Excellent Small Bandsaw

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Review by OSU55 posted 01-25-2015 02:12 PM 6013 views 4 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Excellent Small Bandsaw Excellent Small Bandsaw No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I kept running into situations where a bandsaw would have made a particular step in a project very easy vs trying to use a jigsaw. I researched bandsaws, with most of the info surrounding 14” and larger saws. There wasn’t a lot of info on smaller saws, and I didn’t give them a lot of thought. After some research I realized a smaller saw would do about all the things I had needed one for, have a smaller footprint, be a lot smaller expenditure, and if the smaller saw was any good, would be a keeper even if I decided later to go for a big one.

My research for smaller saws pointed to the Craftsman 10” 21400. It appears to be the same saw as the Rikon, but a cheaper price. Saws smaller than this all appeared pretty lame, with a lot of plastic structural parts and really poor and cheap blade guides. At least this saw had metal structural components, ball bearing guides, and a cast iron table. I paid $188 delivered from Sears in April of 2013, and just checking today the saw is $189 delivered.

I’ve been very pleased with the choice. The guides do need to be set up properly, and the OEM blade is junk. I couldn’t believe the performance difference when using a good blade of the proper specs for a given cut. I purchased the blades from Iturra Design in Jacksonville, FL (904)642-2802. Louis Iturra is old school and doesn’t have a web site, but is knowledgeable and very helpful when it comes to bandsaws. Pricing is very competitive as well. I got the following blades:

- Starrett 1/8×70-1/2 14 tpi .025” Flexback
- Starrett 1/4×70-1/2 6 tpi .025” Flexback
- Bladerunner 1/2×70-1/2 3-4 tpi ,022 rounded back

Performance of all the blades has been excellent, although I haven’t used them enough to discuss life. Using the correct blade for the cut is all important with a bandsaw. The max cut height of the saw is 4-5/8”, and with the 1/2” blade this little 1/3 HP saw cuts right through 4-1/2” red oak – I wouldn’t have believed it if I had not done it myself. I have “resawn” pieces less than a 1/16” thick (4-1/2” wide), with very consistent thickness. The other blades perform very well used appropriately.

The saw has all the adjustments of bigger saws. Tilts the upper wheel for blade alignment, and has blade tension adjustment, but no tension gauge, the aluminum wheels have some type of replaceable rubber-like insert, the cast iron table tilts and has an angle gauge. The fence is actually pretty good, and the miter gauge is serviceable. I used slick tape on the sides of the miter runner to snug it up in the slot. Blade changes are quick and easy. Blade guide set up is not quick or easy, but the fact it can be done on a saw this size is the good part. Guide adjustment is the same as larger saws with ball bearing guides.

All in all I think this is the best value out there for a small bandsaw, and will be a keeper in my shop.

View OSU55's profile


1568 posts in 1922 days

14 comments so far

View chem's profile


30 posts in 1537 days

#1 posted 01-25-2015 02:33 PM

Thanks for posting this review. It echoes my experience almost perfectly except I have more trouble (even with an aftermarket blade) sawing thick stock. The guides are a pain, but good once adjusted and at this price I feel amazed to have bearing guides at all. This was the first bandsaw that I bought and it sits next to its two big brothers now sporting a 1/4 inch blade for when I need a tight curve.

-- chemist by day, woodworker time permitting

View Denco's profile


39 posts in 1752 days

#2 posted 01-25-2015 03:43 PM

I bought this bandsaw a few months ago on sale and I really like it. I’ve done some moderate curves with the stock blade and it’s worked fine for me. I have a scroll saw for intricate cuts, so this saw was mostly for thicker cuts. Will probably get a really good blade later on once I wear this blade out (said Den, the ol’ cheapie). Also, I’m new to band saws, so I’d rather learn and make the bad mistakes with the stock blade. It took awhile to set up, but I went slow and it wasn’t too hard.

-- Cut wood or cut weeds today.....well, 6ft weeds can go another week.

View Dusty56's profile


11819 posts in 3620 days

#3 posted 01-26-2015 02:14 AM

I’m impressed that you can use a 1/2” blade on a 10” saw. They must have a good tensioner on it.
Thanks for the review : )

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

View kocgolf's profile


289 posts in 2110 days

#4 posted 01-26-2015 12:10 PM

I have the Rikon model similar to this, got it for Christmas. Thanks for the review of the similar saw. So far my experience with this type of machine has been awesome. I have done very little, but having had no bandsaw before, this is an amazing thing to have! I appreciate your list of blades as I had heard of Iturra and was considering getting some. Can I ask what you paid for those three, including shipping?

View OSU55's profile


1568 posts in 1922 days

#5 posted 01-26-2015 12:23 PM

I think I paid ~$75 with shipping for the 3 blades, but I’m not sure.

View RogerBean's profile


1605 posts in 2886 days

#6 posted 01-27-2015 02:32 PM

I have the 12” version of this saw and can second the high recommendation. It’s my go-to saw for box work, and after two years on the same 1/4” 6tpi blade it has worked flawlessly. I regularly resaw stock in the 3-4 in width range and it handles these with no complaint. Because it’s so flexible, this little saw sees a lot more use than my big 20” Delta. Within it’s capacity, it’s been a fine saw. It even comes with a decent fence.

-- "Everybody makes mistakes. A craftsman always fixes them." (Monty Kennedy, "The Checkering and Carving of Gunstocks", 1952)

View Maniteee's profile


7 posts in 2603 days

#7 posted 02-02-2015 09:56 PM

I have had the same saw for several years. Last year, I bought a Carter guide for the saw and was amazed at the improvement of the saw. The Carter guide was about $69 at woodworking show, but was well worth it.

-- Chris, Canterbury, CT

View OSU55's profile


1568 posts in 1922 days

#8 posted 02-04-2015 01:56 AM

Please elaborate on “was amazed at the improvement of the saw” and the kind of cutting you do.

View rhett121's profile


13 posts in 1244 days

#9 posted 02-04-2015 10:21 PM

I have this saw as well and it is quite impressive for it’s size. The guide bearings that came with it are junk, one was seized right out of the box. I bought a small piece of bronze tubing at Home Depot and cut it to make some sleeves for new bearings and converted to skateboard bearings instead. They last longer and turn smoother and cost very little.
I also use Timberwolf blades exclusively and they are perfect for it.

View Maniteee's profile


7 posts in 2603 days

#10 posted 02-06-2015 01:14 AM

The original bearing guides worked okay, but over a couple of years I replaced 2. When using smaller than 3/8 inch blade adjustment is difficult at best. The Carter guide I installed was the stabilizer guide “” It has a groove cut into a bearing. Since installing it, I have used a 1/4” almost exclusively. This has allowed a lot more control while cutting, it feels like more tension (less blade movement.) Hope this helps.

-- Chris, Canterbury, CT

View OSU55's profile


1568 posts in 1922 days

#11 posted 02-06-2015 12:42 PM

Thanks Chris, I was curious whether it was the stabilizer. Those help with tight curves, etc. Thinking about making my own. I find the OEM guides just fine. Yes, the bearings are shielded and not sealed, and will need replacement, but the guide system works well.

View Mike Gager's profile

Mike Gager

665 posts in 3199 days

#12 posted 03-03-2015 01:46 PM

i bought one of these little saws on sale awhile back too. finally got around to setting it up and got to say i really like it. i have a larger 14 bandsaw too and i think i will just use it for resawing and use this one for most of my bandsaw needs. only issue i had setting it up was the lower wheel wasnt in plane with the upper wheel so the blade wouldnt track right. i just adjusted the wheel using the shaft adjustment bolts on the back until the blade was right. there was no mention in the instructions about it so just winged it but was easy.

View OSU55's profile


1568 posts in 1922 days

#13 posted 03-03-2015 08:29 PM

Did you try the tracking adjustment on the upper wheel? It’s covered in the manual. Also, don’t be surprised if the lower guide bearings seize up fairly quickly. They are only shielded, not sealed, bearings. Replace them with fully sealed bearings. I replaced all 6 bearings for ~$14.

View OSU55's profile


1568 posts in 1922 days

#14 posted 03-20-2015 12:28 PM

the guide bearing # and size is 626-2RS Bearing 6×19x6 Sealed Miniature Ball Bearing

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