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Still A Favorite, After Nine Years

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Review by Kelly posted 02-09-2016 10:52 PM 3045 views 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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Powermatic 1791216K Model PWBS-14CS Deluxe 14-Inch 1-3/4-Inch Woodworking Bandsaw with Bearing Guides, Lamp, and Chip Blower, 115/230-Volt 1 Phase (Tools & Home Improvement)
Twenty years ago, upgrading to a Unisaw cabinet saw and top quality fence from a contractor’s saw was a milestone. Before, set-ups often took minutes. Essentially, they were guess work using a tape measure. After, set ups never took more than seconds, but produced dead-on cuts. Too, even re-dimensioning thick material became a “take-for-granted” thing.

The results of my leap from my second Sears’ [best] band saw to my Powermatic 14” band saw was no less dramatic than my switch from a contractor’s saw to a cabinet saw. Before the switch, my old Sears unit was little more than a seldom used toy. More often than not, it collected dust.

My Craftsman ate 1/8” and 3/16”blades for lunch. Of course, poor quality blades, operator control, tension settings and guide settings could have played a large role. However, even replacing factory steel guides with cool blocks, “fine scroll work” had to be done carefully, and the thickness of the material being cut was very limited. I only used the saw out of necessity. Add to this the fact re-sawing seemed out of the question. The under powered motor, available blade selections and blade wander made that laughable option.

Switching to the Powermatic qualifies for a “night and day” comparison. Rather than procrastinating on a project, I find myself coming up with more.

My Powermatic often gets as much or more work out than my cabinet saw: I go to it for quick and free hand cuts; I use jigs to make precision circles of 2” to 30” or more diameter; I cut intricate corbels from 4x stock; and I resaw up to twelve inch thick maple, walnut and oak. Before I installed a riser block, I cut hundreds of feet of maple and oak into 3/8” “veneer” for cabinet facing and other projects).

I find the dust collection reasonable. As much as anything, the level of dust collection seems dependent on the collector system.

While others indicate a problem with the blower not clearing the cut, I haven’t noticed it. However, higher moisture content wood could limit its effectiveness.

A few have indicated the Carter tension release to be an unnecessary expense. To the extent one can afford it, I would disagree. Because of its ease of use, I use it regularly to release pressure on the tires. Too, it reduces the amount of tension I have to release by means of turning the upper tensioning knob when making blade changes.

Not having ever used one before, I wouldn’t have bought the mobile base. However, since the saw came with one and it’s a much welcomed accessory. I think nothing of moving the saw to the next “best” location in the shop.

In five years, my only complaints are with regard to the factory positioning of the light, and the cost of replacement guide bearings.

I found the goose neck light frustrating to use for several reasons:

1) It had to wrap all the way from the back of the saw to the front, but never seemed long enough, so using it required pushing it to the limits of its flexibility. Even then, as try as I might, it never seemed be in quite the right position, or if I got it where I wanted, it moved back a bit when I let go.

2) After I got it in position, or near it, it was in the way of the tension release so had to be moved each time I was done using the saw, then re-positioned for the next use.

3) I couldn’t open the upper door to change blades without moving it.

It was only a matter of time and the goose neck was going to fail from being pushed to hard, and too often.

I solved the problem by remounting the light on the upper blade support bar [...] Powermatic should consider this simple modification for the reasons stated.

The lamp now positions with ease and, now, actually offers the light I need to see my cuts. Too, it no longer interferes with the movement of the tensioning arm and only has be be moved a little, if at all, to allow me to open the upper cover.

I forgot to set the bearing on a blade change and a couple froze. Replacements were twenty dollars. However, that problem was solved by running the number on the bearings on a bearing supplier’s site, where I was able to purchase ten for about five dollars.

When considering the price tag, remember to also consider the value of items like the Carter Tension Release ($180.00), the tire brush, the bearing blade guides ($160.00) and, if equipped, the roller stand ($180.00).

The only reason I did not rate my saw with five stars was because of the light, since many would not take on the simple task of drilling and taping the upper blade support to accommodate the new position.

NOTES:

About a month ago, I swapped the stock tension knob for a crank I purchased through Amazon. I should have done it years ago. It works so smooth turning the crank to swap a blade is a cake walk.

The reason for the blade change was, the threads had stripped at the nut, near the bottom of the tension rod. Apparently, changing tension without tension on the blade is indicated to cause such damage. Regardless, a twenty dollar repair and about ten minutes of time later and the machine works better (easier) than when new.




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Kelly

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Tennessee

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#1 posted 02-12-2016 12:56 PM

I’m strongly looking at one of these right now. Thanks for the review. Confirms pretty much what I have seen in YouTube videos of this saw.
CPOpowermatic.com is currently offering this saw for $1199 with free shipping in the continental United States, and a free 1791217 riser block kit. Heck of a deal in my mind.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

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Kelly

2125 posts in 3142 days


#2 posted 02-16-2016 07:21 PM

A bit more on the saw:

[STANDARD EQUIPMENT]

Barring changes by the manufacturer, the saw comes with:

1) The Carter lift.

2) Bearing blade guides (five upper and five lower bearing that run about $20.00 each through Powermatic, or under ten for eight through on-line bearing suppliers).

3) Wheel brushes.

4) A work light. I posted about moving the light, which improved it nearly beyond description. After moving it, I barely, if at all, have to move it to change blades and it positions far better for work.

[RISER BLOCK]

Within the last year, I upgraded with the addition of a six inch riser block. Its installation was a snap and has improved the saws capacity greatly.

I have noted that running 105” blades requires more attention to blade set ups than with the 92-1/2” blades.

[TENSION CONTROL]

My tension rod threads failed, likely due to operator error. I replaced it with the crank model and, after using it and comparing it to the stock knob type, I would recommend it, since it operates much smoother and most blade changes still require reducing and resetting the tension.

[CARTER STABILIZER]

When running 1/4” or smaller blades, I always swap the stock guides to my Carter Stabilizer. It is everything the Youtube videos indicates it to be. It is well worth the [approximately] seventy dollars.

I put enough mileage on it, I’ve had to replace the Carter Guide bearing once. Rather than buy the bearing from Carter, for around forty dollars, I bought a bearing through a bearing supplier for about seven dollars.

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Kelly

2125 posts in 3142 days


#3 posted 04-23-2016 03:03 PM

Why? Cheesh. Next thing I know, people will recommend I buy a cell phone.

Meanwhile, you might want to run at that post again. It’s purpose wasn’t real clear to those of us who don’t know what you’re posting about.


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McKinlay005

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Emma73

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#5 posted 11-14-2017 07:32 AM

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