ there that the cabinet will be built. Check my workshop posts; there are a couple of pictures of the partition ‘in-work’ and as it sits now (painted and bare). I’m more intimidated by this build that I was of my workbench, which is really strange for me. But I’m working up sketches and will start banging wood (hopefully) soon and will post.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

3613 posts in 1947 days


#10 posted 10-27-2011 08:32 PM

Smitty,

Thanks for the compliment on the saw cabinet..I took a look at your shop, and I saw where you are going to build the cabinet (I think it is to the left of the drumset?). Should give you plenty of length to handle the long boards…Wow… you drink about as much coffee as I do….lol. Naw…don’t be intimidated by that build…piece of cake…if you build cabinets, you can build the saw cabinet…Mine is actually 3 cabinets that I built seperate to work out the spacing for the RAS and chop saw. All are the same highth and depth, just different configurations of drawers. I designed it to fit my needs, and I had the room , so I went for it. My router table at the end (check out my shop pixs, and woodshop pixs #2 in my blogs) is the same highth as the cabinet, if I use a really long board,which is not often…. @ The Thom: Didn’t mean to hijack your thread either….we just carried away with a build….lol. Sorry…

-- " I started with nothing, and I've still got most of it left".......

View TheThom's profile

TheThom

23 posts in 1274 days


#11 posted 10-27-2011 08:43 PM

Rick, That is amazing. Undortunately, my current job (military) makes me move around. That prevents me from setting up something like that. But it might be enough to make me hang onto the saw for someday….

Do you find that you have to frequently adjust it to make your cuts perfectly square? Or once adjusted/manipulated does it stay. I had heard that they quickly move so I hadn’t gone to the detailed trouble

-- "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler" -Albert Einstein

View SPHinTampa's profile

SPHinTampa

548 posts in 2438 days


#12 posted 10-27-2011 08:47 PM

I love my RAS. Most of my projects until my closet build are done exclusively on the RAS – no TS.

However, the footprint, once you get a decent tablesaw is a problem.

However, I don’t think a SCMS, once set up with extension tables, is a lot smaller and it is a lot less versatile.

I would get the John Eakes book – Tuning Your Radial Arm Saw – spend an afternoon to get it set up properly and I think you will happy.

-- Shawn, I ask in order to learn

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

112936 posts in 2330 days


#13 posted 10-27-2011 08:50 PM

I got rid of mine due to space and lack of use. A sliding compound saw can do most of what a RAS will except you can put a Dado blade on a RAS and rip with it if you want to do something that dangerous but I Imagine there are those who still do rip with RAS.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

3613 posts in 1947 days


#14 posted 10-27-2011 09:15 PM

Thom,

Thanks…...I understand about the military…..I was in the Army for several years, so I know what you’re saying about moving around a lot….Now to your question: Like I said eariler, I never have to adjust mine, cause it doesn’t move. Once I got it set up and adjusted where it is now (has been for about 4+ years), it’s been dead-on…...But…if you have to constantly move it around, you’ll have to tweek it every now and then. Not hard, just time-consuming..Hanging on to it si something to think about for when you get out of the military….The old machines like these are better built, and once fixed up, can be very beneficial. Like Shawn said, get a good book on how to tune it up….it will help you a lot to understand things…I still have my instructions for mine…I never throw those things way… One thing Jim mentioned: I’ve never ripped or even tried to rip with mine….too dangerous for me. That’s what a table saw is for….:)

-- " I started with nothing, and I've still got most of it left".......

View Jeff in Huntersville's profile

Jeff in Huntersville

402 posts in 1947 days


#15 posted 10-27-2011 09:31 PM

I gave up mine years ago for a table saw and miter saw. Donated it to Habitat and took the tax deduction. I haven’t missed it because like you it took up a lot of room and couldn’t do everything the other two saws could.

showing 1 through 15 of 27 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

GardenTenders.com :: gardening showcase