How many degrees of negative hook angle should a radial-arm saw (RAS) blade have in order to make rip cuts safely? – Al Lower
Tim Inman: In my humble opinion, there is NO safe hook angle for ripping on a radial arm saw. Ripping on a radial arm saw is just plain dangerous, and I would recommend you never do that. Hook angle has nothing to do with the danger; the climbing force vector of the saw’s design has everything to do with it. It just ain’t safe.
Chris Marshall: I had a radial-arm saw for a number of years, and it was an effective machine for crosscutting. There were those occasional times when, pulling the saw carriage through a cut, the motor seemed to have a mind of its own and wanted to lurch forward on me. That kept me extremely cautious of it every single time I made a crosscut. It also kept me from using it with a dado blade. When a big conventional sliding miter saw eventually replaced the radial arm, I honestly didn’t miss seeing it go. I know there are many died-in-the-wool RAS users out there who regularly use their saws for rip cuts — and I mean no disrespect to them. But, ripping with mine was a technique that took more nerve than I was comfortable with. I did try it a few times, but it just never felt safe. I’d much rather use a table saw, band saw or track saw for that job.