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A Great Band Saw at a Great Price

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Review by BigDawg posted 564 days ago 3462 views 2 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch
A Great Band Saw at a Great Price No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

Rikon makes a great product for a particular market segment. That segment fits between the lesser-expensive Steel City 50100 and the Grizzly G0555X crowd and the more expensive Powermatic, General, Delta, and of course, Laguna.

So, the simple question: How often will you use the band saw to realize the gains in quality and performance if you spend that extra money? The band saw is a key tool in my woodworking, so it needs to be be reliable and effective in making my projects easier to create.

So, my target was the sweet spot between price, performance, support, reliability, and ease of use.

Things I like about this tool:

• The price. I got mine on sale at Woodcraft for $749.00.
• The performance. It’s quite powerful for a 1 1/2 HP motor. (Mine’s wired for 220)?
• The fence. It’s a great fence for a stock device.
• The re-sawing capacity: 13 1/2” without a riser. More than any other in its class.
• Cast iron wheels.
• Great table and geared tilting mechanism. Good size table. Cast iron gearing is great. Easy to operate. ?
• The manual.
• The quick-release blade tension. I can put it into or out of cutting mode in less than a second.
• The two-year warranty.

Things that I don’t like:

• The blade changing process could be easier, but after a few changes I got the hang of it.
• The blade guide bearings are more/less pretty stable. Carter makes a much better product.
• The guide adjustments are not that easy to do. It took me quite a while to get the hang of those as well.
• The blade. In a word: horrible. Get a Timberwolf blade when you buy the saw.

Summary: I’m still going with 5 stars. The learning curve required when using the saw is a minor issue. It just takes a bit to get used to the process of changing blades and adjusting the guide bearings. Once you acquire the skills to do this it results in an outstanding band saw.

-- Shawn DuGay, Wallingford, CT http://www.bigdogwoodworks.com




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BigDawg

50 posts in 2316 days



13 comments so far

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DIYaholic

12857 posts in 1270 days


#1 posted 564 days ago

I just got this same saw, yeah at Woodcraft for the sale price. As this is my first “real” BS, I love it, but have nothing to really compare it to!!! I’m looking forward to putting it through it’s paces. My only knock, so far, is the light being mounted on the back. Once it vettes out, I’ll relocate the light to the front.

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procratination a bad thing?

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Blackie_

3288 posts in 1108 days


#2 posted 564 days ago

I have the GO555P and love it, going on two years now without any problems, Cost was in my budget at $525 but what caught my eye on features with the Rikon was this.

• The re-sawing capacity: 13 1/2” without a riser. More than any other in its class.

Without the riser kit that I added to mine, I would of only gotten a 6” with the kit I am now 13” but I did lose 3/4” from the blade to the riser thus it’s no longer a true 14” but now a 13 1/4” saw due to the balkiness of the added riser. shrugs

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at http://www.facebook.com/randy.blackstock.custom.wood.designs

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woodsmithshop

1103 posts in 2141 days


#3 posted 564 days ago

here is a great video on setting up your bandsaw, I have tried this method and it works great, taking off the table makes it sooo much easier to adjust the lower bearings, and taking off and replacing the blade
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wGbZqWac0jU

-- Smitty!!!

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pintodeluxe

3260 posts in 1409 days


#4 posted 564 days ago

Thanks for the review.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

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Surfside

3036 posts in 769 days


#5 posted 564 days ago

This is an interesting review.Thanks for posting!

-- "someone has to be wounded for others to be saved, someone has to sacrifice for others to feel happiness, someone has to die so others could live"

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Julian

486 posts in 1286 days


#6 posted 564 days ago

I have the same bandsaw; puchased it about a year ago. I agree with your review with one exception. My fence is not very good. Too difficult to adjust for drift and mine is not square to the table. The fence itself is not flat.
Regarding the light. I modified my light so that I can position it infront of the blade. I believe I found the idea on LumberJocks. Lastly; you got a better price than I did.

-- Julian

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Tennessee

1447 posts in 1110 days


#7 posted 564 days ago

I own the G0513X2BF from Grizzly, and I love it. I do not have 13.5” of resaw capacity, mine is 11.825”. So you got me there! And the Grizzly was much more expensive, I paid $1295. I do have a good two HP, great tracking double rowed ball bearings both top and bottom, cast iron wheels, cast iron table trunions, and the magnetic brake is wonderful. And to be honest, I love the huge cast iron fence they sent with it. But still, $749? Wow, what a deal…

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

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Rockbuster

291 posts in 1204 days


#8 posted 563 days ago

Just put 6 new guide bearings in mine today Two of them was froze up, and two of them were iffy. Bought this at Woodcraft 4 yrs. ago right off of the show room floor, paid full price for it then. Who ever put it together must have been a real amature to band saws. I took it all apart, and took the table off, and spent about 3 hours getting everything lined up like it should be. Can’t believe how much quieter it sounds, before, it sounded like a meat saw. It tracks very well now, and I can get pretty accurate cuts right off of the fence. Changing the blade is a bitof a problem, but I don’t think that Iwill have to do that very often now. Had to put a new light on it as the one that came with it just fell apart, Called Rikon, and they sent a new one, but it is showing signs of self destructing, Oh well, don’t use it very much, as it is located to the back of the saw, and not very useful anyways. The 1&1/2 horse motor seems to have plenty of power for re-sawing hardwood, oak, ash, and hickory, 8” is the most that I have done to date, probably will never need to use the 13” feature. Over all, I am satisfied with the performance , Guess that I should do some routine maintenance more often then once every 4 years huh.

-- Rockbuster,Ft. Wayne,In It is far better to remain silent, and appear the fool, than it is to open ones mouth, and remove all doubt.

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dustyal

1195 posts in 2071 days


#9 posted 563 days ago

Anyone compare the Rikon to the equivalent Craftsman? Specs seem the same… resaw is the same, but a couple of hundred less than the Rikon. Seems to be made by same manufacture. They are the top two on my list. Once I find room to put the bandsaw, I will get one or the other. Scroll saw and jig saw just doesn’t get close to the performance of a bandsaw, obviously.

-- Al H. - small shop, small projects...

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Gerry

253 posts in 1836 days


#10 posted 563 days ago

Bigdawg, congrats on the new band saw. I have the same one, about 1 1/2 years now, and like you, bought it because of the the re-saw capacity and bearing set up. BTW, I’ve been told by one of the factory tech reps that the bearings on the saw are carters previous generation. That said, I do plan to replace mine with carters micro adjust set up when I can get them at a show price.

Overall, I agree with your assessments. The blade I’ve found works well for me is the wood-slicer from Highland. Once you tune the saw, I’ve been able to dial it in and slice mesquite, maple, mahogany, and walnut to 3/32” thickness with little drama, and 5/16” up to 10” wide.

Julian, if you are having trouble with the fence or the saw, give the tech support guys a call. A friend of mine has had some issues with his copy and they ended up replacing the whole saw.I’d also recommend a video I purchased from David Marks, which guides you through the set up. It’s called “Band saw Veneers” and is worth every penny spent.

-- -Gerry, Hereford, AZ ” A really good woodworker knows how the hide his / her mistakes.”

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Hewy

17 posts in 1283 days


#11 posted 563 days ago

Thank’s for the review, I got the same saw about a month ago and after fixing some things
I’am very happy with it. I was thinking of writing a review and was glad to see yours.
I would agree with the things about it that you liked.

These are the things I didn’t like about my saw: 1. The guide bar for the fence was just black painted and very rough,it just looked bad compared with the rest of the saw. I sanded and polished it then used gun blueing to blacken it. Looks good now.

2. The saw guide beaqrings are not very good quality and were not very quiet. I replaced all 6 with SKF precision bearings the part number is : SKF 608 2RSJEM these are $13.00 each. These bearings made a world of differance.

3. The block that holds the top guide assembly is only held in with 1 screw from the back which allows for some side movement when you tighten the side hex nut. I could still move the guide assembly with the screw as tight as posible. To fix this problem I drilled and tapped a hole on the side and put another lock screw from the side to help lock it. This has stopped the problem.

With these things fixed I’am very happy with this saw, and for the price you can’t beat it.

Thank’s Hewy

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lumbermeister

95 posts in 575 days


#12 posted 563 days ago

dustyal – I have the Craftsman – Model Bas350 – I believe this is what you are referring to (14”, 1HP, 8” resaw capacity). I have been ripping 7” purpleheart and hard maple quite seamlessly. I am very happy with it and will post a review following my current project (Mary Anne’s Cheese Board http://lumberjocks.com/LateNightOwl/blog/18277).

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BroncoBrian

76 posts in 554 days


#13 posted 534 days ago

Any idea how often the sales on these saws runs? Now I feel stupid if I buy one this week at $950. Actually, I won’t!

-- Stop thinking, let things happen... and be the ball.

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