Radial arm saw or table saw

Submitted by Medickep on Sun, 08/18/2013 - 13:10

So, I'm trying to decide if I should get a table saw or a radial arm saw to take my work to the next level. I really don't like using a skil saw and feel like it takes a lot more time to setup a offset jig every time I want an accurate cut.

At first I was leaning towards the table saw, but these can take up a lot of space in my garage, which is big, but I want to be able to leave it out so it's easier to use when I'm going to use it.

If I go with a radial arm saw, my father has said he will donate is 10" bench he made for his radial arm saw, which can handle full sheets of plywood. He feels like he's to old to work with full sheets of plywood, but does not want to give up his dependable craftsman radial arm saw that he's own for 45 years!

I do like the fact that the radial arm saw and bench can be placed up against a wall!

Any thought??

Thanks in advance!!


Sat, 09/28/2013 - 04:03

When you say an "offset jig" do you mean a jig to make straight cuts with your Skil saw? If so you could either buy or make a guide rail. I made a few of these of different lengths when I started and they've helped me build two custom kitchens. Here's a how-to:

Most small workshops and site joiners use a guide rail system of some sort because it's relatively cheap and doesn't take up much space.

If you want to buy some shiny new tools (and who doesn't?) you could get a folding table saw to save space (Bosch make the best by far but Ryobi, Makita and DeWalt also make good ones). But table saws are really designed for rip cuts (although some can do decent cross-cutting) and the smaller and medium units aren't up to cutting a full 8x4. If you want to handle full sheets of ply then you'll need a panel saw and they're a lot of money ($1000's).

Your father's set-up sounds like a homemade panel saw - I'd love to know how he cuts a full sheet of ply with a radial arm saw, they usually don't have the cross-cut capacity? If I were you I'd get a medium folding table saw and a guide rail (those are what I use for most of my panel work).

Hope that helps.


Sun, 09/29/2013 - 15:25

I ended up buying a used Rigid TS3650 and so far it's working out great. I'm working on an out feed table for it and put a nice blade and a zero clearance on it.

My fathers' RAS had a 25" cut reach on it, but more importantly it articulated 90 degrees to allow it to rip plywood!

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