08:14PM | 08/22/04
Member Since: 08/22/04
2 lifetime posts
I'd appreciate advice on what type of saw I should first buy. At this point all I have is a portable circular saw. My near-term needs include miter cuts for trim (baseboard, crown, window casing, etc.), and both rip and crosscuts for exterior trim. Future planned projects include bookcase construction, a deck, and a wood fence.

From what I can tell, I have 3 basic choices: a miter saw, a table saw, and a radial arm saw. If I can only pick 1, what do you suggest and if I can only pick 2, what do you suggest? I've been thinking I need a table saw and a miter saw, but I've been told that a radial arm saw will perform the cuts of both as well.

Thank you,

David Andersen



09:41PM | 08/22/04
Member Since: 07/01/03
549 lifetime posts
You actually need 2-saws. A miter saw for accurate cross cuts and miters on lumber up to 6-inches wide (with a 10 inch blade), or wider if you really spend more and get a slide miter or 12 inch miter. The second item is a table saw for cutting rips in lumber and plywood.

The most economical approach is to buy a 10 inch compound miter saw, and a bench saw or portable table saw for rips. If you can afford the full size table saw, go for it. If you are really limited in budget, a bench saw will do it all, miters, cross-cuts, rips, and can be used where you are doing the work because its portable. I know of a number of people who use these for all their projects. See an example here:

A radial arm saw will also do all your cuts, but is a stationary tool that (like a table saw) will require some open space to operate and manipulate wood. They are more expensive, but are excellent and versitile tools. Only the largest ones can rip plywood in half (24-inch cut), so the arm extension is your limiting factor for rip cuts. In general, I feel a dedicated compound miter saw and portable bench saw is faster for most jobs, and allows you to use the tool where you work.


05:20AM | 08/24/04
Member Since: 08/22/04
2 lifetime posts
Thanks to you both.
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