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  1. #1
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    Default Ripping Boards with radial arm saw

    I have heard that it is dangerous to rip boards with a RAS. I want to rip sheets of plywood on my RAS. Is there kickback dangers or is it any different than a table saw?

    Thanks

    mike
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  2. #2
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    Concrete, WA, USA
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    Default Re: Ripping Boards with radial arm saw

    id just rip it on the table saw !!!!! otherwise you might be R.I.P. in the other fashion !!!!

    RAS are used for cross cutting - not riping

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Ripping Boards with radial arm saw

    Problem is table saw cannot rip wide enough. Smaller saw. My RAS can rip boards but the R.I.P. is not worth it.
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Ripping Boards with radial arm saw

    Yes, it's possible to rip boards with a radial arm saw.

    Yes, ripping boards with a radial arm saw is more dangerous, as the whole blade is exposed. Also, if the locks on the head don't lock it down dead solid, any movement can cause big problems.

    You will also need a table on your radial arm saw large enough to support the board you are ripping. I have a 16 foot long table on my radial arm saw, but the table isn't wide enough to support a sheet of plywood. (And if it was, I wouldn't want to have to lean over the table to use the saw.)

    This sounds like a job for a circular saw. They even make guides for circular saws that ride along the edge of the board so you get a straight cut and don't have to try following a chalk line. You can also clamp a board to the plywood and use the board as a guide to run your circular saw against.

  5. #5
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    Nov 2010
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    Tyndall, Manitoba, Canada
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    Default Re: Ripping Boards with radial arm saw

    Quote Originally Posted by Countryboy View Post
    es, ripping boards with a radial arm saw is more dangerous, as the whole blade is exposed.
    Not only is the blade exposed, but it rotates over the workpiece, and as a result, the tends tend to lift the workpiece as it cuts. If there is any jamming, then the workpiece gets lifted off the table where it jams even more. Then, whoose, the workpiece then becomes a unguided missile!

    I have seen this happen.

    A table saw is much safer. The blade rotates under the workpiece, and as a result, if there is any jamming, the workpiece get pressed against the table where it is more unlikely to move. This = safer.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
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    Default Re: Ripping Boards with radial arm saw

    Riping a "sheet" of plywood (if that is what you meant by what you said) on a RAS is not the wisest way to do this. Sure it can be done, but you will need a proper table to support it while cutting it. A good RAS can rip just fine. I use my RAS to true up one side of long boards that are not straight. With a 12' table on either side of the saw, the long fence allows the board to maintain a constant position as it's being pushed through the saw. I use my table saw to rip the other side. As with every type of saw, know it's limits.
    Regards, Barry

  7. #7
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    Herrick, SD USA
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    Default Re: Ripping Boards with radial arm saw

    I usually just use a good circular saw, a template cut to the right dimension for each cut you might make so the edge of the saw fence can follow it, and a couple of quick release clamps to hold it in place. Plenty accurate enough for cutting up lids and the like. Woodshop? Only for assembly, all the dirty cutting is done outside when the weather cooperates.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Ripping Boards with radial arm saw

    RAS's were very popular tools at one time but the table saw became the tool of choice for ripping. It used to be more common to rip with a RAS, especially the better quality Dewalts of yesteryear. For a good reference on how to use a RAS I think "How to Master The Radial Saw" by Wally Kunkel is one of the best.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Ripping Boards with radial arm saw

    Quote Originally Posted by jim lyon View Post
    I usually just use a good circular saw, a template cut to the right dimension for each cut you might make so the edge of the saw fence can follow it, and a couple of quick release clamps to hold it in place. Plenty accurate enough for cutting up lids and the like. Woodshop? Only for assembly, all the dirty cutting is done outside when the weather cooperates.
    It may just be me but I have not been able to use my Skil saw to get a splinter free cut. There are a lot of cuts that I would make with a hand held if I could only get a clean cut.

  10. #10
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    Dec 2005
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: Ripping Boards with radial arm saw

    Maybe it is your blade or too high an expectation. It is plywood we're talking about here, isn't it? Splinters happen.
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Ripping Boards with radial arm saw

    Thanks for all the replies. I have a ok circular saw, a small 10" table saw (about a 12" rip wide), and a huge 12" radial arm saw. When I mean huge, the table is about 4' by 3'. The crosscut is 16". I am trying to justify having it. What I really need is a large table saw, but am strapped for cash. I think I will try that circular saw and clamps.
    I just read a post below, i also have had a bunch of issues with my circular saw splintering the plywood, even with new carbide blade. Any suggestions????

    mike
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  12. #12
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    Apr 2010
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    Columbia, Goochland, VA
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    Default Re: Ripping Boards with radial arm saw

    As I see it you may have two options.

    1. Over cut your ply by about 1/8 with a circular saw, then re-cut on table saw removing that last 1/8 to make it square. I do it all the time when making furniture, since my saw can't cut beyond 24".

    2. Since you seem to have a nice big radial arm saw, you may be either able to trade or sell it on Craig's list for a table saw that you need. Radial arm saws usually do pretty well on the resale.

    Hope this helps.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Ripping Boards with radial arm saw

    The splintering pretty much has everything to do with the blade. Use carbide, lots of teeth, hollow ground, alternating top bevel.

    http://www.amazon.com/Freud-LU79R007.../dp/B002IPHGA2
    Regards, Barry

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Ripping Boards with radial arm saw

    Quote Originally Posted by papamoose View Post
    2. Since you seem to have a nice big radial arm saw, you may be either able to trade or sell it on Craig's list for a table saw that you need. Radial arm saws usually do pretty well on the resale.

    Hope this helps.
    I tried selling it there, I have tried on beesource, on a local forum, etc no bites. i will try later this week when I can see if it still works

    thanks

    mike
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  15. #15
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    Default Re: Ripping Boards with radial arm saw

    I rip all kinds of boards with my RAS. The finer the tooth on the saw blade, the better the rip.

    I also use other tables and supports to hold the boards I'm cutting, both entering the saw blade and after making the cut.

    In my younger days before I could afford a RAS, I used to set my sheets of plywood up on saw horses, then clamp an 8' 1x4 so I could make a straight-line cut with my circular saw.

    You won't be able to clamp the 1x4 exactly on your cut line so you have to figure out where your blade is and on which side of your drawn line you want to make the cut.

    Yes, it can be done.

    Grant
    Jackson, MO http://maxhoney.homestead.com

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  16. #16
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    Default Re: Ripping Boards with radial arm saw

    Using the RAS is not a big deal when ripping but it is really easy to produce a missile if you have the wrong blade, wrong set up and just don't know how to rip. I've worked in commercial shops when I was young and did take a few painful kickbacks on the table saw, so I have a lot of respect for these things. I would never recommend that someone RIP with an RAS without first reading up on the topic. The same goes for a table saw even though they are better designed for ripping.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    Bowling Green, Kentucky
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    Default Re: Ripping Boards with radial arm saw

    I took an eight foot board and bought an eight foot metal straight edge fixed the straight edge to the board where the blade of a circular saw runs down the edge of the board and the edge on the saw foot( sorry not sure of the proper term) runs along the straight edge. then I just mark the cut to be made and clamp the board to the place to be cut and cut away no problems so far.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Ripping Boards with radial arm saw

    Likewise, but the cut is never as clean as when I use a Forrest blade on my table saw. In fact my Skil-77 has never made a clean cut with any blade. I don't know if that is the nature of a worm drive hand saw or maybe mine has some keel.

  19. #19
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    Dec 1999
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    Default Re: Ripping Boards with radial arm saw

    Hmmm, a Skill-77. You must have arms like Popeye! I retired mine years ago for a much lighter saw. I only use it when I'm cutting 4x4 stock or cutting through a roof with shingles still on.

    Looking at the specs of that saw, the rpm's are 4400. That's not very fast. They're designed to have lots of torque. My Saw Boss (Porter Cable) on the other hand, the rpm's are 6000. I think you will notice a significant difference in cut quality with a blade at higher rpm's.

    Here's my favorite saw at 8000 rpm's. I do all my finish trim cuts with this.

    http://www.toolmarts.com/mak5005ba.html
    Last edited by Barry; 11-30-2010 at 02:46 PM.
    Regards, Barry

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Ripping Boards with radial arm saw

    I have used some of these saws and they did cut better, but I don't think it is RPM. The rim speed of the blade and the number of teeth are what counts. A 5 1/2" saw with 8000 RPM is only about 5% faster at the rim than a 7 1/4" blade rated at 4400 RPM. My 16" RAS is very fast at the rim because of the 8" radius.

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