Hosted by Woodcraft
Welcome Guest Search | Active Topics | Members | Log In

Radial arm saw vs. Mitre saw Options
Bobber
Posted: Wednesday, April 01, 2009 1:04:19 AM
Rank: Newbie
Groups: Member

Joined: 3/27/2009
Posts: 0
Location: The Great White North
Hey folks. I have a bit of a dilema. I'm teaching middle school shop part time and will be taking over the program full-time next year. We currently have a radial arm saw that the grade 8 students use after testing and numerous demos. My feeling is that this saw is inherently dangerous. I have the budget to replace it with a sliding compound mitre saw. Does anyone have any advice or suggestions?
creighta
Posted: Wednesday, April 01, 2009 7:20:33 AM
Rank: Newbie
Groups: Member

Joined: 1/16/2008
Posts: 0
Location: Georgetown/OH
The radial arm saw is not any more dangerous than a miter saw for cross cutting, the danger w/ them is ripping.

I would keep it and supplement with a small mitersaw. They can do a few things that the radial arm can't do easily.
Ed D
Posted: Wednesday, April 01, 2009 7:35:50 AM
Rank: Newbie
Groups: Member

Joined: 12/18/2007
Posts: 0
Location: Gill, MA
I agree with Creighta. Use the radial arm saw for rough cutting lenth. Never to rip. Add a miter saw for precision work.
BRYAN CONKLIN
Posted: Wednesday, April 01, 2009 8:48:35 AM
Rank: Newbie
Groups: Member

Joined: 11/6/2007
Posts: 0
Location: BOSTON, MA
I guess I take a different school of thought on this. I would use the slider and scrap the radial saw due to the obvious safety dangers.
I guess if you don't have a table saw to use a ripping tool then use the radial arm saw. I've always taught my guys when I was in the shop to use the mitre saw to cut rough length, joint an edge and then rip it on the table saw. This scenario would then have to assume that you have all of these other machines in your shop as well.
I guess it comes down to what do you feel most comfortable with? Sometimes teacher learn new techniques and are not comfortable using them for certain reasons.
Keith Schadler
Posted: Wednesday, April 01, 2009 9:47:47 AM
Rank: Newbie
Groups: Member

Joined: 10/9/2007
Posts: 0
Location: Olivet/Michigan
I changed out my radial arm saw a few years ago for a 12" sliding miter saw. I wanted a 10" so I could use the same combination blades for my table saw and miter saw, but the principal told me to purchase the 12" because it was actually cheaper, or nothing at all.
My 8th graders do just fine with it, no accidents and it never kicks back. I require the use of the clamp and require them to put their left hand in their pocket when they operate the saw. The radial arm saw was way too dangerous for students as they would have a tendency to try to pull the saw too quickly across the board and cause kickback. Miter saw would be the best way to go in my opinion.
salthunter
Posted: Wednesday, April 01, 2009 1:08:32 PM
Rank: Newbie
Groups: Member

Joined: 5/14/2008
Posts: 0
Location: Pocatello Idaho
I have an early 60's radial arm saw,..It has the old metal gaurds and produces an extremely annoying whine, I plan to replace the radial arm saw as soon as pracatical
craigp
Posted: Wednesday, April 01, 2009 2:56:47 PM
Rank: Newbie
Groups: Member

Joined: 2/6/2008
Posts: 0
Location: Chesapeake City, Maryland
Last year, I had a Makita 14" compound miter saw and an old DeWalt radial arm saw. Over the summer, I replaced the Makita with the Festool Kapex KS120 sliding compound miter saw and the DeWalt with a Delta 10" radial arm saw. I decided to keep the radial arm because we use it occasionally for making dados in stock that it is not safe or practical to use the table saw for, or when we are making repetitive dados and do not want to take the time to set up the router for each one. I have told students to use the radial arm to crosscut to rough length and use the sliding compound miter saw for the finish cuts.

If you have the room in your shop, I would keep it. You never know when you may need it. If you have too, I would disconnect it and put it in a spare corner (like anyone has a spare corner in their shop, right?) or put it in storage for a few years to see if you have a need for it. You may not need it now, but down the road, you may kick yourself in the ass for getting rid of it.

Craig R. Patterson, CD
Shop Teacher
Bohemia Manor High School
Chesapeake City, Maryland
klandin
Posted: Wednesday, April 01, 2009 3:59:24 PM
Rank: Newbie
Groups: Member

Joined: 6/1/2006
Posts: 0
Location: Connecticut
Assuming that you have the room, keep the RA saw, but put strict limitations on its use. RA saws are just plain too dangerous for everyday student use. Their one great advantage, power, is a complete overkill for most of the work that your kiddos are ever likely to need. Get a good chop saw, preferably a slider, and you'll never look back. A good CMS is far safer (if used correctly) and more accurate than any RA saw. If you can, keep your old RA saw around for cross cutting the occasional board that is too wide or too heavy for your CMS. RA saws are also great if you want to set up a dedicated dado station. But other than that, you're far better off with a good CMS. Whichever way you chose to go, for God's sake confine your ripping operations to the table saw.

Keith Landin
Woodshop instructor, Woodstock Academy
"Mens tua sit implementum acerrium in fabrica"
Bobber
Posted: Thursday, April 02, 2009 9:10:36 PM
Rank: Newbie
Groups: Member

Joined: 3/27/2009
Posts: 0
Location: The Great White North
Thanks to everyone for the prompt replies. To be honest with you, the thought of ripping on the Radial never occurred to me. Our shop is well-equiped with a nice table saw so the RA is used for cross cuts. I guess it just makes me nervous as I have seen people pull the saw too quickly. I think the mitre saw is the way to go. I think storage of the radial makes sense because we never get much money for used saws up here anyway.
Misterguppy
Posted: Friday, April 03, 2009 10:46:47 AM
Rank: Newbie
Groups: Member

Joined: 11/5/2007
Posts: 0
Location: Kansas City, Missouri
One thing you have not talked about is the type of stock you are dealing with. In my shop I have both a 12" radial arm saw and a 12" sliding miter. If you are cutting S2S with rough edges, this is much easier on the radial arm saw and we have fewer problems with concave or convex edges and pinching. On the other hand if you use the sliding miter saw for rough cutting WATCH OUT! They like to pinch and pull the rough stock up into the saw. In my experience, I like the RAS for rough cutting and the sliding miter for finish cutting as the sliding miter is generally more accurate.
Mike Walsh
Posted: Friday, April 03, 2009 4:26:24 PM
Rank: Newbie
Groups: Member

Joined: 9/13/2006
Posts: 0
Location: Allegan MI
Like the one post says -- one of the radials great advantages is its ability to quickly cut multiple accurate dado's. Dado heads on a radial scare me - especially when used by a kid.

You can get - or have made - a collet that will thread onto the arbor shaft. Get one bored for the 1/4" or 1/2" shank router bits you normally use. With just a bit of work you can make a guard for this setup.

Cutting the dado in one pass will leave one side with a lot of tear out. Teach the kids to use a smaller bit and make multiple passes. Once they find which feed / side has the tear out they can reverse feed directions and cure it.

That said - my radial has been covered for nine years and I have not missed it.
mikeb
Posted: Friday, April 03, 2009 4:26:41 PM
Rank: Newbie
Groups: Member

Joined: 3/7/2008
Posts: 0
Location: North Kingstown/RI
I have students rough cut stock to length with a hand-held jigsaw. Then we surface the edge on the jointer. Then they place the jointed edge tightly against the fence of the sliding CMS and clamp the board before they crosscut it. Once one end is squared then they measure the finished length from the squared end and crosscut the other end off the board to the finished length dimension. We then rip the board to its correct width. This works great when you need multiple strips all the same length.
klandin
Posted: Saturday, April 04, 2009 10:42:17 PM
Rank: Newbie
Groups: Member

Joined: 6/1/2006
Posts: 0
Location: Connecticut
Blade pinch, and the dangerous "board lift" situation that can result from it has been my one great concern with my shop's sliding CMS. I initially tried to address this by teaching my students about the causes of blade pinch. I taught them to be aware of boards with crook, and to make sure that no matter how a board is warped, to always be sure that the board is in firm contact with the fence at the point directly behind the travel of the blade. I also taught them that when dealing with suspect boards that taking two partial passes was safer than making one single through cut. However it soon became clear to me that even these precautions where not enough. Despite my instructions, I was still finding that there was the occasional student who got himself into a dangerous board lift situation because he had not payed adequate attention to his set up. The solution that I have finally set on is to require that my students ALWAYS clamp the board to the saw bench before using a CMS to cross cut rough stock. I do not require students to clamp the work down once it has been milled S4S, but I insist that all rough stock most be clamped. As a result I have not had a single incident of board lift since instituting this policy. My colleague has an alternate solution that also seems to work, but that I am not as comfortable with. He teaches his students to make their cuts with a pull stroke instead of the manufacturer's recommended push stroke. I will confess that this does seem to eliminate the incident of blade pinch, but I am uncomfortable with this solution because it reduces the ability of the operator to control the sliding motion of the saw in the event of an unexpected kick. It seems to me that for much the same reason that you would never feed your work into a router table or a shaper in the same direction as the blade rotation, you should not operate a saw in such a way that the spinning blade could uncontrollably accelerate your feed rate. Especially if you are an inexperienced operator, or you are physically small in stature as are many of my students.

Keith Landin
Woodshop instructor, Woodstock Academy
"Mens tua sit implementum acerrium in fabrica"
Users browsing this topic
Guest

Forum Jump
You cannot post new topics in this forum.
You cannot reply to topics in this forum.
You cannot delete your posts in this forum.
You cannot edit your posts in this forum.
You cannot create polls in this forum.
You cannot vote in polls in this forum.

Main Forum Rss Feed : RSS

Powered by Yet Another Forum.net version 1.0.1 - 2/27/2006
Copyright © 2003-2006 Yet Another Forum.net. All rights reserved.
This page was generated in 0.134 seconds.


Woodcraft | Woodcraft Magazine | Woodshop Teachers