LumberJocks

Craftex 16" 2HP Bandsaw (CT082) Review

  • Advertise with us
Review by LucasinBC posted 09-13-2011 05:00 AM 5163 views 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Craftex 16" 2HP Bandsaw (CT082) Review Craftex 16" 2HP Bandsaw (CT082) Review Craftex 16" 2HP Bandsaw (CT082) Review Click the pictures to enlarge them

Here’s a little review for any of you fellow Canucks out there who are looking for information on Craftex machines. For most US citizens this review will mean virtually nothing because as far as I can tell Craftex is a brand that is pretty much exclusively marketed and sold in Canada through the Busy Bee Tools franchises. I have heard that there is some relationship between Busy Bee and Grizzly but I don’t believe the conspiracy theories.

I purchased this bandsaw in the spring of 2010 so I have owned it for approximately 1.5 years. I have wanted to write a review for a long time but I figured that I would give it an experienced review rather than my initial thoughts. After all any tool can look and work great right out of the box, it’s the long-term success or failure that matters most to me.

I bought this saw as a beginner. I had very little power tools at the time, and I was just starting my venture into woodworking. As a beginner I believed that having a capable bandsaw was in my best interests. My reasoning was that bandsaws are very versatile, they are simple and relatively safe to use for beginners and they require very little in terms of setup compared to other types of machines (jointers, etc.) I won’t lie, as a beginner I had a healthy respect/fear of owning a table saw, so I went for a bandsaw. Don’t get me wrong, I like my table saw now, I just felt it was a bit more prudent to get a bandsaw first and get used to that before I moved onto the table saw.

Since I use my bandsaw for most of my rough cutting, curved cutting, tenoning and resawing, I wanted a 2HP saw that could get my work done without any strain on the motor. This proved to be a silly mistake. I have learned that 2HP is quite unnecessary for a home workshop person. 2HP is pretty much only needed if you are a serious woodworker an you are doing major re-sawing all the time. So the Craftex CT082 (which is no longer available, mind you) seemed attractive at about $750.

So without further delay – on to the review. Quick breakdown (on a scale of 1 to 5, 5 being great)

Performance: 3.5
The frame is not solid; it is made of what I believe is pressed sheet steel. The motor, which is nice and powerful at 2HP, vibrates a lot a the foot of the machine. I don’t know why but it seems that the frame cannot take the vibration and it causes the hole machine to vibrate. This thing is not passing the so called “nickel test.”

That being said, once I had the right blade on the machine, it made pretty good cuts. Re-sawing was no problem, and once I had the adjustable fence adjusted for drift, there were no problems with making straight cuts.

The trunion for the table appears to be cast aluminum, as are the wheels I believe. The wheels are well aligned, and I have no problems with coplanarity or tracking. Actually, there is a self-tracing tire on the bottom wheel and it makes fitting a new blade very easy.

The dust collection is not great – there is a 4” port at the back and bottom of the machine. It’s ok, but most bandsaws seem to have the ports near to the table where the dust is actually created. Having the dust at the bottom of the machine simply makes more dust accumulate inside the frame.

I should mention that the stock Craftex blades are absolute garbage. Don’t use them. I went ahead and ordred some Lenox Flex-back carbon steel blades from bandsawbladesdirect.com and I have to say that they were 1000 times better. Use those an this thing can cut pretty decently.

Fit and Finish: 2.5
While the motor appears to be quality, many of the parts seem flimsy and cheap. A lot of the parts simply don’t align properly. This is pretty obvious when considering the guides. These are euro style disc guides. They do the trick, but it is very difficult to align them properly, this is made even more difficult due to the vibration as I mentioned earlier.

I’ve had parts break on me in the short time that I have owned it, and I have to stress that I am a weekend woodworker, and this machine gets maybe 2 hours of total use each month MAYBE. Also, it is in a well heated garage, no moisture, and no abuse. I would hate to see what would happen to this thing under heavy usage!

Endurance / Longevity: 2
About 1 year into owning this machine the tensioning knob cracked. I’m not sure why this happened, but the handle which is made of plastic just cracked and I had to replace it. Well I ordered a new one, only to find out that when I got the machine in the first place the handle had actually been expoxied to the tensioning rod. Because of that I could not remove the broken handle from the rod. So I took out my hacksaw and cut it off. Then I tried to epoxy the new handle onto the rod. For some reason I found that it did not work for me – I tried two different kinds of epoxy and it still kept coming unglued when I tried to apply pressure in tightening the handle.

Now there is a set-screw hole in the handle, which to me would make sense in tightening the handle to the rod. However, my machine never came with one originally and Craftex parts don’t have one in stock. Better yet, the set screw is a crazy odd shape so that no standard or metric bolts or screws that I can find fit. So right now I am in a holding pattern in trying to find a way to attach the handle to the rod. This by far has been the worst experience for with this saw.

As well, a few months ago I started noticing crack lines on the face of the cast iron table. I believe these are stress lines which have formed as a result of the large table being insufficiently supported by the trunions. The table weights a freaking ton because it is huge. I remember mounting it thinking “wow, I wonder how this table is going to get supported because there seems to be nothing but that tiny trunion.” Well, now I know. It ISN’T well supported. The table already shows signs of defection; it’s only a matter of time before it is completely out of square.

Customer Service: 3
Well, whenever I have called for help there is always someone on the phone ready to help. I give them points for that. Even better, when I leave a message they actually call me back. The only problem, as mentioned above is that they simply don’t have the right part that I need. Specifically, the set screw that holds my tension handle. That killed it for me.

Manual: 2.5
I almost forgot this. The manual that comes with this machine is not very helpful. I’ll even overlook the poor English as this seems to be par for the course with many machines coming from China. Pure content-wise, this is not a very good manual. There are many incomplete sections, such as how to properly tension the blade, and setting up the table. Again, the bare necessities are there, but nothing more.

Overall: 3
Would I buy this machine again? Sadly no. I would definitely not. In fact, I am currently saving up some cash so that I can sell this thing at a major loss and buy myself a decent General 14” bandsaw like I should have done in the first place. I think Craftex is trying to improve its image, they even have some “CX” series which I suppose are supposed to be their flagship type machines on the market now. But for me, this was the first an last Craftex machine that I will ever own. I simply cannot call this a positive experience. Oh well. Live and learn. And if you live in BC and want a bandsaw for cheap give me a shout!

Questions and feedback gladly appreciated.

-- Making mistakes is essential in learning woodworking.




View LucasinBC's profile

LucasinBC

62 posts in 1726 days



8 comments so far

View racerglen's profile

racerglen

2303 posts in 1435 days


#1 posted 09-13-2011 02:07 PM

Somewhat of Canada’s answer to Harbour Freight I’m thinking. Lucas I’ve had some good luck with Busy Bee over the years in hand tools
but never bought any power stuff. If it weren’t for their shipping costs I might buy more, in Surry you’re within driving distance at least. My last try was a small bronze apearing pullshave that I thought would be good for things like spoon bowls..
Shipping and tax over doubled the cost..Their suggestion was buy some more ..It was under their minimum..

Oh well..

-- Glen, Vernon B.C. Canada

View woodzy's profile

woodzy

416 posts in 1334 days


#2 posted 09-13-2011 03:00 PM

Overall they are exactly as you’ve described.
I had the same issue with my Bandsaw. (Broken tension screw) The guys at Busy Bee (Concord) helped me find a tension screw that would fit even though it was not a Busy Bee (Craftex) Bandsaw.
I’ve had a number of good experiences in the store and with the products once i’ve had them in my shop.

I wholeheartedly agree with your take on there manuals. I can get past the lackluster command of the english language. But at least give me a complete manual that will help me build and setup the machine i’ve just invested in.

I had to go online and watch the Woodwisperer videos (The jointers Jumpin’ ... or something like that) to properly setup my jointer.

I do not have my orders shipped. The cost is outrageous. But S&H charges are wacky everywhere.
A deal on tools generally turns into a ripoff after S&H charges are added in, i think that goes accross the board.

I hope that in a couple of years my only complaint regarding the Jointer i’ve bought from them (6” Craftex) is that i need a biggger one.

Thanks for the review.

-- Anthony

View JohnGreco's profile

JohnGreco

283 posts in 1710 days


#3 posted 09-13-2011 03:02 PM

Good detailed review. I have to wonder if the table cracking is a result from all of the vibrating? Interestingly, as I read this there was a craftex CX series ad above your review. Hope your next one turns out better :)

-- John

View SnowFrog's profile

SnowFrog

102 posts in 1202 days


#4 posted 09-13-2011 06:59 PM

Thank you for the review. It does make one think. Being a fellow Canadian I do feel the pain of lack of diversity in suppliers. We have pretty well, craftex, general and King, some rigid at HD. My last experience or ordering from the US was just outrageous. Rockler cross cut sled. It said made in China on the bill, Custom/UPS hone-in on that, wham! added over 75% of the original bill in custom and brokerage fee. I truely wish we could figure out how much these guys are gonna rob us at the border before we order. Anyhow!!

The only hope I have in our small market is that after looking (drewling really) at power tools across all sources US and Canadian, there are so many striking commonalities between all brands that I am convinced there is actually no more than 3 actual powertool makers in the world. Try typing 14” bandsaw on google images. Much of it looks like various options for the same basic 3 saws.
So maybe King and General or even crafttex are not so out of wack after all.

Comments??

-- One can dream, about a passion not yet fully fulfilled!

View Hartmann's profile

Hartmann

38 posts in 1544 days


#5 posted 09-13-2011 07:13 PM

I just have comments on that…. Grizzly is now shipping to Canada, free brokerage rates on machinery orders…..

View LucasinBC's profile

LucasinBC

62 posts in 1726 days


#6 posted 09-16-2011 06:24 AM

Thanks for the comments everyone – and I hope I did not come across too negatively about Craftex and Busy Bee. As many have mentioned before, they seem to be close to a Harbor Freight type business here in Canada, which is not anywhere near top of the line, but it serves a good short-term purpose.

Anthony – you’ll have to let me know if you can jog your memory as to where you wound up finding your tension screw for your bandsaw! I’m still playing the waiting game with Busy Bee!!

Take care,
Lucas

-- Making mistakes is essential in learning woodworking.

View woodzy's profile

woodzy

416 posts in 1334 days


#7 posted 09-16-2011 04:58 PM

I went in to the Busy Bee store (concord, ontario) asked the guys at the parts and sevice window for what i was looking for. They had the tension screw in stock.
All the 14” Bandsaws are the same (at this level). The screw fits perfectly. Actually it is the same screw that broke on me only this model is longer. Which helped to save my fingers and knuckles but i am waiting for the inevitable.

But i know where to get one now?

It was $10 cdn or something like that. was shocked, expected to leave angry and cheated.
The guys at the location i visit are great they go way overboard most times.

-- Anthony

View LucasinBC's profile

LucasinBC

62 posts in 1726 days


#8 posted 09-20-2011 04:16 AM

Just a quick update to this post for anyone who cares – I went to Delta Tool Repair in Surrey BC and they found the odd shaped set screw for my bandsaw in less than 2 minutes. Not even exaggerating. So if you live in the BC Lower Mainland an need a machine fixed or a missing part give them a shout they are awesome.

Delta Tool Repair Ltd.
114-7533 135 St,
Surrey BC,
V3W 0N6

-- Making mistakes is essential in learning woodworking.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

GardenTenders.com :: gardening showcase