My local Sears store has some of the Craftsman Professional floor standing
power tools on display. Anyone has experience with the professional series
or should I look elsewhere? I would like to add a 17" bandsaw and a 6"
jointer once I have the room for it.
Other than the possible convenience of having them there for local
delivery, my inclination is still that you can probably get better
value from, say, Grizzly or Jet, than Craftsman. Although, it does
appear that Sears is _finally_ getting the message and at least making
an attempt to improve product lines, I'm still on the "once burnt..."
One thing I'd note is that if you're thinking of 17" bandsaw, I would
definitely be thinking minimum 8" jointer, not 6". (Resaw capacity
more nearly compatible w/ jointer primary thinking although I am one
who thinks less than 8" for jointer owing simply to length of tables is
likely to be regretted on down the road).
IMO, YMMV, $0.02, etc., etc., ... :)
My $.02...I can't speak for the rest of the "Professional" line, but I
bought the scrollsaw from that line in mid-'06. It was noisy, with a great
deal of vibration, and the casting for the housing was defective in that the
saw did not sit level on the stand without shims under the edges of the
housing. I returned it, got my money back and for just a few dollars more,
bought a Dewalt. IMHO, 'nuf said. I cast my vote with those who are saying
check Grizz, Bridgewood, Jet, etc. for your needs.
Craftsman has been hanging the word "professional" on most anything that
weighs more than 250 pounds for years. They don't stack up as professional
tools. One quick test:
1) Go to a store that sells Jet, Powermatic, Grizzly (or Shop Fox) or Delta
Unisaw cabinet saws. Open the side cabinet door and look at the cast iron
trunnion assemblies. If you are bold and sneaky, take a digital camera with
2) To the same with one of Sears "professional" cabinet saws.
That should take care of comparison between craftsman and other more robust
brands. Also not that Sears wants $999 for their saw and you can buy and
Grizzly 1023 in the same price range.
Regarding bigger band saws, I would take a look at the Jet JWBS-18 series.
I can talk about this one because I have owned one of them for about five
years and it provides good service. I cut fairly large chunks of 8/4 Oak
for some hardwood rocking horses and I really appreciate the larger table.
With that said, I know Grizzly and others make similar machines that are
also good. Laguna makes good, larger bandsaws but they are more pricey.
Regarding Jointer, 6" or 8" will work for most jointing. Wider is better
for surfacing. A longer bed is a real plus. Even with space limitations, I
can personally recommend the Powermatic model 54A. This is a 6" machine
with a 66" bed. I have owned one for 2-3 years and love it. My son-in-law
has owned a Grizzly G0500 (I think that was the model) for about three years
and it is a great 8", long bed machine. Even Fine Woodworking gave it kudos
a couple of years ago and they don't have a record of recognizing Grizzly
equipment. Unfortunately, this one has been discontinued.
Regarding Craftsman, look around at recent posts. There is some conversing
Actually, you can accomplish probably 95% of this test simply by
comparing weight -- w/ stationary equipment in particular, more is
better. I always compare roughly comparably-priced machinery to each
other by weight as one criterion. If one is notably lighter than
another or others in the class, that is almost certainly a sign of
cost-cutting measures like stamped metal tables, reduced trunion sizes,
After that, then you're looking in more depth at fit and finsh,
performance measures such as runout and so on, and characteristics of
the machine such as capacities, motor sizes, foreign or US on electrics
is often a giveaway, starter vs manual switch, and on and on...
Interestingly, I just read a review of bandsaws in one of the magazines. It
gave Craftman the "best value" and said that Grizzly's trunnions were too
flimsy, resulting in horrible vibrations.
It like Rikon over all, even better than laguna.
I'd expect that conclusion/evaluation to depend very heavily on the
specific models from each manufacturer/distributor (as almost nonei if
any, are actually manufactured in the real sense by the
As noted in another thread, comparing weight between
similarly-priced/sized units is a good metric for the question of
"beef"...other criteria also come into play as noted there as well, of
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