Choosing power tools


Old 01-01-01, 06:25 PM
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What is the best choice for home shop: table saw. radial arm saw or both? What is/are the main advantages of each ?
Thanks, J.W.
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Old 01-02-01, 08:37 AM
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Hmmm... Which is best??
Each tool has it's "claim to fame"
The radial arm saw is a lot more versital in the fact that it can be used for cross cutting, ripping, and with accessories even planing, sanding,even buffing and routing. (If there's an auxilary spindle on the other side of the motor.
But for accuracy in ripping boards nothing compares to a decent 10-12" table saw! Plus it's much easier to set-up for ripping boards!!
My first tool for a home workshop would be the radial arm saw. A 10" saw should handle almost everything an amature shop would do. But if the money is there opt for a 12"!

Also... stay with the brand names.. Dewalt, Ridgid, etc.
Old 01-03-01, 01:00 PM
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Cool Safety considerations.


I use a table saw much more than I use my radial arm saw. The radial arm saw is worrysome to use. Unlike the table saw, that big ol' blade is alot more exposed and is moving across the work surface and ready to quickly and silently remove your finger or hand. I always stop and take a 'mental safety check' before cutting with my radial arm saw. I do not have this worry when I use my table saw.

Another worthwhile point is that the sliding compound mitre saw offers alot of features similar to the radial arm saw. Many consider it a good alternative to an radial arm saw.

I did not go into the pro and cons. The big difference is being able to see the cut line with the radial arm saw. I use my radial arm saw exclusively with a dado blade. I have never changed to a regular blade yet, in the 2 years that I have owned it.

Old 01-04-01, 11:41 PM
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It really depends on what you plan to do

My own choice is a small portable table saw and a power miter saw. I do a lot of ripping boards and plywood to custom widths, and you can't beat a table saw for that job. I like a "bench-top" table saw on a portable stand because I can move it from my barn to the house and back instead of hauling the wood around. On a solid base, it's almost as stable as a full-size saw (you'll usually want help with 4x8 sheets on any table saw). But if all your work will be done in the shop, and you can afford one, a full-size table saw would be desirable for ripping and dadoes. The power miter (compound) can't be beat for exact cross cuts on molding and trim. The best part of the deal is that each of my saws costs about $150 at discount home centers and you can own both for less than the cost of either a radial arm or a full-size table saw. The earlier comments about brand are important. Choose Delta or Dewalt or Rigid or some other quality brand and it will do the job for years.
Old 01-17-01, 06:50 PM
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10" table saw first

The stationary table saw is by far the most versatile power tool in any shop. Radial arm saw being second.

The newer slide miter boxes might have replaced the radial arm saw though.

I have a Delta 10" Contractors table saw because I can buy attachments for it.

Table top saw are not very accurate because of the short rip fences they have.
Old 01-18-01, 09:22 AM
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There seems to be a lack of response about the radial arm saws. If all you want to do is cut a board in half then there may be cheaper ways to do it. I've used a radial arm saw for years and found it VERY versatile. Not only can it give you a very percise crosscut, it excels at repetive cuts, dattos, miters on wide pieces, etc. But like any power tool, it can be dangerous if used without caution. A drill bit in a drill can be dangerous if used incorrectly.

I have also used my saw for many other uses ( it has a accessory spindle on the other end of the motor.) I've used it for rough surface planing, with a circular plane, attaching a sanding disk, or drum to it. I've Used wire brushes and buffing pads to it! And more...

For a homeowner on a budget a decent radial arm saw is a good investment. By decent I mean a good name such as Ridgid, Dewalt, Or Milwaukee. Delta is a lower priced product and when it comes to power tools you usually get what you pay for. They don't seem to hold up as long in my experience.
Old 01-20-01, 07:11 AM
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As a contractor I have every type of saw in my workshop. Thousands of dollars worth. Of all the saws, I use the 12" sliding compound mitre saw by Dewalt the most. I use it 10 times more then of the other saws. I cannot saw enough about it. I also have a small portable table top saw for ripping. But 90% of the time I use my circular saw for ripping. Light weight, powerful, and portable. It is a Porter Cable.

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