DIY Network

How to Use a Radial Arm Saw

Learn about the proper use of a radial arm saw.

More in Home Improvement

radial arm saw includes tower and blade attachment

Step 1: Understand the Basic Parts of the Saw

The radial arm saw has three basic segments: a stable working base (Image 1), a tower with a blade attachment (Image 2) and a motor (Image 3). The motor is attached to a small cable that allows the blade to move back and forth. Its speed is constant, no matter how fast you pull the saw through the wood.

Step 2: Make Cross-Cuts

Place the work piece in a horizontal position on the saw table to make cross-cuts

Adjust the blade of the saw so that it just touches the top of the table (Image 1). Turn on the saw. Slide the blade through the wood at a 90-degree angle (Image 2).

Step 3: Make Miter Cuts

Adjust the arm of the saw to 45 degrees for miter cuts.

To make a miter cut, adjust the saw arm to 45 degrees. Lower the blade so that it just touches the top of the table. Turn on the saw. The blade will be positioned to cut through the wood at a 45-degree angle.

adjust arm of saw to 45 degrees for miter cuts

Step 4: Make Bevel Cuts

Turn the arm of the saw to its original position of 90 degrees for bevel cuts.

Raise the blade off the table. Unlock the blade, and turn it to a 45-degree angle (Image 1). Lower the blade into the wood, and slide it across the wood to make the bevel cut (Image 2).

Step 5: Make Dado Cuts

Insert a special dado blade into the saw to make dado cuts.

Set the arm and blade of the saw at their original positions of 90 degrees (Image 1). Set the blade depth to about half the depth of the work piece. Slide the blade through the work piece to make a clean dado groove (Image 2).