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  • Radial Arm Saw or Mitre Saw?

    I have a Makita 12" Mitre Saw which is quite old. I use a sliding cross cut jig on my table Saw for cutting wider boards. I was looking for guidance as to what people think of Radial Arm Saws in place of my Mitre Saw. I used an industrial Radial Arm Saw 25 years ago but not since.
    Thanks in advance.

    Ron in Woodstock
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  • #2

    Re: Radial Arm Saw or Mitre Saw?

    if a stationary machine, RAS would be my choice for crosscutting.

    but if ever required to move around, jobsite, etc... SCMS wins out for sure.


    the inherent "safety" issues of a RAS can be dealt with (proper blade, kickback pawls, etc) but it seems many shy away from them still.


    cost wise, cheap RAS's are often on kijiji for cheap, where as a new scms is gonna be $400 easy.
    [insert something witty here]

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    • #3

      Re: Radial Arm Saw or Mitre Saw?

      I recently replaced my SCMS sitting on a bench with a 12" Delta Rockwell RAS and I'm glad I did. It wasn't a great mitre saw to begin with but the RAS is a big improvement for accuracy/table size etc... I have yet to rip anything with it and probably never will because my unisaw is 10' away. I'd say if you're looking for something stationary go with a RAS (not a craftsman).
      Joed likes this.

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      • #4

        Re: Radial Arm Saw or Mitre Saw?

        I would buy both. IMHO, under powered RA's are dangerous, so I would stick with industrial. Buy 3hp plus RA and use the right blade and rate of feed and you will reach for it constantly.
        timberframe and mikeddd like this.
        Mike

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        • #5

          Re: Radial Arm Saw or Mitre Saw?

          I recently upgraded my craftsman to a dewalt/B&D RAS and took the time to set it up properly. I cant say enough how much I love it. I find myself using it for so many things, it has the power to crosscut or rip 2.5" thick oak or the 2" jatoba/maple laminate I cut the other day without skipping a beat. To me its a tool that does so many things well...but its stationary and will never move from its home.

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          • #6

            Re: Radial Arm Saw or Mitre Saw?

            oh, and 7770 models are on ontario kijiji for between 60 and 150 bucks all day long.

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            • #7

              Re: Radial Arm Saw or Mitre Saw?

              It all depends on the budget and type of cuts the saw will be used for. That’s a decision for the OP.

              Depth of cut in the middle of a board and HP are maybe the two more important issues for RAS. Compound angle cuts may be easier on a miter saw. Switching the RAS around to make use of the option attachments usually takes time and can be annoying. All issues that can be worked around. The large work surface is nice.

              Cost; theRAS wins out. Permanent setup space requirements will be similar. Both can be set level with adjacent surfaces.

              A really good used 12” RAS with good HP would be the economical choice. A good quality 12” miter saw may be the best fit.

              (miter saw and bandsaw would look after most of the Shop cutting needs and would be my choice for my situation)

              Egon
              from
              The South Shore, Nova Scotia

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              • #8

                Re: Radial Arm Saw or Mitre Saw?

                If you have an older Makita mitre saw (especially a 12"), and you only used it for hobby work, then I can't believe it is anywhere near worn out, so .... if the question is do I "replace" my mitre saw with a radial arm saw ... then NO. If the question is do I add a radial arm saw to my collection of tools ... then YES. In my opinion they both have a place in the shop, but the mitre saw will be more versatile, especially if you have a table saw and can build jigs for it.

                ..... just an opinion ...

                cheers

                Comment


                • #9

                  Re: Radial Arm Saw or Mitre Saw?

                  Originally posted by John Bartley View Post
                  If you have an older Makita mitre saw (especially a 12"), and you only used it for hobby work, then I can't believe it is anywhere near worn out, so .... if the question is do I "replace" my mitre saw with a radial arm saw ... then NO. If the question is do I add a radial arm saw to my collection of tools ... then YES. In my opinion they both have a place in the shop, but the mitre saw will be more versatile, especially if you have a table saw and can build jigs for it.

                  ..... just an opinion ...

                  cheers
                  what he said . the biggest difference is that a miter saw give as much power as a lamp plug in the house has . RAS range in power up to 10 hp . not the same machine
                  everyone knows real machines are 3 phase. Founding member of the Wadkin blockhead club

                  jack
                  English machines

                  http://www.youtube.com/user/tool613

                  Comment


                  • #10

                    Re: Radial Arm Saw or Mitre Saw?

                    Originally posted by John Bartley View Post
                    If you have an older Makita mitre saw (especially a 12"), and you only used it for hobby work, then I can't believe it is anywhere near worn out, so .... if the question is do I "replace" my mitre saw with a radial arm saw ... then NO. If the question is do I add a radial arm saw to my collection of tools ... then YES. In my opinion they both have a place in the shop, but the mitre saw will be more versatile, especially if you have a table saw and can build jigs for it.

                    ..... just an opinion ...

                    cheers
                    I'm in this camp. I have a BEAST of a RAS (14", 3 HP DeWalt from 1979). Weighs more than my cabinet saw by almost 200 lbs. For crosscutting, it is a dream, especially for repeated cuts. I keep it fine tuned to be dead nuts square. I do not use it for angled, compound, or rip cuts. The dust collection on the RAS is miles better than for the SCMS as well. I did a video about it here.

                    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WLJ4x_h2WeU

                    I also have a SCMS, a 10" Makita I bought around 1997. It is as good as new. I use it for angled and compound cuts. It shares a fence with the RAS now, which is not shown in the video.
                    Last edited by Randy in Calgary; 11-30-2018, 10:57 AM.
                    Cheers
                    Randy

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                    • #11

                      Re: Radial Arm Saw or Mitre Saw?

                      I agree with the others here that both are useful in the shop. A good industrial RAS is a pleasure to use. I have a 16" 5hp radial saw as well as a 12" SCMS. I use the SCMS for rough cutting, odd angles and compound work.
                      If I was going to buy another SCMS it would be 10" as that size would handle anything I use it for.
                      Mike @ Buck Lake

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                      • Thread Continues Below...

                      • #12

                        Re: Radial Arm Saw or Mitre Saw?

                        Stay with a good miter saw Ron. Dewalt is the one I like but some others are good as well.

                        Most people who have Radial Arm Saws have a good tool for crosscutting but an average saw for miter cuts unless their saw is a real strong unit because they go out of alignment and simply wear out in terms of keeping and holding consistent setups. Subsequently you're always resetting them. If you watch and listen you will discover lots of RAS users never even use them for angle cuts. Rips can be absolutely scary too!! The really good RAS are big heavy powerful and expensive for what you get. Adding options is a possibility but most don't bother because there are better machines for the task. I've had and operated the best of them and I sure liked them but the advent of Miter saws diminished their value in my eye. Miter saws will do most everything a RAS will do and do it very well in a smaller package. If I had a radial arm saw today it would have a dado blade mounted at all time. Beyond that it's useless in my shop. Of course you will get arguments on the other side but very few will mention anything they can do with a RAS that a miter saw is not better at.
                        "Do it Right!"

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                        • #13

                          Re: Radial Arm Saw or Mitre Saw?

                          Well, thank you gentlemen for all your advise and wisdom regarding my queries regarding Mitre Saws and RAS's.
                          I use a 'cross-cut' sled on my table saw when necessary. My Makita Mitre Saw is in fairly good shape but about 10 - 12 years old so I was thinking of a RAS to compliment the Makita not to replace it.
                          I am now probably convinced not to buy a RAS but stay with the Mitre Saw only.
                          Thank you all once again,

                          Ron in Woodstock

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                          • #14

                            Re: Radial Arm Saw or Mitre Saw?

                            A lot depends on what kind of projects you do. I can think of one thing for sure that a RAS does better than a mitre saw, planing slabs. I've used my old 10" Craftsman to flatten driftwood slabs to make benches. Try that on a mitre saw! The only other way I have done it is with a router sled. Haven't used a mitre saw so I'll take your word for it that it's better for compound mitre cuts but for versatility (including some cuts like ripping that I have done and wouldn't do any more now that I have a table saw) the RAS is much more versatile. I'll accept that the RAS might not be the best for any one operation but it is one of the most versatile saws out there.

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                            • #15

                              Re: Radial Arm Saw or Mitre Saw?

                              RAS is for production work ! miter saw is for site work and does not have an arbor . it can only run one size blade and only hold 1/8" kerf blades . if you want to batch out parts get a RAS to free up the Table saw and hold trenching heads and dodo stacks as wide as 2" and like my Wadkin 4" wide to do a bird mouth cut in one stroke . You can gang stack 2x6 3 high and 4 rows wide for one cut too for cross bracing ,blocking and so one . Mine can hold moulder heads and even a grinding stone to sharpen your planer knifes . There are ways to make angles cut that do not move the arm and so the saw can be set up and free up other machines . Lots of good ones out there . I have my saws side by side and never use the miter for a finish cut .

                              Click image for larger version  Name:	RAS_Sharpening_1 (1).jpg Views:	1 Size:	28.8 KB ID:	1211455

                              miters on the RAS just need you table saw miter

                              Last edited by jgarrett forsberg; 11-30-2018, 03:27 PM.
                              everyone knows real machines are 3 phase. Founding member of the Wadkin blockhead club

                              jack
                              English machines

                              http://www.youtube.com/user/tool613

                              Comment

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