Craver

First, but quality Bandsaw purchase

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So I am a new pretty new woodworker and have been acquiring my first tool in most categories over the past year. I am a big believer in buying something that is of high quality and does not cause tons of frustration and/or unnecessary maintenance over the years. I plan on using the bandsaw for general purposes (cutting curves, breaking down rough sawn material, some but not a ton of resawing, etc.) So far with my research and the 10% off sale coming for black friday I am looking to pull the trigger this weekend on a machine. 

2 main options I am looking at.. Though I’m open to other ideas. (Don’t want to spend more than 2k, would prefer $1,000-1,500)

-Powermatic 14in Bandsaw

-Laguna BX 2.5HP 220V Bandsaw

So far from what I can see both look like quality machines, the laguna has the more European style frame with more resaw capacity, and a different type of guide system, where as the powermatic is more traditional and know to be just a quality machine (from what I have read), less resaw capacity, little less power, but it is a little cheaper which is nice. 

I know some have named their horrors with Laguna Customer service, but thats not too big of an issue with me. I do have their p/flux DC and am very happy with the quality. 

 

Thanks for the help,

Craver

 

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Welcome to the forums, Craver! 

If it were me, I would get the Laguna. The welded steel frame (European) design is more rigid and can withstand more tension than the cast iron frames used on the older style bandsaws. I'm not knocking the PM at all, it's just an older design. The people I know that have the 14BX have been very happy with them. 

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I have neither saw, but have seen a few comments on each. PM is known to make solid machines, and aside from the customer service issue you mentioned, Laguna seems to make quality products.  If possible, I'd suggest getting some hands-on time with them to get a feel for them.  One thing that always comes to mind with bandsaws is table height - as I recall, Laguna typically has a lower table than other manufacturers...that may or may not matter, especially if you're going to put it up on a mobile base.

 

 

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6 minutes ago, Mick S said:

Welcome to the forums, Craver! 

If it were me, I would get the Laguna. The welded steel frame (European) design is more rigid and can withstand more tension than the cast iron frames used on the older style bandsaws. I'm not knocking the PM at all, it's just an older design. The people I know that have the 14BX have been very happy with them. 

That was what I was inferring by what I have initially read, however, the PM 15in looks like maybe the best of both worlds, but is a good amount more money and may be more saw than I need.

I guess my only question is, is the Laguna worth the little bit more? or is stepping up to that almost worth trying to get the PM 15in.

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Don't buy one or the other based on hp. I agree that 1.5hp on a saw that size is all you need. More than that is just gravy.

This is an expensive enough purchase that you should see both in person. Find the nearest woodcraft and drive to them. Check them both out. Have the guys there power them up and run a piece of stock through them. You will definitely know which you want after that no questions asked. 

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Welcome!

Opinions will run wild on this :).  Either of those machines would probably serve you well.  Powermatic is quite proud of their tools and they are priced at a premium for their tier in the marketplace.  That being said, they make a couple of really nice bandsaws.  Laguna reviews seem to run mostly good with a few poor reviews here and there to remind us that no brand is without its troubles.

The choice between cast iron or welded frame would be more important to me in a larger saw.  I may be in the minority here but IMHO, for bandsaws, mass, rigidity and power are the troika of performance.  The quantity of these factors will vary with saw size and under 1-2 HP for a 14" saw with an appropriate blade is plenty of power if you don't try to overdrive your headlights . . . that is; ask too much of the machine.

There are certainly other popular models that fit your budget but, I assume you have narrowed it down to these two for your own reasons.  After-market goodies are more prevalent for the 14" cast iron clones that everyone makes.  The PM PWBS-14CS seems to come well equipped so that factor may not hold much value for you.  The Laguna is a "newer" machine but, I think you can find lots of reviews on it that will tell you more than I can.

Again, welcome and enjoy the hunt!

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Y’all have really made some great points for me and I appreciate all the feedback and knowledge y’all have shared. I will take a look at the Rikon, I can’t find much logic to go larger than a 14in bandsaw for now. 

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You’re ahead of the curve in that you are sure of the size you want. Now it comes down to features and performance (and prices of course).

As mentioned, if you want to upgrade your fence, guides and other features the 14 inch cast-iron clone has a wider array of aftermarket stuff than other formats. This generally isn’t too important if you are buying a newer saw , cast-iron or not,  that already comes feature rich.

 Your care in set up, alignment and your blade selection will affect your performance more than almost any other thing. I see way too many people throw hundreds of dollars at fences, guides, springs and tires trying to force a poorly aligned saw to perform well. Just take your time and get it set up right from the beginning and you will reap dividends every time you use it.

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I have the 2.5hp 14bx it's a great saw. You can say the power isn't necessary but it's nice. I can power through thick cuts with a duller blade. Frame feels really rigid and the fit and finish is great. I've played with the 14" powermatic in store and it is also a great saw but i'd say the 14bx and the powermatic are saws for different jobs. The powermatic would be a great saw for a think blade cutting curves the 14bx is built to handle resawing much much better.

If your not going to resaw a ton the 14-12 is an option as well. I didn't read every word of what's posted above so sorry if i repeat.

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Just to piggy back on this thread:  I have a 12" Craftsman (I got it for free, basically.)  I have trouble making straight cuts on it and it would take forever to cut through a 6 inch beam.  Do the Laguna and PM saws being discussed here differ on these abilities (or are you going to tell me that the Sawyer makes the cuts straight :-)

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18 minutes ago, Pondhockey said:

Just to piggy back on this thread:  I have a 12" Craftsman (I got it for free, basically.)  I have trouble making straight cuts on it and it would take forever to cut through a 6 inch beam.  Do the Laguna and PM saws being discussed here differ on these abilities (or are you going to tell me that the Sawyer makes the cuts straight :-)

I had a 12" Craftsman once.  It had a 1/3 HP motor so you might check yours.  It was capable of cutting thin stock only and tracked like a drunken sailor.

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  I  have a 12" Craftsman, and it's not worth the effort to even try to make a perfectly straight cut with it, even though it is a nice little saw.....for a 12".  Also, I have a 14" old Delta, and a 24" Centauro.

The larger the bandsaw, the thicker and wider the blade it can tension.  A thicker blade can hold more tension, so it's sort of a circle thing.  More tension equals a blade that will deviate only with more resistance.  The thicker, and wider the blade is, also progressively makes it more difficult for the blade to deviate in a cut, even at a similar tension to a thinner blade, but add more tension, and the difference goes up exponentially. 

Since a larger bandsaw can turn a thicker and wider blade around the larger radius of the wheel, they can also run at a higher speed.  With the optimum blade for a 14" saw, it will cut almost straight, but feed rate has to be a lot slower than a larger saw simply because of the difference in blade speed.

With a thick, 1" blade on the 24", you would have a hard time getting it to cut any way but straight.  I had to make one important cut larger than the normal capacity of the saw, so I took the upper guide assembly completely off the saw.  I didn't push the wood anything like I would normally, but even without any upper guide at all, it still cut a straight cut.  That saw, with a .035" thick, 1" wide blade with 1.3 tpi will make a resaw cut smoother, not even mentioning ten times faster,  than the 14" ever will with any blade made.  It's just simply physics.  Larger teeth moving at a higher speed make it no contest.

A 14" saw is slow, a 12" saw is really slow, and a 24" saw cuts at a speed that you don't see how it can do that after using a 14" saw.  The blade speeds are a lot different because of the physical limits simply because of the wheel diameter.  One thing they conveniently leave out of bandsaw specs, most of the time, is blade speed.

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47 minutes ago, Pondhockey said:

Just to piggy back on this thread:  I have a 12" Craftsman (I got it for free, basically.)  I have trouble making straight cuts on it and it would take forever to cut through a 6 inch beam.  Do the Laguna and PM saws being discussed here differ on these abilities (or are you going to tell me that the Sawyer makes the cuts straight :-)

Like Tom says, the ability to tension a blade is a huge factor. What size and tooth count are you using? 

I have a 10" Craftsman saw. A 3/8" blade is the most it can tension reasonably. I find that anything more than 4 tpi, and it struggles to track straight in 2" stock. I grind away every other tooth from the 6 tpi blades that are locally available, tension it hard, and it can cut cleanly to its max depth, just over 4".

I never thought much about how clearing the waste affects the cut, until I tried thicker cuts with this little saw, and it really opened my eyes. Use a blade width that your saw can tension, no more. Adjust the unloaded tracking so the bottom of the gullets ride the crown (centerline) of the wheel, and use fewer teeth for thicker stock. Worlds of improvement.

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I really appreciate the good information on band saws!  I have a bit of new homework to do.

[PS: my Craftsman 12" has a 1/2 HP motor, is currently sporting a 3/8" blade with 6 tpi.  I have never really tuned it; nonetheless, even though I whine about it's wandering and low cutting capability I have cut tenons and a zillion other small things with it.]

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I recently bought the Rikon 10-326. Though I have no comparison to other bandsaws (this is my first) I couldn't be happier. This past weekend, I resawed some walnut to make 1/4" shiplap for a liquor cabinet I'm building and had the biggest grin on my face the entire time.

I think we're quite lucky these days to have so many good choices.

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The 10-326 is available at Acme right now for $850 after you apply their cyber Monday sale.  Its probably the best deal you'll find on that saw and a big push toward the Rikon over the Laguna, IMO.  Something annoying I find with the Laguna is they always charge $75 for shipping, even from a store that offers free shipping. 

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does running your bandsaw at 230/240v vs 110v make any difference at all?

 

I am somewhat in the same boat .. when I upgrade I am looking between the Rikon 14" and the Laguna 14x12 .. PM is just too much for me on a bandsaw

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6 hours ago, bushwacked said:

does running your bandsaw at 230/240v vs 110v make any difference at all?

 

I am somewhat in the same boat .. when I upgrade I am looking between the Rikon 14" and the Laguna 14x12 .. PM is just too much for me on a bandsaw

OK, here's my understanding.  Since I'm not a EE, here's also a link for a discussion:  http://www.practicalmachinist.com/vb/general-archive/1-hp-motor-should-i-wire-220-110-a-83411/

FIrst off, if your wiring will handle the amps, and not too much else is on the same circuit, and the wiring run is not excessively long, then there's no real advantage to 240 vs 120.

240 will 1) not require as big a wire, or for the same size wire will handle more load (i.e. more devices running simultaneously, such as dust collector...) on the same circuit, and 2) cause lower resistance losses if you have a very long runout from the powerbox to your machine.   

I won't be insulted if someone wishes to correct me!

 

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39 minutes ago, C Shaffer said:

Watts equal voltage times amperage. For the same work, doubling the voltage cuts the amperage draw in half. 

Agreed. But other than that does it make the bandsaw run better or anything like that? Or is it just more toys on same circuit?

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It also leaves you with more headroom in an amperage challenged sub panel. This assumes you have breaker space for the two pole required. 

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