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Ridgid BS1400 Band Saw

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Review by ferstler posted 2011 days ago 24285 views 15 times favorited 36 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Ridgid BS1400 Band Saw Ridgid BS1400 Band Saw Ridgid BS1400 Band Saw Click the pictures to enlarge them

Note: while this review is of the BS1400 model, the owner’s manual calls it the BS14002. I do not know if the addition of the number 2 signifies an upgrade or is just the full number not listed correctly in the catalog. The earlier “gray” version might have been the plain, old BS1400. In any case, the one being reviewed here is the orange version seen easily at any Home Depot store, usually selling for about $350.

OK, this is a pretty basic band saw in the old style. It came with the standard metal guide blocks and the usual, right-angle positioned bearing behind the blade. The frame is cast iron, as is the work table. The wheels appear to be cast (not machined) iron, but they seem decently round, and the offset, 3/4-HP induction motor is attached to the lower wheel by means of an automotive type V-belt, shielded by a metal housing. The blade guard and upper guide assembly can be raised or lowered for a maximum cut of 6 inches by means of a single release knob. Ridgid offers a 6-inch extender for those who want the saw to resaw really large boards.

The saw can be wired for either 120- or 240-volt operation. It came configured for the former, and that is where I left things. The manual offers rewireing instructions for a 240-volt hookup. The manual itself is better written than some of the other tool manuals I have seen.

The saw comes with a stand that is decently stiff, with an additional metal sheet under the top surface to stiffen it up a bit. The motor is rubber mounted. Assembling the stand and saw was a relative snap.

I do most of my woodworking out on a deck adjacent to my small shop (I am in north Florida, where this is possible 9 months of the year, with the summer months being just too hot), so I built a wooden platform under the stand, bolted them together, and installed 3-inch pivoting wheels on the bottom. (See wider-angle photo that also shows some other tools in my small shop.) This allows me to carefully move the 200 pound assembly easily onto the deck. It also raises the height several inches, which I find makes the saw easier to use. To secure the saw when working, I made triangular shaped “chocks” that can be wedged under the base for stability.

OK, now let’s get down to the details.

First, the saw vibrated too much out of the box. I discovered that the main offenders were the V-belt and the cast wheels. The belt was, well, junk, with a twist to it and too damned much stiffness. I went to an automotive parts shop and had the clerk (you need a clerk with a good attitude) go into the back and locate a flexible, segmented belt the same length. That solved much of the saw’s vibration problem. I have the belt’s stock/size number written down somewhere if anybody wants it.

I also installed little clip-on weights to each wheel. (I had some specialized versions on hand, but any really small, automotive wheel-balanciing weights might also work just fine.) To do this accurately you need to remove the blade and V-belt and let gravity swing the wheels down to where the heavy sections are at the bottom. (This operation also allowed one to assess the condition of the wheel bearings.) You then clip the weight on at the top and check again to see if gravity pulls the wheels in any direction after releasing them at different positions. If they do not move they are balanced enough. If things are still off you need larger weights, a second weight, or a smaller weight. I was lucky, and I hit the mark on the first try. This modification solved nearly all of the remaining vibration problem.

I topped off the anti-vibration mods by solidly mounting the motor. Yep, I removed the rubber mounts (which looked like afterthought jokes) and replaced them with a small sheet of properly drilled out 3/4-inch MDF. I also added additional stiffness to the stand’s mounting plate by installing an additional and larger sheet of drilled-oout 3/4-inch MDF under the metal surface. Doing this mandated longer mounting screws and large washers below, needless to say. This series of modifications allowed the saw to be butter smooth in its operation. The rubber belts already installed on the wheels were no problem, although I did purchase two spares for future use.

I also replaced the metal guide blocks with some fiber-material “cool blocks” that Ridgid was offering for sale at the time via their phone-order service. In addition, I removed the lower blade guard from the unit, because it appeared to not be needed at all and mainly functioned as a barrier to easily adjusting the lower guide blocks and bearing.

While side-mounted, sliding rubbing blocks seem outdated compared to newer-design saws that use bearings in those locations, I believe that the blocks might have one advantage over bearings: they scrape the blade clean as it runs. Bearings might just compress built-up sludge on the blade surface as it runs and gradually pinch it too hard. This is just a theory, of course, with some woods possibly causing more problems than others.

The upper and lower sections of the saw’s cast-iron frame are held together by a large nut and bolt, plus large washers. There was space at that junction point for an additional smaller nut and bolt (and rectangular washers that I cut myself), and I installed them to make damned sure that the two sections locked together with little chance of the cast iron being overstressed.

Finally, I expanded the size of the table by adding a wooden frame made out of 2×4 sections around its back edge, right-side, and front edge. (See photo.) The left-side edge got a narrower piece of wood so that the table could still tilt a few degrees in that direction. This wooden frame around the cast-iron table is screwed together and is held in place by additional screws running into the pre-drilled holes in the front and back of the table. The wooden section is kept in cosmetic shape by regular applications of lemon oil. The notch for blade removal in the cast-iron table is continued through the wooden extension section on the right side, with the groove in the wooden pieces held together with a stiff, quick-release crosspiece below. The overall table is now 20×18 inches in size, with lines scribed into the wooden extensions to help keep things aligned when doing freehand or fence cuts.

Another review I read about the saw said that the optional fence Ridgid offers is not all that good. This is one reason I was not afraid to do the wooden extension modification, since doing it would make it impossible to use the Ridgid fence. I made a fence of my own out of lumber, and if I need a fence I simply hold it in place with clamps, making sure that it is parallel to the lines scribed into the wooden extension sections. Most of my cutting is done freehand, however.

The wooden table expansion does two things. First, it offers a larger work surface. Second, it keeps the edge of the cast-iron table from marring any work pieces. I removed the 3/8 inch blade that came with the saw and replaced it with the 1/2 incher mentioned above for better straight-line cutting.

Note that I also have a small Ryobi band saw. This thing is almost a toy, but I have discovered that by keeping a narrow blade installed I can use it for some smaller-scale jobs that would require me removing the 1/2 incher from the Ridgid unit for curve-cutting work. The Ryobi, like the Ridgid, has wooden expansion sections attached to the metal table for a better work surface. The Ryobi is actually a decent little saw.

Overall, I think the 14-inch, Ridigid BS1400 model is a good saw, particularly for the $350 that I paid. Yes, I had to work on it a bit to get it up to snuff, but the result is an item that I can use for decently precise work. With the fence I made I was able to cut a four-foot hickory broom handle “lengthwise” into four precise quarter sections to make the frame rails for the speaker grills used for the speaker systems I built and discussed in the projects section of this site. That is detail work that is good enough for me.

Howard Ferstler




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ferstler

326 posts in 2018 days



36 comments so far

View cmaeda's profile

cmaeda

205 posts in 2052 days


#1 posted 2011 days ago

I have the grey version and it worked well out of the box. The only upgrade I made were the addition of cool blocks and there is very little vibration. I wonder if you got a bad one or maybe the newer, orange ones aren’t as good.

View kjwoodworking's profile

kjwoodworking

245 posts in 2385 days


#2 posted 2010 days ago

Hi Howard, I was wondering about the last photo. Under the blue Ryobi, are those special band saw shoes you only wear when using that saw? Just kidding:)

Good review!!!!!

-- Kirk H. -- http://www.kjwoodworking.com

View ferstler's profile

ferstler

326 posts in 2018 days


#3 posted 2010 days ago

I brought those slippers out there last year, because I already had two or three pairs in the house. I have no idea what I intended to do with them, but I suppose the idea is that if I come out there to do shop work and it is raining I can take off my regular shoes and kind of relax in those slippers. I sure would not advise going barefoot on that plywood floor.

I have heard that the earlier grey BS was maybe better than the newer orange model. Maybe it was made in USA. I do know that some people have had serious trouble wiith the newer version, including vibration problems and even casting-flaw problems. As I noted, my own unit now works quite well after the mods I discussed in the review. It is a very conventional band saw, and once diddled with enough to get it right it is plenty good enough for a guy like me.

To keep it going for years I still have the steel guids in my parts storage box, and also have spare sets of tires for both the Ridgid and Ryobi units. And of course the induction motor in the Ridgid does not need brushes. Actually, I have spare brushes for virtually every tool in the shop that can have them easily replaced, and also have spare belts for most of the tools that have belts.

A few months back I tried to get a replacement belt for the Delta bench router/shaper that I also have, and Delta informed me that it was no longer available. (There is a photo of this unit in my shop-pictures section.) I saved the day by going to a vacuum cleaner repair shop and getting a cleaner drive belt. I had to get one that is seriously undersized, due to stretching at the high RPMs of the machine, but after a few trips back and forth I ended up with a replacement. I also kept the stock/size number for future needs.

Howard Ferstler

View Beginningwoodworker's profile

Beginningwoodworker

13335 posts in 2171 days


#4 posted 2010 days ago

Thats a nice review.

-- CJIII Future cabinetmaker

View CedarFreakCarl's profile

CedarFreakCarl

594 posts in 2551 days


#5 posted 2010 days ago

I’ve got the same model. Mine doesn’t really vibrate, it just sort of throbs while running. One thing I noticed in the manual was not to tighten the belt too tight. Maybe I got a belt that was in a little better shape than yours, I don’t know. One thing that I’ve heard that will help with the vibration is to put a piece of 3/4” plywood between the base and the saw where it bolts together. What little resawing I’ve done on this thing has been painfully slow. I don’t think 3/4 hp is really enough to warrant a riser kit to attempt 12” resawing. I gave up that idea and purchased an 18” Rikon. I still love the Ridgid and use it with a 1/4” blade for the smaller curvy stuff for which it works great.

-- Carl Rast, Pelion, SC

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bayouman

94 posts in 2163 days


#6 posted 2010 days ago

That was a great review. I also have the Ridged 14” bandsaw you have and mine vibrates really bad. I have rechecked it for proper set up according to the manual and still got very little improvement. I read a review in Wood Magazine ( I believe it was them) and they rejected the Ridged 14” because of excessive vibration. The review also noted that Ridged was coming out with newer model and they implied that the vibration problem would be fixed. This is the only Ridgid tool that (and I have several) I have found to be dissappointing. I was also dissappointed that Ridgid has evidently recognized the problem and done nothing to help those stuck with these machines. But some of the things that you suggested I will try. Hopefully I will get better results than I have so far.

View douglbe's profile

douglbe

355 posts in 2459 days


#7 posted 2009 days ago

I also have the same band saw and I relieved 90% of the vibration by using a link belt, I just haven’t got around to adding the 3/4 in mdf between the motor, stand, and saw. I will certainly try your method of balancing the wheels. This is a good review and you have pointed out some ways to improve its operation. Thanks for the tips.
I have had this saw for a year and I am not disappointed. I also have the Ridgid TS3660 table saw, 13” thickness planer (2 blade), and a Rigid 5” orbital sander and these are all solid well performing machines. Thanks again for the great tips.

-- Doug, Reed City, Michigan

View rtb's profile

rtb

1099 posts in 2211 days


#8 posted 2009 days ago

Not quite certain how old your saw is but I purchased mine in 2007 and have experienced none of the problems that you. should any of them arise you have certainly told me how to go about fixing them. Excellent review.

-- RTB. stray animals are just looking for love

View dsb1829's profile

dsb1829

367 posts in 2125 days


#9 posted 2008 days ago

Nice review.
Your review pretty much echos my own:
http://lumberjocks.com/jocks/dsb1829/blog/5822

When shopping around the bearings seemed like a hot upgrade. After reading around a bit I think at this size saw it is just marketing. Of course people like to “upgrade” so you will find some switching to bearings and some switching to blocks. Personally I don’t think the blocks are going to steer me wrong.

So you swapped out to a link style belt? Or was it a ribbed v-belt? I opted for a $5 Gates belt on mine, what a difference from the stock one.

I also ditched those grommets under the motor. Those are a joke right? I do recommend the ply or mdf covering on the stand, it really stiffens it up.

-- Doug, woodworking in Alabama

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Julian

880 posts in 2023 days


#10 posted 1995 days ago

I’ve used this same bandsaw for a few years now with no real problems. I ordered carter ball bearing guides the same day I bought the saw, so I can’t comment on the stock guides, as I never tried them. I will say that the motor is way too small for resawing, especially if you plan on running a riser kit. I’m planning/hoping to upgrade the motor next spring to a 1 1/2HP with the 6” riser kit.

-- Julian, Park Forest, IL

View ferstler's profile

ferstler

326 posts in 2018 days


#11 posted 1994 days ago

Hi, Julian,

I recently used the thing to resaw five-inch wide cedar boards with no problems. However, that is soft wood and no doubt harder stuff would be, well, harder to do.

Hi, Doug,

I copied the stock number off of the belt I purchased: 17405DR, with a sub stock number of 13A1030. I honestly cannot remember the brand, but I think I paid something like fifteen bucks for it. It was a segmented ribbed job, and I think the number will work with any brand.

I also did the same thing for my Ridgid jointer/planer, but the new ribbed belt actually resonated along its length when the jointer was operating, and caused more vibration than the original non-ribbed job, so I went back to that original. However, the belt that came with the jointer was way better than the weird one that came with the bandsaw.

Howard Ferstler

View bennaco's profile

bennaco

3 posts in 1968 days


#12 posted 1951 days ago

i have the same saw. i bought it used and it is the orange kind. after wrestling it into my garage and setting the thing up, the vibration was so bad it was hardly even operational, and i am not a discerning machine consumer either.

after checking everything, i then concluded that it was the poorly balanced wheels (isn’t that bandsaw construction 101?). after putting the wheel weights on (about 10 of them at varouis locations) the thing ran MUCH smoother.

Ferstler, do you remember what size weights you used?

Ben Thomas

View ferstler's profile

ferstler

326 posts in 2018 days


#13 posted 1950 days ago

Hi, Ben,

I do not know the weight sizes. I acutally used some left over, u-shaped metal brackets that were designed to fit under cabinets and hold rubber feet. I crimped them onto the wheels (minus the feet, of course) to see if they were OK, and as luck would have it they worked fine. A more refined approach would be to go to a tire shop and pick up some wheel-balancing wights from them. Probably, the smallest sizes would be the best.

If a drill-press wheel is out of balance you should get it to behave by using just one weight on each wheel. (Car wheels that require very precise balancing for very high speeds may need more than one, some on the outside rim, some on the inside, because auto wheels are wide; a band-saw wheel is not wide.) The wheel will be heavier on one rim section of a band-saw wheel and a weight or two (depending on the exact weight total required) placed opposite that rim section should do the trick.

Howard Ferstler

View woodspyder's profile

woodspyder

80 posts in 2128 days


#14 posted 1878 days ago

SWMBO bought me one for Christmas. cause “I was a good boy”

Anyway I am completly pleased with this saw. It was very easy to assemble. It did have a serious vibration when I first started it but I was expecting that. The belt was wadded up in the box and had a multiple, twisted, set to it.

The lower wheel and drive pully were balanced out of the box. The upper wheel not so much. I balanced it by spinning the wheel and marking the bottom when it stopped. Then drilled holes and respun until it quit stopping in the same place every time. ” I snuck up on this so as not to over shoot”. I ended up drilling I think nine 1/8th” holes in the webbing.

I also put a link belt on it. It passes the nickel test, start, run, stop.

-- Measure three times, cut twice.

View sunfirematt's profile

sunfirematt

3 posts in 1854 days


#15 posted 1847 days ago

i will be buying this band saw in the next week or so when i finish making space for it. i only have a 10 by 10 room for my little shop.if i mount this on my 36 inch tall workbench would it be to high to work off the band saw? also can anyone give me the space needed to mount it?

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