New Band Saw for Christmas?

Hi All. Checked the archives for band saw info, but not much in the past few years. Also went thru my stack of WW mags, and didn't see a review of band saws. Anyway, I'm looking for a 14" band saw for general use in the shop. This is a hobby, not a job! Maybe some resaw work now and then, some curved chair parts, and what ever else I learn about. I have a Grizzley TS that I like, Delta planer, Delta or Jet DC ( I forgot ), NoName drill press, so you can see I'm not brand loyal.
So... what brand is the best buy. I don't need or want a $1500.00 one that will do everything to perfection, but something in the $300-500 range, or so.
Thanks for all your input! ! !
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rich wrote:

Take a hard look at the 14" Craftsman. It works fine out of the box but you should get the set of three blades. In your price range it's IMO the best bet. The next step up would IMO be the 14" Rikon Deluxe, which is pretty much the same saw with more features and more resaw capacity for about $300 more.
The upside to it is that it cuts everything I've thrown at it, and I've thrown a good deal of stuff at it so far. Lyptus wanders, but Lyptus has given me trouble with every saw I've used on it. Maple, black walnut, ipe, lignum vitae, pine, douglas fir, cebil, all cut as straight as you please with the half inch blade. I've resawed up to its capacity, does fine, if it burns or bogs down it's generally because I did something. Dust collection works well if you've got a real dust collector--it's got a 4 inch port and a 2-1/2 inch port. Shop vac alone doesn't keep the dust from building up inside. The factory blade is surprisingly good. The fence is "ok"--it works well enough that I haven't felt any urgent need to replace it but it's not one that I would hold up as a model of excellence. Resaw capacity is 8 inches, which at the time was more than any other 14" without an extender (note that the Rikon Deluxe takes this to 13")
The roller guides are a mixed blessing. For resawing they're very nice, but they place a lower limit on the blade width--too narrow and the teeth hit the guide--this is a problem if you're planning on doing scroll work with short radius curves. So far I haven't found a source for solid guides. I wouldn't call them a disadvantage, but they're a choice that Sears made that optimizes the saw in one direction at the expense of another.
Now, the downsides.
Big one is that it needs a lot of power to start up. I initially had it on a 25 foot 10 gage extension cord plugged into a 15 amp outlet (the closest available) and it took forever to come up to speed start and popped the breaker half the time. I figured it was the extension cord and ran it a new 220v circuit and a 20A 110 for the light. Before I rewired the saw for 220 I tried it on the 110 circuit and it was fine but since the 220 was already in I went ahead and rewired it and it seemed to like that.
Table tilt is pretty rough. I seldom need to tilt the table on it so that's not a big deal for me--if you do need to then try it in the store and make sure it's OK for your need.
Other than that the disadvantages are mainly just lack of features. There's no tension release (the Rikon has this) and the wheel is pretty stiff. This means that I'm not as "religious" about releasing the tension as perhaps I should be. So far no ill effects but time will tell. The fence mounting is from the bottom, this means that you can't put a Kreg on it without drilling the edge of the table (the Rikon table is already drilled). Not a huge deal but something to be aware of. I think that's about it for the negatives.
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--John
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That's a tough price range.. Ridgid should be around $350 I think.. I paid 300 for mine a few years ago..
$800 would get the Grizzly G0457, which was just highly rated and a "best value" in the Sept./Oct. issue of Fine woodworking.. They rated the G0555x pretty well, also, at $625
mac
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Just bought a Rigid for $350. I would not spend any more than that for a 14" saw. It has everything I need. I intend to add a fence later. My next choice was a Delta or Craftsman for around $500.
I can't see spending any more than what I spend for what I am going to use it for (hobby tools in the garage).
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mac, Asking what is the 'best' is a dangerous question - it really depends on individual 'sensibilities' plus has been known to start a LOT of fights!!
That being said - I went through the same exercise a few years ago. I had been putting off buying a bandsaw for several years. The 'jaws' of my dilemma were 'cost vs. usage'. I finally made the decision when I saw a GREAT deal on Amazon.
For under $400 I got a 14" JET Open-Stand, plus the Fence and Miter Gauge {usually Optional at $$}. Later I got the 6" Riser {to have on-hand - 'just in case'}.
Added a shelf to the legs, and got a 'rolling base'. It's one of those tools that you may not use often, but when you need it - you REALLY need it !! Or, suddenly you find a LOT of projects use a bandsaw !!
Right now - this same unit - can be had at a LOT of places for what I paid.
Regards and Good Luck, Ron Magen Backyard Boatshop

is a hobby, not a job! Maybe some resaw work now and then, some curved chair parts, and what ever else I

SNIP> >

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The riser kit is cool.. you should install it in your Jet... Not just more cutting height but more light, room to move wood around, etc...
As with most of my tools, I went to a link belt fairly soon after buying the saw and it made quite a bit of difference..
mac
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rich wrote:

For me it all came down to being at the right place at the right time. This has happened to me a couple of times, and one time was with the band saw. I had been looking at the Jet and Delta a few years ago. Then I walked into my local Sears and they had a 14" Professional clearance priced at $175. It works just fine thank you very much. Even tracked down the "real" manufacturer and got a 6" riser kit for $60. I will have to say though, that blades make a big difference.
When I got it home and set up I tried cutting some wood just to get familiar with it. I was beginning to think that I got what I paid for. Then a short time later my riser kit came. After I got it installed and new "quality" blades put in, it was MUCH better. Could be a couple of reasons for that including me becoming more familiar with the tool, getting it better adjusted when I put in the riser kit, etc. But I saying it was the blades. :-)
Some time later I was at Big Orange (Home Depot) and was looking around at their woodworking tools. I was actually thinking about getting a jointer, but the sticker shock got me a little. If I remember right the 6" Ridgid jointer was going for $399 at the time. Then the salesman sez to me he sez "We have two of last years models we are clearing out. The ONLY difference is that they changed the color." "How much?" sez I. "$150" sez he. "MINE!" sez I. Also new in the box. The new ones were Ridgid orange and the one that I bought was gray. I liked the gray better anyway.
I have also been at the right place at the right time for some clamps and my mortising machine. I found 24" Bessey Uniclamps (the little grey ones) for $5 each at Lowes, Delta mortising machine for $50 (it's the little one but hey! 50 bucks is 50 bucks and it does what I want), and more Bessey clamps (k-bodies this time) being clearanced for $25 each for the 40" type.
Just keep your eyes and your options open and just maybe something will fall into your lap. Keep you eye on Craigslist too. Of course if time is a factor then forget everything I just said.
Wayne
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Rich,
I have the Ridig bs that i got a great deal on several years ago when HD was changing Rigid tools from grey to orange...and I really like it.
That being said, I was close to buying the Grizz Ultimate BS. I have heard some really nice things about that saw.
http://www.grizzly.com/products/The-Ultimate-14-Bandsaw/G0555
Skip www.ShopFileR.com

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wrote:

That looks like a lot of saw for the money... If I was comparing it and the Ridgid head-to-head I'd go with the Griz..
That said, the motivation for getting the Ridgid seems pretty common: My wife got me a HD credit card and if your 1st purchase was over $300 you got 10% off and no interest or payments for a year.. Why Ridgid? It was the only 14" BS that HD carried, and I could take it HOME the same night.. lol
Some big tools like that not only have the "ok, I can wait for it" thing, but the shipping cost to consider..

mac
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HD had the 14" BS for $349 with free shipping but they are out of stock online, so I go into the local HD and ask them to drop their instore price of $369 down $20 to match the online price. Mgr say that is against policy but yeah he would do it for me.
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One of the last few Fine Woodwoirkings just did a review on Bandsaws. Maybe slightly higher price range but Grizzly had a winner in the group.

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Many of us think that article was malarkey.
My Jet bs has none of the deficiencies they described. They need to stick to woodworking articles.
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