Questions about Bandsaws and Harbor Freight Tools

I tacked this onto another bandsaw thread, and didn't get any response here (got one email, though). What I was hoping for was a lively discussion on bandsaws. Seems the subject doesn't get nearly as much attention on this group as I expected. So I'm trying again, correcting some of my spelling and grammar errors...
I've been wanting my own bandsaw for a couple of years now, but I don't have money to just throw away, so I thought I'd try to buy the best saw I can for less than about $600.
I saw some disparging words written about some of the smaller Deltas... Something about use of thin sheet metal, and needing to replace the blocks immediately with Cool Blocks in order to get a consistently accurate cut. I saw what I thought might be a good price on a 14" Jet (<$600), but then another search turned up a Central Machinery 32208 4-speed 14" for $319 (including shipping) at an outfit called Harbor Freight Tools. The thing that appealed to me was the 6-inch depth of cut capacity. I did some bandsaw boxes back about 3 years ago in a class, and they turned out pretty nice, but they need at least 5 inches capacity.
So, is this Central Machinery tool any good? I can't seem to find much about them on the web, and I never heard of them before. Also, is Harbor Freight Tools ok to deal with (they *do* advertise a lot, but that doesn't mean much to me)?
I may still be a ways off from getting my first bandsaw, but what I'm looking for needs to have a cutting height of at least 5 inches. I don't anticipate doing a lot of resawing, but I might do *some*. My long-term plans including making violins.
So, have at it with your opinions on bandsaws -- I want to hear the voice of experience.
-- Howard Lee Harkness Texas Certified Concealed Handgun Instructor www.CHL-TX.com snipped-for-privacy@CHL-TX.com
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Get a Jet 14" bandsaw and put some Suffolk Machimnery or Woodslaicer blades on it. Later on, you can buy a riser block to raise it some more but this will do you for now. I like the Minimax saw but sold it when I moved. 18" makes a LOT of difference. Do buy either Cool Blocks or ceramic blocks for ANYTHING you buy.
On Sat, 19 Jul 2003 22:02:35 GMT, Howard Lee Harkness

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I have a Reliant bandsaw with riser block that has given me good service. A few months ago the lower blade guide holder cracked and I called the number in my parts manual. They quit impoting parts!
The saw looks very much like a Delta or Jet, but the Delta lower guides don't fit. I cobbled up some guides out of 1/2 Baltic birch scrap that work.
I would stick with Delta, Jet or other name brand saw. I don't know if discontinued Grizzly bandsaws are still supported with parts, but I would check before they got my money.
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Howard,
Central machinery/Harbor freight is like an AK47, it doesn't look very pretty, it shoots but again not very accurately. Delta and Jet make what you are looking for. They are like a S&W, look good, shoot good, easy to get parts for. You get the picture, you get what you pay for.
Keep them in the black.
Mike the High Power shooter.
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I've seen some kind words for Grizzly... Anybody have one of their bandsaws?
Central Machinery turns out to be about what I expected, and not what I want. I'm leaning toward getting the 14" Jet, but the Grizzly price is enough lower to attract my interest.
-- Howard Lee Harkness Texas Certified Concealed Handgun Instructor www.CHL-TX.com snipped-for-privacy@CHL-TX.com
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On Sun, 20 Jul 2003 01:52:37 GMT, Howard Lee Harkness

I have a 16" Grizzly, If I had it to do over again I would get some flavor of 14" saw instead. It cuts ok but it is a space hog and very difficult to move (high center of gravity and really heavy.) You cannot put a riser block in like you can with some of the 14" saws and the thickness of cut is limited to 7" or so.
Anyone in Kitsap county/puget sound area looking for a 16" grizzly? Regards Bob
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Loved your analogy, Mike.
Ergo, Homier = SKS?
H. Unabashed SKS owner, and the deer are glad of it....
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I personally enjoy my harbor freight bandsaw that I picked up for $219. Here is a webpage that has a big discussion on it that I found very enlightening.
http://wood.bigelowsite.com/aracnetlive/wood/bandsaw/index.htm
Ken Gunter
CH-47D Chinook Pilot http://www.ch47.org snipped-for-privacy@ch47.org
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Fred McClellan wrote:

LOL!
So is it good quality cast slag, or what? :)
What makes HF's cast slag any worse from everyone else's? Seriously...
Changing the subject slightly, I was shopping for a 36" combination belt/disc sander. Everybody sells them, and they all look completely identical. Craftsman, Grizz, HF, Delta... I never got my hands on the Grizz or HF models, but based on photos from different angles, I fully expect that they would have been identical castings. I wound up buying the Delta because it was on sale at Lowe's, available for cash and carry, and I got it cheaper than HF or Grizz, but it still has that cheap crude ill-fitting nearly worthless lump of cast slag feel in spite of the Delta-colored paint and nameplate. It is, of course, MIT, just like everyone else's 36" combination belt/disc sander. Extremely useful, but I feel like it could be made better.
Same story with my horizontal (metal-cutting) bandsaw too. I got Grizz because HF's catalog just feels too much like Big Lots or K-Mart, and I've never bought from them, but based on all I could see, I can't say that I expected the HF saw to be significantly different from everyone else's "$200 bandsaw." The Grizz saw has that sort of crappy MIT feel too, but I have to say the thing has worked like a son of a bitch, and I love it.
So I'm kind of wondering if HF *is* different. Do they sell a crappier grade of MIT crap from everyone else, or is it really just the same crappy MIT crap painted gray instead of green or black?
Grizz definitely has a much better catalog. :)
--
Michael McIntyre ---- Silvan < snipped-for-privacy@users.sourceforge.net>
Linux fanatic, and certified Geek; registered Linux user #243621
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In rec.woodworking snipped-for-privacy@nospam.com (Bruce) wrote:

PS: OTOH, I would NOT buy a mitre saw or lathe or other precision device from them. You have to pick and choose.
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wrote:

The one I have is great I have seen no unmilled parts that are milled on a delta and the 6 riser from the Ridgid Band saw fit fine and with a good blade I can resaw to 10.5 in oak with no problem at all. Its all in the blade I got a Timber Wolf blade and it turned the saw from unusable to Amazing follow the tension instructions and you will be very pleased. Tim
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Bruce,
I looked in the catalog and I noticed they (HF) had more than one framing nailer. Could you post the item number of the one you recommend. Thank You.
Glen
wrote:

sale
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In rec.woodworking

Sure, <going out to the garage to look at the box> 46240.
I have one Harbor Freight rule I'll share. Never buy ANYTHING from them that isn't on sale unless you need it NOW. Evventually, every item goes on sale.
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Thanks.
Glen
wrote:

on
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I have the HF bandsaw. I have completely disassembled it down to the castings. Cleaned and filed all pertinent edges and surfaces. Added my own handmade tension crank extended above the top. If I was to do this again, I would spend the time to find fine pitch thread. The coarse thread works good and fast but but maybe too coarse. I've added hinges to both covers and removed the bolt and nut closest to the hinge, so I have only one knob to secure the cover. I moved the motor from the flimsy support in the stand to behind the saw on a base. Much more secure now. I added a link belt on both pulleys (motor to stepped pulley and stepped pulley to lower wheel). Added a Ridgid 6" riser kit from HD. Had to drill out the upper blade guide hole on the casting because the Ridgid diameter rod is larger (IIRC by 1/8"). No big deal since the hole is already there to guide the drill bit. And painted all the individual componets prior to reassembly. Oh yea, added cool blocks and sanded the table face with my ROS then polished. Here's the link to a picture.
http://www.wood-workers.com/users/timv/images/Tools-Shop/bandsaw4.jpg
It's awesome now, but I put a great deal of time into it.
Tim -------- see my page at http://www.wood-workers.com/users/timv (seriously needs updating)
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