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Choosing a bandsaw....

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Forum topic by chopnhack posted 663 days ago 2554 views 0 times favorited 30 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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chopnhack

368 posts in 1028 days


663 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: bandsaw band saw buying guide choosing

I need some help weeding through the data out there on bandsaws. I have never owned one, but have had a need for one several times this year and the workarounds were less than desirable…. Think resawing a 2×10 on a table saw and finishing it off with a rusty handsaw.. no thanks.

I would like to have the capacity to resaw 12” boards, would like to be able to process raw wood and all the other great things one can do with a bandsaw.

I am looking at the Rikon 10-350 and features are really impressive. The stock motor should be plenty at 2.5HP. I like the microswitches that prevent startup when blade is not tensioned, or if a door is open, location of tension lever, 14” resaw capacity, tool less guides and the foot pedal with switch. Lots to love, price not so much… Best case scenario right now if Menards’ shipping is correct is $1539.

Laguna 14 SUV is $1635 and another $100 for the mobility kit that is a must in my case. Has all the above with an additional 0.5hp USA Leeson motor (3hp), Laguna guides, rack and pinion table tilt. It doesn’t to my knowledge have a switch for when the tension is off….

Does anyone know anything about the Laguna LT14 3000 – it seems to have a 2hp motor, but if all else is equal I find it delivered for $1445

The Grizzly G0513X2F is about $1300 delivered.

Money is certainly a factor, but this is a case where I never see buying another bandsaw in my lifetime and perhaps passing it down in 50 years if I should live that long or the saw for that matter.

What does the collective knowledge of LJ think? Personal experiences with these machines is welcome. If there are alternative machines to consider, please add to the discussion. Thanks for reading and I look forward to your responses.

-- Sneaking up on the line....


30 replies so far

View 47phord's profile

47phord

174 posts in 870 days


#1 posted 663 days ago

I don’t have any personal experience with any of these, but I saw this thread this morning. Also check out the tool reviews here and elsewhere. Good luck!

View JesseTutt's profile

JesseTutt

803 posts in 744 days


#2 posted 663 days ago

I have the Grizzly G0132X2BF and have yet to find a task it is not more than adequate for. It is 220V only (I suspect that the others are 220). It did not come with a power cord. All the bolts, nuts, etc is metric.

For any saw, plan on an aftermarket blade. The best known (and popular) are the Timber Wolf and Wood Slicer. Currently, I am trying the Timber Wolf and it performs well. I resawed a peach log and got great results. I routine resaw Popular, Oak, Maple. Today I am going to run some western Cedar through it.

I have two problems: 1. I only have one dust collector hose and whichever port I put it on I get a lot of sawdust accumulation around the bottom bearings. This causes no problems, but I have to remember to vacuum it up. 2. The front rail of the fence is too handy to use as a handle, which throws the fence off. I intend to purchase bolts and replace the knobs with bolts and see if the rail is less moveable.

I conclusion I definitely would buy the Grizzly again.

-- Jesse, Saint Louis, Missouri

View toolie's profile

toolie

1742 posts in 1262 days


#3 posted 663 days ago

rikon 10-340 here. love te hfit ad finish. MUCH more substantial in every way than the POS 18” jet it replaced. the rikon 10-345 is $999 @ woodcraft now and it has 12” of resaw and a 2.5hp motor. seems like it would accommodate the needs you detailed without breaking the bank, although i don’t think it has any interlocking do-dads.

-- there's a solution to every problem.......you just have to be willing to find it.

View chopnhack's profile

chopnhack

368 posts in 1028 days


#4 posted 662 days ago

I think I may venture down to the woodcraft tomorrow and look at some of these beasts in person. They have a Laguna in stock but not the 10-345.

Thanks toolie, I did get the flyer on the 10-345 and it does look very interesting, especially since its a third off! Do-dads be damned, I can always rig somehing if I wanted to :-)

-- Sneaking up on the line....

View JesseTutt's profile

JesseTutt

803 posts in 744 days


#5 posted 662 days ago

I got an e-mail from Woodcraft about an anniversary sale. 10% off select power tools and 15% off others happening this coming weekend 9 & 10 November.

-- Jesse, Saint Louis, Missouri

View chopnhack's profile

chopnhack

368 posts in 1028 days


#6 posted 662 days ago

Wow…. I don’t know if there is some disclaimer on sale items, but I would love to see a copy of that! PM sent :-)

-- Sneaking up on the line....

View Surfside's profile

Surfside

3085 posts in 807 days


#7 posted 662 days ago

When I discovered trajan band saws, I’d never hesitate to check the specs of it. You may want to check utilitybandsaw.com .

-- "someone has to be wounded for others to be saved, someone has to sacrifice for others to feel happiness, someone has to die so others could live"

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

112016 posts in 2210 days


#8 posted 662 days ago

You might do a search on Ljs about Laguna tools there are a lot of unhappy Laguna customers including myself.
Usually folks have good things to say about Grizzly and Rikon band saws.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View JesseTutt's profile

JesseTutt

803 posts in 744 days


#9 posted 662 days ago

Sorry, due to a server crash one of the e-mails that I lost was the woodcraft one. I am sure that festool, Leigh jigs, etc were excluded. Try calling the local woodcraft store. I remember that it was Friday 9, and Saturday 10 and that they had food 10-12 Saturday. For all I know it was a local promotion.

-- Jesse, Saint Louis, Missouri

View chopnhack's profile

chopnhack

368 posts in 1028 days


#10 posted 662 days ago

Thanks Jesse – it sounded too good to be true! I doubt that they would honor it anyway as the machine is on sale.

So the trip to Woodcraft was interesting. To finally see the products that I have read so much debate about was fun. I noticed some things on the machines that were not talked about to my knowledge. Sadly the staff was not as knowledgeable as I would have liked… Not a knock against them, they did greet and welcome my questions!

Firstly, the local WC only had the 14” Rikon 10-325 , PM PWBS-14CS and Laguna LT14 SUV on the sales floor for comparison. The 18” Rikon 10-345 that I really wanted to see in person was on order and the crated one in back had been sold to someone.

The Laguna – fit and finish was very good, cast wheels did indeed look more substantial as someone on SMC mentioned, however the center bearing looked to be the same size as the rikon. There was some mention that the bearing was more massive than others, I did not measure, however, I do not believe this to be the case. The area around the bearing, the hub seemed to be wider than the rikon or the PM. This extra mass close to the bearing is possibly why the Laguna is able to be tensioned greater than other saws? Just my guess. I liked that the doors would automatically lock when pushed closed, I thought that was a nice touch to the knob lock system. A simple spring return inside the knob! Very cool, other manufacturers should take note of such a simple device. The doors were a heavier gauge of sheet metal with the edges turned in to make box like edges for strength. Where the doors touched the frame there was a thin rubber gasket, probably to aid in absorbing noise from the doors touching the frame. I don’t believe that they were there to keep dust in, because they are not on all four sides. I was somewhat disappointed with the rack and pinion of the blade guard. It was actually somewhat rough raising the guard! It worked fine, just not as smooth as something this expensive should be. The table sat on beefy trunions and was lower than all the competitions table heights, which I really liked. The base seemed to be made out of 1/8-3/16” plate! It was noticeably thicker than the competitor’s bases. This probably aides in soaking up vibration as well as keeping the unit more stable. The welds on the Laguna were quite good, something as a hobby metalworker I would pick up on ;-) The powder coat looked good as well. Overall it is an impressive machine, but at $1,595 + tax it certainly is in a league by itself in my purchasing equation.

The PM – I looked over the machine briefly as I didn’t really intend it to be in the running, but to be fair and to learn more about bandsaws, I figured it was worth a brief overview. Fit and finish is good. Doors open and close smoothly and have decent knobs for open and closing. The guides seemed easy enough to adjust. What surprised me was that the C frame was not in one piece. Now granted, I don’t know the model number on the PM, but I was not expecting there to be a riser installed… I really didn’t understand the mechanics of adding a riser and now that I do a smaller bandsaw that you can add a riser to just doesn’t seem like it could ever be rigid enough to tension a good resaw blade, just my opinion. I do not know if the steel frames of the Laguna or Rikon for that matter are made of a better grade of steel, if they use Meehanite processed steel or other proprietary methods that yield similar results, but if anyone would like to calculate youngs modulus on a cross section for us, please post ;-)

The Rikon – fit and finish was good, the cast wheels looked like most other cast wheels, I did notice where the manufacturer had nibbled away at sections I assume to balance the wheels – that was a good thing to see ;-) The bearing looked to be about the same size as the Laguna, as I mentioned in detail above. I don’t know whether having all the adjustability in the Rikon is a good thing or to compensate for loose manufacturing tolerances. I noticed that you are able to adjust the position of the top wheel in a horizontal plane away from the lower wheel and the lower wheel can be adjusted slightly by means of the arbor being surrounded by four bolts. The table adjusted easily. I noticed that it had the steel trunnions and they actually looked pretty good. The 18” that I am looking at will not have them so I hope it adjusts as easily. The rack and pinion adjustment was smoother than the Laguna, which really is of no significance to the cut quality, just something I noticed. The Rikon did have a means of locking the position of the blade guard, not sure how useful this is. The base is thinner than that of the Lagunas and the table height is taller. I did see an improvement that someone could do right away with regard to lowering the center of gravity. The Rikon comes with one lower shelf enclosed by a door. One could easily install a piece of steel plate inside under the shelf, on the floor and lower the c.o.g and possibly reduce some vibration. The welds were kinda sketchy in my opinion. I can only assume that they x-ray them at the factory to ensure safety because they look like chicken poo welds that we all make when learning… see for yourself:

Wish there was a grizzly outlet nearby to have a look at their 17” b.s.

-- Sneaking up on the line....

View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

6926 posts in 1547 days


#11 posted 662 days ago

”... would like to have the capacity to resaw 12” boards, would like to be able to process raw wood and all the other great things one can do with a bandsaw….”

One thing you will ALSO need to consider then, is a 12” Jointer for all those 12” resawn boards.

I have the 14” Rikon and love it. Great little BS for the price. I have been able to successfully use a TW 3/4” 3TPI blade on this to resaw, though this maxes out this machine. An 18” Rikon would be the best answer for resawing, IMO. The LARGEST boards that I resaw are in the 8-9in range, and that is because I own an 8in Jointer. If I pick up larger 8/4 or 12/4 boards, I will rip them first on the TS before resawing. My 2-cents…

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

View chopnhack's profile

chopnhack

368 posts in 1028 days


#12 posted 662 days ago

It’s a good point Mike, but after this purchase I will be out of powder for a long time.. Its tedious, but I have handplanes for larger pieces and once one side is good I can run it through my planer.

-- Sneaking up on the line....

View RussellAP's profile

RussellAP

2950 posts in 920 days


#13 posted 661 days ago

Can a BS do a 12” resaw for under a couple grand?

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View WoodRasp's profile

WoodRasp

11 posts in 662 days


#14 posted 661 days ago

I agree with Jesse, as i also own a Grizzly G0513X2B 2HP 17” 220 single phase and a Delta 1hp. I have reviewed, borrowed, and used most of the units mentioned in this blog and the Grizzly one out over all. One main thing that may help is if you need replacement parts and documentation is only seconds away with a Grizzly. I use the Delta for day to day cuttings and the Grizzly for cutting logs to lumber and veneering. The way to get around the fixed delivery charges is to request a will call pickup and swing your own deal with a trucking company to pickup and deliver to your door. you will have to ask the trucking company for lift gate service to your door.

-- The WoodRasp - "Let your inspirations inspire me, and mine inspire yours”

View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

6926 posts in 1547 days


#15 posted 661 days ago

”...Can a BS do a 12” resaw for under a couple grand?...”

Yes, my 14” Rikon has a 13” resaw capacity. I do have to ask WHY you need to resaw a full 12” wide? You should only rarely need that if your glueup is of several 12” wide boards. How often do you plan on doing exactly that? As I mentioned above, it is much easier to rip to desired width first, and then resaw. I have had mixed results with +7” wide board glueups, some worked well and some warp. All I know is that resawing very wide boards is usually a waste of good wood when you try to flatten and plane such a beast. And that is a very rare event as well.

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

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