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Mini-Review

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Review by Puffball posted 02-23-2015 02:41 PM 12114 views 0 times favorited 28 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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I bought a Craftsman 14” BAS350 bandsaw a couple of weeks ago. I wanted to get a 14” bandsaw for my workshop. I am basically an aspiring hobbyist that likes to make furniture and other woodcraft. I don’t own a table saw nor do I plan to, so a bandsaw seemed like the next logical tool to add to the suite of tools.

So after doing the standard bandsaw research I settled on the Craftsman. I picked the Craftsman for a few reasons:
1. They had one in stock at the local Sears.
2. 8” resaw capacity
3. Rikon clone, so a credible second source for parts and accessories
4. Sear’s warranty

I thought about going cheap and getting the HF, but opted to spend more money and get something with a better warranty and bigger motor. I thought about the Grizzly as well, but that would have been $200 more once I got delivered.

I got the bandsaw home. Set up was easy. It took about 1.5 hours doing it slow and careful.

After setting it up, I did all the standard cuts to test it out. Even with the OEM blade it cut through 3/4” boards like butter. So i was happy. Of course after trying some cross-cuts and rip cuts, I had to try some re-sawing. Resawing 6” maple with the OEM blade didn’t work so well. But that was to be expected.

I ordered a couple of Timberwolf blades for it. A resaw blade (1/2” 3TPI) and a 1/4” 6 TPI blade. The Timberwolf resaw blade works great. The saw with that blade properly installed has little to no drift and cuts straight. With it on I was able to resaw about any board I had laying around in the shop. Using it with a homemade tall fence, just about every board came out uniform thickness and a smooth cut. I pretty much found myself resawing every board I had laying around as it was so much fun.

- 4” dust port works well
- table is level and true
- pretty quiet when the blade guides are set right
- No vibrations

Changing the blades takes a few minutes. It took me about 20 minutes to do it the first time. I would guess with a little practice it will take about 10 minutes.

I am happy with my purchase and have no complaints. I will probably get a Kreg fence for it sometime soon.




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Puffball

43 posts in 1292 days



28 comments so far

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Craftsman on the lake

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#1 posted 02-23-2015 07:09 PM

I’ve got the 70’s version of this saw. I also had a HF one for awhile. I used the HF one to rough cut stuff. It worked. The craftsman one though is much more accurate and true. I eventually sold off the HF one to save space and even though having a large rough cut blade was nice it wasn’t all that useful all the time. The saw you have will do the job with the correct blade. Very cost effective actually.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

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dustyal

1295 posts in 3555 days


#2 posted 02-24-2015 01:54 AM

I have this saw and agree with your assessment. I did get the Rikon fence for it, but haven’t gphad a chance to use it.

It was a very good value for me.

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

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RogerBean

1605 posts in 3034 days


#3 posted 02-24-2015 05:17 PM

Good review. I have the 12” version of this Craftsman saw and it’s my go-to saw for boxes and small work. After two years it has given no trouble at all and performs very well, as long as it’s not challenged beyond it’s capacity. I’m really happy with it. I think these Craftsman saws are highly underrated. And really great value. My 20” Delta bandsaw is now dedicated to re-sawing (bigger than 3 or 4 inches thick) and other larger stuff. My 12” saw even came with a fully adjustable fence.

Roger

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

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Puffball

43 posts in 1292 days


#4 posted 02-24-2015 06:05 PM

I couldn’t find any 12” new. There were a bunch on Craig’s list, but the ones I could find were a bit abused and not all that cheap for something used.

Deciphering all the bandsaw reviews can make ones head spin.

The other thing that swayed me to buy it from Sears was for a $40 I could get a 3-year extended warranty. Which gave me piece of mind in knowing that if the performance started to deteriorate (i.e. vibrate, motor burn out) that I could get it fixed or replaced.

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stefon

14 posts in 1633 days


#5 posted 02-25-2015 01:21 AM

Is this the saw with two speeds for aluminum/wood?

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Puffball

43 posts in 1292 days


#6 posted 02-25-2015 03:24 AM

Yes – Its the two speed. A low speed for metal and high speed for wood.

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NormG

6216 posts in 3084 days


#7 posted 02-25-2015 03:58 AM

I have the 12” version and have so since it was first released. Great saw no issues, after the table was leveled. I just recently had to replace the drive belt, but nothing else. It was very very tight removing the bottom wheel and re-installing it. I had to use a putty knife to allow it to slide past the frame, so as to not damage the wheel rubber

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

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Rob

316 posts in 3067 days


#8 posted 03-11-2015 12:32 AM

I have had this saw for about 2 years. Overall, it’s a good saw for the money. I bought it because it was a Rikon 10-320 knockoff and Rikon is a pretty good name in band saws. After 2 years I have had one issue. I had a lower wheel bearing go bad and had to replace it.

Here’s what I like about the saw

1. It’s pretty quiet
2. It has a full 8” of resaw capability
3. Dust collection is pretty good
4. Rikon rail fence 13-900 fits although it has to be shimmed about 1/8” as the Craftsman table is a little thinner than the Rikon table.
5. It’s a 2 speed saw. I don’t cut metal so it’s not that big of a deal to me but would be for others that cut both wood and metal.

Here’s what I don’t like about the saw

1. Changing blades can be a struggle. When trying to remove/install a blade, they tend to get hung up on the narrow opening on both sides of the housing as well as the interior bolts that are present in the housing. I’ve seen some saws that have a magnetic door to make the install/removal much easier.
2. It has a large cast iron table.
3. Slot in table is in line with the blade. This is not a problem if you don’t have a railed fence (the blade doesn’t need to be turned to install/remove it) but if you do, the rail needs to be removed when you change a blade.
4. The blade guides need 2 tools to adjust. A Hex key and a half inch socket or wrench.
5. The upper guide has some play in it even after it’s tightened down so it’s hard to get a real good bearing placement.
6. It doesn’t have a quick tension release, just a knob to turn that could be a little larger for my liking.

Keep in mind, this is a $399 saw so most of my complaints aren’t a big deal because a more expensive saw doesn’t have these issues. Sometimes you have to trade what you really would like for what you are willing to spend.

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crawdaddy

9 posts in 1548 days


#9 posted 03-18-2015 07:17 PM

I have had this same saw for about a year and have the same assessment as Rob does. I don’t have an aftermarket fence for it because of the slit the blade is removed through, I don’t want to remove and install the rails. I also wish the table was easier to reposition. The blade tensioner knob needs a suicide knob so we can turn it with out letting go of it. What sucks about any band saw is blade size, 99 and 3/4 inch who else makes it? The local woodcraft store is good about having blades for it but haven’t found a metal blade yet.

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Puffball

43 posts in 1292 days


#10 posted 03-18-2015 07:21 PM

I recently bought the Rikon fence for it. It was easy to install and seems to work well enough. It can be easily removed in about 30 seconds. So I don’t think it will make blade changing any harder.

For the 99 3/4” blade, I found I could easily order them online. So for me that isn’t a big deal. But I would agree, it would be better if Woodcraft stocked them for the day when a blade breaks and I can’t wait a few days for one to come via UPS.

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Rob

316 posts in 3067 days


#11 posted 03-18-2015 08:48 PM

As an add on to my previous post, I have decided to sell my Craftsman Band Saw and upgrade to one with better features. The Craftsman saw is a fine saw for the hobbyist that doesn’t really use a band saw a lot. Even though it has 8” of resaw capacity, you can’t really cut heavy stock or logs with it. It’s just too light weight and not beefy enough. I also fight and curse every time I change blades and although I thought the same thing as Matt about it not being a big deal to remove the fence when changing blades, it has become a pain in the neck after these two years. As for the 99 3/4” blades, I bought mine from Carter. They sell good blades as do many other manufacturers. Everyone has their favorite place to buy blades but I didn’t have any problems finding them. One thing I do know, whichever band saw I end up buying I will make sure it has many positive reviews and all the features I want because I want it to be my last band saw!

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Mike3ID

13 posts in 1164 days


#12 posted 10-27-2015 07:21 PM

From what I know this
Craftsman BAS 350.
General international #90-120
Rikon 10-320/321
As well as several others all have their pedigree in the Minimax 14” that they tried to come out with, but they are all released with different levels of trim.

MiniMax abandoned the project for whatever reasons.

Odds are they couldn’t get enough money per unit versus volume at their price point.
Still a great saw though from what I know especially at the price point.
And you can either get parts from Rikon or Sears parts online.
But the Taiwanese factory was still geared up to make them.
So now we’ve got clones that are nearly as good at way less money.

I’m considering the General 90-120 or their 12” 90-040 as I can use my shop vac for extraction.
My grizzly has kind of taken a nose dive it’d be nice to be able to run both off the shop vac.
The 90-120 will take one inch blades having to remove rails won’t bother me as I plan on just building a high fence as well as a regular fence indexed to split dimensional lumber in half.
That I can index off of that blade slot no one seems to like.

Anyway have fun with your saw if you still have it.

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BanjoBen

86 posts in 981 days


#13 posted 12-12-2015 02:53 PM



Even though it has 8” of resaw capacity, you can t really cut heavy stock or logs with it. It s just too light weight and not beefy enough.

Could you clarify what you mean by this? I’ve been looking at this saw, specifically for its resaw capacity. I have no interest (at least for now) in cutting logs, but I would want it to be able to handle the occasional job of resawing hardwoods such as maple, rosewood, purple heart, and so forth. I’m just wondering if this saw will do a good job with that, or if I should look elsewhere.

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Mike3ID

13 posts in 1164 days


#14 posted 12-12-2015 07:59 PM

The wheels are aluminum, it only has so much horse power and blade speed.
It won’t accept really wide blades.
I went with a half length fence on my grizzly,
Tuned the guides and what not and it’s performing much better but in essence it’s still not really meant for resawing wood.

As far as the Craftsman BAS350 it’s probably the best you’ll get at that price point I wouldn’t even attempt to Resaw 8” ebony or whatnot on it but it’ll probably do 8” of dimensional no problem.

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Puffball

43 posts in 1292 days


#15 posted 12-13-2015 01:22 PM

As Mikde3ID noted, the resaw capabilities are really limited by the motor’s horsepower and not the resaw height. It can easily do 8” dimensional, but is challenged with anything much more than 6” for good resawing. I have tried re-sawing >6” cherry and maple with limited success. I usually wind up less than happy with results due to the blade deflecting and causing the cut to come out tapered. And this is with a 1/2” Timberwolf re-saw blade.

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