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Radial arm dangers

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Forum topic by ShawnH posted 07-20-2009 12:14 AM 3131 views 1 time favorited 35 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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ShawnH

90 posts in 2713 days


07-20-2009 12:14 AM

What is it about radial arm saws that are so dangerous? I have read several articles in the various magazines that elude to the danger but never get specific. I have a place in my shop that would be perfect for one and 2 local on craigslist for 50 bucks. But I done want a corvair in my shop.

-- ShawnH "In matters of style, swim with the current. In matters of principle, stand like a rock." Thomas Jefferson


35 replies so far

View patron's profile

patron

13022 posts in 1978 days


#1 posted 07-20-2009 12:26 AM

never cut crossarm ,
always ” strong arm ” the cairrage ,
if it jumps out at you ,
you are moved back first .
make a table that comes out enough that the saw
fully extended is all in the table area .
some that come with them ,
are to narrow and have the bottomfront curve of the blade
exposed .
also make table long enough to suppurt board after the cut ,
so it does’nt lift up by blade .

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View John 's profile

John

208 posts in 2039 days


#2 posted 07-20-2009 12:33 AM

What Patron said, BUT ALSO, DON’T TAKE THE GAURD OFF. I’ve been using RAS all of my adult life and I’ve never had an accident. Always fearfully respect the saw, as well as any power tool. Now, a swing saw??? That’s a different story!

-- John

View Don K.'s profile

Don K.

1075 posts in 1964 days


#3 posted 07-20-2009 12:37 AM

Are they dangerous?? Sure they are…so is a hammer. But I have used one for years and I think they get a bad rap. Mine is one of the work horses of my shop…used daily. I think as long as everything is in proper working order…and a person uses ”common sense” when using one…they are a very useful addition to the shop….If mine went down tomorrow…I would buy another the next day, thats how useful and needed it is in my shop.

-- Don S.E. OK

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2698 posts in 1923 days


#4 posted 07-20-2009 12:41 AM

I have used radial arm saws for more years than I care to remember. In my production shop, I have yet to see an accident with one. Yes, there are dangers. Aren’t there always. (I’ve been stabbed by a Yankee screwdriver!) The worst thing I see is the tendancy to grab and pull toward you, usually bogging down the saw., jerking the wood up, or both. (Get a grip) Yea you can get hurt, be careful! David also gave good advice.
That said, some manufacturers sold their saws as a do all machine. I would not use the saw for ripping, routing, etc. I think that’s where the danger tends to be.
Though many don’t use radial arm saws, I would certainly miss mine.

-- She thought I hung the moon--now she just thinks I did it wrong

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile

TopamaxSurvivor

14727 posts in 2313 days


#5 posted 07-20-2009 12:44 AM

Unless you already have a talbe saw, I’d get it first.

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View ChuckV's profile

ChuckV

2411 posts in 2164 days


#6 posted 07-20-2009 12:53 AM

I recently was given an old Dewalt RAS. It was in decent shape, but needed some refurbishing. One way to minimize the tendency to grab the wood is to use a negative hook blade such as this.
This is a crosscut blade, but that is all that I plan to use the RAS for. I know that it can do lots more, but I use it to crosscut rough lumber before I mill it.
It did take a few cuts to get the feel of how to feed the blade into the wood.

-- “That it will never come again / Is what makes life so sweet. ” ― Emily Dickinson

View Hyperhutch's profile

Hyperhutch

63 posts in 1887 days


#7 posted 07-20-2009 12:55 AM

What everyone else said, but also be aware of the quality of the particular model you are looking for. I own two RASs. One crappy one, a low end Craftsman, and a 5 hp 14” Delta Rockwell made in the 1950s. There is a HUGE difference in quality. Of course in my case the big one isn’t operational yet, but I have used similar machines.

It’s also about the setup. The cheaper models just don’t stay tuned as well as the better ones. If a good quality RAS is tuned well, even ripping isn’t any more dangerous than ripping on a table saw.

Hutch

-- I hope the volume of shavings one creates is directly related to the probablility of one's success, cuz if so I've got it made!!

View Don K.'s profile

Don K.

1075 posts in 1964 days


#8 posted 07-20-2009 01:05 AM

What was said about having tables at both ends of your saw is also true…if you look at my shop picks you will see catch tables on both ends. I know a few guys who have RAS’s in their shops with no tables….trying to cut a 10ft plus board on a RAS with nothing to hold up the ends is a big no-no and a good way to eat some wood. (The tables also make for great storage)

-- Don S.E. OK

View John's profile

John

341 posts in 2435 days


#9 posted 07-20-2009 03:42 AM

I like Corvairs, think they got a bad rap by a self absorbed political wannabe, but that’s for another thread. I have had some scary moments ripping with my RAS and don’t use it for that anymore. Keep a strong grip when crosscutting and u will get much use out of this great tool.

Make sure if u get a craftsman that you get the recall upgrade. Do a search on ras recall to find the site. The original guard would not protect u from kickback as well. Good luck $50 seems cheap make sure it’s in good/safe condition.

-- John - Central PA - http://affyx.wordpress.com

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile

TopamaxSurvivor

14727 posts in 2313 days


#10 posted 07-20-2009 04:31 AM

How do you rip on one? Turn it sideways and push the board down the table? Looks like the only way to me. sounds a bit scary:-((

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View John 's profile

John

208 posts in 2039 days


#11 posted 07-20-2009 06:30 AM

TopamaxSurvivor, that’s exactly how. The head swivels and locks sideways but I tried it once just to see how well it works and I didn’t like it at all.

-- John

View Don K.'s profile

Don K.

1075 posts in 1964 days


#12 posted 07-20-2009 06:44 AM

Bob,
Got to agree with John on this….yes the RAS can be used for ripping, routing, as a shaper etc etc etc. But I only use mine for cross cutting and for cutting dado’s. Many people say cutting dado’s on a RAS is dangerous….but as long as a person takes their time, and does not try and dado it all at one time…it is great. IMO it is MUCH easier AND safer to several dado slots in a 8ft long board than trying to do it on a table saw.

As far as ripping…not me !!! I have a friend who is a GREAT cabinet maker, and only uses a RAS for all of his cutting…does not even own a table saw. And I must admit…he can slap a sheet of 4×8 on his saw and rip it as fast if not faster than I can on my cabinet saw. I help him once and awhile in his shop and have done it a few times…man what a strange feeling…just could not get comfortable doing it. But he feels the same way using my table saw, guess it all depends on what your used to and grew up using.

-- Don S.E. OK

View KayBee's profile

KayBee

1003 posts in 1883 days


#13 posted 07-20-2009 07:00 AM

I was hired by a cabinet shop to replace a guy who had cut his fingers off on the RAS. Thought it was talk until I saw that they couldn’t clean the blood off of the table. The guard was in place, it can’t tell the difference between wood and flesh. I think people just get too relaxed around some machines, like the RAS.

-- Karen - a little bit of stupid goes a long way

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile

TopamaxSurvivor

14727 posts in 2313 days


#14 posted 07-20-2009 07:42 AM

It’s all too easy to get complacent doing things we do every day, including working circuits hot ;-))

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View kiwi1969's profile

kiwi1969

609 posts in 2079 days


#15 posted 07-20-2009 09:23 AM

I swear by these saws, Cutting long stock and making tenons on table rails and dado,s for bookcase shelves are a piece of cake on one of these. Trick is not to try and cut too much in one pass on thick stock especially on Dado,s. Otherwise they are safe enough and a great tool for fast repeditive cuts. For ripping however use a table saw, it,s just easier.

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

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