Tool Test: Radial-Arm Saws
Although the heyday of these machines may be past, there still may be a place for one in your shop
Synopsis: Some woodworkers say that the radial-arm saw is a dinosaur and has no place in the shop. Others, including Fine Woodworking editor William Duckworth, sing its praises as the best all-purpose cutting machine. In this article, Duckworth assembled and tested five radial-arm saws from various manufactures to determine the best features from each brand; here’s what he thought.
Mention the radial-arm saw to any online woodworking discussion in cyberspace or to a real-time gathering of woodworkers, and you’re bound to stir up trouble. Some woodworkers argue that this tool is a dinosaur—extinct—and has no place in the shop. Others still sing its praises in no uncertain terms. My intent is not to stoke any flames (hold the letters, please), but I will declare this: The radial-arm saw is not the best allpurpose cutting machine. The tablesaw has usurped that role. But if your budget allows both, you won’t…