|Review by dbhost||posted 08-25-2009 11:50 PM||8312 views||4 times favorited||24 comments|
- Central Machinery 32208 14" 4 speed woodworking band saw.
- Brand: Central Machinery | Category: Bandsaws
NOTE This review is NOT dealing with a stock saw, the saw in question has been fitted with the following updates.
#1. Central Machinery Riser Block Kit. #2. Craftsman Professional Universal Band Saw Fence. #3. Suffolk Machinery Timberwolf 1/2” 3 TPI blade. #4. Iturra tension spring. #5. Accu-Link link belts. (Harbor Freight).
The Central Machinery Model 32208 4 speed 14” band saw, and its single speed sibling the 32206 (only difference appears to be the pulley setup), can be an amazing band saw bargain. I have recently seen this saw marked down from $329.00 to $259.00, if a buyer combines this with the in store 20% off any 1 item coupon the saw comes in right at right around $207.00. The riser block kit was a phone order parts department item only and ran around $50.00 + S&H.
The overall fit and finish of the saw ABOVE the stand appear to be on par with the Ridgid BS1400, and lower model Delta 14” saws. The main difference that I can see is features (2” instead of 4” DC chute, 1HP instead of 3/4HP motor, etc…). The BIG difference is where / how the motor mounts. (The CM mounts UNDER the stand, the Ridgid for example mounts behind the saw frame on the stand).
Assembly of this saw is NOT an easy task, as the documentation is written initially by somebody that does not speak English as their native tongue, many of the illustrations are simply wrong, and to make things worse, they simply leave out LARGE sections of the assembly instructions. Plain and simple have good mechanical skill going in, ask a lot of questions, and if need be, use the Harbor Freight tech support number…. DO NOT RELY ON THE INSTRUCTION SHEET!
The motor bracket is shown mounted BACKWARDS in the instruction sheet. Both the printed one, and the one online. There are minimal instructions for setting up any of the safety guards, and you can only sort of hit and miss guess at where they are supposed to go… And the blade guides are a quirky design…
As far as I know, even Powermatic band saws need some tweaking from the factory to work their best, and the Central Machinery saw is no different. It needs a much improved blade like almost every other saw on the market, as well as a decent fence, rise block kit if you are going to do any serious resawing, and at a minimum the OE blade should be upgraded and blade guide blocks should be replaced with Olson Cool Blocks as soon as possible. Preferrably before you try cutting anything with this saw and decide it’s junk.
The tension adjuster is a simple knob, as is the tracking adjuster. In like manner to other low $$ 14” band saws, the tension adjsuter knob is on a short rod, behind the upper wheel guard, and is hard to operate. This is typical for this type of saw, and only gets corrected on higher dollar versions such as the Grizzly GO555 models.
After the headaches and a few unneccesary cuts from the poorly finished metal edges, which if you are like me you dress with a file quickly, (typical of Chinese construction) the saw is together.
Setting the tension per Suffolk’s instructions and running 10” oak through the blade on a home build resawing sled, the blade tracks straight, and there is plenty of power, but you willl NOT win any speed contests with this rig. It took me 5 minutes to slab off a 10” thick x 48” long piece of oak. I am pretty sure the guys with the big 3 and 5 HP 19” and up models are laughing at this, but it works, and gets the job done. I am pleased with it… There have been some issues with the stock belts slipping, those have since been replaced with the link belts and this saw behaves like a MUCH more powerful saw now…
As a test I cut some curve shapes out of a 3” Oak Plywood glue up / waste that was in the workshop. The saw was on the highest speed setting, and did not bat an eyelash at going through this material. Feed rate wasn’t measured or anything, but it was certainly as fast as I was comfortable moving…
I expect many years of good service out of this saw. It is much smoother than I expected out of an HF saw, and it operates quietly.
This saw has been in my shop now for a little over a year, aside from some minor annoyances with the tension knob, and me wanting to perform some badly needed dust collection improvements, this has been a good saw, and the hit on the budget was minor… All told, this is a good machine, and I recommend this to anyone looking for a new 14” band saw but is on a budget…
-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com