Bandsaw recommendation - 14 or 17 inch?


Yet another "what to buy question". I've read the bandsaw posts, and appreciate all I've learned. Rather than asking "what's the best 14 inch BS" or "What's the best 17 inch BS", I'd rather ask "what's the best saw I can get with a $1000 budget.
I'm a novice, do mostly thin stuff now, but hope that my skills and needs grow. I'd hope to anticipate resawing in the future, and hope not to need another tool. I'll be replacing a 12" Craftsman. The thing I dislike the most about it is the vibration (even after tuning it up), but I also hope for more capacity and power. I've been watching for a while, and haven't seen anything used come up close to home.
Here's a few that all come in about the same price: Delta X5 with a riser - an old standby, but some have raised questions about vibration. Powermatic 14 with a riser - always favorably reviewed on the NG Bridgewood 17WBS - looks nice, but have never seen one turned on. Trunnions look a little weak, but otherwise seems well made. What about parts in the future given only one supplier? Shopfox 17 - looks the sturdiest and most heavy duty, but frame welding looked a little sloppier than the others, making me question the overall quality. Cast iron wheels are spoked rather than solid like the Bridgewood.
Any advice or personal experience with these saws (especially the last 2)?
Thanks in advance David
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David wrote:

I bought the Rikon 18" bandsaw back in February after Fine Woodworking Magazine rated it as a best buy. It certainly falls into your budget although I'd wait for the next 10% off sale before I'd buy if I were buying one now (it's currently $999.99 at Woodcraft).
http://www.woodcraft.com/family.aspx?familyidR20
It's 2 speed, 2 HP, 220V horse of a machine; takes a 142" 1/4" to 1 1/2" blade, and can resaw up to 12". Cast iron wheels, tension quick release... about the only thing it seems to lack is a brake.
One of the things that really attracted me to it was it was one of two bandsaws that FWW felt was easy to make blade changes... and the other was three times the money (the Laguna... if I recall).
Would I buy one again? Hell, yes. I love the thing....
--
Mortimer Schnerd, RN

snipped-for-privacy@carolina.rr.com.REMOVE
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IMHO you might want to add the Jet 17" to your list. On sale it will probably fit your price criteria. I have owned one for about 3 years an love it. Mine has the old "European" friction guides that I planned to replace after purchase. I got comfortable with them and they are still on the machine. I believe the new Jets use rollers. The lower blade guides are a little tricky to adjust but it becomes an acquired skill. The list on my saw was around $1,099, but I picked it up during a combined store sale/Jet promotion for around $920 including a mobile base.
As far as which provides the best utility (14" or 17"), it probably boils down to your intended use. I personally bandsaw a lot of large curved hardwood pieces. The bigger table helps considerably with balance and control. However you can add an auxiliary top to a smaller table.
RonB
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I can't provide any first-hand user experience with any of the saws you mentioned, but I'll throw in my 2 cents worth anyway. Mark Duginske states in his 'Bandsaw Handbook' that a 14" bandsaw should not be used with anything greater than a 1/2" blade, as the wheels would put too much strain on a thicker blade. I've read about and seen people using 3/4" (or larger?) blades on 14" saws, but it might be something to consider. Overall, I guess my advice is to check out his book, if you haven't already - very informative for a current bandsaw owner or prospective buyer.
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Andy wrote:

There is a 3/4 " blade specifically for us "small" bandsaw users. http://www.tufftooth.com /
Look at the "new Swedish Silicone Blades"
Specifically this blade. I am sure that similar is available from many suppliers. http://www.tufftooth.com/silicon-new.html
-- Will R. Jewel Boxes and Wood Art http://woodwork.pmccl.com The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it. George Bernard Shaw
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Suffolk Machinery low tension 3/4" blades work O.K. on the 14" Rockwell in the garage.

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wrote:

Never seen the Shopfox, but the Grizzly 17" is an awfully nice machine. Good fit and finish, and the guy I know that has one uses it to rough out really large turning blanks, and has nothing bad to say about it.

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Prometheus wrote:

Seems like most people are steering you towards the 17" but I can tell you that a 14" bandsaw is a very handy tool, and if you're into resawing, you put a 6" riser on it and you can pretty much cut whatever you need. I've got a Jet 14" JWBS-14X with the 1 HP motor, Itura springs, wheel brush, cool blocks, and the 6" riser. I like this saw. But here's something you may want to check out:
http://www.rd.com/americanwoodworker/toolguide/TT_Bandsaws.pdf
BTW, the Jet fit & finish is really nice, and this particular model is a _big_ improvement over previous ones with better DC porting, a standard lever-arm tension release, and more precise cast-iron wheels.
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I used to have a Grizzly 15 in bandsaw. I later upgraded to the Grizzly G0513 model which is 17in. I did have my eye on the jet 16in, but after using the G0513 for over a year, I can saw I would purchase this again.
The Grizzly 15 in was not bad, but the mounting of the table to the saw frame was not as sturdy as I would like. I also wanted a greater width of cut. The fence system on the old saw was a pain to remove and resulted in reducing the width of cut by a couple of inches.
The G0513 is configured for 220V operations, rated at 10A but can be changed to 110V operation rated at 20A.
The G0513 comes with carter style bearings, a rack and pinion upper blade support adjustment, a lever and spring based blade tension mechanism to easily untension when not used, and a decent fence system with one hand operation and instant removal for maximum cut width.
Other brands may be better quality, but this one does the job for my needs.
If I were having to decide between 15in and 17in and could afford the wider depth of cut, I would get the wider depth.
Dave Paine.

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