I've been lurking for awhile, but this is my first post. I've been in
the market for a band saw for the past few months. I've followed the
Delta vs Jet posts for some time. I looked at a variety of different
saws, most of them with the typical 14" consumer band saw design
(Delta, Jet, Ridgid etc...). I had also scoured the internet looking
for reviews and comparisons of other saws (Griz, Shop Fox, General et
al...), but there's really not much out there in the way of user
reviews. My requirements were simple; I wanted something to run on
110 (with the option to change to 220 later if I want), and a resaw
capacity of at least 8". My initial interest was with the Shop Fox
14" bandsaw. It looked like a good saw, but I wanted something with
just a little more resaw ability, so I stepped up to the Shop Fox 16".
The showroom model looked nice, and is in my opinion was reasonably
priced ($699 USD, $499 for the 14"). The tool store also stocked a
few different 14" brands: Delta ($549 - $899), Jet ($499-$799) and
some others so I could compare features and construction.
One of the things that initially drew me to the Shop Fox 16" was that
it's resaw capacity was over 8". There is no riser block kit
available for it, since it's similar in design to the european band
saws, but I can't picture myself trying to resaw anything thicker.
The saw is well constructed with an off-white hammerlite finish. With
the exception of the table top, all ferrous parts are either painted,
plated or galvenized. The saw includes a (cheap) aluminum mitre gauge
with an aluminum bar, and an extruded aluminum fence. The saw ships in
2 cartons and is made in Taiwan.
I brought a saw home and unpacked it. There were no missing parts,
and assembly only took less than 2 hours (which is less time than it
took to assemble the evil General Int. mobile base I purchased to put
the saw on). The enlosed base required no assembly other than
screwing on the door handle. Interstingly enough, while the base is
totally enclosed, the motor mounts externally, to the rear of the saw
and on top of the base. This made the motor easy to mount and adjust.
The saw body fit the base perfectly (as it should), and none of the
bolt holes needed any reaming or other attention. The main blade
wheels were perfectly set out of the box. Putting the rest of the saw
together was a pleasure, with the possible exception of the included
table insert was a bit oversized and had sharp edges. I filed it down
a bit and it now fits fine. Also, the aluminum castings which hold
the 'cool block' style blade guides had some flashing that had to be
removed from their interior space before the guides could be fully
inserted. The blade was simple to install and tension. The
tensioning mechanism is a black, pivoting handle on top of the saw.
Pivoting the handle to it's down position releases the tension on the
blade, spinning the handle while it's in the down position adjusts the
tensioning spring, pivoting the handle back up tensions the blade. It
is very simple to use and quick to operate. Upper blade guides all
use thumb screws for adjustment, lower guides use thumbscrews to
position the cool blocks, but font/back adjustment of the lower guides
requires the use of an allen wrench.
After initial assembly, I decided to power it up to see what happened.
I flipped the power switch and the saw started and ran beautifuly. I
grabbed a chunk of scrap 3/4" plywood and proceeded to cut a smooth,
curvy profile. I brushed away the dust, and was able to easily
balance a nickel on the table surface.
That is really about as far as I've come with the saw at this point.
I have not done any real 'tuning' of the saw. At this stage I am very
happy with this purchase, and look forward to many (I hope) years of
working with this machine. I think considering the entire package,
$699 was a good value. One thing I have noticed is that the blade
guides have to be readjusted after raising or lowering the blade
guard; this can be fixed by shimming the mounting bracket that holds
the assembly in place (I understand that many other saws have this
problem, too). After I've tuned it and used it for a few weeks, I'll
post a follow-up.