Bandsaw recommendation

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I am in the "I need a new toy" mode and am looking at a bandsaw. Right now, I see the saw as being able to handle basic cutting and some resawing. The resawing I can't see as ever being more than 12", most in the 6-8" range at most. This is for a hobby, no production work, so saw will probably be used only few times a month.
Given this, I have been focussing on the Rikon 325 and the Rikon 345. The 345 has a 10 degree tilt to the left, which would allow me to use it for doing dovetails if need be (watched David Marks do this with the tool chest he made). I do have a 220v circuit I put in past year "just in case" I ever needed it. Being the additional cost of a mobile base and blades, I definately can't go more than the $1000 mark total of the saw. The rikon 325 is $750, but will get (10% off next month for their sale day). The Rikon 345 is $1250, but on sale for $999 right now.
Any thoughts to these two or recommendation for other bandsaws? I would like to get the most flexibility and power versus the cost as I can. While many recommend larger saws such as the Laguna, those are towards the $2000 range and far too much out of my price range or need.
Any recommendations and/or comments greatly appreciated.
- Clayton
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For the money and a first saw IMHO the Rikon is a decent deal. It is not going to give performance near a Minimax or Laguna. It will however compete with the normal name brands. That said, I had the 18" Rikon and had problems with tracking and absolutely hated the roller guide bearings. This is not to say that Rikon is the problem here but it only comes with roller guide bearings.
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Leon is giving you good advice. I also got the Rikon 18". Went through some initial problems with tracking which were resolved. If your looking to never buy another bandsaw it might not be a Rikon if cutting veneers is your goal. Google Leon on bearings vs guides. If my budget wasn't limited I would have bought a Laguna or Min Max. Yes I'm happy with my Rikon it still is doing the job I need in the budget I have.
Mike M
On Mon, 29 Jan 2007 19:01:49 -0600, "Leon"

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What about the Grizzly 513x? That was another one I was considering. I am leaning more towards an 18" saw rather than a 14" (with riser), figuring in the long run it would be better and be a better value. $1000 is stretching my budget though.
- Clayton
On Mon, 29 Jan 2007 21:06:15 -0800, Mike M

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I don't have one of these, but I imagine that price wise it will compare to the Rikon. From the budget you stated the Rikon is a great option. As I said earlier I have the Rikon and I'm happy. I would prefer the Minimax or the Laguna but the budget I have makes just having the Rikon please me totally.
Mike M
wrote:

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Having recently purchased my first bandsaw, a Grizzly G0513X, I cannot offer much advice in the way of comparison or experience but I can tell you that I'm happy with it.
It seems to be solidly built. The cast iron wheels are well balanced and it operates smoothly. Blade tracking adjustment is easy and the blade shows up on the wheel well. Using a 1" TimerWolf blade it re- sawed some walnut effortlessly without drift or barrel cutting.
Some things I don't like about it: The lower bearing guide allen bolts are difficult to access making adjustments a pain. Installing/removing a 1" blade is a bit tricky as there's not much wiggle room. The table insert is a cheap piece of plastic that sits too far recessed leaving a lip that narrow stock can catch on when first feeding.
Admittedly I didn't do much research of other brands before purchasing. I find the middle and upper tier Grizzly products to be a good value and the customer service is great. It doesn't hurt that I live 2 miles from a Grizzly warehouse so I can see the products, talk to the staff and save the shipping costs.
Currently it sells for $975. It was advertised in Wood magazine only for $795 but that sale ended Dec 31st. I don't know if Grizzly will haggle or not, but if your budget is tight it might be worth a shot knowing it just came off sale.
Brian
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Called Grizzly. Even talked with a sales manager. They would not budge at all. Very firm and irresolute. That is a shame being that such attitudes lose them customers.
- Clayton
On 29 Jan 2007 22:24:55 -0800, " snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com"

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In all fairness to Grizzly, if you are pretty much the cheapest game in town already there is little incentive to drop the price.
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"Malathan" wrote

They lose customers because they did not honor last year's sales price?
What percentage of businesses honor a christmas price in January?
Somehow or another, Grizzly will get along just fine without your business. And they will continue to have many more sales. And they will continue to introduce new models and phase out old ones.
Life goes on. And the Grizzly business model is doing well. In spite of your disapproval. In fact you could say by offering good value for the dollar, particularly on middle and top models, that the Grizzly "attitude" brings them many new and repeat customers.
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It wasn't strictly the not budging on price, but also the poor sales service I got from another sales person before talking with the sales manager and the lack of response via email when questioning them about advantages/disadvantages with specific differences in their models. They don't have to bend over backwards, but they can at least show "some" interest in me as a customer and willing to answer questions to help me make a purchase decision.
- Clayton
On Tue, 30 Jan 2007 13:16:29 -0500, "Lee Michaels"

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A bit more on the subject of roller bearings and upper wheel adjustment. Roller bearings look great on paper. Roller bearings are very noisy and create vibration when you cut woods that have sticky saw dust. Take SYP or green wood for instance. The dust sticks to the bearing surfaces and gets pounded. The saw dust being pounded sticks to the blade and the bearings and can be very difficult to remove. This dirty and uneven surface makes lots of noise and vibration. Upper wheel adjustment on my Rikon was a constant problem for me. I had to continuously monitor the tracking of the blade to insure that the blade stayed properly situated in the guides. With the noise coming from the bearings it was easy to tell when the blade moved out of position. The noise got louder or quieter as the blade moved to and or from the thrust bearing. With better band saws, like the Laguna that I now have, blade tracking is not an issue. Unless I go straight from a 1" to a 1/4" wide blade I often do not have to adjust the top wheel tilt at all. Actually I don't even need to use guides in many situations as the blade stays put. My advice, what ever brand saw you get, strongly consider adding ceramic guides as soon a possible. Ceramic guides can touch the blade and tend to scrape and keep the blade clean. Since there are no moving parts in the guides the noise and vibration is mostly nonexistent.
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<snip>

<snip>
Huh. I can see that happening, but why would P-matic put them on their saws as standard, and Carter sell them as an upgrade? Not arguing with you, but rather wondering about the significance of the issue you cite.
Please see the following review for an alternate opinion on roller bearings:
http://www.newwoodworker.com/reviews/crtrlrguidrvu.html
D'ohBoy
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Roller bearings are an upgrade over the standard guides that most all band saws had many years ago. The are an alternative to cool blocks. Again, on paper bearings make sence. But introduce a sticky or green wood and its sawdust and you have a mess. On many woods the roller bearings will work fine but my experience was that with pine and oily woods the mess was unacceptable. I already had been dealing with a Craftsman BS for 22 years and the Rikon with roller bearings sounded like a good upgrade. Unfortunately I found that the upgrade was way low of my expectations. Additionally, ceramic guides are not the end answer. If you are using very narrow blades the cool blocks or roller bearings are probably a better choice. Ceramic can be damaged if it comes in contact with the teeth on a blade. Roller bearings will damage also but not as quickly.

I saw no mention of the results of cutting green or sticky wood. Roller bearings work great at doing what they are suppose to do, up until they get a layer of saw dust stuck to them and or the blade.
If you can swing the upgrade, I believe this would be a much better choice over roller bearings. http://www.lagunatools.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID &HS=1
And a video showing and explaining the Laguna guides. Large down load, 11meg. http://www.lagunatools.com/images/guides.wmv
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

The same reason some high-end saws choose ceramic guides over ball bearings. Not every guide is perfect in every situation. Marketing, customer taste and perception does occasionally play into equipment design decisions, as it may have in P-matic's case.
As for Carter, if you can sell it, you do. Remember, not every aftermarket "upgrade" is better in every situation. Need an example? Look no further than bandsaw blades. Some folks swear by certain blades, others don't even see the issues the first group solves. <G>
Ball bearing guides can also have issues with narrow blades, which can be easily corrected on block style guides by swapping a metal or ceramic block out in favor of a carbon block.
To me the, the hot setup would be bearings that can be installed in the same mounts as blocks, and easily and quickly swapped back and forth.
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wrote:

If a $1000 is stretching it, but you want something bigger than 14", Steel City 16" bandsaw might be worth looking at.
I found this listing on Ebay http://cgi.ebay.com/Steel-City-Tool-Works-50200-16-Industrial-Bandsaw_W0QQitemZ170076040448QQihZ007QQcategoryZ57124QQcmdZViewItem
Mark (sixoneeight) = 618
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On Tue, 30 Jan 2007 10:06:08 -0600, Markem

Saw a review in either wood or finewoodworking, don't remember the size of the band saw, but they expressed a concern on the amount of flex in the upper blade guides.
Mike M
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On Tue, 30 Jan 2007 19:34:40 -0800, Mike M
I wrote >>

The local (60 miles) dealer has some setup, I look at the 18" real hard for awhile and said to my self "next time back I ask for the power cord and some wood" they look real nice but buy it untried, $1300 could be a big booboo. Probably bring a nice max size piece to resaw too.
Mark (sixoneeight) = 618
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Grizzly G0555X

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Sales man at Grizzly suggested the 555x, but and somewhat uncertain about a rizer block. With block and and mobile stand, it would be around $730 + shipping. not bad. I am just curious as to how it compares with other saws, such as the new Rikon 325. Rikon's is new, so not much word out yet, but have heard some really good things about Grizzly saws.
- Clayton

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says...

I went through this some months ago. In the end I decided that buying an Italian made saw I could not justify considering the price difference and my usage (which is several times a week, but I am not a professioal woodworker). On the other hand I looked at a lot of the cheap & nasties, and asked to do trial runs, in most cases I ran out of the demo room. In the end I decided to go for an 18" Jet, which is also Taiwan made, but the production standards seem way higher than the other saws I saw. I am very very happy with the performance; even the ball bearing guides are ok.
NB - I never clapped eyes on Rikon, Grizz or Delta, those brands are not sold in this country, so I cannot compare them.
-P.
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