|Review by Tucker||posted 1498 days ago||9500 views||1 time favorited||14 comments|
Rikon makes a great product for a particular market segment. That segment fits between the lesser-expensive Steel City 50100 and the Grizzly (G0555x, not the G0457 which is priced similarly) crowd and the more expensive Powermatic, General, Delta, and of course, Laguna.
So, the simple question: How often will you use the bandsaw to realize the gains in quality and performance if you spend that extra money? For myself the bandsaw is not the key component in my woodworking, though it should be reliable and effective in making my projects enjoyable by not struggling with the equipment used to create them.
So, the target was the sweet spot between price, performance, support, reliability, and ease of use. There are folks who spend month upon agonizing month poring over the reviews, feature set, etc. of these devices before pulling the trigger. Good for them; they put a lot of thought into what they use. I’m no different.
Things I like about this tool:
1) The price. It’s now $699.00 at Woodcraft until November 25th, 09. I paid slightly more.
2) The performance. It’s quite powerful for a 1 1/2 HP motor. (mine’s wired for 230)
3) The fence. It’s a great fence for a stock device. I considered replacing it when researching the saw, then loved it and didn’t.
4) The resawing capacity: 13 1/2” without a riser. Bigger than any other in its class.
5) The support. I had an issue with the throat plate and light fixture. Both replaced immediately, no questions asked.
6) Cast iron wheels; great rotational mass, especially for resawing.
7) Great table and geared tilting mechanism. Good size table. Cast iron gearing is great. Easy to operate.
8) The manual. I’ve heard a lot of criticism of the manual. Maybe I have the new one they promised. I have this one.
9) The quick-release blade tension. I can put it into or out of cutting mode in less than a second.
10) The sight window for the blade guard.
11) Two year warranty.
Things that I didn’t like:
1) The blade changing process could be easier, but after a few switches I got the technique.
2) The blade guide bearings are more/less pretty stable. Carter makes a better product.
3) The guide adjustments are not that easy to do. It took awhile to get the hang of those as well.
3) The blade. In a word: lousy. Get some good ones when you buy the saw.
Summary: I’m sticking with 5 stars here because there is no 90% rating. The learning curve required when using the saw is the issue. It just takes a bit to get used to the process of changing blades and adjusting the guide bearings. After acquiring the skills to do this it results in an awesome product.