|Review by doncutlip||posted 12-27-2011 02:58 AM||4438 views||0 times favorited||10 comments|
I’ve had this saw for over a year now and I really like it. I used it for everything until I got my table saw; for a time I thought I didn’t even need a table saw. In truth, if you have a router and a jointer then you can make do with just a bandsaw; but now that I have a table saw the BS sits quiet a lot.
I drove up to Muncy to get the thing, it was nice to touch and feel all of their extensive line of bandsaws. In the end I just got the biggest one that would fit in my small SUV. I also liked the look of the wheels and cabinet, overall it just seemed more robust than even the ‘extreme’ series 14 inchers – although I suspect they are probably about the same in performance. One thing I was not aware of, and it’s the main point of this review. While it’s a great saw and I love it, it uses 106 inch blades. Most (if not all) other 14 inch bandsaws use 105 inch blades. So far the only place I’ve found that has 106s is Grizzly, so I bought one of each. I used the 1/8 inch to make a few bandsaw boxes and I’m already getting tearout, but back to the saw.
The saw comes in two boxes and is easy to assemble. One box has the saw proper, motor, etc. while the other box has the base cabinet. I also got a ShopFox mobile base and by no means is it rock solid. You have to bolt the saw to the cabinet, and then you have to bolt on the motor and adjust the belt tension. At first, putting the motor on seems like it’s going to be hard, but I managed to do it by myself. Factory blade is pathetic, don’t even bother putting it on.
As with any bandsaw, there are quite a few adjustments to make. The table must be installed and squared to the blade. I got it pretty close, but BS cuts require cleanup on the jointer anyway so I haven’t fussed with it too much. Another adjustment that proved difficult is getting the mitre slot parallel to the blade. Even a 3/4 blade doesn’t give you much to reference from. Turns out I don’t use the mitre slot very often, but I know that some people do. I read a lot about blade drift, and if you just feed a piece in there free hand for sure it will flop to one side or the other. However, when I use the fence I get pretty straight cuts, even ripping boards. If you visit my projects and check out my work center, well, I built all of that using bandsaw, jointer, planer and router. Finally on the adjustments, the bearings on the underside of the table are a bit cumbersome, but that is probably true of most bandsaws.
The saw has a 2hp motor and I have it wired to 220V. Power has never been a problem, but in building up my shop the last year I’ve done only softwoods and plywood with it. I also made a few bandsaw boxes, also out of softwood, and the saw performed well. The picture shows the saw with the resaw fence installed; it’s good and tall but I don’t use it much in normal operation, typically I just use the much shorter fence.
In summary, I put a lot of wood through this saw in the last year, probably stretching what you can and should do with a bandsaw. To date, I have no complaints, except for the blad size, but perhaps if I look hard enough I can find some other 106 vendors out there. If you don’t mind that, then this is a great saw for the money.
-- Don, Royersford, PA