|Review by richgreer||posted 01-19-2010 12:20 AM||5607 views||0 times favorited||6 comments|
I was looking at the bandsaw reviews on this website and I noticed that there was no review of my bandsaw. So I decided to address this oversight by providing this review.
I need to put my review into perspective. Previously, I used the band saw attachment for my shopsmith. That is an 11 inch bandsaw that is much different than this bandsaw. I have never had experience with other bandsaws that are comparable to this. Therefore, I cannot compare this bandsaw to other comparable bandsaws on the market.
This bandsaw meets one of my criteria for big power tools – I like to buy as much tool as I can without going to 220 volts. This bandsaw has a 1.75 hp motor that runs on 110 volts.
This is a very good re-sawing machine. With wide boards you will have to proceed at a pretty slow pace but you still get a quality cut. Drift is minimal with a 3/4 inch blade and, in some respects, it is irrelevant because the bandsaw comes with a re-sawing bar which allows you guide the workpiece through. A 10 inch wide piece of hard maple is the widest piece I have re-sawn so far and I was very pleased with the result. When re-sawing I always use a featherboard at the bottom and a second featherboard towards the top. I have made a gig to support the upper featherboard.
I have been told that the tension on a bandsaw blade should be 20,000 pounds per square inch. I have a tension gauge and, as is almost always the case, the tension settings indicator on the band saw is inaccurate. If I set my tension based on the indicater gauge on the machine the tension would be less than 10,000 pounds per square inch. I tightened it until I had a true 20,000 pounds of tension and made my own mark. That is a complaint, but it is also true of almost any bandsaw on the market today.
I found that it took a lot of effort to get the tension to 20,000 bounds on a 3/4 inch blade with the little 5 inch wheel that you turn to change tension. Therefore, I built a wooden wheel enhancement that is 12 inches in diameter and attaches to the 5 inch wheel with 3 U-bolts. That gives you a lot more leverage and makes it much easier to apply the pressure.
Warning, with my 12 inch tension wheel I was able to severely over tighten the saw with a 1/4 inch blade in place and I managed to destroy the tires. That was my stupidity and no fault of the machine.
This machine does not have a quick release lever. That may be a negative for some people. With my enhanced tension wheel it is pretty easy to apply and release tension. I just need to remember to do it. I intend to release tension at the end of every work session and reapply tension before turning on the machine the next time. On several occasions I have failed to do one or the other.
This is not just a re-saw tool. I also use it for regular bandsaw applications and I am quite pleased with how it performs.
I don’t like changing blades with this saw. It seems to be a burdensome task. Maybe that is the way all 18 inch bandsaws are. I don’t know. I just know that I don’t like changing blades on this saw. I normally use a 3/4 inch blade for re-sawing and a 1/4 inch blade for more intricate work. I am tempted to buy a 1/2 inch blade and use it for re-sawing and other work.
I am at a handicap here because I have no experience with other similar bandsaws. Nonetheless, it seems like this bandsaw provides smooth, vibration free performance and after re-sawing I usually have nice flat and almost smooth pieces of wood. It normally takes only one pass, shearing off 1/64”, on the thickness planner to give me the smooth finish I desire.
Basically, I like this machine. I consider it solid and dependable. But there are a few issues that cause me to give it 4 stars instead of 5.
-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.