Uses for radial arm saw
My father died 2 years ago and he had a craftsman radial arm saw. I am trying to decide what to do with this saw. I know that you can’t get much for them if you try to sell them. I am considering keeping it and putting it  in my new shop, but I don’t want to keep it just for the sake of keeping it.

Can anyone tell me what they use their radial arm saw for.  I have a compound miter saw but it is not a sliding saw, so I guess I could use the radial saw for making larger miter cuts but I’m not sure I need to make those cuts that often. So, if you have a radial saw can you tell me if you find it useful? Also, I seem to recall reading that radial arm saws are more dangerous than a table saw although I’m not sure why. Please enlighten me on the safety aspects of the radial saw if you know anything about it.

I can only tell you about my experiences. I would say the main use is for crosscuts. They can be used for ripping but its not the ideal use for it. I have a molding head for mine, I use it more on the tablesaw than the radial arm saw. Cutting miters is also a great use.

The big problem nowadays is that radial arm saws are not made in abundance like they used to. They have been replaced with miter saws. It's not commonplace for a shop, home or professional, to have one. However, it's kinda pushed on us that we have a miter saw. I own 2 of them and a radial arm saw.

My advice is to keep it, for a while anyway. Give it a try. Read as much as possible on how to use one, proper blade and technique. Some of us love a radial arm saw.
I no longer build museums but don't want to change my name. My new job is a lot less stressful. Life is much better.

They are nice for making crosscut dadoes. Ripping cuts scare the crap out of me.

Set up time can be a little longer, but repeat cuts when you can see your stock goes easier IMO.

I agree with hang on to it and give it a try.

Life isn't like a box of chocolates. It's more like a jar of Jalapenos. What you do today, might burn your rear tomorrow.

9-11 Never forget
Some of the C-man RAS's were good, many were junk, and many were subject to a recall.  You should look into which you have and dispose of it if it's in the latter two groups.  

A RAS that works well is a pleasure to use for cross cutting, miters, compound miters, and dados.  It can do some pretty amazing things, as well, like make cuts with the blade turned horizontal.  That feature has bailed me out more than once when faced with a cut impossible to make any other way.  I have my old Dewalt RAS set into a large benchtop with adjustable stops that allow me to cut one or a hundred parts to the same length up to 6 ft long.  

A RAS is no more dangerous than any other power tool if you understand how it works and follow safety precautions.  It's very hard to get hurt if you don't put body parts in front of the blade, sort of like any other power tool.  A negative tooth blade greatly reduces the chance of climb cutting.  

If you have the shop space, a RAS is a more robust and versatile machine compared to a CMS for anyone making furniture/cabinets.  For construction and trim work, the CMS wins by virtue of its portability.  With limited shop space, a CMS is the better choice.  

The RAS got a bad safety rep because people put positive rake blades on them and then did not keep a very strong restraining grip on the handle.

The lighter-weight RAS like the Craftsman had a bit more flex in the vertical column than one might want. That was especially true if one did not maintain the saw and let the assembly bolts get a little loose.

With a positive rake blade (and if you did not let the motor come up to speed before starting a cut), when the blade hit the work, the column could flex and the blade became a powered wheel driving at you on top of your work piece. That is scary. It is also dangerous if one was dumb enough to think that one could put their hand in front of the blade to start the cut (because there would be plenty of time to move your hand before the cut got there
Rolleyes ). I don't recall if I was 10yo or 12yo when I got over-confident/careless and experienced climb. As I recall, other than a gut check and adrenaline rush, no harm was done and I did not even have to tell my father that it happened.

That process of the RAS motor and blade coming at you is called climb.

By using a negative rake blade and allowing the motor to come up to full speed before starting the cut, climb was pretty much eliminated.

On the new-to-you RAS, try putting a light upward pressure on the end of the arm towards you. If you can lift it a lot (it has been a while, seems like 1" is a lot), then there is too much slop on the vertical post. That can be at the base or where the arm mounts to the post. If you cannot tighten things up to eliminate the flex, then you might have challenges using the saw.

As noted above, if you got one of the good Craftsman RAS, it is an excellent tool and certainly no more dangerous than a circular saw or a jointer.

Watching the RAS being demonstrated in the Sears tool section was always fun to watch.

One of the common accessories was a chuck that went on the right-hand end of the shaft. With the blade and guard removed, you could rotate the motor so that the shaft was vertical and you had an over-arm router. I would check your father's tool drawers for a chuck with female threads that match those of the saw shaft.

As others have said, doing rip cuts on long boards on a RAS is scary. The table is not set up for feather boards and long boards droop because of the short table. Of course, the droop issue is no worse than a TS does not have in-feed and out-feed support.

The old cardboard barrel dust collectors that Sears sold to go with the RAS actually worked better than one might expect.
"the most important safety feature on any tool is the one between your ears." - Ken Vick

A wish for you all:  May you keep buying green bananas.
Like the OP, I inherited my father's Craftsman RAS.  It was one of those early 1970s Emerson-manufactured saws.

Cross cuts only.  I tried ripping on it -- once.  Didn't make it all the way through and gave up.  I also tried dado and moulding head cutters.  Just not comfortable with that.

Always had trouble keeping it in good adjustment.  It did not return reliably to 90 after using it for a miter cut.

After I got into my big shop, my plan was to put the C-man RAS to use along one wall.  But then I found out about the recall and given my dissatisfaction with the saw's performance, I turned it in for the $100.  About the same time, I happened across a Rockwell Super 990 turret-style RAS for $75.  I bought it and cleaned it up.  It's now built into my long wall work surface.  I primarily use it for 90 cross cuts, and it's great at that.  I can easily do a miter with it and then return to 90 without a fuss.

If you decide to keep your C-man, then I agree with the advice about using negative hook angle blades.  Not easy to find in the store, but online vendors have plenty of choices.
(formerly "WxMan")
My shop will not be without an RAS again. I don't have a miter saw in the shop since I feel they are more of a home improvement tool, but my RAS gets used on every project. I cut miters, dados, and of course cross cuts with it...but I never rip cut with it. That said, mine is an older Dewalt and having had 3 Craftsman saws I can say if they were my only choice I would probably be without one. But that's not to suggest you get rid f yours, as mentioned above some are good, some are not...all the ones I had were not. Try it out for a short while and then decide.
I started with absolutely nothing. Now, thanks to years of hard work, careful planning, and perseverance, I find I still have most of it left.
I have DeWalt RAS. Mine is set up for cross cutting only. I have a Forrest WW1 blade on it. Mine is set up differently in that my arm is locked solid in the 90 degree position so it never goes out if the 90 degree plain. But I did this first. I screwed on plywood strips to the frame members, put a Dato blade and I cut the tops of the plywood so that the all the plywood was cut so the whole surface is parallel to the bottom of the blade.  Then I put two pieces of melamine on for a table. Followed with a cut so I could insert a piece of plywood for a zero cut insert which could be changed 

My rip fence is in  two pieces. They are blotted to the top of the melamine and squared to the blade using William NU"s 5 cut  video.

The saw is two, maybe 3 steps from my table saw. There are times when you do not want to change up a setup and being able to cut something off comes in handy. My shop does not have a miter saw in it and I do not plan on buying one.

I would keep the RAS.
I had a craftman and had to check the alignment every cut. Went to a sliding compound primarily because of the foot print for a RAS and accuracy of a good slider.
I have a Craftsman RAS that I've owned since the late 70's.  It may not be the most precise tool, but it has served my purposes.  For years I used it for any & all cross cuts &r miter cuts and the occasional dado & half lap joints.  I've ripped on it a few times, especially when I first got it and didn't have a TS.  Several years ago I acquired a 12" CMS.  I have it set up next to my RAS.  I still use the RAS for rough cross cutting & wider cross cuts and use the CMS for miters and bevels.  I never made a cross cut or miter sled for my TS, as I never really needed one.  The RAS will stay in my shop for as long as I have a shop.  It has sentimental value as the first major power tool I ever got and it was a Christmas gift from my wife, back when we really couldn't afford it.
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