Ready to Rumble: Radial Arm Saw Vs Table Saw !

Amateur woodworks and professional carpenters are really into saws. Why? Well, the saw is an essential tool for small woodworking projects and large. Choosing the right saw for the work you are doing can save you some fairly major headaches. The radial arm saw vs the table saw? Well, both saws have considerable advantages as tools of power. In fact, a person who has lots of space and money might choose to have one of each. But, how about the rest of us? Which saw is best for what kind of work? Read on.

What is a radial arm saw?

A radial arm saw cuts wood or other material from a position above it; it is attached to an arm that slides back and forth horizontally. If you imagine how a sturdy food mixer looks, you’ll have a general idea of the shape and design of the radial saw. Interestingly, this saw has a short history, being invented in only 1922 by Raymond De Walt and nicknamed it the “Wonder Worker”. He’s also the founder of the company DeWalt, known for their popular (Power)tools!

A delta radial arm saw
A delta radial arm saw

What are some advantages of the radial arm saw?

As we pointed out above, the radial saw and the table saw often do the same kind of work. Though the radial arm saw is a better tool than the table saw for making cuts in wood that is quite long. This is because you do not have to move the big piece of wood around, you can move the radial saw around. Nice.

The radial arm saw is also better suited to small workspaces; it can be placed against a wall, even while you are working, while a table saw takes up more room. And if you are not so much into tool maintenance, the radial arm saw has an advantage over its cousin, the table saw. Basically, an overhead saw blade is easier to align than one embedded in a table.

A radial arm saw gives the woodworker more flexibility in shaping cuts in specific ways; the overhead arm can be moved around in a way that allows for more specificity in cutting. If you are looking to shape and trim lumber, the radial arm saw is your best tool.

The motor in a radial arm saw is usually powerful, making it a great choice for cutting through older wood which has become quite tough over time.

What are the disadvantages of the radial arm saw?

To be fair, it must be stated that all saws that have circular blades spinning at high speeds pose safety risks. Some woodworkers have found that the radial arm saw poses a risk of the blade rotating itself too far into the wood, and so pulling itself toward the operator. Obviously, no woodworker wants a blade to be pulled toward them.

Woodworkers often say that they go to their table saw more often than they go to the radial arm saw, saving the radial arm saw for more intricate work. This means that if you have to choose between the radial arm saw and the table saw, you might consider that the kind of cuts the table saw is used for come up more often.

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What is a table saw?

The #1 Bestselling table saw - click the pic to check it out! (Bosch!)
The #1 Bestselling table saw – click the pic to check it out! (Bosch!)

A table saw does some of the same work as the radial arm saw described above, though in a different way. A table saw has a circular blade that is secured on an axis that supports it. The table saw cuts wood or material from beneath it, unlike the radial arm saw that works from above. The table saw has an electric motor that powers the saw, while wood is being manually pushed through it.

What are the advantages of a table saw?

The table saw is a standby in most woodworking shops. Woodworkers who often want to make deep cuts, cuts that run lengthwise along the wood, have a good friend in the table saw. This is because the the working surface is very stable, and allows for a smooth process in pushing a long piece of lumber through an immoveable blade. A table saw is more often recommended to the novice or unskilled woodworker – this is because it requires a lower skill level to operate than the radial saw does. It’s also the tool of choice for cutting large pieces of plywood, because the plywood is flat and straight, it is easy to push it through the rotating blade, while balancing it on the sturdy table.

What are the disadvantages of the table saw?

The table saw takes up more space than a typical radial saw does. If you are forced to work within a limited space, you might want to do some careful measuring before heading out t o purchase a brand new table saw.

There are different types of table saws and most practiced woodworkers will tell you that it is worth the additional investment of funds to ensure that you get a table that is sturdy. A table saw with a flimsy table is not a solid choice as the heavier pieces of wood you may want to cut, like plywood, may tip the table in an unsafe way. If you want to make special curves fairly frequently, a table saw will not be your go-to tool. A saw that you can move about gives you more control in shaping wood.

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Who wins? The radial arm saw or table saw?

Well, radial arm saw uses include shaping wood, like cutting circular shapes. They are also the best tool for cutting smaller pieces of wood horizontally. Add this is its compact size which lets it me used in smaller spaces and you have a handy tool.The table saw is not to be undone, however. If you are working with long pieces of wood that needs to be cut vertically, the table saw is your tool. The stability of having the saw being held in place by the table means that it is easier for the novice and unskilled to use. So you see, it really depends on your own skillset, workshop size and what you want to do with it

Whichever circular saw you choose, be safe!