radial arm saw

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Forum topic by hootr posted 04-10-2009 02:00 PM 1605 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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183 posts in 3311 days

04-10-2009 02:00 PM

good idea or bad???
i was making some oak threshhold for a friend, when i cut my stock to length he ask me why i didn’t pullthe radial arm out and push is through the stock, like a sliding compound. duh!!! i tried it and had much better control.
i’ve had trouble in the past with 8/4 oak or walnutwith the saw trying to climb or race at me and ruin a piece of high $$$ wood. never been hurt but that’s the first thought when a tool takes control
am i missing something?

-- Ron, Missouri

16 replies so far

View thelt's profile


665 posts in 3344 days

#1 posted 04-10-2009 04:03 PM

I use a combination of Radial Arm, Table and sliding compound saws on just about everything I do. The only thing I won’t do again is use a dado blade on the Radial Arm Saw. I didn’t feel like I had the control I should have.

-- When asked what I did to make life worthwhile in my lifetime....I can respond with a great deal of pride and satisfaction, "I served a career in the United States Navy."

View Julian's profile


880 posts in 3490 days

#2 posted 04-10-2009 04:10 PM

If you use a quality combination blade that’s designed just for sliding compound/radial arm saws you’ll get beautiful cuts without the saw pulling itself through the board.

-- Julian, Park Forest, IL

View SnowyRiver's profile


51457 posts in 3445 days

#3 posted 04-19-2009 05:17 PM

I used to always use the miter saw for cut offs if the wood wasnt too big. I started using my radial arm saw and like it much more. As long as its tuned up and square, and has a good blade, it works great. The only cut I wont do on the radial arm saw is ripping a board lenghtways. I tried that once and it was kind of scary.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View pitchnsplinters's profile


262 posts in 3403 days

#4 posted 04-19-2009 06:18 PM

Definitely push the RAS through the workpiece.

-- Just 'cause a cat has kittens in the oven, it don't make 'em biscuits.

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Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4264 days

#5 posted 04-19-2009 06:53 PM

I’ve had a radial arm saw since 1965, & I’ve used it only by pulling.

I’d be afraid to change my way now. It doesn’t sound safe to me.

Besides that you can’t see what you’re doing by pushing.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View pitchnsplinters's profile


262 posts in 3403 days

#6 posted 04-19-2009 10:18 PM

The saw wants to climb “over” the workpiece toward the operator. Neither pulling nor pushing will prevent this.

Your arm is infinitely better at stopping motion moving away from your body than it is at stopping motion coming toward your body. I’m sure you have been pulling on something and have it break away, it’s nearly impossible to stop your arm’s motion (I have hit myself in the face a time or two). It’s quite different when pushing.

That being said, I would much prefer to have my arm cocked (muscles tensed in the pushing direction) and pushing the RAS through the workpiece if the blade attempts to kick back. If you are pulling on the RAS, and the blade wants to climb, all the motion is in the wrong direction.

I would prefer to have a slightly obscured view of the workpiece (you certainly can see what you are doing) rather than poor control of the saw.

-- Just 'cause a cat has kittens in the oven, it don't make 'em biscuits.

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3550 days

#7 posted 04-19-2009 11:35 PM

I was told in no way to push a ras pull it only there are special push saws but seemingly not a job for radialm arm saws so find out more from the so called experts before doing thios has to do with climbing and the way the blade is spinnibng it might lift the wood up as it climbs anyway seek in formation from dewalt etc before continuing this please please please Alistair

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

View pommy's profile


1697 posts in 3656 days

#8 posted 04-19-2009 11:43 PM

im with Alistair i was only ever shown to pull a RAS something to do with the way the blade is turning

So please pull and never ever push

-- cut it saw it scrap it SKPE: ANDREW.CARTER69

View pitchnsplinters's profile


262 posts in 3403 days

#9 posted 04-20-2009 03:32 AM

Let me start by saying that I totally agree with Scotsman and pommy.

The RAS’ home is next to the column. A feature of many modern (built in the last 20 yrs) RAS’ is to have an auto-return feature which retracts the blade to the column if you release it after a cut. Aftermarket kits are sold if your saw was not outfitted with an auto-return system by the manufacturer.

The cut should start with the blade near the column, pulling the saw through your work.

Pull, pull, pull the saw.

My previous post was not intended to be taken seriously. I feel like a real twit now for ever having posted it in the first place. Sorry to my fellow LJ’s.

-- Just 'cause a cat has kittens in the oven, it don't make 'em biscuits.

View Don K.'s profile

Don K.

1075 posts in 3291 days

#10 posted 04-21-2009 07:31 AM

I to agree with pommy and Scotsman. Another reason to pull is hang up, if you “pull” your saw through the wood and for some reason it hangs in a knot or whatever, the wood is already locked against the back of the table and can go no where. If you “Push” the saw through the wood and it hangs up, it can jerk the wood up into the saw motor. I saw a young man do this once, as soon as he got about a inch in the wood he hung up and darn near broke his wrist because the board whipped up so fast.

-- Don S.E. OK

View kiwi1969's profile


608 posts in 3407 days

#11 posted 04-21-2009 08:08 AM

does your friend have all his limbs? Radial arm saws are designed to be pulled only. think about it, you want to expose the blade then push a piece of stock between it and the fence with one hand!? Yes it will always want to climb on thick stock. Try raising the blade and taking a smaller cut before resetting the depth, or flip it over and cut again. Dado,s are safe to use ,again don,t get greedy with your cutting depth. The saw will only come out as far as the arm so it,s unlikely to get you unless your standing to close or directly in front which you shouldn,t be doing anyway.

-- if the hand is not working it is not a pure hand

View spanky46's profile


995 posts in 3355 days

#12 posted 04-21-2009 01:10 PM

30 years I have been pulling mine and I won’t be changing anytime soon!!!!

-- spanky46 -- Never enough clamps...Never enough tools...Never enough time.

View hootr's profile


183 posts in 3311 days

#13 posted 04-21-2009 01:14 PM

thanks for the feedback
i’ll keep pulling and make multiple passes, do that with the router all the time, just never thought of it on the ra saw
this is just one of the great things about these forums

-- Ron, Missouri

View Adon's profile


9 posts in 3279 days

#14 posted 04-29-2009 05:57 PM

I push with the RAS when cutting small pieces of aluminum. It seems to make cleaner cuts. It’s very rare that I do this tho.


View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4064 days

#15 posted 04-29-2009 06:35 PM

One thing that nobody seems to have mentioned is that a negative hook tooth blade is to be used with a RAS.

The teeth do not pitch forward, they lay back at a negative angle and this greatly minimizes the aggressive nature of pulling the saw through your stock.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

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