|Review by Steve Good||posted 01-21-2013 06:13 PM||3737 views||0 times favorited||10 comments|
I do a lot of scroll saw work. I use thin stock for most of my projects. My old jet 12” bandsaw could only re-saw six inch stock. That always left me with the problem of either planing away valuable wood or trying to buy scroll saw ready wide boards. Neither option was appealing because of cost.
I finally decided to upgrade the saw to something larger with more horse power. On my wish list were at least 12 inches of re-saw capability, 4 inch dust port and a reasonably powerful motor.
After looking around a while it came down to either the Rikon 10-325 or the Grizzly G0457. To be honest I liked the specs on the Grizzly better but I was able to buy the Rikon local. I could touch and see it first hand and that was important to me so I purchased the Rikon.
I purchased it at my local Woodcraft store in Lexington KY. I enjoy working with those guys. They are always helpful and knowledgeable. Of course they helped me load it onto the truck so I was off to the shop ready to install it.
When I purchase heavy tools I just back my truck up the the shop and unpack the box on the tail gate and take pieces in one at a time. I can usually get things in the shop by myself this way using ramps and hand trucks. Not going to happen with this Rikon band saw. I was able to get the floor stand and accessories in the shop but I needed help to get the body of the saw out of the box and into the shop. It weighs in at 257 lbs.
I went ahead and assembled the stand while I was waiting for extra muscle. The stand is heavy duty and assembles relatively easily. All the tools required to put it together were included but having a set of sockets and ratchet on hand make things easier. Make sure you follow the instructions. They recommend leaving everything just finger tight until you get the body of the saw mounted to the stand. That’s good advice and should always be standard procedure when assembling stands. Some of the nuts and bolts are in tight spots. It take some reaching to get all of them together so it’s tempting to tighten them up but don’t do it.
When my help arrived we pulled the body of the saw out of the box and carefully placed it on top of the stand. Because of the weight it took us a few attempts to get the holes in the saw to line up with the holes in the stand. I finally installed one bolt in the back corner and we were able to pivot the body around that bolt to get the others lined up. I installed the rest of the bolts and tightened everything up.
The rest of the install was easy. Just had to degrease the table and install it. Mount the various hand wheels and accessories. I set the table level square both front to back and side to side. Adjusting the upper and lower guide bearings to the blade is very easy with micro adjuster knobs. The instruction although kind of wordy were sufficient to get the job done.
I had purchased a Timberwolf 2/3 TPI re-saw blade to replace the standard blade that was already on the saw. This saw will be used almost 100% for re-sawing. This is where I had a little difficulty. I removed the original blade and installed the Timberwolf. The Rikon has a gauge to set the course tension on the blade. The Timberwolf was a 3/4 blade but I could not get the gauge to adjust that tight. I just could not turn the wheel by hand. I knew that the Timberwolf instructions call for it to be adjusted to just before flutter so I took that approach. I had to get the blade somewhat tight then adjust the tracking by hand. Once the tracking was good I ran the saw and loosened the blade to flutter. Tightened it back up 3/4 turns and the tension and tracking looked great. The problem is that the gauge on the saw is way off from what a 3/4 inch blade should be set to. I think this has more to do with the Timberwolf blade being a low tension blade that it has to do with the saw.
All and all I would give the assembly and adjustments very high marks for being easy to understand and accomplish following the instructions. Moving at a pretty slow pace I think I spent 5 hours getting it assembled and adjusted.
This bandsaw from Rikon has a 13 inch re-saw capability. A 1 1/2 horsepower motor, wired for 110 vac. It accepts blades from 1/8 inch to 3/4 inches. It has two speed to allow cutting different type of material. The table is a specious 16 X 20.5 inches. The fence come with a re-saw bar. It has a work light mounted to the body. The base opens to make room for storage with a shelf. The table tilts both directions. 45 right and I think 15 left.
After I had everything set up I grabbed some 4/4 cherry boards that were almost 10 inches wide. Using the included re-saw bar I sliced the boards with no trouble. The Timberwolf blade and the 1.5 horsepower motor cut through the boards like butter. Keep in mind that I am use to the 12 inch Jet bandsaw that had a 1/2HP motor. For me this was a treat.
I have only had the saw for one day so these are just early impressions but I like the Rikon a lot so far.
The fit and finish of the tool is very good for a sub $1000 tool. All the parts fit well during assembly and seemed nice and beefy for a home workshop saw. The operation is quiet with very little distracting vibration.
I do have one complaint. The light on the saw is mounted on the column on the left side of the fence. If you have the fence installed the light is blocked from the cut. The goose neck is not long enough to get it to the other side. I’m not sure what they were thinking but it’s pretty useless where it is.
I have no idea how long it will take to make this Rikon bandsaw pay for itself in saved wood and I don’t really care. I now have the capability of re-sawing 13 inch boards and that makes me happy.
-- Steve Good, http://scrollsawworkshop.blogspot.com