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 “They’re outdated.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. To clarify, you can’t kill these saws.
Old, still functioning, radial arm saw
Model 3512 Radial Arm Saw
What Makes An Industrial Radial Arm Saw Have a Long Life?
1. Structure and Durability
First of all, our industrial radial arm saws are nearly indestructible. Our saws are constructed of cast iron and aluminum for vibration-free operation. They also have a powder-coated, heavy-gauge steel frame 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, 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.”
Secondly, there’s function. Is 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 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 Extreme How-To.
Some models of radial arm saws can easily perform dado cuts. Watch below to see the saw effortlessly made a dado cut.
And lastly, the versatility of the radial arm saw is legendary.
An example of versatility was recently mentioned 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 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 perfectly.”
In conclusion, 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?