Surprising Review - Chinese Delta 14" Bandsaw 28-206/276

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Well, because of the 20% off sale/war that was going on between the two Borgs, I picked up one of Delta's Chinese 14" Bandsaws - in spite of the generally bad press it has received here. I figured if it was that bad, I would just rebox it and return it. $300 bucks doesn't buy much these days - or does it? This will probably be the last shocking review of the 2003 year - you won't believe how this unit worked out.
First of all, the shipping cartons were not smashed, crunched or otherwise mutilated. Considering how the unit is packed, this is an important point. Any mishandling would probably result in damage.
After unloading this thing from a pickup truck and moving it into the shop on a hand truck - by myself - I can tell you this is one heavy sucker. My scale said 262 pounds - you would be smart to get help moving it. Of course, a big chuck of Chinese cast iron isn't worth much these days unless it works.
Upon unpacking all the various bits and pieces and confirming that it was all present and intact, I began the leisurely 2 hour job of assembling the unit. Everything fit fine, no surprises, no drilling out holes, no missing parts. Kerosene made short work of the minimal amounts of goop on the machined parts.
When placing the saw itself onto the stand, I noticed that the lower wheel had a lot of lateral runout. "Bummer", I thought, it IS a lemon after all. So after a cursory alignment of the guides and blade tracking, I powered up the unit and sure enough, it vibrated so bad the table rattled against the 90d stop. My heart sunk into my shoes.
Keeping in mind that I don't like Chinese products, and generally try to avoid them - it has gotten to the point that you just can't buy much of anything these days without getting that damned Made in China sticker on the box. I knew what to expect with this unit, so it was not a surprise. But the castings, while a little rough, were not that bad. The sheet metal, while a little sparse, does what it is supposed to do. I was impressed to see that the blade covers were hinged, and the bearing and guides were standard Delta parts. In fact, everything about the unit is pretty standard. Even the huge MIC motor, which can be wired to run on 120 or 240, is a standard baseplate and woodruff keyed shaft design that could be replaced with ANY equivalent motor. So, I thought, maybe I can massage this turd and make it work. My demands for a bandsaw are not extreme - and the worst thing I might want to do is cut down a few 10" oak logs.(!) Generally, though, most of what I want to do is cut round tabletops and the odd bit of joinery and specialty shaping. And for $300 bucks, I can afford to throw down with a little post manufacturing tuning and modification.
So, with my trusty dial indicator in hand, I set about the task of improving it's dismal performance. First, I removed the tires from the wheels and checked lateral and radial runout. The top wheel was pretty good at .003" radial and .004" lateral runout. The bottom wheel, however, measured a pathetic .060" lateral and .003" radial. It became clear where most of the vibration was coming from. So, seeing as how Delta wouldn't get a replacement wheel here for a couple of weeks, I decided to take matters into my own hands and true the wheel the best I could. I caution the boys and girls in the audience NOT to try this at home, unless very familiar with aluminum and how easily it cracks. Slowly working around the wheel, with a dial indicator, I trued the wheel until the runout was reduced to .006" and decided to stop before reaching the point of diminishing returns. Then I carefully removed any flashing from the wheels, cleaned and replaced the tires. The poorly formed, red plastic tires that come with this unit are bad - there is no denying this, but for a few bucks you can replace them with better tires - I believe they are also standard. Although they are supposed to be slightly crowned, I used a cabinet scraper to smooth out the horrible lumps and improved their smoothness. I then insured the motor and pulley alignment, and placed an old dryer belt tensioning spring on the motor bracket to slightly tension the belt. (Yea, I'm a packrat! So sue me.) Replaced the blade, adjusted the guides, and powered up. Wow - what a difference!
I then tweaked the guide adjustment collars to eliminate play, cleaned the bearings of excess oil, grease, and goop, and readjusted all the guides/bearings again. I checked the tabletop for flatness and was amazed to find that it was quite good. Diagonally left rear to right front was .003". Right rear to left front was .006". Running my fingers over the surface, I could tell there was a spot on the right rear edge that the cutter had chattered when milled, and left a slight hump on the very edge. Checking again just shy of this hump revealed a measurement of .004" So I cut down the edge with a file and ended up with a table flat within .003" The milling work on the table is a little rough, primarily where the cutter head first engaged the table and again where it began to clear. Most of this is insignificant to woodworking - a little file work cleaned it up pretty well.
Now for the ultimate test! <g> I stood a (old, worn) nickel on it's edge and powered up the saw, and low and behold - it remained standing. It danced around slightly until up to speed, but overall, I'm impressed that it performed this well. I grabbed an old 2x4 and carved a sliver off the edge. There was a slight amount of lead (skew) to the cut, as there is with most all bandsaws, but it seemed minimal - adjusting the fence about 3/8" from front to rear of the table seemed to take care of it. Now keep in mind that this is the 1/4" OEM blade that has very little hook. I don't know the exact blade specs, because Delta doesn't provide any, but it appears to be about 3-5d of tooth hook and small gullets - not a good choice for resawing. I stood a 1x6 pine cutoff on edge and, after setting the fence for thickness and approximate lead (I had an old MDF fence for a router table that fit perfectly). I proceeded to shave off a 1/32" slice of wood. The cut, although a little rough and wavy due to the blade design, was fine. There was no burning and although the feed rate was a little slow, IT WORKED! No problems with vibration or guide distortion, either. Then I cut a 6" heart shape out of 7/16" OSB, then of 3/4" MDF. Reduced a bunch of 2x4s and a 3" thick piece of oak bar edging to firewood. No problems here either - just a nice searing sound of steel cutting through wood.
Overall, it did a pretty good job, but I can tell that the motor is somewhat underpowered. I feel I got my money's worth with this unit, and although I may replace the motor and tires, and install a riser before investing in any good blades, I am impressed with it's performance. I will expect Delta to replace the lower wheel, however.
Overall impressions are:
I love the tension arm - although there is a bit of play in the mechanism when released. When tensioned, it is OK and the blade tracks properly in the center of the wheels - every time. I had no problems with this at all.
The table flatness surprised me. The finish table didn't.
The table trunions are cast iron, but could have probably used more fasteners to the frame (there are only two). This is a primary source of the remaining minimal vibration. The angle adjustment 'slides' need to be deburred and the paint cleaned off to insure smooth adjustment. The table's 90d stop should have the head ground smooth (to remove the lettering) and possibly covered with a thin resilient material. (Thin tape?) A slight sound is emitted here.
The frame paint is complete, and the sheet metal paint is great.
The castings are a little rough, but not in any way that matters. There is a small void or two in some items, like the tension arm stud.
The 4" dust collection fitting is a Godsend! It is actually cast into the frame, so there are no crappy plastic pieces to break off. It points perpendicular to the wheels, away from the operator, so it shouldn't take up shop space. If only it had a tire brush... ;-)
The motor is underpowered, but could be replaced by a standard motor. It CAN be re-wired for 240v if desired - just don't forget to change the plug. I have my eye on a surplus 2HP 240v motor, however...
All the mechanism bearings are standard parts, and all of Delta's various attachments and accessories should fit fine. This was a major selling point for me - being able to get a shaft bearing from the local auto parts store 5 years from now is a paramount concern.
The power switch is mounted straight and securely, as are the decals. The power switch is a little stiff hard to activate, however. It may free up with use - or I may R&R it for some ajustin'.
The blade tensioning guide is probably not all that accurate, but I go by sound anyway so it doesn't matter.
The included blade seems rather ordinary, at best - no big deal.
The wheel tires DO suck - but can be upgraded.
So, it's off to Highland Hardware for a Wood Slicer blade, a bag of zero clearance inserts, a 28-984 riser kit, and a set of cool blocks.
Any other suggestions from the peanut gallery?
Greg G.
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So I guess that the moral of the story is, if you have the knowledge (or invest the time to learn it) you can buy a much cheaper machine and do the final tuning yourself? Just like fettling an old plane? Who'da thunk it.
And you only paid $300, that's all? And the vibration "went away" you say? And you probably spent less time tuning it than you would have sending it away for replacement?
This won't do at all Greg, no sir, not at all.
And it's Chiwanese you say? Oh the horror! I guess it didn't come with the $1.10c wheel brushes the $800 saws have then!
Ho ho ho, hee hee hee, har har har, Merry Christmas
Greg
<Greg G.> jotted down... <snip>

Just one - can you eliminate the runout by fitting a 5c washer?
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Groggy thus spake:

Apparently, perhaps I just got lucky. I used to restore old cars, and learned to work with what ya got.

Actually, $310, plus state sales tax. And it probably did take less time to fix it up than to hump it back to the store 4 times for a BAD problem. And yes, the nickel stands!

Say, are you making fun of me and the integrity of my report?

Yep, it's Chinese - nothing Taiwanese in it. But still somewhat of a horror, considering unemployment figures...

Nope, but I figger an old parts washing brush or a toothbrush will do just fine...

Back at ya, Groggy. ;-)

I don't think that would work for a crooked wheel...
Say! Are you making fun of me again?
Greg G.
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Addendum:
I forgot to mention one other salient 'feature'.
The miter track in the table is a T-slot, so you CAN use your table saw miter fixtures with the retaining washers intact - nice touch.
After the ragging I gave the PC router, I feel a little better now. Unfortunately, adding a 5c washer won't fix the play in the plunge router base, Groggy - only the proper sintered bronze bushings will.
;-)
Greg G.
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Addendum:
I forgot to mention another thing. There is a $50 rebate on these models, bringing my cost to $260 US.
Beat THAT! <g>
Greg G.
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On Mon, 22 Dec 2003 08:25:42 -0500, Greg G. wrote:
Too late now, you should have posted it yesterday and it would have encouraged me to pick up their only bandsaw, a Delta 28-276.
Can someone encourage me NOT to buy a Grizzly G0514 a 19" 3hp bandsaw? It will be use mostly for resawing, since my Crapsman cannot or struggling to rip a 10 to 12 feet, 6/4 hard maple.

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WD thus spake:

Sorry, I forgot about it until this morning as I was sorting through a pile of roofing material reciepts. Like you, I discovered too late that I could have picked up a small medium duty lathe for $223.
Oh well, maybe next year...

I don't think the Delta could keep up with that without a new motor. But for my needs, it seems fine. Buy what ya need and can afford!
Greg G.
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<Greg G.> wrote in message

I live just outside Harrisburg, Pa. about 2 months ago I drove up to Muncy to get the 17" Grizzly Band saw. If you get a chance you have to get to one of their show rooms. Man that place is packed full of machinery. They have all their bandsaws lined up in a row. And I was very very very tempted to go with the 19" instead of the 17". I was actually tempted to go with the 16" and the cast iron wheels but, I needed the extra depth of cut. I was some what concerned about the aluminum wheels on the 17" but I decided to give it a try, so I ended up with the 17". Took it home, uncrated it, wiped off all the cosmoline. Assembled it, stuck a 220 plug on the end of it. Put a 1" wide 2tpi blade on it, line up the rip fence straight with the miter slot. Stuck a 4' long rough cut oak 2x8 on edge against the fence. Oops the board had a bow, so I stuck my 6ft. level against the fence and held the board against that, so both its ends hit the level. Cut about 1/4" off at the end, 3/4 off at the middle. The thing cut like butter, pushed as fast as I was comfortable with. No problems. After I got the first side straight, I laid that down on the table and took a cut along the 2" way just to straighten things up. Then stood it back up on the 2" width, set the fence to 13/16 and cut the board. The blade seemed to cut in toward the fence about 1/16 so I checked the blade guides again. (I didn't get the ball bearing guides, I liked the ones that came on the saw better). I adjusted the guides, and cut the rest of the 2x8 into 13/16 strips. It cut great and very straight. I made a sled for it, and actually use it to cut basket handle blanks, (1x3/16x48 long), out of oak, ash, and hickory that I cut off my wood lot with no problems at all. I normally use 4ft. long logs, but I have rigged up supports so I can cut longer logs also. They have a horizontal saw mill also, but it's way past my budget. Also I got a couple 1/8" wide blades for it, and they are great for cutting stuff I used to have to use the scroll saw for. As far as I could tell the 19" is built identical to the 17" so I am sure you will be very happy with it. I know a number of people don't like Grizzly, but I haven't had any trouble with anything I have gotten from them. I have been a machinist for 26 years, and figure if anything is to far off, I can just make a new part. I have yet to have to do that with any machine from Grizzly. Now if you want to talk Crapsman, that's a whole nuther story. I had a Crapsman wood lathe, that I milled a complete new head stock for. What ever shit metal they made it out off, the bearings kept loosing up. I kept boring out the hole larger and larger and getting bigger bearings for in it. I even made a steel bushing that I started pressing the bearings into. But the base metal kept wearing big. So I finally just made a new headstock. Anyway have fun with your new bandsaw.
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SHEESH! Sounds like setting up a new Grizzly tool. Only trouble is, the design flaw on the upper guide arm on the saw at school precludes _ever_ getting it right. Now let's hope it's Delta growing pains, and they'll improve.
Got mine 15 years ago, and one run with Duginskie a year is all it's had. Nickel? Wanna see a dime?
<Greg G.> wrote in message

CUT
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George thus spake:

I am unfamiliar with that flaw. Care to elaborate?

But did you pay the 1985 equivalent of $310 for it? ;-)
I'm still working on the dime...
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you could have bought a delta or king in canada for that price <Greg G.> wrote in message

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Dan Parrell thus spake:

Hmmm... I think not - besides I live 1800 miles south of Canada... A Delta X-5 starts at $900 US here.
Now, go back to the porch with your pink apron, please... ;-)
Greg G.
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Hmmm I don't think so and why are you now only giving the model number Hmmmm me thinks you didn't bother to check the prices in Canada BTW King and Delta are the same company.With the exchange rate it's roughly 450 USD's without the tweaking and fu#king around.see the URL http://www.rideouttool.com / That's just one place and it is more expensive where i live. You still could have had it bought and shipped for less.Before I go back on the porch, kiss my pink ass.
<Greg G.> wrote in message

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Dear Dan,

What have you been smoking?
Thanks,
David.
Every neighbourhood has one, in mine, I'm him.
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been smoking trout and salmon they are King is owned by Delta

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Dear Dan,

And on what misinformation are you basing this incorrect statement on?
Delta is owned by the Pentair Tools group, who also own Flex, Porter Cable, Devlibis and a few other companies. Pentair Canada is based in Guelph, Ontario.
One company Pentair *does not* own is King Canada. King is based in Montreal and is a *privately* held company.
King and Delta are major competitors here in Canada.
Get your facts strait.
Thanks,
David.
Every neighbourhood has one, in mine, I'm him.
Remove the "splinter" from my email address to email me.
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I may be mis-informed Dave, I'll get back to you on that one

Cable,
Montreal
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Dan,

My day job is as sales manager at one of Ontario's largest tool stores, so I am quite sure about what I said. I know many people at Delta and several at King Canada.
You or someone else might be speculating they are the same company because of the similarity of some of the newer (in the last two years) King equipment to items Delta has been making for years. When Delta abandoned their factories in Taiwan to make their tools for a few bucks less in some far corner of China, this left factories with product lines and no buyer. In steps King and buys the same product Delta used to.
For example, the 37-190 (now a JT360) open stand 6" jointer looks just like a King KC-150C.
That might be where you or someone you know got the idea from.
Thanks,
David.
Every neighbourhood has one, in mine, I'm him.
Remove the "splinter" from my email address to email me.
Newbies, please read this newsgroups FAQ.
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And on that note I would say that is where the confusion arose. I am going to print your thread and take to a wise cracker,know it all hardware store manager and have him explain to me. I can't wait to see his face.Thanks for straightening me out on that one Dave rgds Dan

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Were are the friggin prices on the Rideout site? I went to the site, found a 14" (35cm?) King bandsaw (http://www.rideouttool.com/products.asp?id 6&s=), but can't find the price of it. If you're familiar with the company/site, could you help me out in cracking the code?
--
Larry C in Auburn, WA

"Dan Parrell" < snipped-for-privacy@roadrunner.nf.net> wrote in message
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