Radial Arm Saw… Dead?  Seriously?  Every so often I run across a comment on a blog or an article that declares the death of the radial arm saw.  “They’re outdated.  They’re too dangerous.  They take up too much space.”

How can you pronounce the radial arm saw dead when you consider it has been a trusted tool in the shop through history.  There are many legends of radial arm saws from the 1950s still being used.  Now these aren’t your average, everyday lower price point radial arm saws.  The old DeWalt and new Original Saw models are built like tanks.  In theory, you can’t kill these saws.

Ok.  So structurally, they’re nearly indestructible.

But what about function?  Is the radial arm saw’s purpose and functionality a thing of the past?  What can the radial arm saw really do?

“If, for some unknown reason, you had to pick only one stationary power tool for your workshop, a radial arm saw would be the wise choice. No other stationary power tool can perform as many chores. Woodworking consists of six basic cuts; crosscutting, bevel crosscutting, ripping, bevel ripping, mitering and bevel mitering. The radial arm saw will make all of these cuts efficiently and precisely,” says the website extremehowto.com.

The versatility of the radial arm saw is legendary.

A recent post on our Facebook page said, “I owned one (radial arm saw) a long time ago and I regret very much the day I sold it. I had it set up along the wall of a 20 foot shop and had plenty of room to rip plywood, cut long stock, make perfect miters, and great lap joints. I had 2 settings for the backstop that enabled me to make a 24″ rip.”

Another post said, “I love my radial arm saw. 10’ bed on both sides. 2.75 hp 25 years old and works perfect.”

Customer Service rep Mike Stevens was recently quoted in Fine Homebuilding Magazine and reports, “It (the radial arm saw) sells itself,” he says. “It’s fun to sell something that’s so well made. I tell customers, keep it clean and wire it correctly and I’m not even going to hear from you. I’m going to be like the lonely Maytag repairman. I hate to see anybody get ’em dirty,” he adds, “they’re so doggone nice when they leave here.”

So in closing, is the radial arm saw dead?

From home hobbyists to industrial factories, there are still many dedicated users out there.  I think they’ll live to see plenty more days.  What do you think?