I have to come out of lurking to share this:
Never expected to see a turbo band saw, but it turns out I have one. I
needed/wanted (same thing, right?) a second band saw and finally did it.
Took a bit of a chance based on recommendations from a trusted dealer
and bought a General International 14². This is a new model with a
welded steel frame that resaws to 8², not the Delta knockoff.
It has a lot of nice features and one dubious one. It comes with a bag
that attaches to the dust port, and sorta looks like a big white polyp
on the side of the saw. Attached to the dust port is a fan driven by its
own belt from the drive pulley. The object is to blow the dust into the
bag (doubtful), but I didn¹t try using the bag, since I just connect to
a central dust system.
So with my dust collector on, I made some test cuts. When I turned the
saw off, the blade kept going. Fast. First thought was that I had done
something weird electrically (would not have been the first time). But
it turns out that the dust collector moves enough air to spin the fan
and power the saw. Now it doesn¹t have a lot of cutting power, in fact
it can only cut a quarter inch or so of thin doug fir before it stalls,
but the fact that it can cut at all was pretty amazing. And a little
Originally I was afraid that the fan would cut down on air flow and I¹d
have to take it off. Now I have to take it off so the damn saw will
stop. But the dust collection should be great. There¹s a plastic shroud
that sucks dust from the blade right under the table.
This is the first General International tool I¹ve used and I am
pleasantly surprised. Fit and finish are excellent - damn near perfect.
Wheels are right-on, everything fit right, runs smooth and quiet. The
manual is almost worthless. It must have been translated into English
from the Chinese by someone with French as a first language.
The upper guide is rack and pinion adjusted, it has a quick release
tension lever, solid fence, and everything lines up nicely. The only
important negatives are the open stand that might not be rigid enough
(so I bolted it to a piece of 3/4² ply and that to a roller base) and
the table is only supported on one side, but with a pretty stout
trunion. I don¹t expect the negatives to cause me problems, since I
don¹t have anyone working for me now (do all employees beat the holy
crap out of everything they touch?). Oops, one other negative - it takes
97.5 inch blades (so that it can resaw to 8²).
It looks like this will be a nice saw, but if it somehow isn¹t, the
dealer is one that will do most anything to make it right. If General
makes all of its GI tools with this much attention to detail, I will be
seeing more green in my shop.
And maybe they¹ll get that turbo thing right.