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Author Topic: Radial arm saw for tennons?  (Read 2390 times)

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Offline Mobilesawyer

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Radial arm saw for tennons?
« on: November 29, 2004, 11:05:47 AM »
I have been wondering if a radial arm saw with roller feed tables at each end and a dadoe blade would be effective for cutting tennons. The idea has been bouncing around in my head for the last couple of months but I don't presently own a radial arm saw to test the theroy. Anyone out there ever try this? If so how did it work out?

Offline ohsoloco

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Re: Radial arm saw for tennons?
« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2004, 11:20:12 AM »
I've used the radial arm saw to cut the tenons for some braces I made for a small structure.  That method produced a lot of saw dust, and took a long time to make each tenon.  It doesn't take a very big bite to stall the motor, and it's difficult to keep the feed rate steady with a wide and/or deep cut (I only had a 1/4" cut set up).  It's much faster to cut it with a circular saw...I have a 10" skil saw that works great for this.  

Offline Mobilesawyer

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Re: Radial arm saw for tennons?
« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2004, 05:35:32 PM »
Thanks for the post osoloco you know I never really considered the power required to drive the blade.  This kind of information is what makes this forum great. I guess I will moth ball that idea.

Thanks again.

Offline Jim_Rogers

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Re: Radial arm saw for tenons?
« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2004, 05:44:33 AM »
There is currently a discussion of this subject (radial arm saw) on the guild forum site.
If you like the link I can post it here.
You have to be careful using a dado head in a RAS to cut tenons as the saw blade could lift the wood up off the table and stall the saw or the saw can grab the wood and jump forward towards you.
A good clamp to hold the wood down is an option.
Also, others have mentioned that new saws have a jump arrestor on them. It's sort of like a shock absorber that you can slowly pull it out, but it prevents quick pulls.
Years ago, I had a RAS here at my shop and I did some work creating mailbox posts for a fellow down the street. He wanted a half lap joint at the cross beam and the post. I did it with a RAS and a dado head. It worked when the wood was clamped down.
It can be used to create tenons on the ends of braces or other small members of the frame, if the lumber is planed four sides.
Trying to use a RAS to create tenons on stock that isn't perfect is going to create some problems as the joint needs to be made in reference to the reference face or edge. This isn't always possible using a RAS.
Jim Rogers
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Offline Silverback

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Re: Radial arm saw for tennons?
« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2004, 11:33:49 AM »
You would have to get a Radial Arm Saw big enough to do the job.  Delta has made some big ones through out the years.  A craftsman is not going too work well.  That being said, I don't know if a dado blade in a Radial Arm Saw is too smart of an idea.  These things can be extremely dangerous and make a cabinet saw look like a child at kick backs.  Sometimes the easiest way to accomplish something is with simpler tools.
Live Life.  And to borrow NEW HAMPSHIRE's motto: live free or die.

Offline Silverback

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Re: Radial arm saw for tennons?
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2004, 12:14:14 PM »
If you want to use power tools (nothing wrong with them if they do in fact speed up the job and/or make it easier), I would recommend using a sled in a table saw and a dado blade to make tennons.  You would have make the sled skewed to the angle you want to cut.  You would want a decent table saw.  Either a higher end contractors saw or cabinet saw with a side extension.  This is how quite a few people make tennons for larger pieces of furniture.  Let me know if you don't know what I mean by a sled and I'll see if I can find a link.  Also buy the best STACKED Dado blade that you can get.  The wobble kind don't cut perfectly straight.  
Live Life.  And to borrow NEW HAMPSHIRE's motto: live free or die.

Offline Timber_Framer

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Re: Radial arm saw for tennons?
« Reply #6 on: December 05, 2004, 07:00:18 AM »
Power tools do speed up the job, but only to a point.
Like most folks I know I use a circular saw set an 8th of an inch or so shorter then the desired depth of the tenon and make a series of cross cut passes. Then place a chisel in the kerf of the last cut and rack it toward the end which snaps the waste wood off pretty clean. Then clean with a chisel and par with my slick.
Now in my experience the more sophisticated the equipment is more set up time is required, and in the end nothing will make a cleaner tenon then a slick.
I've never tried a RAS to cut tenons, but I donít see how using one would be better or faster.
"If people concentrated on the really important things in life, there'd be a shortage of fishing poles."

Offline Silverback

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Re: Radial arm saw for tennons?
« Reply #7 on: December 05, 2004, 11:59:12 AM »
If it was me, I would do it the way Timber Framer suggests.  My suggestion would only be applicable if someone was dead set on using a dado.
Live Life.  And to borrow NEW HAMPSHIRE's motto: live free or die.


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