Craftsman 22401 Band Saw Comments

First impression--this ain't no toy saw. It's not a particularly large box but for the size it's a heavy one, almost 300 pounds. Took two Sears guys to get it into the truck. This ain't no lightweight toy saw.
Getting it downstairs was fun.
Stand went together fine. After trying to hoist the saw onto the stand, I finally laid it down and bolted it to the stand then stood the whole thing up, that worked much better than trying to lift it. Note, put the table on last, the effing table feels like it weighs as much as the saw.
Structure is steel weldment except for the table and wheels that are cast iron and the trunnion which appears to be cast aluminum. No provision for a riser block of course but I don't anticipate resawing anything wider than 8 inches so it's not an issue.
Went through the adjustment procedure, did fine until I fired it up to set the tracking. Had it plugged into a power strip (need to put in an outlet for it) with a breaker, turned it on, it started to spin up and popped the breaker. First time that's happened--that power strip has run every other tool I have--the only time it's ever popped before was when I was running the 3 HP router and the "6 HP" shop vac off it at the same time. That motor's drawing some serious current. Got an exension cord and plugged it into the wall and it spun right up, a little bit of vibration during spin up but quite steady once it's up to speed. Anyway, once that was done, it turned out that the factory tracking was right on.
Finished going through the setup, and then tried it out.
Had a project that had been hanging fire for a while because I needed a piece of 1/4 inch stock, and I never felt like either planing 4/4 down to that dimension or springing for "microwood" from Woodcraft. So set fence on 5/16 and resawed a piece of 6 inch wide 4/4 maple--went fine, no going off at odd directions, cut was reasonably smooth, two passes throgh the planer and I have a nice piece of 1/4 inch maple with enough left over to make at least one and maybe two more.
On 4/4 maple it cuts (through the thickness, not the width) as fast as I'm comfortable feeding. Cut isn't smooth like a WWII on the RAS (or the Bosch jigsaw with the right blade) but it's better than I expected for a band saw, and certainly adequate for many purposes.
The fence is OK, not great--you can adjust it for both horizontal and vertical perpendicularity, but the degree to which you tighten the positioning screw alters the horizontal alignment. Still, it'll do and for anything critical the table's big enough that I should be able to attach the Incra.
The thing I find interesting though is how much I enjoy working with it.
On balance I'm liking it a lot. When it's on sale it's definitely good value. Geez, just looked at the clock, it's 10 PM, I had no idea that it was this late, I guess I really do like it a lot.
--
--John
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J. Clarke wrote:

Big snippage

John, thanks for posting your report. I for one was glad to hear of a value being found in any tool less than $3000. And of course, Craftsman has been the target (rightly so in most cases) of a lot of hand wringing, disgust, and pissed off customers. I for one would like to see them try to take back some of the many miles of good will they lost over the past few years. Guess my old tired butt is ready to hear some good news about tools and a company that is at least trying to do something right.
It is sad but it took one hundred years to build the Sears tool reputation, and just ten to just about ruin it completely. I still have a Sears router that is about 25 - 30 years old that runs like a watch. Those were the days. I still remember seeing Sears tools out no jobsites from time to time. THAT hasn't happened in a while.
But for them, ten years of crap will be a really tall mountain for them to climb, and they will do it only if they stay with it. I guess a good sign is the pretty fair reviews they got for their cabinet saw, and now maybe something else has worked its way into the stable. I hope you keep us posted and tell us what you think in a couple of months.
After all, not everyone can afford a LAGUNA like my rich neighbors in Houston.
;^) and a VBG over here.
Robert
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J. Clarke wrote:

I've noticed with my Delta 14" BS when I start it up, there is a big power drop to anything else running in the house - even on different circuits. Admittedly, my house is > 40 yrs. old and I've not upgraded the electric service, but the BS is the only tool that makes such a big hit on other circuits at startup.
Mike
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(Sorry to switch directions on this post - thanks for your review of the 22401! If I hadn't found a used Griz 16"er when I did, I was seriously considering this Sears machine...) Anyway, Mike, as far as the power drop, do you have your saw wired for 220V? Is that an option? If so, I'd recommend it. My 1.5HP Griz is wired for 220, and it's on its own circuit, but it starts right up and doesn't noticeably dim anything else. Interestingly, tools like the PC laminate trimmer and Bosch jigsaw seem to dim lights on other circuits slightly, but have never tripped anything. Andy
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On Fri, 01 Dec 2006 06:31:53 -0800, Andy wrote:

220V is an option and I dunno about Mike but as soon as I can find somebody locally who has a bloody 20A 220V receptacle and a handy-box in stock (Home Depot's electrical department has zip these days, not even a geezly handy-box with half-inch knockouts) it's going on its own circuit.
(time passes)
Well, Lowes has it--thinking about it if I'm going to be inside the breaker panel anyway maybe it's time to put in a subpanel for the shop. Been needing to do that for years, maybe now is the time.

--
--John
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J. Clarke wrote:

Electrical Wholesalers only has 21 locations in the massive state of CT. I'll bet there are at least (4) within a 20 minute drive for you. <G>
<http://www.ew-inc.com/locations.html
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On Fri, 01 Dec 2006 19:28:57 +0000, B A R R Y wrote:

Yeah, but their catalog doesn't show that part.
--
--John
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wrote:

Try them in person.
If it's electrical in nature, worth buying, and available in a Home Depot or Lowes, I'll bet EW has or can quickly have it.
If the Borg's have it, it isn't esoteric.
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Andy wrote:

My Delta is running on 110V. I haven't looked into switching it to 220, because I don't have 220 run to my garage. My electrical service is pretty old, the breakers are the old pushmatic type, and there are no open spots in it anyway. In order to do much in the way of upgrading, I'd need to have new service brought into the house, put in a new circuit box, and (ideally) put in a sub-box in the garage. No money for such things now, but who knows down the road.
Mike
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J. Clarke wrote:

Glad you like it. FWIW, that saw is made for Sears by Rikon (or by whoever makes bandsaws for Rikon). Even the pasted instruction sheet inside the saw is the same :-).
-- It's turtles, all the way down
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On Fri, 01 Dec 2006 08:36:51 -0800, Larry Blanchard wrote:

Yep, looks an awful lot like a Rikon or any of several other brands, I figured that wasn't a coincidence. Debated going the extra 300 or so for the extended Rikon but decided that I was probably never going to need that much resaw capacity and if I was ever in a situation where I really did _need_ it it would mean that someone was paying me to do something fairly large at which point I could probably afford more saw.
--
--John
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On Fri, 01 Dec 2006 03:30:08 +0000, J. Clarke wrote:
<snip>

<snip>
Well, just finished putting in a 20 amp 240v dedicated circuit for the saw, it's a _much_ happier camper now. Spins up almost instantaneously.
Looks like they intend it to be rewired for 240--not only does the manual tell how to do it but when I opened up the junction box on the motor I found that they had included an extra wire nut. The junction box appears to be an investment casting and is sealed with an O-ring.
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On Fri, 01 Dec 2006 03:30:08 +0000, J. Clarke wrote:

Adding some more to this, it came with a 1/4" blade. For some reason I was thinking it was 3/8. Didn't notice until I put the half inch blade from sears' $60 set of three blades on it today. The 1/4 inch blade actually works fine for just about anything I tried except resawing exotics.
Been using it for resawing various woods into 1/4 inch slices for making small boxes. So far cut hard maple, quina, sassafras, and lignum vitae. The 1/4 inch blade works fine on maple but it's working hard on quina--didn't try it on LV. The half inch blade goes through 5 or more inches of any of them with no trouble. With the tension tight it goes straight on all of them. Was able to cut 1/16" with no trouble. The quarter inch pieces when I didn't screw up the cut needed about 1/32 shaved in the planer to get a clean surface.
Fence is short for resawing. I suspect that with a taller fence 1/32 veneer wouldn't be beyond its capabilities.
The half inch blade is pretty much the limit in my opinion. I'm working hard on the tension knob to get that one tight and the tracking screw is at the limit of its motion. I'd be surprised if it could track a 3/4 inch blade at full tension, but I can't see where there's any real need for one either.
The tension knob lifts out--it's on a short shaft with a pin through it that fits into a socket on the tension screw--I'm debating making up a long crank for the tension, or just sticking a pin through a bolt of the appropriate diameter and using a ratchet on it.
The extrusion that supports the blade guides is ever so slightly twisted--if the guides are dead on with it halfway down the left one will be touching the blade at the top and the right one at the bottom--at some point I'm going to have to pull it off and straighten it, but it's not enough so far to induce me to do that.
There's a plastic piece on the lower blade guides that is an annoyance when changing blades--a little bit of hacking with a utility knife got the offending corner cleaned up.
--
--John
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On Mon, 11 Dec 2006 05:30:20 +0000, J. Clarke wrote:

Further to this, got a couple of pieces just now that only took 1/64 on the planer to clean up on one side, the other took more because the faces weren't parallel--it appears that the fence isn't quite vertically aligned with the blade, or it may be that the fence is just too low for resawing. Need to work on that.

--
--John
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