FWIW here are a couple of pictures of a piece of red oak that I resawed
with a common 1/2" blade on the Laguna.
I really don't think it is a new tool so much as one that is just not on
the typical woodworkers radar. Some of these Italian companies have
been building saws for close to 90 years. These Italian saws are
extremely stout and have a lot of mass. Not totally unlike comparing a
contractors TS to and industrial cabinet saw. Very little vibration out
of the HD saws so cuts are better.
Anyway the over all stiffness of the saw is important and especially if
you use the wider resaw blades. While most saws being sold can handle
1/2" blades with out problems when you start using the wider blades you
really have to crank the tension up. One of my blades is 1.25" wide and
a non HD saw is going to give to that tension and will not hold that
tension well. One of the reasons that constant tweaking from day to day
or hour to hour is necessary. If the back bone gives to the tension the
guides are going to be out of adjustment, tracking can be off, and
tensioning has to be closely monitored. I relatively never have to
readjust anything unless I change blades. Tracking is almost never
readjusted regardless of blade size or tension.
IMHO the Laguna guides are the best. While there is a lot going on with
the Carter roller bearing guides, roller bearing guides are not not
exclusive to Carter. As you probably know the Rikon has roller bearing
guides and when I bought my 18" Rokin I thought that this all made
sense. On paper the roller bearing guides look great! In reality, for
me, they were a nightmare. FWIW my Rikon was the second generation
version of the 18" saw. I found that if I was cutting oily woods and or
wet woods the saw dust would stick to the bearings and or blade and
would be "pounded" on to the blade and bearings. The noise and
vibration went up considerably when cutting these woods. I literally
spent more time cleaning bearings, blades, and making adjustments than
cutting scraps. The ceramic guides OTOH scrape clean the blades, they
are literally self cleaning and I have absolutely no issues that the
roller guides introduced. With the Laguna guides the saw has two upper
side guides on each side of the blade and two lowers side guides on each
side of the blade. Laguna claims that the upper ceramic inserts in the
top guide absorb most of the vibration of the blade as it comes off of
the top wheel and the lower inserts in the top guide do the actual
guiding of the blade to the lower guide assembly.
Anyway I went through all of this about 8 years ago when upgrading from
a small Craftsman saw that I never used because of all the tweaking that
was always necessary. I though I was going to eliminate that with the
bigger Rikon but was totally dissatisfied. I bought that Rikon sight
unseen so I bought it with the understanding that if it was not up to my
expectations that I could return it, and that I did within 2 weeks. So
at 2.5 times more expensive than the Rikon, at the time, and I had my
Laguna and I highly recommend one of these Italian built saws if you
want to spend more time cutting wood than repeatedly setting up and
tweaking the saw.
The price I paid for my Laguna included the ResawKing blade, mobility
kit, 4~5 more blades, and shipped.
One last thing, I originally ordered 3 or 4 Timberwolf blades for the
Rikon. I had tracking issues with all but one. The blade that came
with the Rikon tracked just fine as did a blade that I had make by a
local supplier. Timberwolf bent over backwards to solve the issues
including having me cut one of the blades to insure that it laid
straight on the floor. They finally admitted that they were having
issues with their blades working on the Rikon BS's. After getting the
Laguna they graciously gave me credit for the blades that fit the Rikon
and I bought the same but longer blades for the Laguna. I have not had
any problems with any blades that I have used on the Laguna be it the
ResawKing, the generic brands I have used, or the Timberwolfs.
I highly suspect that the backbone of the Rikon was not up to the task
of holding its tension on the wider blades thus creating tracking problems.
my saw won't have anything bigger than 1/2" and when it's adjusted
right it cuts very well
The introduction of the ceramic guides seems to have been a big
step in BS evolution
if my projects can pay for the tool i have no problem with spending
more for good tools
back to the drawing board for Rikon or keep lowering the price
or be an also-ran
bigger blades just don't work on all saws, simple physics
the saw's got to be built to match the blade size
there's a guy that has a entire guide just for dealing with delta
one of the problems he points out is that parts get bent because
of over tensioning with blades that are too large for the saw
From somewhere I read about the delta BS guy but I can't recall
his name now
he has no website and you have to call him to get the guide
And there is the rub, ;~) Adjusted right on My Laguna can be a wide
range of tolerance. It cuts well at just about any adjustment.
Yes but Laguna did not invent them, they have been around quite a while.
When I bought my projects were not coming close to paying but my
patience was running out...
It turns out that buying these better tools and equipment are in
investment in my production. With these better tools I can build better
And that is not just if the blade will fit, wider blades will fit saws
that simply can't handle the tension required. IIRC the Rikon would
handle a 1" blade.
seems to me that there's correct and incorrect adjustment
you can't have something out of adjustment and have it work
it stays adjusted or it doesn't
i haven't adjusted mine since I put the 1/2" on it
you can't say "my saw's out of adjustment and still works fine"
the time savings for me isn't big enough to justify the expense
no of course it's not just if the blade will fit it is about the
size of the drivetrain, etc.
that might be it I have the catalog pdf around somewhere
an interesting read
Well let's just say that you might have to fine tune to have good results.
I only need roughly close to get good results. For instance one would think
that you would need to tilt the top wheel to correct tracking when using
different tension levels. Increasing tension on my saw does not change
tracking. Basically my saw is not as touchy to get good results.
The wider blade does not require more power. The thickness and hardness of
the wood has more to do with the drivetrain. The wider blade does require
more tension to insure it runs straight between the top and bottom wheels.
roughly close doesn't make sense it's either adjusted or no
I'll agree some saws are hard to keep adjusted and some aren't
bought mine used and cheap and it was hardly used I think the previous
owner had no idea how to adjust the saw because it was really way
off I figured it out and it's good and stable
it does because the tension means more force is needed but if the
drivetrain isn't beefy enough things gets bad and a wider blade will
not work in all aspects
I think what Leon is saying is adjustment isn't critical on
a well-made saw. You don't have to get the blade tension
just so, the blade cuts straight as long as the tension is
close. You don't have to set the guides precisely, the
blade tracks straight as long as they're close.
Having said that, I'm of the impression that the blade makes
a lot more difference than the saw - some blades just work,
and some you have to really fuss with the saw to get a
any saw has to be adjusted
there's no saw where you put the blade on and do nothing else
they require something
some take more adjustment
some need readjustment from time to time
Well actually the MiniMax rep swapped blades on the MM16, the demo saw
that had no guides at all. All he had to do was retention the blade
after changing it, and that was a single adjustment before he restarted
the saw. Not totally unlike changing out a blade on a TS. Until you
have actually worked with a saw of this caliber it is hard to understand
how well they work.
Sure you have to tension the blade but I use the built in gauge and that
is good enough and you do have to adjust the guides to the width of the
blade but tracking and blade tension is simply not a factor in the saw
And while this is an adjustment it is a simple adjustment that requires
no test cuts or tweaking.
Agreed. I haven't touched the tracking adjustment on my MM16 since I
first got it set correctly. After changing blades I just re-tension and
set the guides (this is going between a 3/8" and 1").
All these tension gauges are simple spring compression meters, generally
not very accurate. I set up my blades originally by measuring the blade
stretch to calculate the proper tension. Once set, I made a new index
mark on the saws tension gauge and just align to the mark when
adjusting. On these saws the exact tension doesn't seem to be very
critical, just ball-park it.
Thank you John that is basically what I was trying to say. ;~)
The fussier the saw the pickier the adjustment has to be.
And as for the blades though I found that any blade "so far" works well
on the Laguna and not so much on a lesser saw. And that probably has to
do with what you eloquently explained as adjustments not having to be
I don't know what others have experienced but my 18" Jet is not fussy...
with some minor tweaking of the tracking when installing a new blade the
drift is zero. It's been a pleasure to work with. If I ever get to it I
can mill bolts and short logs on my 36" 5 HP Crescent... the funny thing is
I haven't really needed that saw to date but it's cool! LOL
they have a limit on the number of resharpens but it's 10 or so
and that would last a long time unless the blade's abused and needed
but that alone can't have swayed you entirely
have not heard of minimax either will have to look
I see, can italian made BSs be bought in US?
makes sense but it also means a lot of engineering has to go into
the wheels and axles, hence the higher price but that's ok
i do like to learn about what's out there and the state of the art
but I will make do with what i have and i enjoy improvising
improvising provides some challenges and sometimes leads to accidental
insights that I'd have missed otherwise
Well that alone showed me what they thought about customer service.
They knew what BS I was coming to see and indicated that so and so would
show me that saw the following morning. and then that saw was missing
Ultimately the 10 point ceramic guides that Laguna developed was the
deal maker, and probably the Baldor motor.
Laguna, Minimax, Felder, Hammer, to name a few. In particular I was
looking at the MiniMax MM16 BS.
I would say that all of the above except the MiniMax are probably built
in the same Italian Factory, all being similar. The MiniMax is
Yeah all of that stuff is incredibly robust. The wheels are solid iron
and spin effortlessly and for quite a when unloaded.
Woodcraft and IIRC Rockler sell Laguna. Their floor models are not the
HD series IIRC. Still those saws are/were still built in Europe but it
seems to be the consensus that the better band saws are the Italian
built ones. My LT16HD weighs 465 lbs.
I went through this process over a decade ago, trying to decide between
the MiniMax (MM16) and Laguna.
At the time, the MM was the clear winner, better saw and better customer
service. The Laguna saws at the time were playing catchup, less
capacity, power, and poorer table finish.
I luv my MM! The only changes I made were to dump the Euro guides after
they began seizing and replace then with a used set of Carter bearing
Being an import, I spent many hours removing the cosmoline, but this
gave me the time to tweak every major adjustment and set up the dust
These saws are a step up from the typical Delta/Jet/Powermatic. Heavy
cast iron wheels, flat (not crowned) tires, more resawing depth, can
tension over 1" blades easily, rock solid steel guide post, 3.5 HP
motor, etc. Key to me is the ability to align and then lock in all the
critical adjustments, Do it right once and then forget about it.
If I was to purchase today, the Laguna would take the top spot. They
have really come far with fixing the quality issues whereas MiniMax has
I'd love to replace my Carters with the Laguna ceramics. The Carters are
fussy to set up and the bearings load up with gunk which needs to be
constantly cleaned out. Don't read me wrong, the Carters do an excellent
job when things are clean, it is just my opinion that bandsaw guides
really should be scrapers instead of rollers (a roller thrust bearing is
My MM came with a generic 1" blade that many believed to be an "Olsen"
brand. That blade died after resawing maybe 30 feet of 10" white oak. I
bought several timber wolf blades as replacements and they also
disappointed me with short lives. I then went with a Highland Hardware
resaw king and it's been heaven ever since.
Since my purchase, both MM and Laguna have begun selling more 'entry'
level models and the Delta/Jet/Powermatic group has begun selling more
upscale models, nicely filling the gap between the hobbyist and
industrial equipment markets.
On 3/1/15, 8:57 AM, Leon wrote:
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