How to Properly Use a Radial Arm Saw

What You'll Need
Eye Protection
Ear Plugs (or other ear protection)
Something to pull back loose hair

A radial arm saw is a great tool to use when accurate or precision cuts are necessary. Instead of moving wood through a stationary saw, a radial arm saw allows you to move the saw through a piece of stationary wood. Using these saws aren't much different from others, but there are a few things you should know.

Step 1: Safety Precautions

Before you begin you will want to take all safety precautions. Hearing protection is necessary because these machines are loud and you're working in close proximity. Eye protection is necessary anytime you are working with wood and tools. Loose hair should be pulled back so it won't get pulled in to the saw or working area. It's a good idea to avoid wearing loose clothing as well.

Step 2: Adjustments

Be sure the saws starting point is completely behind the fence. This will keep the blade from coming in to contact with the lumber before you intend for it to. Check all of the knobs to be sure they are locked in the correct positions. You should never use tools to tighten knobs unless the machine was designed to do that. 

Step 3: Set the Table

Most radial arm saws have a wooden tabletop that can be replaced. Before you start cutting make sure the table is set at the correct height. Bringing the table low enough to set the angle of the saw for cutting will save you a lot of hassle later on. Once the table is low enough to set the angle, you can bring the table back up to where it should be.

Step 4: Measure Materials

It stands to reason that you need to make measurements before you start working. With a radial saw, you need to be sure you use a square or protractor to get the marks of the angles correctly. Since your saw will cut precisely, having imprecise measurements will force you to recut.

Step 5: Start Your Cut

With the blade running, lower the saw to the starting cut position. Bring it down slowly so you can get the accurate cut you need. Pull the saw through the wood until the cut has been made entirely. If you need to raise the saw to reset the angle, make sure you raise it by the handle. Allowing the saw to snap back into place without guiding it can cause damage to the saw, and will require more