Radial Arm Saw?

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Forum topic by knexster posted 01-14-2015 04:55 PM 1241 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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43 posts in 1521 days

01-14-2015 04:55 PM

Since my current table saw doesn’t accept dado blades and I do not currently have a drill press, I was considering this radial arm saw on Craigslist:

Would this be a good option and is it as good of a deal as it seems to be? Thanks all!

-- Don't think outside the box. The box was never there.

9 replies so far

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5236 posts in 2730 days

#1 posted 01-14-2015 05:10 PM

Well, you can’t loose money on it. That saw is on the recall list, so if you buy it and don’t like it they give you your $100 back. That said, it is considered one of the “better” C’man RAS by a lot of folks (not me). The Craftsman saws can generally be set at 90ยบ, and if you don’t swing the arm it should give you accurate cuts. A better choice would be one of the Older Dewalt or Delta turret arm RAS, which also usually show up (not as often as the Craftsman) for the same price. They can be tuned and give precise cuts and miters. But liek I said, you won’t loose any money on that one, so it may be worth giving a try. I’m not totally sure about the DP part, if you’re thinking an RAS can substitute for it you will be (I think) woefully disappointed).

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

View DIYaholic's profile


19741 posts in 2912 days

#2 posted 01-14-2015 05:12 PM

+1 on what Fred had to say!!!

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

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7106 posts in 2436 days

#3 posted 01-14-2015 05:26 PM

If it is on the recall list, then you have to send the motor to them for the $100.. leaving you with the skeleton to dispose of as you see fit :) I was lucky enough to get my ‘upgrade’ (new table, guard and handle) before they stopped offering that and went to the $100 only option.

As for doing dados, yes, but in a very limited way unless you want to get dangerous! Cross cutting dados on up to about a 1×12 will work, but if you want anything more, you start getting into the dangerous zone. A much safer way without a table saw would be to use a router. And while I guess it’s possible, I’ve never seen (or considered) using the RAS sa a drill press and think it would be very awkward using it that way.

As for the moulding head.. I’ve got one as well, and have considered using it on my RAS, but I can’t for the life of me figure out a safe way to do it.. if anyone has any tips or tricks for that, I would love to hear them!


-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View MrRon's profile


5263 posts in 3481 days

#4 posted 01-14-2015 05:34 PM

I would not recommend using a dado head on a RAS. Dado blades have positive rake on the teeth which causes it to self feed into the work. Instead of pulling the blade toward you, you end up pushing it away from you which can be scary. Negative rake is required on a RAS and I don’t think dado blades are made with a negative rake.

View WhyMe's profile


1080 posts in 1798 days

#5 posted 01-14-2015 06:21 PM

I’ve used the moulding cutter on my Craftsman RAS and it is one scary operation. Used it once and that was it. Using a dado blade on the cross cut can be another scary thing. If you aren’t holding on tight and the blade grabs, the carriage comes flying back at you. Since I got a table saw the RAS collects dust. I can’t imagine trying to use the AUX arbor end as a drill press even though you can put a chuck on it.

View RogerM's profile


799 posts in 2636 days

#6 posted 01-14-2015 08:59 PM

I have had one of these and used several types of dado blades on it (stacked, wobble blade, molder). They are almost worthless and very dangerous. Forget it and get a good table saw.

-- Roger M, Aiken, SC

View Ocelot's profile


2125 posts in 2875 days

#7 posted 01-14-2015 09:54 PM

I cut Dados on the RAS. Yes, it will “push” a bit at times, but it’s quite managable – and as long as you stand in the correct place and so forth, you can do it safely. On the other hand, I usually only cut very shallow dados – typically 1/8” deep. The wider and deeper you cut, the more the saw can push toward you.

I use my RAS for all 90 degree crosscuts – and I don’t have a negative rake angle blade. It is important in general to insure that the wood you are cutting is flat – so that it cannot rock, because if it rocks, it binds on the blade and causes burning and causes the saw to push more forcefully toward you (unless you have a negative rake angle blade).

I do cut rough lumber sometimes on the RAS, but I’m very careful to insure that it cannot move while being cut. Other times, I crosscut rough lumber (before jointing/plaining) with a handsaw or circular saw, then recut it to precise length on the RAS after jointing/plaining.

I’ve got an Incra stop rail set up on the left side of the saw, so that the precisely sized “keeper” piece is produced to the left of the blade.

Although I’m right handed, if the “keeper” part of the wood is too short to leave a safe handhold on the left of the blade, I often stand on the right of the blade and pull the saw with my left. Then, I’m holding the lumber down with my right hand – well away from the path of the blade – and generally even to the right of the path of the motor, since the entire motor has to pass over the fence and the cut piece and there may not be room for my hand under the motor in some cases – esp. with the 8” diameter dado stack.

I don’t have any clamping capability on my RAS table, though I should.

Here’s some photos of it in an old blog post of mine.

Here’s a project where I used the RAS to cut dados for a bookcase.


View OnhillWW's profile


146 posts in 1469 days

#8 posted 01-14-2015 10:55 PM

I have a Craftsman RAS and I pretty much use it as a dedicated dado cutter (cross cuts only) and shop bench. It is convenient for me to keep it set up and ready to go. Ocelot, gave you good advice. Pay attention and respect the tool and it can serve you well. I had this one prior to a TS and used it for just about anything but there is no denying – things can go very wrong in a blink of an eye but then again that is true with just about all our power tools. I would NEVER use the molding cutter, scares me to death, I think they all came as a freeby w/ the purchase.

-- Cheap is expensive! - my Dad

View knexster's profile


43 posts in 1521 days

#9 posted 01-15-2015 09:13 PM

Thanks everyone for the valuable info. The guy lives over an hour away so I decided against getting it. I also had a sweet find on Craigslist for an older craftsman table saw so it all worked out!

-- Don't think outside the box. The box was never there.

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