|Forum topic by AndyMcKenzie||posted 11-05-2011 08:31 PM||3823 views||0 times favorited||29 replies|
11-05-2011 08:31 PM
So I’m looking at getting a 14” band saw. I’ve spent most of the last month tracking Craigs List options, and I’ve come to the conclusion that—unless I want to drive at least two hours each way—there’s nothing worth my time here. The best I found was a Rockwell 14” for $250, that was missing both the table and the motor. 30 year old tilt-head Craftsman saws in the 10” size go for $250 around here.
I want to do some resawing and some curve cutting. None of the three include a good fence for resawing, unfortunately, but I can cobble something together until I can afford to buy (or build) a better one later. I plan to buy two TimberWolf blades, since those seem to come fairly highly recommended: a 3TPI blade as wide as the saw will take for resawing, and probably a 10TPI 1/4” blade for curves.
There are three saws I’ve found in my price range, all of which come out to within about a $3 range of each other after coupons and such. All are about $320. Yeah, I’d like to spend more. But it’s not really practical to think it will happen, and certainly not in the next six months. So here are the options I’ve found:
1) Harbor Freight 14” 4-speed saw. On the Pro side, it’s 4 speed (meaning I could realistically use it for cutting metal as well as wood), it’s easily adaptable, and the reviews are universally not bad. On the Con side, it’s got the weakest motor of the three, requires the longest drive, and has the highest odds of my having to go back to the store to get it replaced for being defective. The price includes a new drive belt, since that seems to be more or less mandatory.
2) The Rigid BS1400 from Home Depot. On the Pro side, it’s an induction motor, HD is the closest of any of the stores to me, and it’s got a good warranty. On the Con side, the reviews are mostly not better than average, and some are downright terrible, and it’s the only one of the three that’s single-speed. Motor power is in the middle, and the price I worked out includes a new drive belt.
3) The Porter-Cable PCB330BS. On the Pro side, it’s an induction motor, it’s got the best reviews as far as vibration go, I’ve been able to handle one and I liked the height and layout, it’s got the biggest table of the three, the reviews have universally been cautiously optimistic, and it claims to have the strongest motor. The storage cabinet is a nice bonus, and every review I’ve found has talked about how vibration-free and quiet it is. On the Con side, it can’t take a 3/4” width blade, which the other two can, and there doesn’t seem to be a riser kit available for it anywhere yet.
At the moment I’m inclined to go with either the HF saw or the PC saw, but I’m really on the fence. Since the costs wind up the same, it really seems to boil down to “which will be most reliable?” This will be my first band saw, so I have to admit that the PC is extremely tempting; knowing that all the parts are likely to be in the box, and that the instructions will be decent, is weighing pretty heavily. But on the other hand, it claim to be unable to take a 3/4” blade, which seems like a substantial restriction on a tool I hope to use for resawing.
So… does anyone have advice on picking between these three?
Thanks in advance!