Mini Max and an AMAZING story of customer service

Hi everyone,
Today, I had the most incredibly positive customer service experience I've ever had, all thanks to Mini Max. I bought their new S16 model band saw from them, and received it last week. It's the first band saw I've owned, and of course, I went over it with a fine tooth comb. I was very impressed by the saw, but I had a small concern about the table not being totally flat. I had read extensively about what was important in a band saw, and Lonnie Bird, in THE BAND SAW BOOK states how important a flat table is. I posted a question here on the forum, essentially asking how flat is flat, and if my small discrepancy constituted something worthy of concern. I posted the same question on a couple other forums, including the Mini Max Users Group on yahoo. A friend who is a professional woodworker and has extensive bandsaw experience also came to look at my saw, and his opinion was that it wasn't something I should worry about too much.
Just so you know, it was .014 inches off in the center, which isn't much--that's basically 1/64 of an inch. Most people who responded to me said not to worry about it too much, that it wouldn't matter, though some did express some concern. All in all, I had pretty much reached the point where I wasn't going to worry about it.
Here's where the story gets amazing! Today, I received a phone call from Mini Max. They were calling to offer me a new table. Now, let me be as clear as I can be: I never once called them about my table! This phone call today was a complete surprise to me. Calling me to offer me a new table when I never complained to them? Now THAT'S customer service! All I did was post some questions on the web, simply trying to figure out if I should call them or not, and was leaning towards not worrying about it. The guys at Mini Max must keep tabs on the online forums regarding their products, and clearly they want their customers happy. They had enough information I guess to figure out who I was, based on when I received the saw, and decided to take care of the situation, a situation which I'd pretty much decided wasn't a situation anyway.
I received a call from one of the techs there at Mini Max, and he had personally checked the new table for flatness for me, and it is flatter than the current table I have. But get this: my table, with a .014" sag is within the manufacturer's tolerances! This is a perfectly acceptable table from the manufacturer's point of view and so Mini Max is under no obligation whatsoever to send me a new table. Yet that's what they're doing, and they're sending it out tomorrow.
I am still in a state of shock. In today's world, I think we tend to expect the worst from businesses, since probably for most of us, we've been burned so many times. After my experience today, all I can say is that Mini Max is without peer when it comes to keeping their customers happy. I knew I was getting a great saw--I just didn't expect to be treated so well after the sale! All I can say is kudos to Mini Max!
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That's a great story. I had a similar experience with Lee Valley regarding a part that I had screwed up during an install, and Robin Lee saw my post, figured out who I was and sent me the part. He did email me first and I told him that it was my fault and don't worry about it. He sent the part anyway hehe.
So, one question - if the table you have was satisfactory to you, and within the Mini Max specs, why did you accept the new table? Seems like a lot of work to replace the table for not a lot of benefit. Just my opinion.
Thanks for the story, I'll definitely keep MM in mind when I'm able to afford an upgrade to my bandsaw.
Mike
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Well, to answer your question as to why I decided to go with the new table, basically, I did have some initial concern which after awhile was lessened. Though, it's one of those things where I was still asking myself if I should do something about it or not. When they offered to send me a flatter table, I decided to deal with the momentary trouble of changing the table out (which I'm not necessarily looking forward to doing), since with the flatter table, I'll know that if anything's amiss in my cutting, it's gonna be operator error! (Which would probably be most likely anyway!) Basically, since they offered, and I had enough original concern to post something about it, I decided to take them up on their offer.

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I have a MM16, which came with a deep scratch (right from the factory in italy). The table was workable, but Rob Taylor, from cutomer service Fed Exed me a new table. Now I grant you, all things should be perfect, but of course, when you ship stuff across the ocean, some things can go bad. So it show you fix things up right that count.
I've also gotten to know Jim Strain, who runs the company in Texas. He is a really good guy, who knows his product. The saw itself is simply superb.
By the way, changin the table took about 30 minutes, plus a bit more to make sure the table was sqaure to the blade. Do it once, and you get to know a lot about the saws anatomy. Heavy and stong.
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Changing out the table isn't that big of a deal. In fact, doing so will give you another level of appreciation for how well-made the saw is. And your story doesn't surprise me at all; I've dealt with Eric and Jim from MiniMax on several occasions and those guys fully understand both their products and how to make their customers more than happy.
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Glad to hear that changing out the table shouldn't be too hard. After deciding to change it, I started worrying about "messing with it," with the fear that though I might have a perfectly flat table, I'd have a saw that was off kilter in some other way. I'm sure it'll take a little finagling, but hopefully I can have the same kinda luck as you guys.
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Tbone:
Was the table mounted on the trunions when you checked it?
Rich

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RKON wrote:

Very good point. Could be that the trunion is the cause. Sometimes shimming will take out the sag, depending on where it attaches to the bottom of the table and how bad the sag is.
Another thing to be aware of is that cast iron has cooling stresses in it, thin areas shrinking faster than thicker adjacent areas. Much of these cooling stresses are relieved naturally over time. They use to leave cast iron engine blocks sit for several months before precision milling and boring.
If they surface ground your table back to flat and took off more than needed the table could deform again over the next several months. Check the depth of the miter/mitre slot on the old table against the depth on the relacement table. If the latter was remilled/reground it's depth will be shallower by the amount removed. Sometimes they take off a lot more metal than necessary just to make sure they get the surface flat quickly (two passes rather than four means less time checking where they're at)
On the older Laguna Tools bandsaw tables, the miter slot is a sliding dovetail. After Jim Stain (who was at LT befo going to MiniMax) had a replacement table ground flat for me my miter gauge bar saw too high to use.
Just something to think about (and worry about?)
Checking things out and setting equiptment/machines up can get out of hand. Getting things where they're not dangerous and good enough to do their job is probably close enough for what most of us use them for.
charlie b
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Thanks for the further thoughts. To answer RKON's question, yes, it was attached to the trunnions. Part of me has had second thoughts about changing the table, even though they're sending me a new one. This new table they're sending me wasn't reground flat--this is one which came from the factory flatter than my table. But something I've been thinking about is whether it's best just to leave it well enough alone. Changing out the table sounds like a major hassle to improve the flatness by .007 inches! And there's the possibility of it being a fickle change, where I need to sit and tweak the darn thing for hours to get everything lined up... Still debating on whether or not to change it out--I'll have to decide when the new table arrives.
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Tbone Dano wrote:
snip

The table is probably held onto the trunion with four bolts so other than handling the table's weight getting it off and a new one on, it's no big deal. You will need to check and perhaps reset the 90 degree stop but that's no big deal either.
At some point you'll probably make a larger add on table and fence. Here's one based on one from an American Woodworker article.
http://home.comcast.net/~charliebcz/ResawTableDetails.html
charlie b
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Tbone:
If you do switch them. Gauge the original table while it is not mounted. Also, check the new table before and compare them. I'm just curious. I would assume that there is some slight difference. Either way, you have a great saw and have had great service. Enjoy !!!
Rich.

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Will do. Should be getting the new table early next week, and should have the time to change it late next week--I'll post a follow-up with the info.
And thanks again to all with your comments!
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