Good bandsaw for a small shop

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Review by MoshupTrail posted 06-07-2014 09:07 PM 3451 views 0 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Good bandsaw for a small shop Good bandsaw for a small shop No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I wanted a small bandsaw to cut some curved parts from time to time. When I saw this one at Menards for just $229 it just had a look of being solid and the right thing for my small garage shop. The table is cast iron, and the housing is heavy duty steel and the motor appears to be a sealed 1/2 hp motor. You can see the specs at Menards site.

Assembly was pretty easy, but I did not choose to assemble the stand. The directions are pretty typical – you have to read carefully twice to understand what they mean and translate all the obscure part references to the mess in the bag.

The only problem I had was that after I leveled the table left and right, I noticed that it wasn’t level back to front. There is no adjustment for this. You see the gap between my little square and the blade in this picture.

So I took out the two lower bolts holding the trunion to the housing (next picture)

And I found a couple of thin nylon spacers to add between the trunion and the housing.

Which seemed to just about fix it perfectly.

Finally, I tried sawing a few scraps. Starting with a 1/16” slice off a pine board.
Then I drew a curve on the board and tried cutting that.

The saw cuts well and is very stable. Although it cut smoothly I don’t think the blade is very good. It makes a click-click sound as it goes around. I think it’s the weld. But the blade is easily replaced with a nice one from Highland Woodworking.

On the whole, I think I’ve got a great band saw for a small shop!

-- Some problems are best solved with an optimistic approach. Optimism shines a light on alternatives that are otherwise not visible.

View MoshupTrail's profile


296 posts in 1171 days

13 comments so far

View NormG's profile


4259 posts in 1694 days

#1 posted 06-07-2014 09:23 PM

I have the 12” craftsman model. I had to do the same thing with mine and used thin metal washers.

-- Norman

View MrRon's profile


2874 posts in 1934 days

#2 posted 06-07-2014 10:54 PM

Looking at the manual, it looks pretty good. The blade guides and frame are surprising. They look like features that come on more expensive machines. I hope it serves you well. Keep us posted as to how it holds up.

View Buckethead's profile


1932 posts in 559 days

#3 posted 06-07-2014 11:33 PM

That looks just like the rikon bench top band saw I’ve been seeing in the fliers from my local WoodCraft store. Looks like a win!

-- Bucket, any person that spends 10k on a bicycle is guaranteed to be a $@I almost started to like you. -bhog

View MoshupTrail's profile


296 posts in 1171 days

#4 posted 06-08-2014 01:05 AM

@MrRon – you are correct! The guides are all ball bearing rollers, and the frame is rock solid steel.

@Buckethead – I noticed the resemblance to Rikon too.

-- Some problems are best solved with an optimistic approach. Optimism shines a light on alternatives that are otherwise not visible.

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

7799 posts in 2742 days

#5 posted 06-09-2014 03:52 AM

COOL lil bandsaw… nice FIX too!

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

View Surfside's profile


3288 posts in 864 days

#6 posted 06-09-2014 09:15 PM

Nice review! The cut looks pretty accurate. Good idea on replacing the blade, sample blades just suck.

-- "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"

View lab7654's profile


252 posts in 937 days

#7 posted 06-12-2014 01:28 AM

Just FYI, a click-click sound can mean a blade that’s ready to break. The stock blade probably just has an inferior weld.

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

View vbraddy17's profile


10 posts in 137 days

#8 posted 06-12-2014 12:17 PM

Nice review. I’m in the market as well for a small band saw. Thanks for the info.

View Farrout's profile


159 posts in 1844 days

#9 posted 06-14-2014 02:50 PM

I have a 10” Craftsman and found that putting a premium blade on it made a big difference.

-- If we learn from our mistakes, I should be a genius!

View bleinmiller's profile


1 post in 26 days

#10 posted 09-30-2014 04:51 PM

Great review, I hadn’t thought to check Menards. Interesting how many times I’ve seen Rikon come up as a “same saw”. It was mentioned in a recent article that a Rikon, Craftsman, and HF benchtop were the same saw.
I’d like to know how common this is and if it also extends to larger, full height machines.

View CharlesA's profile


1694 posts in 488 days

#11 posted 09-30-2014 04:55 PM

Not so sure about the HF. Their 14” is definitely not a Rikon, and their benchtop is a 9” that resembles it, but not sure.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View pillpod's profile


1 post in 12 days

#12 posted 10-12-2014 08:24 PM


I’m looking to buy a small bandsaw for the purpose of making bandsaw boxes. Have you attempted to cut anything close the thickness capacity that this saw can handle? If so, how did it do and would you recommend it?


View MoshupTrail's profile


296 posts in 1171 days

#13 posted 10-12-2014 09:48 PM

Not exactly. I was trying to cut a shape on a 4×4 and noticed that I had to go slowly or risk slowing the saw to a stop. I have noticed that the blade that comes with it is not the highest quality. I would strongly recommend a replacement from Highland Woodworking. If your band saw boxes are small, say less than 3-4 inches, you could use this without much difficulty. Five inches will depend on the wood, and six is probably getting iffy. I think my blade is a 6 tpi. Maybe if I had a 3 or 4 tpi blade it might work better on thick blocks too.

-- Some problems are best solved with an optimistic approach. Optimism shines a light on alternatives that are otherwise not visible.

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