Desperately seeking bandsaws


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As I look at the offerings in the range of $300 to $800 (used and new) two things stand out. First, there are some with cast iron frames. Second, horsepower varies.

What I'm seeing as good options are

a ) the Rikon 10-324. 1.5HP, 14". Steel frame. On sale now for $649.

https://www.woodcraft.com/products/rikon-14-open-stand-bandsaw-1-5-hp?via=573621bd69702d0676000002%2C573621e069702d0676000f61%2C5764018e69702d3ae3000bf8

b ) the Grizzly G0555LX. 1HP, 14", cast frame. $575.

http://grizzly.com/products/14-Deluxe-Bandsaw/G0555LX?utm_campaign=zPage&utm_source=grizzly.com

c ) Not to far away is a Jet JWBS-14CS for $500 obo. 1 hp. 14" cast frame.

https://mansfield.craigslist.org/tls/d/jet-bandsaw/6336451097.html

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Right now I'm thinking of a quick drive to Mansfield for the Jet.  Since our machine shop uses some Jet equipment I have cause to lean that way.  Good stuff.

Since my 10" steel city was 1/2 HP (clearly inadequate) I'm wondering of the impact of the 1hp to 1.5hp difference. Thoughts?

**

But there are some other questions ... Sort of peripheral but might be useful for other shoppers ...

So here's the question that comes to my mind: There are two form factors in this price range. And they both *look* exactly alike. Of course one mfr might use better minor components than another and that can account for price, as well as the frim's quality control process. 

But the more I shop the more I wonder. Are all the steel shells made by the same firm and the companies (Rikon, Sears, et al) all OEM those and add their own parts and business process?

Likewise, are all the cast frame units the same with the difference falling again in the same categories.

They all appear to be using the same (the outer shell appearance) Emerson motor as in my table saw.

 

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I have the Craftsman bandsaw and bought a Rikon fence for it, works fine.  No guarantees, I suppose, but in general if the castings look identical then they probably are clones and accessories will work.  Kind of like how accessories for low end lathes all fit the Harbor Freight house brand because the castings are all the same.  Look on Amazon for parts even if you don't buy them there, the comments are full of what all brands they fit.  Much like with electronics, the brand name for commodity items is paying for the QC, calibration, and warranty. 

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The new Grizzly and the used Jet would be a coin flip.  Jet is okay but it's not Powermatic.  It falls closer to Grizzly quality and PM price.  I don't find much value in Jet personally, with a couple exceptions.

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12 minutes ago, Eric. said:

The new Grizzly and the used Jet would be a coin flip.  Jet is okay but it's not Powermatic.  It falls closer to Grizzly quality and PM price.  I don't find much value in Jet personally, with a couple exceptions.

Probably the only advantage I can see with the Grizzly is that it comes with bearings instead of blocks. The main unit appears otherwise identical. The solid base of the Jet would be its positive. Like you say, a coin flip. Tx.

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1 minute ago, collinb said:

Probably the only advantage I can see with the Grizzly is that it comes with bearings instead of blocks. The main unit appears otherwise identical. The solid base of the Jet would be its positive. Like you say, a coin flip. Tx.

Don't get me wrong, the Jet will be a higher quality unit than the Grizzly for sure.  Low bar.  And don't put too much stock in the OEM guide bearings on the Grizzly...they're garbage.  I had to replace mine after a few years because they completely seized.  The advantage of the Grizzly is that it will be a new machine with a one year warranty.  And that's about it.

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2 minutes ago, Eric. said:

Don't get me wrong, the Jet will be a higher quality unit than the Grizzly for sure.  Low bar.  And don't put too much stock in the OEM guide bearings on the Grizzly...they're garbage.  I had to replace mine after a few years because they completely seized.  The advantage of the Grizzly is that it will be a new machine with a one year warranty.  And that's about it.

Went over to Woodwerks Supply over lunch and looked at the Jet on the floor. Nice, solid unit.

Just an aside: Their biggest seller is the Rikon 10-324. Larger form factor (still a 14" class) and has a > 12" cutting height capacity. Sears has those on sale right now. And a fence to go with it.

 

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When I was looking for a 12", the Craftsman, and the Rikon didn't look like clones.   They came out of the same factory, and the only differences were the color of the doors, and the name brand on the top door.  No Rikon supplier could come close to the price of the Craftsman on sale, which also includes free shipping to either the store, or home, even before the sizable percentage difference in price.

I'm not convinced that cast iron is the best choice for a bandsaw frame.  My 14" has a cast iron frame, and it can easily be flexed.  My 24" Centauro has a steel box frame, and I expect you could break a .035" thick 1" blade with it if you tried.  Maybe if one has as much cast iron as Northfield puts in theirs, it might be a different story.

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13 hours ago, Bankstick said:

Said DP instead of BS.  It's been a long day!  Been watching baseball playoffs all day.  It's good to be retired!!!!!!

Doesn't that "good" depend a bit on who you're cheering for?

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28 minutes ago, Lester Burnham said:

Man.. I had that in my post but went back and edited it out to see if there were other opinions. I've been thinking things over a lot lately about what I like making, what I want to learn to make, and what I physically can make in my tiny space and I've been steering toward a bandsaw purchase in place of a table saw. A real table saw would take up half my work space. The 1412 looks to be the shizzy but I was wondering if there was a less expensive option. I've already started a cookie jar fund for a bandsaw anyway. Just wondered where to point it when the time comes.

There are less expensive options...and way more expensive options.  But you get what you pay for.  The 1412 has kind of been universally accepted as the best bang for the hobbyist's buck, same as the DW735 and the Supermax sanders.

The bandsaw is such a versatile machine, and once you get a good one tuned up and dialed in, it can open up a world of new opportunities for you.  If you already have a table saw - no matter how weak - I would prioritize the bandsaw purchase.

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My limited bandsaw use dropped it low in my priorities.  It's the Craftsman 14" Rikon clone with no fence, I clamp on a shop made fence when needed.   I use it to rip rough stock and cut curves, that's really it.  Maybe with a better saw I'd use it for more, but I can't really envision how it would fit into my normal work flow any differently. 

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12 minutes ago, bleedinblue said:

My limited bandsaw use dropped it low in my priorities.  It's the Craftsman 14" Rikon clone with no fence, I clamp on a shop made fence when needed.   I use it to rip rough stock and cut curves, that's really it.  Maybe with a better saw I'd use it for more, but I can't really envision how it would fit into my normal work flow any differently. 

The more complicated your projects become, the more useful the bandsaw becomes.  Resaw is a very big deal and it can do some weird joinery that nothing else but hand tools can do.

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Having a Grizzly Band Saw, I would probably go with the Grizzly over the Jet.  The Grizzly you get a warranty, the Jet being used, you don't.  I did replace the bearings on mine as well, but it was not an expensive replacement, and only took a few minutes.  No, the bearings aren't as good as Carter bearings, but they keep them clean and spray dry lube (they aren't as sealed as you think they are), they will last awhile.

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Lester,with the quality of work you're cranking out, you're already hard to compete with! E is right ( for a change:D), a larger bs will make you wonder why you didn't upgrade sooner. To be honest, I bought mine mainly to resaw, now I find I use it on nearly every project I make. I was not aware of the possibilities. 

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