I have been thinking about buying a bandsaw to add to my tool collection
I have narrowed my decision to either:
The Jet 16" 'er (JWBS-16) or the Grizzly (G0513) 17" 'er. Both are at the
ceiling for my budget.
Got any input?
I wish I had your budget. ;-)
Beyond that, I prefer Jet over Grizz, if only because I can purchase one
locally, as opposed to mail order. I like to see (and touch) expensive
items before I purchase.
I have the Grizzly G0513. I have been happy with this unit. The Griz has a
few more features than the Jet.
After reading about the Rikon 17 or 18inch I have to say I might go with the
Rikon if I did not already have the Griz. The Rikon has beefier trunnions
and easier alignment of the lower wheel - a nice to have since the unit
ought to be aligned when purchased.
I also like the split lower door on the Rikon. My Griz is mounted in a
mobile base which now interfers with opening the Griz door. If I really
have to open the door beyond a couple of inches I have to unscrew the
I have the Jet JWBS-16. Had it now for over a year and I like it fine.
The too small trunnions are an concern, but not a practical problem.
I've used it to saw 8" and 10" logs for turning as well as for resawing
8" wide 4/4 curly maple. I bought a PS Wood 3/4" blade for resawing. I
like the cut, but the speed doesn't amaze me.
I've upgraded mine to full roller bearing guides. Hard to say it was
worth the price, but nice to have. The optional fence has been really
handy as well although the long arms stick back a ways and sort of get
in the way when changing blades.
All in all I'm happy with it and won't have a need to look for anything
else for a while.
If I could make it better, besides larger trunnions, I would devise a
way to get the dust that collects under the table around the lower
guides into the dust collector. While not much dust gets past the dust
port inside the lower cabinet there is a lot that collects just under
the table that needs to be cleaned up regularly. I think I would put a
bit stiffer brush inside as well - maybe even one on each side of the blade.
I have the JWBS-18. Basically the same saw as you are interested in
only 18". It is the "crown jewel" of my shop. No experience with the Griz,
but, as Kyle noted, I was able to check the thing out in person before
dropping the cash, and it sold itself. I was interested in getting a band
saw that could resaw better than most of the 14 inchers I've used, yet still
do more "delicate" work.
The saw gets called upon to do all kinds of heavy cutting. If you plan
on resawing 10in. oak regularly, it may not be the saw for you as it is a
little underpowered when you begin to reach the maximum resaw height with
some hardwoods. However, I spent today resawing a bunch of 4x8 redwood
beams I salvaged from a remodel and it sliced right through them with ease.
Power is quite adequate for 90% of what I do with it, the other 10% can be
done, just at a slower pace.
The saw cuts very smooth, with little to no blade drift when tuned
properly, and runs quiet for a 1 1/2 hp. Blades changes are fairly easy
and take less than 10 minutes (get a 5 mm T handle hex wrench, it'll make
removing the blade guard easier). I have some smaller blades for cutting
tight curves and some bigger that I thought would be better for resawing,
but I mainly keep a 1/2" 3 tpi hook blade on the machine. It's kinda
"general purpose" as it resaws almost as good as the wider ones and can
still cut curves.
I'd suggest getting the fence for it. Mine has the factory Jet fence
and it works fine. Also, the thing weighs a ton, definitely get a mobile
base if it's in your budget. Pay attention to how the casters are oriented
on the mobile base, the saw's bottom door may interfere with them. I got a
shop fox mobile base and IIRC, I put the front casters on the front of the
base and the rear casters are on the side of the base.
I've had the saw for 2 years now, and would be hard pressed to find any
fault with it. If you can, go somewhere and check one out in person. I
don't think you'd be dissappointed at all with the Jet. If you have any
specific questions just post them. --dave
I got the Jet. See my "mini gloat" thread. I've used it with 3/4"
and briefly 1/2" BC Saw blades and other than the problems with them
(see BC Saw (blade) experience thread) I like the saw fine.
I've peeled off 8" wide, 1/16" thick (or less) slices of maple and
alder with ease. Frankly, my experience so far has made me wonder
what all the fuss is about correcting for drift and all the other
alleged problems with bandsaws.
I pretty much follow the tips in "Five Tip for Better Bandsawing" FWW
#173 as far as tuneup goes. The only dubious one in my experience was
in the recommendation of BC Saw for blades.
Heretic that I am, I've split more mesquite firewood logs (beats the
hell out of a maul) than fine lumber with it.
The dust collection, as someone else mentioned, is primitive. Pretty
much like my Unisaw, a lot of dust never makes it to the vicinity of
the suction and then you're trying to suck air out of a sealed
compartment. Not very good design.
I'm not overly impressed with the fence, but it's been entirely
adequate. Maybe there's a point to a fancier one, but I have yet to
discover it, but sawing tenon cheeks leaps to mind.
Someday I'm going to bore another 4" hole in the cabinet at the bottom
where all the dust is anyway and try sucking there while leaving the
upper port open for makeup air.
All in all, I'm delighted, although I have no experience with your
other options so cannot comment of them.
I have owned my JWBS-16 for about 2 years now and is one of the top 3 used
tools in the shop. I bought the carter guides for it. I did not have a
problem with the factory guides; setup was easy and did not have a
noticeable problem with blade twist, etc. I decided to upgrade to the
carter guides because of my personal preference to have rollers that roll
instead of rub against the blade.
First thing to do though is to pull off the factory blade. I bought
Timberwolf blades from Suffolk Machinery (http://www.suffolkmachinery.com /).
You will need 123" blades. I liked talking with the folks at Suffolk
Machinery because I could tell them what I planned to do and they
recommended specific blades for the purpose. For a lot of the heavy
resawing I use a 1" 2TPI blade. Works real good. I have used as small as
3/8" blade with no problem.
For tensioning the blade, I used a sharpie to write on the side of the
machine which direction to turn the handwheel to tension and which was
detension the blade. As a reminder to tension the blade before using the
saw, I pop the upper housing door open when the blade is detensioned.
<smile> and for those absent minded people like me, when I open the door to my shop, I can look in and see if I detensioned the blade without having to
go over to the bandsaw to check.
I have used it to resaw up to 10" thick logs of cedar, pine, oak, walnut,
mesquite with no problem. The stuff I tend to resaw tends to be pretty
heavy to start with, so I evidently do not have a problem trying to go too
fast. My neighbor has helped me from time to time and often remarks how
quiet my bandsaw runs. <chuckle> He says that not having enough noise might
Someone earlier mentioned the problem with the dust buildup between the
table and the lower housing. I have to agree with them on this. I usually
give the bandsaw a good vacuuming after using it, and this is where most of
the dust will be. I have a 1200 cfm dust collector attached to my bandsaw,
so the inside of the cabinet remains relatively clean. I rarely get any
carryover as the blade comes out of the upper cabinet (only with really wet
/ resinous wood).
The one improvement that I would like to see someone make is one of those
detensioner bars like they make for the 14" models. Being able to quickly
detension / retension the blade would be wonderful. Adding tension to a 1"
blade takes a lot of energy.
I am using one of those mobile bases from Rockler where you cut maple stock
to fit. The saw is stable when in use and the casters do not get in the way
of opening the doors. I have not noticed any twisting/bowing/splitting of
the maple stock after 2 years of use. One word of caution though. I
suspect this is a concern with any mobile base... do not get in a hurry
moving the bandsaw around the shop because it might tip while moving. The
tough part is getting this HEAVY beast into the mobile base. Plan on having
hmmmm.... you can use the bandsaw to split wood for firewood?
On Fri, 30 Dec 2005 06:48:21 -0600, "ThomasAndrews Jr."
Thanks for the tip.
I've found plenty of hp with the motor running on 120VAC so I haven't
put in a 220 drop (yet). I unplug the saw and drape the cord around
the tension adjusting wheel to remind myself to retension before
I see talk of the Shop Fox base being used. I bought one of these
when Woodcraft had them on sale just on general principles and it's
still in the box. But according to my calculations and the quoted
dimensions, it's too small. I would seriously worry about tipping.
When you've had rotator cuff surgery in the last eight months and
swinging an axe holds little appeal and the saw is just sitting
there.... Besides, cutting through the occasional wood borer larva in
a Mesquite log lubricates the blade almost as good as Pam.
On my bandsaw I put a nail through the ON switch to remind myself to
tension the blade. I've never found a lock that will fit the place in
the switch designed to keep people from turning it on, but a nail works
well for me as a reminder -- and prevents me from turning the saw on
with the blade untensioned.
I have a band saw on order myself. I looked at the jet and the Jet has 3
major draw backs as far as I am concerned.
Wood magazine did a comparison a couple of issues back and the Jet did not
fare so well.
1. The hp on the Jet is lower than its competition.
2. No tension release for the blade and IIRC the tension wheel has to be
turned A LOT with fine machine threads to get the tension set. IIRC most
the rest use Acme threads for faster adjustment.
For a lot more saw and comparable price consider the redesigned Rikon 18"
The latest street price of the Rikon looks to be $1149. I have on order and
paid $899 for the original design but will be getting the new version for
the same price.
You did well Leon, I was in Woodcraft today and ordered a 18" Rikon,
the dealer said it took a few dealers threatening to send back their
inventory to get them to honor that sale price. Rikon felt they could
get the higher price based on the review. $1149 seems to be the new
price, but they did give me $115.00 discount for not being an asshole
and pre ordering. I like the non asshole discount. I like knowing if
I have a problem they will solve it. Bought a Rikon belt disk sander
which had one bad part and they just gave me a new part.
On Fri, 30 Dec 2005 15:04:51 GMT, "Leon"
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