Bandsawr recommendation

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Looking to buy first & last bandsaw. Actually I've been looking for quite a while now for an older Delta or Rockwell but I have not come across anything within reasonable driving distance of where I live (north MS). So, I'm going to splurge and buy a new one - looked on Delta's website to see what is "current" and the only one they list (oddly) is a 28-206 which is just a 14" 1HP jobber. (What is the deal with that - are they coming out with new lineup?) I'd like at least a 1.5HP model, so what are other options? Considering Grizzly 514 or 555. Budget ~$850, no more than $1000 tops. Ideas?
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Check that, I meant the Grizzly 513, NOT the 514. Sorry for any confusion with my pricing.

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On Sun, 10 Jan 2010 15:17:47 -0800 (PST), " snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com"

Well, it really depends on what you will be doing with it. I have a Delta 14", and many times wished I had risers for it but when I was buying I didn't think I needed it. I use the fence very little. When tuned up, it gives a nice accurate cut.
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First project would be some side (dining) chairs, so it needs to be able to cut 8/4 ash or white oak with ease.

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On Sun, 10 Jan 2010 15:17:47 -0800 (PST), " snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com"

Take a look at a Rikon 14" deluxe. 1.5 hp, 13" resaw, 2 speed, tension release, 799 at Woodcraft.
FWIW, I decided to go with a Craftsman Pro which has 1 hp, 8 in resaw capacity and no tension release but appears to be otherwise pretty much the same saw and it cuts anything I throw at it--even resawed some 7" wide lignum vitae a while back without any strain. At current prices I'd have paid the extra for the Rikon to get the tension release, which can't be easily retrofitted to the Craftsman, but the price differential at the time was a lot higher.
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If the tension release is like the one on the 18" Rikon you probably would not miss it. On the 18" Rikon that I briefly had the tension release was so hard to activate the rubber knob on the end of the lever broke off.... and the tension release simply loosened the tension, you still had to screw the tension dial still further to actually release all the tension from the blade. I ma not quite sure what the tension release lever on the Rikon 18" saw accomplishes.
I really wanted the tension release also but the Laguna tension crank works so well that it is no longer an issue.
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On 01/11/2010 06:29 PM, Leon wrote:

No tension release on my MiniMax either, and I've never once found myself wanting for one. The feature sported by the MiniMax that I would *not* want to live without is the foot brake. Cuts power to the machine and stops those big heavy drive wheels in under one second; I love it.
--
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I have the foot brake too and it cuts power too but really don't use it much unless others are around. I kinda like to listen to it coast down to a stop. I recall how fast the MiniMax brakes worked.
I was using my Laguna this afternoon. I am attaching false frame and panel fronts to a dozen under bed storage drawers. The 1/4" panel being centered leaves a space behind it and will bow in when you attach a pull. So I needed a spacer behind the panel a bit over 1/4" thick. Having several scraps of 1/2" Baltic Birch left over I rewased 6" wide a 12" long pieces to fill the voids.
I thought I had toasted the 1/2" blade that was on there, it is a cheapo one that I have been using to split firewood and it had gotten to where it would absolutely not cut straight. Strange enough I simply retensioned the blade a touch more than recomended and slid my fence up to guide the resaw operation. The fence was not adjusted for any drift but my slices were perfect. There is something about a cool saw and being able to use it any time with out tweaking... I'm sure you enjoy the same.
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On 1/12/2010 7:19 PM, Leon wrote:

I hear ya, and yes I do; it's my favorite machine in the shop. I also love how, after aligning it once right after I bought the saw, the (rock-solid!) height adjustment for the upper blade guides continues to stay in perfect alignment after all these years, no matter what blade I use or how tightly it's tensioned. Set the vertical height anywhere along its 13" travel, install a new blade and adjust the bearings, then alter the resaw height to any position from 0" to 13" and the bearings will always be in perfect adjustment, even if you drastically change the tension adjustment. Try that on a cheapie saw with a flexible frame...
--
See Nad. See Nad go. Go Nad!
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And that in a nut shell is what a lot of people don't realize. IMHO being able to USE the saw with out tweaking is worth the extra expense and you gotta think that the heaft in these saws will be like cabinet saws, they will out last you. ;~)
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I bought my Rikon about the same time that you and Brian did. I'm happy with it, but I never did sell my 14" bandsaw. I find I keep a 1" blade on the Rikon and have it tweaked perfect for resawing. I tend to use the other bandsaw for everything else. This isn't totally a comment about the Rikon as I've rarely had a tool I wanted to get rid of even if I couldn't find it or be sure someone had returned it.
Mike M
wrote:

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I'm going to look at a Laguna 16HD this weekend - I just found out someone I know owns one. I think he said it has a 4.5HP Baldor. I can't imagine needing anything that hefty but I can't wait to see it hum. In any case, there's no way I can afford it, so the question becomes -are the "lower end" saws from Laguna as good as the HD models?

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And by "as good as", I mean - will it not require constant tweaking and adjusting like Leon's?
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wrote:

And by "as good as", I mean - will it not require constant tweaking and adjusting like Leon's?
Hummmm you now have the bug.... I though that I was possibly paying too much also until I got the saw.... Will the less expensive line of Laguna's be more trouble tweaking?
Hard to say. BUT, IIRC the HD line of Laguna BS's are Italian build, supposedly the best come from there. MiniMax saws are made there IIRC. The less expensive line of saws are/were made in Bulgaria? I have heard of no complaints about any of the Laguna saws other than getting over the sticker shock.
One thing that was the deciding factor on the Laguna's are their unique and exclusive ceramic guide system. IIRC all of their saws have this system. Another reason I chose the larger line over the smaller line is that there is more room under the table to adjust the lower guides. That was important for me because I only have 1/2 of my left thumb and I had to be able to get my right hand in there to make adjustments to the thumb screws. Easier with the left hand with all 5 digits.
If you have any doubts call Laguna and talk to them, tell them where you stand and any doubts you may have about one line of BS's vs. another line that they sell.
I would say that they would be pretty consistent with the narrower blades for sure. When you start getting up into the wider blades maybe not so much.
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Where's Leon?? :^)
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Where's Leon?? :^)
(I forgot to change accounts)
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On 1/10/2010 6:01 PM, GarageWoodworks wrote:

The guy's got to eat dinner some time. :-)
I could be wrong, but I doubt Laguna has a bandsaw in that price range.
--
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Heeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrsssss. Leon! Just finished my bowl of soup....Steve... ;~)
Dukes..... you want your first and last..... hmmmmmmmmmm
You really need to decide what that really means..... Pretty simple really but this is not as simple as you might think.
For about 20 years I owned but did not use very much a Craftsman 12" 1/2hp BS. Under powered and a PIA to keep set up correctly.
About 3 years ago I decided I wanted a bigger more robust BS with more bells and features. I jumped up to the highly recommended 18" Rikon. I read many articles about it and heard great stories about it. I ordered it sight unseen with the understanding that I could return it if unsatisfied, no questions asked. Three weeks later I returned it, I had never done any thing like that before.
The Rikon was an improvement but not nearly as big of an improvement as I was looking for. Had I kept it, it would not have been my last. I wanted my last one also.
Don't get me wrong here the Rikon is worth every penny but $1000 would not buy a "new" BS that I would consider my last.
I wanted a BS that had plenty of power. I wanted a BS that would resaw with ease. I wanted a BS that ran relatively quiet. I wanted a BS that did not have to be readjusted 7 ways to Sunday every other time I used it. I wanted a BS that was easily adjusted when adjustments or blade changes were made.
I learned that for me my last band saw was going to have to be much better than what a "new" $1000 saw had to offer.
Sooooo I started looking at the more expensive saws.....the saws that were in my price range happened to be MiniMax and Laguna. Neither are inexpensive.
Ultimately I ordered the Laguna, LT16-HD. 3 years later I can confidently say that this saw is my last BS.
If you are relatively unfamiliar with band saws it will be hard to explain why you want certain features and not others.
Why I chose the Laguna...
1. Buying the Rikon I thought I wanted roller bearing guides....In little time I hated roller guides. The Laguna uses ceramic guides, 10 ceramic guides. The upper guide has an upper and lower ceramic guide on each side and a rear ceramic guide. The lower has the same set up. The blade can touch the ceramic guides with out building up heat and this also keeps the blade clean and free from debris. I found that roller guides would stamp the debris on to the blade and made the blade dirty and very difficult to clean. This created vibration and noise.
2. The Laguna is a beast. You can tension a 1-1/4 wide blade with little effort and the saw holds it shape. WHAT? One of the problems with less expensive saws is that they have to be fiddled with to get them to cut properly. When you use larger blades you have to tension them more. With cheaper saws the saw frames will distort slightly. When they distort the blade tracks differently and you have to adjust the upper wheel. Normally adjusting the upper wheel requires the readjustment of the upper and lower thrust and side guides.... Going from a 1/4" blade to the 1-1/4" blade requires no additional adjustment from the upper wheel, on my particular model. Naturally you have to readjust the upper and lower guides when changing blade sizes but the blades all tend to track correctly with out having to fiddle with the upper wheel adjustment. I cannot remember the last time I made an upper wheel adjustment.
3. My particular Laguna came with a 220 volt 4.5hp Baldor motor.... Resawing wide hard wood IS NOT a problem.
4. I normally keep a 1/2" blade in the Laguna and when I want to use the saw I simply retention the blade, no other adjustments needed from that point.
5. Basically I wanted a saw that was ready to go when I was.
Regardless of what you decide on, I would strongly advise you to go to the Laguna web site and view the band saw videos on line. These videos are very educational and will explain what you should look for in a bandsaw.
Here is what Laguna has to offer on bandsaws. http://www.lagunatools.com/bandsaws
Here is their bandsaw video location, scroll down closer to the last bandsaw videos. http://www.lagunatools.com/company/video-bandsaw
One last thing, Laguna has a less expensive line of saws that are near your upper limit. I am not so sure that one of those would be what I would consider my last BS. I would suggest that if you want a "last band saw" you should consider the HD line of saws. While these HD saws are indeed way past your limit I found that for me $1000 on a saw that did not get me to where I wanted to be was a bigger waste of money than the extra I spent on the Laguna. With the Rikon I would have had a better saw than my old Craftsman however I feel that I would not have used the saw unless I had no other choice for making a cut. With the Laguna I look for reasons to use the saw, it is that much more of a pleasure to operate and use rather than constantly having to adjust. Keep in mind that as a blade warms up it will stretch during use. This on many saws will require retensioning of the blade, readjustment of the upper wheel, and often readjustments of the upper and lower guides.... I only have to retention the blade on my saw. If you want your last saw, save up for your last saw, don't let the $1000 you have now burn a hole in your pocket.
If you have any other questions please feel free to e-mail me...or ping me.
Having gone through all this you may be perfectly happy with a less expensive saw.
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Thanks for the information. I'd certainly consider the Laguna models you're referring to if I had that kind of budget (and 3phase power). Barring any emergencies, I suppose I could save for a few more years or so to get where I could buy that, but in the interim I have a list of projects, but without a saw (and I've been waiting already as it is). I don't dispute the capability of the saw, but at the same time, if I went by this logic, for me, I'd have a house with 10,000 square feet and 5 bathrooms for just 2 people, and I'd drive a Dodge 3500 to pick up milk & eggs at the grocery store.... Of course there wouldn't be any money left to buy anything other than milk & eggs, but that's another story!
Cheers
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What, you don't like scrambled eggs?
Jim in Milwaukee
snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:
partial snip:
Of course there wouldn't

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