Bandsaw purchase - help me out here lumberjocks.

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Forum topic by gillyd posted 03-08-2012 01:13 PM 2209 views 0 times favorited 25 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View gillyd's profile


136 posts in 2642 days

03-08-2012 01:13 PM

I’m going to purchase a new bandsaw and would like your guys opinions on this. Re-sawing will be its primary use.

Contender #1 and front runner.

Powermatic PWBS-14CS Deluxe

Reasons To Buy: Can buy local for $1199, comes with a 6” riser block, and a 15% discount going on right now with Powermatic/Jet tools makes the price just over $1000 + tax. I like to keep my local woodsmith store in business, and really like being able to talk to the store manager about my tools (he delivers them to my house). This saw has all the bells and whistles of the 14” field, cast iron wheels, carter bearings, lots of HP, etc. I also feel that the resale value on powermatic tools are second to none.

Reasons Not To Buy: Comparing against the field this is the most expensive saw at just over $1000 dollars + tax. Have to install a riser block.

Contender #2 and very interesting

Rikon 14” 10-325

Reasons To Buy: Good price at $800 bucks from Amazon + shipping, making it just over $900. 13 inch re-saw capability without adding a riser block! Great reviews here on lumberjocks. Alot of bells and whistles. Compares well with the powermatic in terms of features.

Reasons Not To Buy: Internet purchase (have been burned once before by Grizzly, so I’m a bit jaded right now). Fairly or unfairly, the purchase over the internet tools is having a big influence on my decision.

Contender #3 good value buy

Grizzly G0555 The Ultimate

Reasons To Buy: If you read the reviews here and on Amazon this is the saw I should be buying. No other bandsaw gets the attention that this saw does here on this site. Good set of features for $525 + shipping. I like the idea of this saw, comes with a fence, etc.

Reasons Not To Buy: No cast iron wheels, this is a nearly a deal breaker for me if it weren’t for the really high reviews. Internet purchase, had bad experience with Grizzly before, almost ready to try again since its been a year since the ordeal. Need to buy a riser block, and not a feature for feature comparison against the other two saws. $525 + shipping and riser block your pushing $700 setup.

Also Considered But did not make the top 3

CraigsList purchase

Love the idea of CL, just tired of one of the following: people want to charge retail for their 8 year old delta, or don’t feel like spending 200 dollars on one of the 50 different models of craftsmen that get posted.

ShopFox 14” 1706

Haven’t seen a ton of reviews, seems like a middle ground saw between the G0555 and the G0555X, has cast irons wheels. Internet purchase. I know people locally who have had bad experiences with ShopFox.

Grizzly 14” G0555X Extreme

Nice looking saw, but compared against the Rikon I’m not seeing a reason to buy it.

Whats going through my mind: I’m looking to be convinced not to buy locally the powermatic and make an internet purchase. For a few extra hundred dollars I feel like I am getting a better machine in the powermatic, with the resale bonus in the future. The warranty is also nice. So full disclosure – I am a heavy lean towards the powermatic (heck almost impulsed purchased on my lunch hour yesterday when he dropped the 15% discount on me). To me a few hundred dollars is worth the additional features and name, do you agree?

25 replies so far

View crank49's profile


4030 posts in 2967 days

#1 posted 03-08-2012 02:23 PM

Does your Woodcraft not sell Rikon? Mine does in Nashville, and their prices are pretty much the same as others.

I love the old Powermatic stuff, no experience with the new Chinese/Tiawan built stuff.

View ruel24's profile


79 posts in 2289 days

#2 posted 03-08-2012 02:46 PM

Just from what I’ve read, the Powermatic has suffered some complaints, lately, as has a number of other Powermatic stuff, due to quality control. A main issue has been the riser block. Apparently, a number of them left the factory with bad machining. Also, I’ve read that despite the 1-1/2 HP rating, some owners have complained of easily bogging it down. I’m sure they’d work it out with you, but it’s good to know that newer Powermatics aren’t so automatically as guaranteed of a a purchase to get quality right out of the chute.

Everyone seems to love their Rikon 14” saws. They often change the guides to Carters and get a Kreg fence for it. And, yes, Woodcraft carries Rikon.

I, too, have read nothing but good about the Grizzly G0555 and G0555X, except for some riser block issues. One thing to consider is that if you can put the Powermatic in your budget, for similar money, you can have a G0513X2F, which is a 17” saw with a footbrake, more table, cast iron wheels, nice fence, etc.. Ever consider that?

ShopFox is Grizzly. Same owners.

View HorizontalMike's profile


7756 posts in 2910 days

#3 posted 03-08-2012 02:50 PM

I really like my Rikon (2-years). I see that you are in a rather devoid spot when it comes WC stores, so online may be your only choice.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View David's profile


198 posts in 2660 days

#4 posted 03-08-2012 03:01 PM

I got lucky on craigslist, $275 for a 16” 2HP grizzly (discontinued model) with a few blades. My opinion is that craigslist is worth the guys like the ones you mentioned. I like my grizzly, lots of cast iron and it hasn’t had any trouble with anything I’ve thrown at it.

I used a program called Craigspro on my iPhone that allows you to set up search criteria that it will monitor craigslist for. I had my bandsaw in the truck within hours of the posting going online.

-- Perilous to all of us are the devices of an art deeper than we ourselves possess. --Gandalf the Grey

View HalDougherty's profile


1820 posts in 3233 days

#5 posted 03-08-2012 03:29 PM

I bought my Rikon in 2007 when they came out and had to drive 300 miles to the Nashville, Woodcraft store to pick one up. My local Woodcraft store didn’t have one I could pick up that week. It was one of the best purchases I’ve made and would buy another one like it. To keep from swapping from a wide resaw blade to a narrow one for detail cutting, I found a great deal on Craig’s List. I got a Rikon 14” saw for $125 and all it needed was new rubber tires on the wheels. Grizzly 14” parts were cheep and fit fine. I keep this saw set up with a 1/4” blade for quick and dirty cutting. I’ve read the reviews on Ridgid bandsaws that discuss the vibration and other issues. All I know is my saw is quiet, and runs smoothly. It didn’t come with a fence, but 2 boards with some triangle supports and a couple of clamps later, and it was the best (free) fence I could make in 5 minutes…

-- Hal, Tennessee

View BinghamtonEd's profile


2298 posts in 2366 days

#6 posted 03-08-2012 03:34 PM

I got a 1984 Delta 14” off of CL for about $200. All it needed was some new blades and about 2 hours worth of cleaning (sat in the corner for about 15 years), now it runs like new. I just didn’t have the money to get a new saw in a size that I wanted. I’ve been extremely pleased with the saw, so there are some good finds to be had on CL.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View Sawdust4Blood's profile


404 posts in 3018 days

#7 posted 03-08-2012 03:41 PM

The wife bought the PM Onyx for me back in November for our anniversary. While more expensive, there is almost nothing you can add to it because it came with virtually everything. The riser block installed (by myself) in less than 30 minutes and fit perfectly. Not sure what could have caused bogging for others. Even with the cheapo blade that it came with I was able to resaw 10” hardwood with no problem. With a premium blade, it cuts like butter. Dust collection is above average (with a dust collector attached) and blade changes/adjustments are quick and easy.

I think that all the saws are probably fine machines but those are my experiences with my PM.

-- Greg, Severn MD

View crank49's profile


4030 posts in 2967 days

#8 posted 03-08-2012 03:53 PM

Mike, he said he wanted to do business with his local Woodcraft Store and they would deliver to his house.
That’s why I even mentioned WC in the first place.
I only have a small Rikon, purchased from my WC store, but I feel like it was a fine value. Never had a problem with it.

View HorizontalMike's profile


7756 posts in 2910 days

#9 posted 03-08-2012 04:35 PM

Crank, no disrespect intended. His profile says Iowa and a quick check online for WC stores actually in Iowa shows NONE. I do not know if he lives near the state line or what.

OP on Rikon:
Reasons Not To Buy: Internet purchase (have been burned once before by Grizzly, so I’m a bit jaded right now). Fairly or unfairly, the purchase over the internet tools is having a big influence on my decision.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View jmos's profile


827 posts in 2366 days

#10 posted 03-08-2012 05:14 PM

I bought the PM about a year ago; same deal free riser block and on sale for about $1000. Overall I really like it. The only issue I had setting it up was getting the proper tension on the belt, as you have to pull down on the motor while tightening bolts in a very tight space. I bought mine online with no problems; from Woodcraft if I recall correctly.

I’ve resawn boards up to about 8” and have had no problems, it cuts like a champ. Hardwood, softwood, I’ve never seen it even slow down. Hell, once I made a cut and noticed it looked rough, then I realized I had forgotten to apply tension to the blade. With all due respect, I have to wonder if those with problems may have been using the wrong blade for the job; too many teeth and got packed with sawdust.

I bought two timberwolf blades, and they work very well, but even the stock blade wasn’t terrible.

I can’t speak to the other saws, as this is the only one I’ve used, but I do recommend the PM.

-- John

View Hoakie's profile


306 posts in 4032 days

#11 posted 03-08-2012 05:22 PM

Crank/Mike, we have the Woodsmith store which is a Rockler affiliate, we used to have a WC but closed about 10 years ago. the Woodsmith store doessn’t carry the Rikon anymore but used to. Gillyd, if you want to see it in person I have one in my shop and have been satisfied with it. I assume you are in the DSM area

-- John H. [To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk. ~Edison]

View gillyd's profile


136 posts in 2642 days

#12 posted 03-09-2012 02:12 AM

crank49 – Sure wish we had a woodcraft, but we have something that is just as good/if not better and that is the famous Woodsmith Store in Des Moines, Iowa. I’m sure you have seen the shows… Unfortunately Rikon is not sold at our Woodsmith, only Powermatic, General International and they have a entry level Steel City saw, although they are a distributor of all kinds of brands (Jet, etc), I could order in something.

David W – I use the same program on my IPhone, its great! I have had success with CL before, in fact I got a great Delta Planer on there for cheap.

HalDaugherty – Yeah a fence isn’t a deal breaker for me, its just a nice to have but definitely not required. Cast Iron wheels are far more important to me.

BinghamtomEd – I was close to buying a Delta bandsaw off of CL the other day, guy had used it to cut thousands of dollars of aluminum, and then left it in his garage for years once his contracting job was done. Table was rusted nice a brown, and when he started it up it sounded like the bearings were crying, I passed on it but I’m kinda of wondering if I should have gambled on it and cleaned it up, would have been 200 bucks.

Sawdust4blood – Good to know, I like your perspective.

jmos – Sounds like you had a good experience, good to know!

Hoakie – Yep I’m in Des Moines, I work about 5 minutes from Woodsmith so I can run over there during my lunch hours and look at stuff. I looked at your shop tour, I might have to take you up on your offer. Would like to see your Rikon and also your dust collection setup.

Thank you all for your comments, this is why I love Lumberjocks, what a great community.

View Kenny 's profile


260 posts in 2444 days

#13 posted 03-09-2012 03:04 AM

Gilly, are you only considering 14” saws?

If not, the Grizzly 17” saws are close in price with the Powermatic. Though I understand if you’ve been burned and want to go elsewhere.

I have used a GO555P quite a bit, as a woodworking buddy close by has a new one with a 6” riser and is completely stock otherwise (blades are also aftermarket and high-quality). I use his saw as it has much more resaw capacity than mine @12”. It’s really an awesome saw, one of the best running and smoothest cutting I’ve used. It’s also been the best saw for the money in several reviews I’ve read.

If it were me, I’d be looking a the GO555P myself, or one of their 17” saws. The Extreme does have some nice features, like the cast iron wheels, etc, etc. But for the average guy in the average shop, the GO555p will do everything you will ever want or need with only the addition of a riser block. And if I personally was going to spend more, I’d rather go to a 17” saw than a beefed up 14”. But that’s just me.

Granted, only you know what you truly want, need and desire in a saw, but the Grizzly Ultimate Polar Bear saw would be the one to make it into my shop. It really is a heck of a lot of saw for $450!

Good luck. From your line-up, I don’t think you could really go wrong.

-- Kenny

View gillyd's profile


136 posts in 2642 days

#14 posted 03-09-2012 03:54 AM

Kenny – thanks for the perspective, you make a very good case :) I’m willing to give Grizzly another try, I like their business model and their equipment does get good reviews. I originally got a polar bear saw from them about a year ago and it was one of those that had issues with the blade as you raise and lower it, they took it back and gave me a full refund. It took a while for it to happen, but I have to give them credit.

I will take a close look at the 17 inch saw. I tend to over think things sometimes, and you are right, I would probably be just as happy with the G0555P and spend half as much as the PM. Thanks for taking the time add to the conversation!

View Straightbowed's profile


717 posts in 2294 days

#15 posted 03-09-2012 04:16 AM

it depends on what yur doin I have a rikon 10-325 it resaws great but a little iffy on small blades if yur not goin to resaw I would go 14 but the Laguana 16 loks like a good saw 3hp just make sure u get cast iron wheels what ever u buy and really cheakout the cast iron table and the fence and bearing adjustment

-- Stevo, work in tha city woodshop in the country

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