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Decent Bandsaw for the Price...With Some Modifications

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Review by lab7654 posted 767 days ago 5571 views 0 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Decent Bandsaw for the Price...With Some Modifications Decent Bandsaw for the Price...With Some Modifications Decent Bandsaw for the Price...With Some Modifications Click the pictures to enlarge them

Let me just start off by saying that this is my first review here on LumberJocks, as well as my first experience with owning a bandsaw. I have to admit, the only other experience i have with bandsaws is operating the industrial-sized Powermatics at my highschool, so my expectations may be high from that, or low from lack of personal experience.

I bought this about a year ago because it was relatively well built compared to the other 9-10” bandsaws on the market. When it first arrived, everything went together pretty quickly without hassle. I took note of the small—but useful—features it included: quick-release blade tension, window for blade tracking, and wheel brush. One thing it doesn’t have is a fence, and that is sorely missed by me. After I wrestled the blade on (first time doing this) I fired it up and cut through countless plywood and 2×4 scraps, making many curved cuts. I soon found out that the stock blade and blade guides were pretty much junk, so I ordered up a 1/2” and 1/8” Timberwolf blade, as well as some Cool Blocks. Here lies my first problem. The manual states that the maximum blade width is 1/2”. This is not true. When the blade is on, it has to ride very far forward on the wheel, with the teeth almost sticking off of it. This is because the top thrust bearing won’t go back far enough to accommodate a 1/2” blade. O.K., good to go from there, right? Wrong. The metal blade guard on the left of the saw is also positioned wrong. Unless you bend it forward like I did eventually, the blade will creep forward enough while sawing enough to hit the guard and make a huge screech, scaring me enough to jump back away from the cut. Oh well… lesson learned, buy a 3/8” or less blade next time. As for the actual cut, the 1/3 horsepower motor does a surprisingly well job of resawing (granted that it was only 3” material, despite the 4” max).

My most recent problem occurred to me when I was cutting a 2×4 into a 3-D reindeer, plunging the blade through the full width of the stock. I was focused enough at the beginning of the cut not to notice, but in the middle of it I realized that the saw has terrible vibration issues, so much that I can barely make out the template lines I had. To finish the cut, I just put a clamp from the table to the miter saw stand I have the saw on. I’m not yet 100% sure what the issue is, but i suspect imbalanced wheels and/or poor tires.

Overall, I think this is a good starter saw if you can modify and replace some things on it, but I hope to soon have a 14” saw in the shop so I can reserve this one for small or very curvy work. I rated it as 2 stars, but it’s a very strong 2 stars and would be 2 1/2 if the system were fraction-friendly.

-- Tristin King -- When in doubt, sand it.




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lab7654

250 posts in 845 days



13 comments so far

View dbhost's profile

dbhost

5378 posts in 1830 days


#1 posted 767 days ago

I’m not a huge fan of 9 or 10 inch band saws. I just hope your experience with this didn’t sour you to say a Central Machinery 14” band saw. I have had one for a few years and love it. The OEM blades are garbage, but that is true of almost all band saws… Just swap good blades and cool blocks at it and you are fine…

Of course if you can find a Grizzly G0555X, or better yet a Powermatic on the cheap then go for it!

-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com

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lab7654

250 posts in 845 days


#2 posted 766 days ago

I’m considering the Central Machinery 14” saw, due to the mostly positive reviews I’ve seen. It’s either that or one of the cheaper Grizzlys.

-- Tristin King -- When in doubt, sand it.

View patcollins's profile

patcollins

952 posts in 1463 days


#3 posted 766 days ago

A small saw such as this should only go up to 1/4 inch blades due to the force you need to properly tension the blade. I have a 9 inch skill taht is a pretty decent saw, but made the mistake of buying a 3/8” blade for it.

View Tennessee's profile

Tennessee

1447 posts in 1112 days


#4 posted 766 days ago

I believe the 14” Central Machinery saws are just about duplicates of the old Reliant 14” saws, which I bought one in 1999 and it still runs today in my shop. I’ve added a Porter Cable which was a mistake, and soon plan on a large 12” resaw Grizzly, but after adding a set of upper bearings years ago, the Reliant has held up fine. It did poop it’s start switch, which today looks the same on the Central as the Reliant. That is the only thing that gave me trouble, save that I added upper bearing guides.
I paid $299 for my Reliant back in 1999. When I get the Grizzly in a few weeks, I plan on putting the Reliant on Craigslist for $150-175.
I don’t see why you would have any problems with a Central Machinery 14”. But think about putting on upper bearing guides, it made all the difference in stability. In the meantime, have fun with your benchtop. When properly set up with a thin blade, after you get the bigger saw it will make a great small part cutting machine.

-- Paul, Tennessee, http://www.tsunamiguitars.com

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lab7654

250 posts in 845 days


#5 posted 766 days ago

patcollins
The tension mechanism does a surprisingly well job of handling the 1/2” blade, but you are right, smaller blades are definitely better.

Tennessee
I’ve never heard of the Reliant brand… will definitely check them out. The more options the better.

-- Tristin King -- When in doubt, sand it.

View Dusty56's profile

Dusty56

11638 posts in 2286 days


#6 posted 766 days ago

Reliant brand is now extinct…it was sold by WoodWorkers Warehouse before they went out of business.
They often come up on Craigslist.

I also can’t see using a 1/2” blade on your tiny saw.That is the maximum recommended size to use on a lot of 14” saws.

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

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lab7654

250 posts in 845 days


#7 posted 766 days ago

Yeah, after a bit of research I see that Dusty is right. No hits on any Reliant saws. As for the 1/2” blade again, it does seem a bit odd that a 1/2” blade would work, and it really doesn’t capacity wise, but I have ripped a decent amount of red oak with it and it seems to work fine. The blade itself, a Timberwolf, is superb and probably the only reason I haven’t thrown this saw out the door.

-- Tristin King -- When in doubt, sand it.

View Dusty56's profile

Dusty56

11638 posts in 2286 days


#8 posted 766 days ago

The Timberwolves are lower tension blades to start with , so that may be the reason it works for you.

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

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lab7654

250 posts in 845 days


#9 posted 766 days ago

You’re probably right, although the tension is pretty much maxed out. Not surprising there.

-- Tristin King -- When in doubt, sand it.

View themelster's profile

themelster

12 posts in 525 days


#10 posted 269 days ago

Anyone know if the Carter Stablizer STD2 fits this 9” band saw?

View Loco's profile

Loco

210 posts in 347 days


#11 posted 269 days ago

Putting a stabilizer on that bandsaw is like putting Centerline racing wheels on a shopping cart.

-- What day is it ? No matter. Ummmm What month is it ? No moron. I paid for a 2 x 6. That means Two inches by six inches. I want the rest of my wood.

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Dusty56

11638 posts in 2286 days


#12 posted 268 days ago

LOL , Loco : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View lab7654's profile

lab7654

250 posts in 845 days


#13 posted 268 days ago

He’s right though, as time goes on I have to really convince myself that tossing this thing in the dumpster isn’t the right thing to do.

-- Tristin King -- When in doubt, sand it.

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