Bandsaws at the Houston Woodworking show.

I'm in the early stages of shopping for a bandsaw, looking for the deal that will loosen my wallet at the show. Any comments about these would be welcome:
Laguna 14SE $1145 with some extra blades (not really a discount) Jet 18" $990 Powermatic 14" $765 (riser blocks add $63) Delta 18" (26-682) $1080 (one only)
By the way, the Laguna 14" is a bit unusual and should not be compared to other 14" saws. It has a 2 HP motor and can reliably handle a 1" blade It has the same ceramic guides as their much larger saws.
Bob
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In rec.woodworking

How bout a Grizzly G0555 14" for less than $500 with the riser block and extra blades, delivered. Then use the rest to take your wife to Vegas. Your welcome. :)
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Thanks for the input Bruce. The GO555 is a bit lighter than I was looking for.Its 1 hp. All the saws I'm interested in are 1 1/2 or 2 hp. But I'll look at the other Grizzly's to get some perspective of their offerings. Do you know anything about their warranties? I cannot find it anywhere on their website. Maybe I just missed it.
Bob
wrote:

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I have been very happy with my Jet 18".
The new Delta 18" looks good. What is it's resaw capacity. That is my only complaint about the Jet.
Good luck!
Rob

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Thanks, Rob. You just pointed out something I did not realize about the jet 18" resaw capacity. Its the lowest in the group I selected, although I doubt the powermatic would have the power to take advantage of its full height capability.
The Delta, Laguna and Powermatic have 12" resaw capacity. If I were going to pick a tool based solely on impressive looks, it would have to be the Delta. Its definitely the beefiest of the bunch (weighs 400 lbs, 80" tall). It even has dual dust collection ports. It appears that the show price is about $100 lower than any place else I could find, and of course there is no shipping. Its already fully assembled and I'd need to find someone with a pick up to help me get it home.
Bob

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I recently purchased the Delta 18" bandsaw. I really didn't do my research before purchasing. I now think a minimax 16 would have been the better saw, but I have no data to back up that choice.
My two complaints on the delta are: 1) it has roller bearing guides, OK for long term use, but it would be better to have European style guides for better control close to the wood. The distance between the guide and the wood is increased by the radius of the bearings. 2) I put a 1/2" blade in and tensioned it with a Lenox tension gauge. To get the tension even close to 15000 psi required maxing out the tension spring. The saw is suppose to handle up to 1 1/4" blade, but it barely tensions a 1/2" blade. A resaw capacity of 12" without proper blade tension may be a problem with this saw. Unfortunately it is hard to find out tension data from manufacturers. I'm open to suggestions on how to improve this issue.
Wayne S
Rob wrote: > I have been very happy with my Jet 18". > > The new Delta 18" looks good. What is it's resaw capacity. That is my only > complaint about the Jet. > > Good luck! > > Rob
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Put in a Iturra extra strong spring in to help get the tension you want/need. DO NOT fully compress the spring in the Delta, it's gotta have a little bit of compression left to work properly
John
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Wow, that's good to know, Wayne. Its quite amazing that such a beefy looking saw would have the shortcomings you described. Looks aren't everything I guess. If it were, nobody would buy those ugly wood bodied handplanes that work so well.
Bob

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Wayne, have you used a low tension blade like the Timberwolf in your saw?
Bob

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No I haven't tried a Timberwolf. I have some Lenox blades, some that want 25,000 psi. I'm assuming the Lenox tension guage is an accurate way to measure tension? It basically measures the blade stretch. I'm not an expert on blades, and I assume different blade metals stretch the same.
I'll have to check into a heavier spring. Are there Iturra springs that will fit the 18" Delta bandsaw? Highland Hardware only shows one for a 14" saw.
Anyone know if you can change out the guides. I'm relatively new with this bandsaw. It would be nice to be able to use a narrow blade, but I'm not sure the bearing guides can be adjusted that fine.
Bob Davis wrote:

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W Shumaker" wrote:

just fine. Adjust the bearings to ride just behind the gullets, and keep them just _barely_ touching the blade...no heavy pressure or the blade will be squeezed out of them.
Re your assumption concerning blade tension...they all do not require the same tension. Timberwolf blades, specifically, require considerably less tension than do carbon steel blades, for instance. Forget your tensioning gauge and follow the instructions on the back of the Timberwolf card that comes with each blade. Using the "flutter test" as they call their method, I have been able to run a 3/4" 3TPI Timberwolf blade on the Delta and resaw 11" wide Walnut and Oak beautifully...no cupping and a really smooth cut.
Finally, Euro-style guides (the round metal discs) do not get you much closer--if any closer--to the work than do roller guides (at least on the saws I have used). Perhaps you're thinking of traditional square guides like are found on most 14" saws? On my two Jet 18" saws, one with Euros and the second with rollers, I noticed no practical difference at all.
Walt
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Walt Novinger wrote:

My only other band saw experience was the Delta 14" with square guides. Ive only had the Delta 18" for a few weeks. I would like to be able to tension a lenox carbide blade that I have for it, so more spring tension would be desirable. I have a 1/4 inch blade on the saw at the moment. It took some careful adjusting.
Wayne
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Bob - For me it would depend on the one that had the largest depth of cut since resaw capacity is the most important feature for me. Is the Laguna made in Italy like their larger models? It sounds like a nice saw.
I am currently looking very closely at the Bridgewood BW-17BWS 17" from Wilke Machinery. It's 2 hp has a 11.5 inch resaw capacity and can handle a 1" blade. It's $900 +shipping, but since I'm not close to any shows I'm going to have to pay shipping on whatever I get. The retail mark-up from local dealers is incredible. I'd love to hear from anyone who has purchased this saw. I've been very pleased with the other tools I've bought from Wilke.
Jswee
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All Laguna bandsaws are impressive. They all use cast iron flywheels and the same Laguna designed ceramic guides. The 14SE is "only" a 14" saw, but it has 2 hp motor, handles 1" blades and has 12" resaw capacity. In searching the archives, I read lots of praise for their performance and customer service. But there's nothing like seeing one perform in person.
Check their February special and compare to the Bridgewood you mentioned. You said its $900 + shipping. The Laguna is $1145. But that includes a mobile kit, shipping, and three blades. It sounds roughly comparable to me.
Laguna band saws are made in Italy and Bulgaria. Their smaller saws (including 14SE) are made in Bulgaria. In the Laguna video, Torben talks about the manufacturing. The Italian factory (ACM) and Laguna collaborate on designs. The Bulgarian factory "does what we tell them to and they do it well -its a good arrangement".
All of the engineering design is done by Laguna tools. The only difference I saw between the 14 and 18 Laguna's was that the larger had a rack and pinion upper guide adjustment. The 14 simply had a lock knob that you released, then moved the guide up and down with your hand. It moved very easily and did not seem like a disadvantage to me.
It seems to me that band saws are very, very competitive in the sizes a serious hobbyist or small shop might use. You get what you paid for. I looked at all the Grizzly line last night and found you had to move up their line to get an apples to apples comparison. After shipping, the Grizzly line was slightly cheaper.
When I talked with Torben yesterday, he indicated all his bandsaws were equivalent in cutting performance and features - its a matter of choosing capacity and horsepower. The only saw which he called out as different was one especially designed to do nothing but resaw. It uses a 2" wide blade.
Keeping in mind that Laguna is designed to be as good as it can be, its interesting to note that the bandsaw tires are glued on and they appear to be thicker than other machines I looked at. Torben says they glue them because its the best way to ensure their stability with higher powered machines.
Bob

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Bob - Are you sure that price includes the mobile stand, shipping and the blades? I checked out the Laguna website and it looked to me like the base price for the 14se is $1145 but that in order to get the free shipping you also have to order the mobile base, the stand , a resaw King blade and 3 other blades. The resaw King blade lists for $141, the stand for $90 and I did not see a price for the mobile base and the other blades. If Laguna is really throwing in several hundred dollars worth of extra's and free shipping then I agree it's a heck of a deal. My guess is though, that the entire package is going to run about $1,400 to $1,500 when everything is said and done. I tried calling the 800 number but it's closed on Sunday. I'll definitely check tomorrow. It seems that the larger Lagunas and the larger Bridgewoods are both made in the same factory in Italy, although Laguna adds a few extra features to the finished product. As you mentioned the smaller Lagunas are made in Bulgaria and the smaller Bridgewoods are made in Taiwan. Eastern bloc vs.pacific rim is kind of a toss up, imo. My guess is that they are both good saws and if the price differential is really only $100-$200 then I would probably lean towards the Laguna. If the difference is more like $400 to $500 then I think I'll get the Bridgewood and spend the extra on some cool blocks and some really good aftermarket blades.
Regards,
Jswee
Curmudgeon in Training 1/4, 1/2, 1" Bladeses
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Boy, did I read it incorrectly. You are absolutely correct! Apologies to all for misposting information. Call Laguna to confirm exactly what the deal is. By the way, as I understand it, everything on the Laguna comes from someplace in Europe. Torben said the exchange rate (euro/$) has been killing them on competitively pricing in the US.
Bob

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From what I've read, many people looking for a bandsaw seem to be interested in the resaw capability and the maximum size of blade it can hold. What about the reverse? I remember a few years back when Lee Valley Tools was advertising blades for (Inka bandsaws I think), that they were offering a 1/16" blade for fine work. Is this not a desired option for a bandsaw, a really small blade for fine work? Or, would someone that needs something like this be looking at scrollsaws instead?
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