Suspect it would be unlikely for a manufacturer to spring for doing that
on their nickel given the number of reviews done. But, one would hope
that the reviewer is experienced and expert enough to do the tuning and
report what was done as you note. I suppose there's some value in also
knowing how a tool performs "out of the box", but unless the potential
buyer is one who won't tinker on their own, it would be far more
valuable to know which can be made to perform well relatively easily,
which require more effort, and which are basically a lost cause or at
least require significant effort.
Sorta' a case in point -- in looking up manufacturers' spec's for the
blade speed to see if there was any chance that might be a correlating
factor on the timed test disparity, I found several reviews for the
subject saws. One had several where the riser block attachment pins
were badly misaligned so that the saw wheels were drastically
non-coplanar if installed as manufactured. The solution from the
manufacturer was to remove the pins on one end of the block and just set
the block in place where needed to align the wheels. This was,
coincidentally, one of the saws with a high misalignment value in the
test, but nothing mentioned in the review other than the measurement.
Space constraints, of course, mean not all can be reported, but it seems
that much of significance wasn't in this particular review...
This is only valid information if the manufacturing is consistent enough
that the results hold true from unit to unit.
Given that one of the common complaints about cheaper imports is that
there is relatively little quality control, it would seem that testing a
single unit and reporting the results is always going to end up
generalizing from a single datum.
And, of course, that's always true of any testing unless it is
replicated (and I know of no circulating magazine that does that kind of
It really doesn't matter whether it's a descriptive comparison as in
"fit and finish" or the detailed measurements of (since this is on the
FWW BS article) how close to coplanar the wheels are, there's an open
issue of what the next unit of the same model would have measured and
how well does the tested unit represent the one you might receive.
One can speculate that QC is better on higher-priced units, but unless
reviewers either get corroborating data from the manufacturers or run
tests on more than a single unit, there's nothing that says the test
unit isn't representative of the average, the median, the mode, the 5th
or 95th percentile of the manufactured units. It is, of course, less
likely that a randomly purchased unit is at one extreme or the other,
but not out of the question...
I too would hope that the reviewer would be experienced and expert
enough. I'd expect it too - at least I would have until this review.
If I were the marketing manager at one of the manufacturers/importers,
I'd consider spending $1,000 or so to send one of my tech guys to a
product test to be an easy decision. Especially if I happened to be
the Delta marketing manager after seeing that review. Doesn't take
too many lost sales to pay for that - and can you imagine how many
sales that review may have cost them?
I'm guessing that blade speed wasn't the main factor in this test, as
(I'm guessing that) the speeds are likely in the same general range.
Although maybe that's the reason the Jet, with the smallest motor,
tied for fastest at the lower feed pressure but stalled at the higher.
The fastest saws were all either 2 HP or 230 volt. Any significance
there? Maybe, if the slower saws were bogging down to the point of
stalling. Not too likely, though.
In my own experience, slow resawing often means that a stringy chip is
dragging in the throat plate. Or that the blade is too loose and is
vibrating in the cut. Who knows?
Yes, I went and found manufacturers' spec's and posted them for all
except the Laguna -- they are all 3000 sfpm except for the Rikon which
was 2950 so blade speed isn't the explanation at all.
No, it's 3000 sfpm just like all the others (with the possible but
unlikely exception of the Laguna for which I didn't find a spec.)
No, that's not true, either. The Jet was as fast as any for the 5-lb
test and it had the smallest motor.
All the motors w/ the exception of one which wasn't noted are dual
voltage, so the 115V rating was simply as shipped. Doubt it is a
factor. The one motor spec no data for is torque.
Not possible to tell, of course, as we've already concluded from the
data, but the two groups of fast/slow and the same saws falling in the
same group on the two tests means it has to be consistent. The blade
tension problem seems certainly up there as a likely candidate. I don't
think the consistency of the results could be attributed to something
like the chip in the throat plate...
Jumping in late, but that's my take on the reason for the published results
Because I lucked into an "Iturra Blade Gage", I'm keenly aware of just how
different the "finger pressure deflection method", the "pluck method", "the
flutter method", and the least desirable of all, reliance on the default
built-in marker gauge, can be from an actual measured tension.
IME, use of any but the blade tension gauge usually resulted in my under
tensioning a blade.
I agree completely.
What baffles me is that nobody in editorial seemed to pick up on the
gross difference and ask when the article was submitted for publication.
Or that the reviewer didn't think it really odd and at least futz
around a little to figure out what went (obviously) wrong...
A nice bandsaw has been on my wish list for a long time, but this
article surely won't help much in making the decision, methinks, even if
were to jump in the near term...which ain't likely, anyway,
While I agree in another response w/ the tendency to under-tension w/o a
good measurement, what I intended to add in context of the published
results is how, if the same reviewer set the tension and checked for
"ok", even if the builtin guide was the initial reference he would end
up w/ such a discrepancy between saws where there were these two groups
that performed so nearly identically within the subgroups but so grossly
'Tis a puzzle still and one can only hope enough questions were raised
that there's a follow-up to the article eventually that sheds some light
on the issue.
I've undoubtedly gone on far too long on it, but being an analytic type
I like futzing around w/ numbers and trying to find underlying patterns
and failing that, tend to get obsessive... :)
What no one has considered or mentioned is that these guys that publish
these articles are first, journalists, and second, woodworkers.
If you watch the news, you will find the fact that the high temperature for
today this year has been over 85 degrees "x" number of times, setting some
kind of record. So and So has hit the base ball straight over the pitchers
head "x" number of times on the second Tuesday of each month, setting some
kind of record. There is certainly some kind of record being set this year
with the lack of hurricanes and or tropical storms. The fact that there
have been darn few actual storms does not stop the weather bureau and all
its journalists/meteorologists from naming every cloud cover to hide the egg
on their faces. They have quota's you know and they have to justify all
that expensive equipment.
The guys conducting the band saw tests don't care about accuracy, they are
interested in selling magazines, and when you throw in some hard to detect
flaw in the testing procedures you get sensational results that excite the
I didn't read the article nor am I likely too. However, when the
changes to Delta band saws ( 1.5 hp 3450 rpm motor and associated
drive train changes to drop the output blade speed, new tensioning
spring, new quick release and presets for various width blades, larger
table, multiple presets for the pattern makers to set their casting
drafts, new stand with much better dust collection, etc..) that
preceded and were incorporated into the 28-475X, I personally observed
similar tests with that unit pitted against the best that Jet,
Powermatic and several others had to offer at the time. All machines
were set up properly and used the same blade. Set up included tension
gage on the blade because one of the things that was measured was
overarm deflection, and the tension had to be equal for all units.
All this occurred about 2001 plus or minus
The Delta won the resaw test easily but certainly not by a factor of
nine. It won the dust collection test, overarm deflection and motor
overload tests also. And these were lab controlled tests by product
engineers that had an average of 25 years experience with the design
of woodworking machinery. The tests, if anything were judged
conservatively, as the final results would be given to marketing for
use in ads and selling, and it is important that you can back up what
Since that time each of those manufacturers has had their own upgrades
for the most part matching but not exceeding the motor hp that the
And Delta has, I believe changed motor manufacturers from Marathon to
whomever, but not changed HP (except that the Marathon could legally
be rated 1-3/4 HP, probably who they are with now, could not). And the
cast iron may be coming from China by now, if they have used up the
batch that me and mine made for them before shutting down.
But even with the changes, I would be a skeptic about the results of
the FWW testing, particularly a 9 times thumping in resaw. In the old
days, I would expect something like that to be challenged. But in the
world of B & D with folks with big box mentality and no industrial
experience, I don't think there is anyone capable of challenging.
It's clearly fraught with some unexplained problem in that half the
population fell into one of two widely disparate groups, the Delta just
happened to be the worst of the poor for some unexplained reason.
There's certainly little to suggest it really is or would be such a poor
performer in the report that one could reliably hang one's hat on.
It seems there must have been some uncontrolled factor to cause the
measured resaw times to be so split into two groups, but what that could
have been is, of course, impossible to tell from the published story...
For comparison, for the 5-lb test, there's this overall comparison --
Group Average/Std Dev
Slow 3:45 +/- 1:15
Fast 0:58 +/- 0:01.5
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