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Should I keep my radial arm saw?

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Forum topic by Cruiszr posted 207 days ago 850 views 0 times favorited 28 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Cruiszr

87 posts in 218 days


207 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: miter saw question

Now that I am finally getting my workshop set up I’m wondering if I really need the RAS especially with the amount of space it takes up in a small shop. I have most of the other tools found in a WS, 10”table saw, 10” sliding miter saw, drill press, ban saw, joiner, planer, scroll saw, router table, along with a variety of power tools.
My shop is only 16×20 minus the width of the steps going upstairs. There is a 6’ door in the front and a 3’ door in the rear so wall space is at a premium.
I bought the RAS at a yard sale 6 or 8 years at a good price and thought it was one of the main tools I would need in my future WS now I not so sure. Would appreciate some input as to weather I should keep it or not.

Thanks

-- George R. Forest, Virginia


28 replies so far

View MalcolmLaurel's profile

MalcolmLaurel

210 posts in 249 days


#1 posted 207 days ago

It’s all a matter of how often you use it. I use mine all the time and wouldn’t want to be without it for the kinds of things i do, but others have no use for them.

-- Malcolm Laurel - http://MalcolmLaurel.com https://www.etsy.com/shop/MalcolmLaurel

View Tedstor's profile

Tedstor

1369 posts in 1259 days


#2 posted 207 days ago

You could always hang on to it for 6-12 months and se how often you use it. Heck, keep it in the shop and TRY to NOT use it. If you find you can live without it…...sell it off. I’ll warn you though, a RAS doesn’t fetch much on the used market.
I had a shaper I wasn’t using, but was reluctant to part with. Like you, I have a small shop. The shaper became a magnet for clutter, was always in my way, and was using valuable floor space. I finally sold it for peanuts and was actually glad to see it go.

View mantwi's profile

mantwi

312 posts in 522 days


#3 posted 207 days ago

My thinking is when in doubt about the need for a tool you’re probably better off without it. I’ve owned a RAS and found it’s functions could be easily and more safely performed with other equipment. Table saw, planer and jointer are the three primary machines in my shop but then I am able to buy rough sawn, air dried stock locally. If you get lumber that’s already surfaced and squared the jointer and planer may be unnecessary. What you plan to build should be the main factor in determining which machines you have to have. If you’re like me you want them all period but we must be realistic. You’re stable of equipment will grow with your skills, it just works out that way.

View casual1carpenter's profile

casual1carpenter

353 posts in 1102 days


#4 posted 207 days ago

George, I feel your pain with the smaller shop footprint and all the tools needing space. Playing rubic’s cube with power tools can be a pain. I’m sort of with Malcolm in that it is a matter of how often you use it, and what else you have to do the things it that the RAS does

View bigblockyeti's profile

bigblockyeti

1469 posts in 347 days


#5 posted 207 days ago

My dilemma is similar in that I’m considering getting one, only for free. I know it would be great for doing dados across long pieces much faster than a router, but beyond that I’m having trouble envisioning just how much I would use it. I have several tools that I don’t use that often and they’re just in my shop more because I wanted them rather than needed them. A RAS is sort of along those same lines, but they take up a lot of room compared to the vast majority of other tools in the shop.

View Halc's profile

Halc

34 posts in 228 days


#6 posted 207 days ago

I just got so tired of all the adjustment issues with my RAS that I dumped it when I got a new table saw. I thought about keeping it just to break down longer boards, but I couldn’t allow it to take up all that space when I had smaller tools to use for that purpose. I don’t miss the RAS and I especially don’t miss the near constant fine tuning required to get it to perform the way I wanted it to. I will say that it scared the heck out of me every time I turned it on, so I was never careless while using it.

View reedwood's profile

reedwood

869 posts in 1302 days


#7 posted 207 days ago

biggest waste of space in a small shop.

But, I wouldn’t turn one down if it was free, I was just starting and didn’t have a table saw and a slider yet.

I’ve had one for 20 years and hardly ever use it. I built it in to my miter box bench and turned it sideways behind the slider.

If I need it I still got it but I sure don’t miss those hideous craftsman legs.

-- Mark - I prefer the tumult of liberty to the quiet of servitude. - Malo periculosam

View waho6o9's profile

waho6o9

4825 posts in 1203 days


#8 posted 207 days ago

Sell it, or horse trade it for something.

You have all that’s needed to make what ever you want.

View keninblaine's profile

keninblaine

128 posts in 228 days


#9 posted 207 days ago

I had a good RAS 40 years ago, and did some good cabinet work (which was pretty challenging at times) and home renovations with it. I sold it years ago and see no need for one anymore, and much prefer a good table saw and compound miter saw. I’d much prefer to cut dados on a table saw than a RAS.

-- Ken, Blaine Washington

View distrbd's profile

distrbd

1058 posts in 1073 days


#10 posted 207 days ago

If you have not used it for the last few months or have found other tools to do it’s job then that’s your answer,get rid of it and don’t look back,there’s a reason so many of them are available for under $100.

Now if you have one of the old monster size one with 16” blade ,3 phase,5 hp,I would keep it otherwise sell the RAS and use the space for a new tool.

-- Ken from Ontario

View Grandpa's profile

Grandpa

3078 posts in 1302 days


#11 posted 207 days ago

Ask yourself why you don’t use it. Is it because it is covered up with your clutter or do you not need it. There are things it will do that no other saw can do. Same with all tools. If you truly don’t need it why let it depreciate anymore?

View Nicholas Hall's profile

Nicholas Hall

348 posts in 733 days


#12 posted 207 days ago

+1 for sell it and put the money in your tool fund. The cash takes up less space :)

-- Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. -Groucho Marx

View Woodbum's profile

Woodbum

427 posts in 1692 days


#13 posted 205 days ago

If you use it and have the room for it, by all means keep it. If you don’t use it anymore and need the space for something else, get rid of it. 16×20 with all the tools you mentioned might be pretty tight with the RAS. With the 10” sliding miter saw, you have a duplication of implements of construction.

-- Improvidus, Apto quod Victum-- Improvise, Adapt, Overcome

View SCOTSMAN's profile

SCOTSMAN

5347 posts in 2211 days


#14 posted 205 days ago

I just bought a very large industrial r a s which is quite old and I completely done it up that means completely took it to pieces and rebuilt rewired it and repainted it all with a new table and new blade etc it works great now, and finally repainted it . I enjoyed working on it .It takes a sixteen inch blade and is made by wadkin in england they are my favourite industrial machine manufacturer most of my stuff is by wadkin.I will or intend to use mine purely for crosscutting as I have a sliding table saw for the job of doing everything else with both a wadkin and an incra mitre gauge,as far as the r a s is concerned , for me these machines are fun, and fun is a big part of the reason I have a workshop purely a way to find solice and contentment during the remainder of my life.I would say it is great , but do I need it ?The answer is definitely not. I could do well enough without it so I would advise you if it is cramping your workshop badly room wise so much, then I would sell it on,but since for these smaller
r a s saws you won’t get much money for it I would if you can definitely keep it if you can afford it space wise as they apart from ripping wood are great saws. Have fun Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

2480 posts in 977 days


#15 posted 205 days ago

I have kept mine although sometimes I think I should trade it for a miter saw. I leave it set at 90° and do most of my cross cutting on it. I haven’t convinced myself that a miter saw would take up that much less space.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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