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1 Unlevel top and 3 warped fences

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Review by Rick posted 08-12-2009 02:07 PM 6854 views 1 time favorited 22 comments Add to Favorites Watch
1 Unlevel top and 3 warped fences 1 Unlevel top and 3 warped fences 1 Unlevel top and 3 warped fences Click the pictures to enlarge them

It was between the Grizzly G0555X, G0513 and the Rikon Deluxe. I deliberated the total cost of ownership and quality of each saw. That meant upgrades, modifications, shipping and the number of years I was sure the saw would be useful to me.

Many reviews I read on the grizzly’s said that they had vibration issues so they’d need new poly bands for the wheels and other slight modifications that actually add to the total price. I’ve never been ok with sub-par quality so I knew would also want to make those and other adjustments. There’s also the shipping price of $94 with the Grizzly. Now I wasn’t sure when I’d need 12 or 13 inches of resaw capacity which means I very well may need it someday. I like to buy quality tools that last many years so I better get the one designed to do what I want it to at any point in time. Woodcraft carries the Rikon in store. Living 3 hours from a woodcraft store and having friends in that area, a road trip wasn’t out of the question and I wouldn’t consider it part of the expense. Woodcraft just happened to be having 15% off on all power tools that weekend so I got my Rikon for a total of $714.

I set it up last night (get help lifting) and there seemed to be a problem with the cast iron top. When I squared the table to the blade on one side the other side of the table wasn’t square to the other side of the blade. The leveling bar under the table wasn’t able to pull the two sides into alignment either. I called Rikon today and tech said that this was very strange but very unacceptable. They have a new cast iron table top in the mail today and they don’t want the other one back. Not sure what I’ll do with the other table top.

I also setup the upper and lower guides. They were a slightly frustrating and difficult to get precise. It’s easy to tell that they were going for precision adjustment abilities but it just wasn’t happening. It’s actually difficult to explain. I was able to get the guides very close without too much pain though.

I will update later when I get my new cast top and ask their tech some setup questions to make sure I’m not doing anything wrong.

UPDATE: 8-24-09
I installed the new cast iron top yesterday. The front side is square to the blade and the back half is square to the blade. Once that was done it was time to make sure the fence was square to my now level table. Using my engineers square I quickly realize that the front of the fence isn’t completely flat. It has a very slight bow in it along the height and it occurs across the fence. (I have attached a picture further down in the discussion) The best I could achieve in squaring the face of the fence was to get the middle (along the height) of the fence to touch my square. That is still not acceptable to someone who wants precision from his tools. Now I’m getting a little more than frustrated with this saw. I know I didn’t buy the tip top of the line bandsaw but I definitely thought I paid enough to receive a level table and an unwarped fence.
I will be placing another call today.

Well I called and spoke with Al this time at Rikon. I told him of the problem with my fence. He said he would send out another fence right away. He did ask how many thousandths it was off though. I told him it was enough to make my square rock back and forth ever so slightly. The fence needs to be dead flat.

UPDATE: 8-31-09
I received my fence 2 days ago. All I had to do was hold it in my hand, place my engineers square on the face of the fence and it was painfully obvious that it was worse than my first. I can’t believe that they’re sending these fences out. 2 out of 2 is pretty bad for 1 customer. To be sure I took my engineers square to my local woodworking store and compared it to a new Incra square. Mine was just like the incra and I don’t think the incra’s off square.
I spoke with Rod this morning. He said that there were some problems with the cutting bit overheating the front of the fence as it cut the openings for the resaw bar. So I may have received 2 fences where they used a dull cutting bit and no cutting lubricant he said. Rod’s going to personally check each fence face for flatness and send me a good one this time. Thanks Rod.

UPDATE: 9-10-09
I received my 3rd fence. I pulled it out of the box stuck the edge of my square on the face of the fence and my heart sank again. Again! I couldn’t believe it. Another fence that doesn’t have a flat face. That makes 3 bad fences I’ve received from them. I’m going to call them today but I can’t imagine what they’ll say. I posted pictures of this one down below.




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Rick

354 posts in 1865 days



22 comments so far

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8476 posts in 2303 days


#1 posted 08-12-2009 04:11 PM

congratulations on the saw – the cast iron defect does sound strange, but as you can see Rikon backs up their machines with good customer service – thats what I like about them (well – that and their tools…lol). I take it you measured for square with a dialed in instrument placed on the cast iron top (and not the plastic throat insert).

you can use the extra CI top as an aux table… a memorabilia so to speak.

for the guides I use a small piece of paper – I place the paper between the guide and blade, and lock the guide when it just touches the paper – take the paper out, and the guide is exactly where it needs to be.

I assume that you had the blade tensioned properly for all these tests/alignments too. thats another thing to keep an eye for.

good luck, and enjoy your new machine – it does wonders once dialed in.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Rick's profile

Rick

354 posts in 1865 days


#2 posted 08-12-2009 04:25 PM

When I first saw the error with my engineers square I removed the plastic insert and used metal sandpaper on the edges of the opening because they were still a little rough. That was an improvement but still not square on both sides of the blade.

Also my top, rear, guide bearing is impossible to adjust with my fingers. I have to use pliers to turn the knob. I need to ask the tech guys about that too.

Blade tensioning is one thing I’m not skilled at for sure. According to the scale in the bandsaw I’m ok but I’ve read that those can vary wildly and be way off.

View peruturner's profile

peruturner

317 posts in 2017 days


#3 posted 08-12-2009 04:27 PM

Well you could use the extra table as a router table,just make some legs for it and you will have one hell of a table,that what I would do,my2cents

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8476 posts in 2303 days


#4 posted 08-12-2009 04:33 PM

woodplay – for blade tensioning, I think this is the culprit of this saw – the tensioning indicator on mine was bent completely out of the way – I took it off (Rikon gave me a replacement – but I never put it on). the way it was designed , is somewhat in a iffy place… I check tension with my finger – trying to bend the blade at the throat insert area, and getting a 1/4” deflection is considered proper tension.

seems like your CI table had a defect in it then… strange, but these things happen – and when they do – it’s good to have good service that can back you up in time of need.

peruturner – I was going to suggest a router table (on the smaller size…) but if the top is not flat – than I wouldn’t want to use it for anything that relies on precision, especially when there are sharp bits spinning at 22Krpm involved.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Rick's profile

Rick

354 posts in 1865 days


#5 posted 08-12-2009 05:19 PM

A router table is not a bad idea but it would be a little short on length but great on depth. If I used it for anything else I’d tap some more holes on the underside and fabricate a heavy duty leveling bar to pull this thing into alignment.
thanks guys

View AaronK's profile

AaronK

1397 posts in 2119 days


#6 posted 08-12-2009 06:13 PM

is this the one thats rebranded as the craftsman professional series 14”?

anyway, did you put a straightedge across the table as well? it seems like such a weird problem for the table to be bowed…

View Rick's profile

Rick

354 posts in 1865 days


#7 posted 08-12-2009 06:19 PM

This is the Rikon 14inch deluxe bandsaw. The table isn’t really bowed as much as twisted. There’s a cut halfway through the top so that you can remove the blade. At the end of the table, at this line, there is a leveling bar that should pull the two sides level. Mine is not level on both sides after tightening the leveling bar.

View USCJeff's profile

USCJeff

1044 posts in 2723 days


#8 posted 08-17-2009 03:29 AM

I’d second the router table idea. I have this saw as well. On the side of the cast iron table there are mounting holes that you could use to mount and extension table to make it more suitable for routing as you stated it is undersized for your needs.

I would definitely suggest using the holes to mount an outfeed table for the Rikon. I have some pics posted in my projects for what I did with it. I also used the outfeed table as a small router table for a cheap laminate trimmer. I leave a flush trim bit in it at all times. Since it is bearing guided and takes light cuts, no fence or big router needed.

Check out Dick’s mod’s to the dust collection. He did a review. I followed what he did and found it made a difference.

The bearings are a pain, but are true once set. The light would never stay in the same place as well in many positions. It also uses a seperate plug. Not a huge thing, but an outlet wasted. The light and hood seemed too heavy for the support arm. Other than that, I have no complaints. Love it. Wish I got your 15% though. I got mine local, which is the reason I ended up opting for that over the Grizzly Deluxe. Sounds like we had the same short list in mind

-- Jeff, South Carolina

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

112089 posts in 2232 days


#9 posted 08-17-2009 03:37 AM

Thanks for the review

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View Rick's profile

Rick

354 posts in 1865 days


#10 posted 08-28-2009 01:48 AM

Here’s a picture of the bow in the fence. You can see the light shining through on the top and bottom. Not much but more than enough.

From Drop Box

View AaronK's profile

AaronK

1397 posts in 2119 days


#11 posted 08-28-2009 02:42 AM

whatever man, for $700+ (on sale) you should get square. for ~$20 you can buy some 80/20 stock that’s square, and there’s no reason your purchase should be that flawed. they owe you one.

btw, i would consider something like this “top of the line!”

and thanks for the continued updates.

View MikeinNJ's profile

MikeinNJ

22 posts in 1959 days


#12 posted 09-09-2009 02:25 AM

I have the same saw, and after Purplev helped me out bit, I find the saw to be well worth the money. Good luck.

View Rick's profile

Rick

354 posts in 1865 days


#13 posted 09-10-2009 02:17 PM

Here is my 3 fence from Rikon. Am I being too picky about this or should a person get a better fence than this along with their $800 saw?? Granted this one is better than the others because it’s concave rather than convex and a piece of wood taller than the fence would span the problem area. But a piece of wood that’s half the height of the fence wouldn’t be so lucky. Once again. Is wanting a flat fence asking too much I’m starting to think I’m crazy.

From fence

From fence

From fence

View AaronK's profile

AaronK

1397 posts in 2119 days


#14 posted 09-10-2009 03:23 PM

thats the sort of thing that i have on my $150 craftsman TS. you should expect better. jeesh. that blows.

View EEngineer's profile

EEngineer

893 posts in 2268 days


#15 posted 09-10-2009 03:31 PM

From the Rikon web-site:
“RIKON’s ISO9001 certified factory is located in Qingdao, China.”

Their problem is obvious: they are trying to resolve quality control problems from 1/2 world away! I also question Rod’s assesment of the problem: from your pictures, it looks as though the fence just wasn’t cut straight in the first place! Without actually inspecting the parts myself, it is tough to say, however.

And, no, I don’t think it is too much to ask that a $700 tool have these issues resolved. I hear so much today about Chinese manufacturing being cheaper than American. I suspect if they only demanded the same quality they accept from China, then any American manufacturer could do it just as cheaply.

-- "Find out what you cannot do and then go do it!"

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