Woodworking Tips for Using a Radial-Arm Saw

Get the Most From Your Radial-Arm Saw

The radial arm saw tends to get a bad rap from many woodworkers, likely because they require a good bit of space to operate. Since many woodworkers work out of a garage wood shop where space is at a premium, the radial-arm frequently falls into disfavor, being overlooked for other tools. However, there may not be a more versatile woodworking machine. Learn how to get the most out of your radial-arm saw with these radial-arm saw tips.

  • 01 of 08

    Radial-Arm Saws

    Radial arm saw
    Steve Hix / Getty Images

    In most wood shops, the table saw is the centerpiece around which all other work is performed. Does that make the table saw the most versatile tool in the shop? Not necessarily. In many cases, a radial arm saw can do many of the things a table saw does, plus a lot more. In this article, learn about the advantages of a radial-arm saw, and how one can be invaluable in your woodworking shop.

  • 02 of 08

    Radial-Arm Saw Safety

    Radial Arm Saw
    Hero Images / Getty Images

    The radial arm saw can be used to crosscut, rip, cut compound angles, dadoes, rabbets and more. Since it has a lot of complicated setups and accessories to handle all of these versatile tasks, the radial-arm saw has to incorporate a number of safety features as well. Before using your radial-arm saw, learn how to use it safely to reduce the risk of injury. The tips in this article should help.

  • 03 of 08

    Should You Push or Pull Your Radial-Arm Saw?

    Cutting with a Radial-Arm Saw
    Cutting with a Radial-Arm Saw. (c) 2010 Chris Baylor licensed to About.com, Inc.

    A circular saw blade is designed to cut through the wood with the blade moving forward, allowing the carbide teeth to slice through the wood. This is easy to accomplish with a handheld circular saw or a table saw, but what about a radial-arm saw? Should you push or pull your radial-arm saw through the wood? Learn the answer in this woodworking tip.

  • 04 of 08

    How to Replace a Radial-Arm Saw Table

    Radial-Arm Saw
    Radial-Arm Saw. (c) 2010 Chris Baylor licensed to About.com, Inc.

    Radial-arm saws are designed so that the surface of the table top can be easily replaced when it becomes damaged by saw marks from the radial-arm saw blade. The question is, what material works best for a saw table? Should you choose plywood, dimensional lumber or perhaps particle board? Learn tips for replacing your radial-arm saw table in this woodworking article.

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  • 05 of 08

    Cutting Jigs for Radial-Arm Saws

    Cross-Cut & Panel Cutting Jig
    Cross-Cut & Panel Cutting Jig. (c) 2010 Chris Baylor licensed to About.com, Inc.

    Woodworking jigs are handy for making somewhat difficult tasks easier and consistently repeatable. Most woodworking jigs that can be purchased commercially can also be homemade. In this article, learn about two such homemade woodworking jigs, one, a cross-cut and panel cutting jig and the other designed for ripping stock up to four feet in length, using only a circular saw. Learn how to make these simple and effective woodworking jigs in these step-by-step free woodworking plans.

  • 06 of 08

    Cutting Dadoes with a Radial-Arm Saw

    A Dado Cut in Plywood
    A Plywood Dado. (c) 2010 Chris Baylor licensed to About.com, Inc.

    A dado is a groove cut into the face of a board that accepts the edge of another board. This type of joint is especially useful in building cabinets. There are a few common methods for cutting dadoes, but one of the safest and most accurate is to use a radial-arm saw. Learn how in this woodworking tip.

  • 07 of 08

    Using a Stacked Dado Blade on a Radial-Arm Saw

    Stacked Dado Set
    Stacked Dado Set. (c) 2010 Chris Baylor licensed to About.com, Inc.

    When your woodworking plans call for a dado or a rabbet to be cut into the face of a board, likely the easiest and most accurate method for making the cut is to use a stacked dado blade on either a table saw or a radial arm saw. The stacked dado blade can be adjusted for various widths, and it will give a square edge to the groove, allowing the mating board to match perfectly.

  • 08 of 08

    Half-Lap Joints on a Radial-Arm Saw

    Half-Lap Joint
    Half-Lap Joint. (c) 2010 Chris Baylor licensed to About.com, Inc.

    Half lap joints are created when one-half of one piece of mating stock is removed, then the corresponding half is removed from the other board, allowing the two boards to mate in a way that it appears that the two boards take up the same physical space as one board. The joint is typically glued and screwed for strength. Here are tips on how to create these basic woodworking joints and when you should employ them.