FWW bandsaw review unbalanced?

Fine Woodworking did a bandsaw review in the June issue. It was interesting and made some good points. However, it seemed a bit unbalanced to me. First, the Minimax was unavailable for the their review. How could one of the best bandsaws not be available????? Secondly, they imply they are comparing equal bandsaws, yet they tested the high end 5 hp model from Laguna at $2995. Its in a whole different class with its 17" resaw capacity. I don't understand why they didn't select the more equal 3 hp model at $2195 which is more the equivalent (spec/horsepower) to the other models tested.
They also mention things like difficulty in changing blades and adjusting guides, but didn't seem to give much weight to these factors in the overall rating. They seemed to be weighted toward such silly things as how fast the saw cuts. What good is a saw that cuts fast, if you have to spend lots of time changing blades and its difficult to adjust?
Bob
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Bob, I read that article, and all I can say in response is that your complaints mirror the reason why I don't subscribe any longer to Consumer Reports. I find too much subjectiveness in every review. Something that is important in a product isn't mentioned by the reviewer and/or the reviewer goes on and on about something I care little about. I got tired of purchasing 55 gallon drums of salt to go with the magazine... :)
There are deadlines for publishers that preclude their getting their hands on every worthwhile product in a category.
dave
Bob Davis wrote:

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Bob Davis writes:

Would you beliee deadlines do have an effect? And the question, really, should be aimed at the distributor of the tool, not the magazine.

Company didn't want to supply it?

I've changed blades on a number of the machines they rated: it is a bit of a nuisance at first with fiddly guides, but you get the hang of it fast, too. We're not exactly talking brain surgery here. If speed of cut is silly, WTF is everyone interested in bandsaws with more than 1 HP?
Why would you have to spend lots of time changing blades, anyway? Get a good quality blade, and it lasts a decent time with some exceptions--teak ruins blades quickly. I don't recall them talking of the blades being all that difficult to adjust, but in most cases the guides were a bit of a trial. As I said, you get used to whatever it is you're using, or you buy a set of Carter guides.
I'd have tried to do it differently, but I might not have succeeded. I tested some big bandsaws for WWJ a few years ago, and it was a trial and a half just gathering the machines. Some of the distributors don't seem to import more than a dozen of any one model in any one year, so you often can't get what you want to test, but you don't want to leave that maker out, if it is at all possible. So you test what they choose to send, which is, more often than not, a higher end model.
Charlie Self "Wars spring from unseen and generally insignificant causes, the first outbreak being often but an explosion of anger." Thucydides
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Charlie Self wrote:

FWIW, I like the way PC Magazine handles the situation--they test and report on the hardware that meets their criteria, but if a manufacturer sends them something interesting that misses the criteria or is pre-release a they'll write a sidebar on it.

--
--John
Reply to jclarke at ae tee tee global dot net
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Good point - I think most casual readers would be surprised at the level of "negotiation" (cooperative and competitve) that occurs between equipment suppliers and journalists. Some suppliers are very cooperative and welcome the comparions, others are not - for a variety of legitmate reasons.
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mttt writes:

Sure. I don't know if I'd call it negotiations, because each side has needs, with content and deadline the most important to the journalist. The company may have problems with supply, shipping, etc. I've seen the time when a company couldn't ship an item because it was just being put into stock around the country--nothing left over, and they'd rather disappoint me than a customer, which makes sense to me, if not to anyone else. And I've had companies refuse to provide cheaper items, wanting any press to be on their more expensive models, which they'd rather sell.
For the most part, though, tool companies do their best to help a writer meet deadlines and get the machinery needed.
Charlie Self "Wars spring from unseen and generally insignificant causes, the first outbreak being often but an explosion of anger." Thucydides
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On Tue, 27 Apr 2004 16:04:53 -0500, Charlie Self wrote

I've seen a few magazines do follow-up reviews after x number of months or years. I would have assumed all equipment would go back to the vendor after a review. Are there times the magazine gets to buy or keep the equipment once it arrives? (I've always actually wondered about this ... particularly in the case of very large and heavy tools -- table saws, large bandsaws).
Wayne
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Wayne Brissette asks:

I'm a freelancer, so I can't tell you what magazines do internally. I know for a period of time, I kept tools in my shop for at least a year to do a "Tools That Endure" test for WWJ, with no complaints. Of course, the sender knew that was going to happen from the start.
I've been told that was not a particularly successful feature, so it has been dropped.
I have also heard that at times staff members are offered a decent price on the tested gear. There are multiple reasons for this, including saving return shipping costs. Many magazines won't let their staffers take advantage of such offers.
When you have a staff of 4 or 5 editors and senior writers, the actual weight of a tool becomes fairly insignificant, I think. With some gear, it's easily moved. I move most of my tested tools alone, or with my wife's help. Friends are helpful, but have to work for a living, too, so aren't around when needed most. I use an engine crane, a bunch of 4' long 1" OD pipe (rollers), straps, and come-alongs and whatever is needed to handle tools up to 750 pounds by myself. Sweaty work in the summer, but otherwise not all that bad.
I have to say the engine crane and the slings are among the wisest woodworking purchases I have ever made.
Charlie Self "Wars spring from unseen and generally insignificant causes, the first outbreak being often but an explosion of anger." Thucydides
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I read the article too and I share your concern.
The criteria for the article was 18" wheels. I think that was an inappropriate criteria.
Having recently been through this decision process, I don't think that is the major criteria. I suspect most folks have a price point that they aim for (or can afford). I though it would have been a better article if that had reviewed saws in the 1-2K price band (or there-abouts).
The folks looking to spend around $1500 (for the sake of argument) on a saw need to compare those listed with the 16" Laguna and MM saws for a more complete comparisson. The $2.9K 5hp saw did not belong in the review.
-Steve

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I had the same thoughts about the Laguna, which they had rated an editor's pick. For a $3000 saw (yes, I expect it would have more power) the level of flex in the frame seemed unacceptable.
I do think it was a good article overall, and if I ever wanted to upgrade my BS I'd probably take a look at the Bridgewood after reading it.
Joe

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