RAS Terror

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  • twistsol
    Veteran Member
    • Dec 2002
    • 2912
    • Cottage Grove, MN, USA.
    • Ridgid R4512, 2x ShopSmith Mark V 520, 1951 Shopsmith 10ER

    RAS Terror

    My dad gave me his RAS a few months ago and I did a little shopping and found a book on eBay. The following is an excerpt from the 1956 Book “Easy Ways to Expert Woodworking” and in part may explain why the RAS has a reputation as an extremely dangerous machine.

    Crosscutting Wide Boards and Panels
    To cut a board wider than the capacity of the machine, cut to the limit, then turn it over and complete the cut. Large pieces of plywood can be cut with ease by using the method shown in Fig. 2-23. The motor is placed in a horizontal rip position, and then the radial arm is swung to approximately a 30-degree left- hand miter. The motor is fully extended on the arm, allowing the blade to overhang the front edge of the work table. With the arm in this position, the blade overhang will extend beyond the plywood to be cut. Such an arrangement allows the panel to be pushed from right to left through the moving blade.
    To support the large panel while cutting and to assure a square cut, a slotted two-by-four is placed on the floor to serve as a lower guide, while the front edge of the worktable supports the top of the panel. The groove in the lower guide should be parallel and perpendicular with the front edge and can be cut as described on page 39. The lower guide can also be fastened to the front of the workbench for small panels.

    Chr's
    __________
    An ethical man knows the right thing to do.
    A moral man does it.
  • pelligrini
    Veteran Member
    • Apr 2007
    • 4217
    • Fort Worth, TX
    • Craftsman 21829

    #2
    That's nuts!
    Erik

    Comment

    • LinuxRandal
      Veteran Member
      • Feb 2005
      • 4889
      • Independence, MO, USA.
      • bt3100

      #3
      Kinda looks like some of the people I've seen, feeding a tablesaw, without a blade guard.
      She couldn't tell the difference between the escape pod, and the bathroom. We had to go back for her.........................Twice.

      Comment

      • Richard in Smithville
        Veteran Member
        • Oct 2006
        • 3014
        • On the TARDIS
        • BT 3100

        #4
        Originally posted by pelligrini
        That's nuts!
        Or soon to missing said anatomy.
        From the "deep south" part of Canada

        Richard in Smithville

        http://richardspensandthings.blogspot.com/

        Comment

        • chopnhack
          Veteran Member
          • Oct 2006
          • 3779
          • Florida
          • Ryobi BT3100

          #5
          At the level of the blade it is clearly indicated why this man had no family!
          I think in straight lines, but dream in curves

          Comment

          • Bill in Buena Park
            Veteran Member
            • Nov 2007
            • 1865
            • Buena Park, CA
            • CM 21829

            #6
            I didn't think my RAS would achieve that position - which requires rotation of the blade to rip position, then 90 degrees bevel (who needs 90 degrees bevel?) - I had to go check, and son of a gun it sure does! Made me wonder though - capability for 90 degree bevel had to be specifically designed for this sheet cutting capability, otherwise I'd have to consider the mechanics of trying to feed stock into a nearly horizontal spinning blade for bevels over 45 degrees... almost as bad as that plywood ripping/crosscutting!
            Last edited by Bill in Buena Park; 05-15-2010, 07:12 PM.
            Bill in Buena Park

            Comment

            • Pappy
              The Full Monte
              • Dec 2002
              • 10453
              • San Marcos, TX, USA.
              • BT3000 (x2)

              #7
              kick back!!!!!!!
              Don, aka Pappy,

              Wise men talk because they have something to say,
              Fools because they have to say something.
              Plato

              Comment

              • Mr__Bill
                Veteran Member
                • May 2007
                • 2096
                • Tacoma, WA
                • BT3000

                #8
                Originally posted by Bill in Buena Park
                I didn't think my RAS would achieve that position - which requires rotation of the blade to rip position, then 90 degrees bevel (who needs 90 degrees bevel?) - I had to go check, and son of a gun it sure does! Made me wonder though - capability for 90 degree bevel had to be specifically designed for this sheet cutting capability, otherwise I'd have to consider the mechanics of trying to feed stock into a nearly horizontal spinning blade for bevels over 45 degrees... almost as bad as that plywood ripping/crosscutting!
                Don't forget that you could get a router bit chuck for these. In that position you could rip a groove in a long board using a router bit, or do some dados.

                Used with some care and common sense the RAS was truly a versatile saw and was all the tool necessary for many carpenters. I know a few people who built houses with only a RAS. Now most of the time the buggers scared the heck out of me, my propensity for doing stupid things and a saw that gave no quarter was not a smart combination. In the theater shops I taught people how to use them and lectured on safety and then stayed away from them.

                Bill
                a good day is a day that ends and you have the same number of body parts as when you got up.

                Comment

                • phi1l
                  Senior Member
                  • Oct 2009
                  • 681
                  • Madison, WI

                  #9
                  Isn't that sort of thing done by a guy in a tuxedo & top hat to a scantily clad beauty in a black box?

                  Comment

                  • Hoakie
                    Established Member
                    • Feb 2007
                    • 382
                    • Iowa
                    • Craftsman 21829

                    #10
                    Originally posted by Bill in Buena Park
                    (who needs 90 degrees bevel?) - I had to go check, and son of a gun it sure does! Made me wonder though - capability for 90 degree bevel had to be specifically designed for this sheet cutting capability

                    I guess you could make large biscuit joints with it in this position as well
                    John
                    To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk. ~ Edison

                    Comment

                    • cwsmith
                      Veteran Member
                      • Dec 2005
                      • 2745
                      • NY Southern Tier, USA.
                      • BT3100-1

                      #11
                      As a long-time RAS user/fan, I must admit that there is a cut that I haven't tried yet (and like many other suggested uses, NEVER WILL!!).

                      I love some of these old books on woodworking, but they often contain tips that are simply insane.

                      It often leaves me thinking that the "greatest generation (those born in and around between 1915 and 1925) went through so much, like the great depression and WWII, that abosolutely nothing phased them. This was also the generation that saw the first homeowner power tools. A stout-hearted lot for sure, but also a bunch of really "wild and crazy guys" who left behind a lot of appendages I'm sure. I suppose we need to thank these pioneer home craftsman for paving the way to much of our safety awareness.

                      CWS
                      Think it Through Before You Do!

                      Comment

                      • cabinetman
                        Gone but not Forgotten RIP
                        • Jun 2006
                        • 15216
                        • So. Florida
                        • Delta

                        #12
                        I'm really surprised that someone thought that one out, and to document it. It doesn't leave the halves much of a safe place to go.
                        .

                        Comment

                        • Dutchman46
                          Forum Newbie
                          • Aug 2006
                          • 56
                          • Holland Michigan
                          • BT3000

                          #13
                          I must admit that I have seen it used that way,many years ago before I had any tools of My own. I think that I seen it at My high school. I graduated in 1964, so it's been a while. It was neat to watch. My Father was a Carpenter, and He only used hand tools at home. It went slick. I can' remember, There wasn't a lot of ply used then. I think they were using it for forms. And also to keep people from walking in there when they were working.One guy was cutting the wood by sliding along the floor fence, and, they had something on the table to hold it on the table, once it was cut. Another fella was carring the piece. Has any one seen it, or tried it?

                          Comment

                          • cwsmith
                            Veteran Member
                            • Dec 2005
                            • 2745
                            • NY Southern Tier, USA.
                            • BT3100-1

                            #14
                            I graduated in 1962 and in that final year (starting in 1961), my "Advanced Woodshop" teacher was extremely strict about shop safety. After discovering my "saw apprehension" (from witnessing my father's table saw accident) this shop teacher introduced me to the RAS, "as a safer saw". If he had ever seen anything like this subject photo, he would have freaked-out for sure. (He later went on to teach future shop teachers at SUNY Binghamton.)

                            In this particular shop class, we didn't make individual projects. Instead we built "products". After visiting a local furniture manufacturer, we designed and produced some 200 or so desks for the home office. Three drawers, turned legs and stained and varnished in a variety of woodtones, the desks were mostly veneered plywood.

                            At the start of the 2nd semester, we toured "National Homes" which used to be a manufacturer of "ready-built" housing kits. That was the prelude to our winter/spring project which was to fabricate a small home, from a double garage plan a previous class had done. We designed and built the truss rafters and wall sections in the shop and erected the building over a three day period in early June. That was 1962 and in our area, at least (NY's Southern Tier), plywood was a major building and project material.

                            CWS
                            Think it Through Before You Do!

                            Comment

                            • pacwind3
                              Established Member
                              • Nov 2006
                              • 257
                              • Vancouver, WA
                              • Bosch 4100

                              #15
                              surely that had to be discovered in a "gee dad, look what I can do!" moment.

                              Comment

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