A Radial Arm Saw Is a Good Thing To Have

My radial arm saw is large, rusty, and ugly. It’s now more than 35 years old, a gift from my friends at Southern Living when I left there to work for Parisian. Most of the time it sits high atop the pallet rack out of the way, next to the barbecue grill that I use every 2-3 months. I may go for a year or two without using the saw. But when you need fast and precise cutting, man is it handy.

I have no experience with table saws or compound miter saws. They may be superior to the radial arm saw. The radial arm saw is the one I own, so it’s the one I use.

I pulled the the radial arm saw down and used it extensively in building the chicken tractor. Just loved its ability to cut a precise edge over and over. That made it invaluable for the close joints needed for the pocket screw construction.

When I finished the chicken tractor, I put it back up on the pallet rack, thinking I probably wouldn’t need it again for months if not years. Then in the first good strong rainstorm, the pressure treated pine joints of the chicken tractor swelled, and three of the four doors were impossible to open.

I’ve been playing around, first with a belt sander and then a hand planer, trying to shave material off the doors and get them to work, but they were still balky. Finally, yesterday morning, I pulled the radial arm saw back down and used it to shave about 1/32″ off both sides of the board dividing the roost door from the poop tray. Yay! That solved the problem, I hope permanently. Next I removed the main door from the coop and shaved about 1/32″ off the lower right corner. I can now report that all the doors of the chicken tractor and opening and closing smoothly and firmly.

One of the silverlaced wyandottes immediately rewarded me for my hard work with an egg.

The radial arm saw is now back up on its pallet rack. It needs its rest; I will press it into service when we redeck the pier, so it’s going to be busy during the next couple of weeks.

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