Deciding Between Three 14" Bandsaws


Up until this morning I had 80% made up my mind to order the Grizzly GO555 14" bandsaw next week along with the GO586 8" jointer. I'm still completely sold on the jointer but now I'm also looking at the Rikon 14" BS and the new Craftsman 14" steel frame BS. Please spare me the, "All Craftsman is bad" rhetoric, thank you. If I get the Grizzly I would order it with the 6" riser block raising the resaw capacity to 12" and the price to right at what the Craftsman costs. Looking online at a few places I found the Rikon with a fence for around $100 more than the Craftsman. They all have a 1HP motor. The tables on the Rikon and Craftsman are the same size and quite a bit larger than the Grizzly. In fact, the Rikon and Craftsman look identical except the Rikon only has a 6 1/8" resaw capacity and the Craftsman has an 8" resaw capacity. Even the fences look identical. Oh, and the Craftsman is the only one out of the three that has cast iron wheels. With only a 1HP motor I wonder how useful the 12" resaw capacity of the Grizzly is. Maybe the 8" of the Craftsman is more realistic, but I really don't have any experience here. Since I'll have an 8" jointer how useful is anything more than 8" of resaw capacity anyway? I've read that the steel frame band saws are supposed to be more ridged. If I buy the Craftsman I'll have to pay sales tax but I won't have to pay for shipping and there won't be any worry about damage during shipping. It would also be much easier to return if I'm unhappy with it for any reason or if it needs some warranty service. The only one of the three I've seen is the Craftsman earlier today. The fit and finish looked fine and while the fence didn't look particularly heavy duty it looked like it would work fine. The tool guy at Sears said he put it together but other than that he seemed to know nothing about this saw. He's the same guy who's been clueless for years at this Sears anytime I've asked him anything. So, that's why I'm asking for some opinions or things to look for here. With the addition of the BS and Jointer I'll pretty much have everything I need, and everything that will possibly fit in my 2 car garage shop. Until my knee allows me to stand for more than 20 or 30 minutes at a time my wood working is pretty much limited to hobbiest but hopefully by sometime next year or so I'll be back to earning a living with it. Bigger shop and bigger tools, maybe. Again, unless you have specific info about the Craftsman saw please don't bash it just because you hate anything Craftsman. Thanks for the help. Here are links to all three: Craftsman: http://www.sears.com/sr/javasr/product.do?BV_ SessionID=@@@@0774042511.1132549786@@@@&BV_ EngineIDgjaddgfhjhfkdcegecegjdghldghg.0&pid922401000&subcat nd+Saws&vertical=TOOL
Rikon: http://www.rikontools.com/14inBS.html
Grizzly: http://www.grizzly.com/products/item.aspx?itemnumber=G0555
Bruce
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Get the G0555 w/riser block. You won't be sorry it is undoubtedly the finest saw out there. I wouldn't trade mine for 2 of the other saws you are considering.

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There is no doubt that the Grizzly is a nice saw but have you ever seen the other two saws, either in pictures or in person? Why do you think the Griz is worth 2 of the other saws? I was hoping for some reasons to back up the claims. As I said in the beginning of my post, I was about to pull the trigger on the Grizzly saw but these other saws, especially the Craftsman, have features the Grizzly can't touch. One is the larger table. It's not huge but it's still quite a bit larger. Another is the cast iron wheels of the Craftsman. They all have roller bearing type guides but I don't know if they're all about equal. It appears that the fences are probably equal. So can you be more specific? Or is this the only bandsaw you have experience with? You wouldn't make a major tool purchase based on the a reply from me that just said, "Mine is the best" would you? Thanks.
Bruce
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It sounds like you want the Craftsman, but you've got all the rhetoric about Craftsman being crap in the back of your mind. If you can't find anyone here who has actually used one, then as a last ditch effort before buying one, I'd contact Craftsman or Sears sales personnel or whomever and ask if they can refer you to someone who actually has one and then talk to them. At the very least, it would give you some peace of mind before laying out your hard earned dollars. We live in an instant gratitude society, but in my opinion with tools at least, it's a time when one should proceed carefully. There's few things more disappointing than all the anticipation leading to buying a big new woodworking tool and then not have it live up to expectations.
Think of it as the anticipation before getting to know some woman for the first time. The longer the anticipation, the greater the reward in the end is, as long as you finally get there. :)
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You're pretty close on this but I don't really have a lot against Craftsman. I have 3 large Craftsman tools that are all around 10 years old and they have all performed pretty well. But I also know you have to be very careful to pick the few good power tools they sell from the crap. I've also bought a couple of small power tools from them that were promptly returned. I have a CMS, drill press and a RAS. The RAS is the only one that is only used occasionally.
My main reason for the questions is that I don't have much experience with decent bandsaws other than what I've read about them, common sense and deductive reasoning. The one I use sometimes now is ancient, out of adjustment and it wasn't a good one when it was new. What I was hoping for was that someone could look at these saws or relate personal experience and see why one would be better than another. Maybe the cast iron wheels of the Craftsman aren't that big of a bonus. I know the larger table is better but what else? I don't know much about what makes the blade guide systems better than the next. It appears that all three use the same type of system but are they all of equal quality? They all use a similar motor. Is the difference in resaw capacity a moot point? Meaning, how useful is the 12" resaw capacity of the Grizzly, (with riser block) if it doesn't really have the power to resaw through 12" thick hardwood? I *think* that the 8" of the Craftsman is probably a good amount for a lesser HP motor but that's just based on comments I've seen others make regarding resawing with the Grizzly.
It does *appear* that the Craftsman has everything the Rikon has and more for a better price so maybe I should just eliminate the Rikon from the running. I would probably be happy with the Grizzly since so many others are but for the same money or a little less, (not a big difference) I could get the Craftsman and get more features. Are those features worth the risk of an unreviewed, unknown product from a company that doesn't have the best history? Maybe. At least if I don't like the Craftsman I can return it in about 20 minutes. Thanks for the replies.
Bruce
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I've just posted a 1 meg PDF to alt.binaries.pictures.woodworking that gives some good reviews on bandsaws.
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On 20 Nov 2005 23:24:35 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@charter.net wrote:

You raise a few good questions. I have a G0555 with a raiser for over a year. The tables warp as I forgot to reinsert the table pin (P/N 100) overnight and it not 100% level now. The 1hp seems under power. I replaced the ball bearing guide with new support brackets for guide blocks from Grizzly. However, the guide post and new support brackets (P/N 84 and 89) are too far backward to properly adjust the guide blocks to the blade. I also find the trunnion support is too flimsy (P/N 105) and might not be able to support a heavy and long lumber? The four screws that attached the fence are inadequate to adjusting blade lead. Lastly the dust port just not sucking properly and I designed a cover under the cast iron table to remove near 80% of the dust.
Maybe I should get a bigger machine. To really enjoy this machine I will have to replace or make a new fence. Beef up the cast-iron table support with a bigger table and replace the coil spring (P/N 38). If I have to do it again, I will either buy a 14" Delta, Preformax or a used Delta 14" with over a 1-1/2hp motor. Over the last 12 months I came across two used 14" Delta (selling between $130 - $150) and I regret not buying it. I will be selling this Grizzly in spring and replace it with a used Delta or Performax.
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Lastly

cast
Could you describe that "cover" bit. Have a Griz and have the same complaint about the dust collection.
VGB
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The suction attachment not really finishes yet, but I have tested it and work well. I still need to tinkle a bit. The attachment consists of 1/4" plywood glue on three sides (front and two sides), you slide the attachment without the two trunnions knobs (P/N 110). The attachment is lock in place with the same two knobs. There are no drilling or modifications on the bandsaw. Materials: A small piece 1/4" plywood, plastic port and glue.
Give me a few days I will post the pics in apbw.
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and
Performax? I've never heard of the brand.
Bob
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