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Radial Arm Saws: Using The Tool That Won’t Die

Radial Arm Saw… Dead?  Seriously?

Occasionally I run across a blog comment 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 “They’re outdated.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 it is considered a trusted tool in the shop throughout history? Legendary DeWalt Radial Arm Saws from the 1950s are still in use today. Now, these aren’t your average, every day, lower price-point radial arm saws. DeWalt manufactured Radial Arm Saws like armored tanks. Original Saw Company followed suit. To clarify, you can’t kill these saws.

Vintage Radial Arm Saw

Old, still functioning, radial arm saw

16" Heavy Duty Radial Arm Saw

Model 3512 Radial Arm Saw

What Gives An Industrial Radial Arm Saw A Long Life?

1. Structure and Durability

First of all, Original Saw Company’s industrial Radial Arm Saws are nearly indestructible. The saws are manufactured from cast iron, cast aluminum, and formed steel for vibration-free operation. They also have powder-coated, heavy-gauge steel frames and legs.

Customer Service rep Mike Stevens was 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 to 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.”


2.  Function

Secondly, there’s function. Are the Radial Arm Saw’s purpose and functionality a thing of the past? What can it 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 a 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 Extreme How-To.


Some models of Radial Arm Saws can efficiently perform dado cuts. Watch below to see Original Saw Company’s Radial Arm Saw effortlessly make a dado cut. 

3.  Versatility

And lastly, the versatility of the radial arm saw is legendary.


A customer recently mentioned an example of versatility on our Facebook page. “I owned one (radial arm saw) a long time ago, and I regret very much the day I sold it. It was 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 have great lap joints. I had two 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 perfectly.


In conclusion, is the radial arm saw dead?


From home hobbyists to industrial factories, many dedicated users are still out there. 


I think this saw will live to see plenty more days. 


What do you think?


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