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Radial Arm Saw or Sliding Compound Miter Saw Options
craigp
Posted: Thursday, March 27, 2008 5:00:14 PM
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Joined: 2/6/2008
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Location: Chesapeake City, Maryland
Next year I am looking to get either a new radial arm saw or a sliding compound miter saw to replace my antique radial arm saw and miter saw. If you had a table saw with a 52" extension table, which would you rather have the radial arm saw or the sliding compound miter? Basically the only thing we use the radial arm for is to cut stock to length or the occasional dado on a piece of stock that is too long to be safely cut on the table saw.

Craig R. Patterson, CD
Shop Teacher
Bohemia Manor High School
Chesapeake City, Maryland
Dean_K
Posted: Thursday, March 27, 2008 7:58:29 PM
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Joined: 8/20/2006
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Location: Los Angeles, CA
I would like to have both a Whirlwind upcut saw for cutoff and a CTD type miter saw for angle and precision length cuts.
Jeffseiver
Posted: Thursday, March 27, 2008 11:52:37 PM
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Joined: 11/22/2007
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Location: Mission Viejo/Calif.
I purchased a compound miter/slidding saw last year too. Got rid of my craftsman radial arm saw. I have one as backup in case the other goes down due to kids starting the cut against the wood. Ops burned out the moter in 2 seconds. Thats how I learned to get two of eveything. By the by I make the kids setup the cut , clamp it and then put their left thumb in their left pants pocket before they cut. I know they can not cut their left hands because their pants are down to the floor. Oh yeah put your left hand on the floor then cut.
Ed D
Posted: Friday, March 28, 2008 7:57:33 AM
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Joined: 12/18/2007
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Location: Gill, MA
My vote would be, if you have both already keep the radial arm saw for roughing out stock and replace the miter saw for finish work.
audell
Posted: Friday, March 28, 2008 12:27:37 PM
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Joined: 3/16/2006
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Location: Janesville, WI
Sliding compound miter saw all the way! If you think about how much they would use them in future careers/hobbies, it's a no-brainer. Plus, from a budget standpoint for us a slider is way simpler. If a kid breaks one I can easily replace or fix it. A third benefit for me is the portability and accuracy. I haven't ever used a radial arm saw that I can move around as easily and maintain the accuracy of a good slider.
I do agree with using the radial arm saw as a rough cut saw near the lumber room. Put it in a place where it's permanent and set it and lock it in place.
sdmref
Posted: Friday, March 28, 2008 1:26:26 PM
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Joined: 3/28/2008
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Location: Herculaneum, MO
Sliding miter without a doubt. Less expensive to maintain, easier to set up and keep that way, and much safer.
JoeNovack
Posted: Friday, March 28, 2008 8:34:55 PM
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Joined: 3/16/2006
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Location: Madison,VA
I have 8 1/2" and 12" sliding miters.
The 8 1/2 is far more accurate, easier for students to use and handles 95% of what I or they need to cut.
AND.... it cost less to buy & blades cost less to replace.
klandin
Posted: Saturday, March 29, 2008 7:27:54 PM
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Joined: 6/1/2006
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Location: Connecticut
I don't really have the room for a radial arm saw and the long table that should go with it, but I wish I did. An RAS would be a great addition for rough cutting and especially for dadoing. However that being said, the damned things are insanely dangerous and therefore probably way more of a liability than they are worth. What I do have is a 12" Dewalt sliding compound miter saw, and I couldn't live without it. Aside from the table saw, the miter saw is the primary workhorse in my classroom. It does everything from cutting rough stock to length to high precision miters. Given an "either-or" choice between a RAS or a SCMS I'd take the miter saw every time. No contest!

Jeff: I like your "one handed" idea. How does your miter saw clamping system work?



Keith Landin
Woodshop instructor, Woodstock Academy
"Mens tua sit implementum acerrium in fabrica"
Jeffseiver
Posted: Sunday, March 30, 2008 3:17:52 PM
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Joined: 11/22/2007
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Location: Mission Viejo/Calif.
klandin, The saw came with an adjustable screw clamp that slides on a small post from either side. I make the kids use a second piece of wood laying on top of their stock and screw it down. Making sure it is tight to the fence. Then thumb in pocket! Right hand start the cut in the up position then push all the way down through the stock. Then wait till the blade stops spinning. Then remove your wood. I also employ a power buddy and I reward kids with candy if they tell me if their buddy does anything wrong. Hey it works. I probably give out more candy then mistakes are made but bags of candy are cheap. Thumbs and hands come at a high porice. I also positioned my table saw ( which I am always at ) opposite to the chop saw and with the scroll saws to the right and the lathes to the left. jeff
axle5
Posted: Monday, March 31, 2008 9:32:28 AM
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Joined: 3/13/2007
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Location: Pa
Sliding Miter Saw - If your like me and get kids that decide to go into construction after school. I haven't seen to many radial arms used on a construction site. Use what is important to the kids.
craigp
Posted: Monday, March 31, 2008 1:27:47 PM
Rank: Newbie
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Joined: 2/6/2008
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Location: Chesapeake City, Maryland
I agree about having students use in the shop what they are more than likely to use after high school. I know that when I go to set up my shop, I will more than likely purchace a SCMS and a good quality table saw.

In my school shop, if I decide to get rid of the RAS and get a SCMS, I will have room to get a panel saw (which I would prefer to use to cut plywood to rough size than any other tool).

Craig R. Patterson, CD
Shop Teacher
Bohemia Manor High School
Chesapeake City, Maryland
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