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Powermatic 14" bandsaw

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Review by ChuckC posted 08-12-2010 09:11 PM 9782 views 0 times favorited 25 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Powermatic 14" bandsaw No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I finally convinced myself that I was ready for a bandsaw. I spent about a month looking into them and settled on the Powermatic 14”. I wasn’t interested in getting something that I would have to upgrade due to any number of possible deficiencies so I thought I was safe with the trusted Powermatic name. Well, I was almost right.

I had a rough start with this saw. If it wasn’t for their superior customer service I would have returned it. I ordered the 14” bandsaw, riser block, and rolling stand. The first thing I opened was the stand. It’s very strong with great mobility but the plastic thumb screws you use to lock the wheels were broken (the plastic thumb grip). Not a big deal, but annoying. I read a few reviews on the saw where people had a hard time installing the riser block. The pins that line everything up are sometimes a little off. I was hoping that mine would be OK. I was wrong. It was impossible to track the blade. I called them up and they recommended I enlarge the holes that receive the pins which would allow some side-to-side movement. I did that and was able line the upper and lower wheel. They also sent out a new set of thumb screws for the rolling base.

I also had a issue with the upper blade guard. The threads in the upper bearing block were stripped and I couldn’t tighten the blade guard. I called them back and the rep said they were out of stock but he took the entire upper guide (including the bearings) off a new saw they had and sent me that. I appreciated that greatly. I ended up getting another complete assembly a few weeks later. I guess they came in stock?? Finally, I had the saw running. I picked up a bunch of Timer Wolf blades and started using the saw. One of the features of this saw is the Carter quick release for the blade. You only have to lower a handle to loosen the blade to change it, or when you are done for the day. I went to raise it and the gears inside broke. It’s entirely possible that the blade was too tight but I don’t’ think it was. I tightened the blade according to the Timber Wolf’s instructions which is generally looser than other blades. I called them back and they sent me the entire lift mechanism minus the handle.

The instructions were good and included helpful pictures for most of the steps. I had a hard time setting up the motor and getting the right tension on the belt. The motor is heavy and it’s home is an enclosed cabinet. It was tough to get everything lined up and tensioned while tightening the bolts. I ended up getting my car jack out and placed it below the motor. I used it to raise and lower the motor until I got the right tension. It made the job much easier.

I’ve had the saw for just over a year now and it’s performed flawlessly. I use it for ripping, cross cuts, curve stuff, and resawing. I even cut up logs now and turn them into lumber.

I would have given 5 stars but the issues I encountered take one away.




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ChuckC

691 posts in 1589 days



25 comments so far

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27251 posts in 2476 days


#1 posted 08-12-2010 09:22 PM

Chuck, this is a pretty good review. When I put my saw together I did not have any of the issues that you did and it has perfomed well for me. The only real issue I have with the saw is the fence. It is tensioned by a locking lever and inside the mechanism is a plastic wedge that puts pressure on the front support. This wedge has come loose on my saw and I have tried glue, double sided tape, etc. to get it back on but the piece keeps coming off which makes the fence useless since it can’t be locked down without the wedge in place. I have gotten around this by using clamps to hold the fence down but this is an annoyance.

With the issues that you had with your saw I would say that you are right in giving it a 4 star rating.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View woodsmithshop's profile

woodsmithshop

1149 posts in 2200 days


#2 posted 08-12-2010 09:44 PM

I have had this saw w/riser block for a couple of years now with no real issues,I did not like the fence, but I already had a Kreg fence from a previous band saw, so it has worked out well for me. I did wire mine for 220v.
I think one reason I had no problems with assembly may be because the only saw the dealer had in stock was the display model, so, I took it

-- Smitty!!!

View ChuckV's profile

ChuckV

2420 posts in 2182 days


#3 posted 08-12-2010 09:45 PM

How about that – ChuckC and ChuckV have the same saw. Anyway, I bought mine about two years ago with the riser block but no stand. I had only very minor initial problems. The customer service was first rate.

The saw has been flawless since I got it set up.

-- “That it will never come again / Is what makes life so sweet. ” ― Emily Dickinson

View Sef's profile

Sef

114 posts in 2305 days


#4 posted 08-12-2010 11:20 PM

Gotta say, I’m with deke. That saw would have gone back as soon as they suggested I enlarge some holes. I expect better than that from even HF stuff.

-- I may not know a lot, but at least I know that I don't know.?.?. I think. http://chathampenworks.com/

View ChuckC's profile

ChuckC

691 posts in 1589 days


#5 posted 08-12-2010 11:36 PM

I agree. It was definitely a bummer that I had the problems. I had to enlarge the holes in the riser, not the saw itself. It still shouldn’t happen though. They said a bad batch of risers got out?? I ordered it from Woodcraft so returning it would have been a pain. I may have done just that if I picked it up from a local store.

Scott: That plastic wedge should still hold the fence. I can’t remember exactly how it’s mounted but for mine it hangs off something in the handle. The double sided tape just keeps it in place but it’s not required for it to work.

View Jimi_C's profile

Jimi_C

507 posts in 1889 days


#6 posted 08-12-2010 11:41 PM

Eeesh, yeah, when a manufacturer starts telling me to re-machine something they should have machined properly in the first place is when I stop buying from that manufacturer. I would not have given them 4 stars for this, 3 tops.

-- The difference between being defeated and admitting defeat is what makes all the difference in the world - Upton Sinclair, "The Jungle"

View Rileysdad's profile

Rileysdad

110 posts in 1933 days


#7 posted 08-13-2010 12:12 AM

I always thought Powermatic was supposed to be the Gold Standard in shop machinery. That’s how they price their stuff. I don’t know about the other problems, but the riser block alignment problem has been know for quite some time. You would think they would have fixed it by now. As for customer service, it’s good they took care of you, but Grizzley does a hell of a job with customer service, their machines are very well built, and they are much more reasonably priced.

-- Measure twice, cut once, buy extra stock.

View Glen Simpson's profile

Glen Simpson

25 posts in 2240 days


#8 posted 08-13-2010 01:09 AM

I have this saw and have loved it since day one. Sure there were adjustments to be made, but that is true with any tool you purchase. Once I set things to right, it has been great. That being said, customer service has been lacking in lots of things lately. I have had a few products that were either defective or had missing parts and it was though I had done something wrong by the sound of the “customer service” person. The riser block problem should have been fixed, and a replacement sent. The customer should never have to do any modifications to a piece of equipment. I am glad I read this before I purchased the riser block, something that I was strongly considering.

Glen

-- Glen Making sawdust in Alamo, CA

View spalted's profile

spalted

21 posts in 1644 days


#9 posted 08-13-2010 02:28 AM

I bought this saw used and have had it for about 4 months. I agree that the fence clamping mechanism leaves a little to be desired, but I’ve yet to have any real problems with it. I just feel as though it’s not a positive lock. I installed the riser block and did not have any problems with my kit. Overall, I’m very satisfied considering I didn’t pay retail and other than the fence I have full confidence in the quality.

View ChuckC's profile

ChuckC

691 posts in 1589 days


#10 posted 08-13-2010 03:26 AM

I was really unhappy about having to modify the riser but my concern was that I’d send it back, wait 2 weeks, and then get a new one with the same problem. It took no more than 10 minutes to enlarge the holes and I was able to get it together right away. The pins are only for alignment, they are not structure.

If I had the cash my shop would be all Powermatic. I am more impressed with the saw after the complications and the customer service than I am unhappy with the issues.

View jim C's profile

jim C

1452 posts in 1753 days


#11 posted 08-13-2010 04:51 AM

Just for what it’s worth, the best band saw ever produced, bar none, was the Do-All line. Expensive ? yes!
Indestructible, precise, built like a brick S.H. you bet.
Unfortunately, overseas cheap competition killed ‘em.
Powermatic, Rikon, General are not even in the same league.

-- When I was a boy, I was told "anyone can be President", now I'm beginning to believe it!

View woodsmithshop's profile

woodsmithshop

1149 posts in 2200 days


#12 posted 08-13-2010 08:38 PM

Deke, back around 3 yrs or so, Rikpn had a few issues also, I wanted an 18” Rikon, but no one could assure me those problems were fixed, or that the one I wanted to buy was before or after the fix, so I bought the PM, I think now the Rikon is ok, but it was not for sure when I got the PM.

-- Smitty!!!

View jim C's profile

jim C

1452 posts in 1753 days


#13 posted 08-13-2010 08:51 PM

Deke,
Do-All was the largest maker of Band Saws used in metalworking. But with their variable speeds, they were great for wood also.
They were equipped with a simple to use induction welder, along side a grinding wheel to remove the excess weld when welding a new blade together. You didn’t have to buy a certain length blade, you just bought a 100’ coil and welded new blades to size when necessary.
Google ”used do-all saws” and you’ll find many of these for sale. Only downside is they are 220V 3 phase machines.

-- When I was a boy, I was told "anyone can be President", now I'm beginning to believe it!

View woodprof's profile

woodprof

44 posts in 1844 days


#14 posted 08-14-2010 01:46 AM

I agree with Boardsmith, but in my case it is the Rikon Deluxe 14” bandsaw. Went together without a hitch, and easily saws wood thin enough to be considered veneer with the furnished fence and just the normal setup routine.

If I had paid hundreds of dollars more and had to modify the saw to put it together, I think it would have gone back just out of concern about whether they would honor the warranty after I “modified” it, even though they told me to. Glad it’s working well for you now.

View Ken90712's profile

Ken90712

14947 posts in 1843 days


#15 posted 08-14-2010 06:44 PM

Nice saw review, glad its working well.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

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