|Review by Tony||posted 03-19-2010 05:03 AM||17107 views||3 times favorited||40 comments|
Although I used industrial grade bandsaws in Jr and Sr High Shop Class, the only bandsaw I’ve owned is a Craftsman 10” bench top model. I’ve had it about 20 years, and it has been used for many model airplane and craft projects, but I’ve never been able to get it to cut anything over 1/4” reliably. I’ve been hoping to find a used 14” bandsaw around here, but they are scarce, or I’ve just been looking in the wrong place. I’ve done a lot of Internet window shopping, but just couldn’t bring myself to pull the trigger on one of the pricier models.
Enter Lowe’s and Porter-Cable. After first seeing this saw, I decided to do some checking to see what others thought of it. I found zero reviews. There were some people who had seen this saw in the stores, and expressed their opinions based on visual inspection, or based on their views toward Porter-Cable, but not one hands-on review of the saw. So I decided to be the guinea pig. Photos are at the end of the write-up.
After struggling to get the heavy box in place in my garage, I opened the box and actually read the manual. I also read Michael Fortune’s excellent essay on tuning a bandsaw. The first pieces to go together were the base. They seemed pretty heavy during assembly, but once the main unit is mounted, they didn’t seem so heavy. In fact, the saw seemed top heavy to me, so I opened the door to the cabinet and added 30 pounds or so of extra weight in the form of a giant bucket of paint.
Assembly went fairly quickly. I didn’t make a single modification to the saw, but assembled it stock. It took me a little over 2 hours to assemble and tune the saw. The instructions said blade tracking had been done at the factory. Ummmmm . . . no. Tracking was way off. After taking care of that, I used Mr. Fortune’s method of adjusting the blocks and bearing guide. Time for a test drive.
The saw is surprisingly quiet – more so even than my 10” bench top model. Vibration wasn’t bad, either. The saw seemed to track fine during test cuts. The blade that comes with it is adequate. I’ll probably eventually replace it. I didn’t try changing the speed, so I can’t say how hard that operation might be.
I’m not an expert by any stretch, so take my comments with a grain of salt. If I was going to be doing heavy-duty furniture work or had a professional shop, I would have gone with a higher end model. But for my weekend warrior, garage setup, I think it will be fine. In short:
PROs: Thorough instruction book, quiet operation, easy setup.
CONs: Top-heavy, blade is OK but not great.
The journey begins:
One hour later:
Even with our strong son, this was a beast to get on the stand:
After a few test cuts: