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Mark J

Jet JWBS-14SFX 14 inch bandsaw

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I finally got around to putting together and setting up this bandsaw this weekend, and I wanted to share some initial observations.  I haven't used it significantly so I won't make this an in depth review.  

Like any big power tool the assembly seriously benefits from a second strong set of hands (which is one of the reasons I waited so long to unbox this, that and I was busy doing other things that didn't require cutting anything).  Note to manufacturers, when you are planning the packaging it wouldn't be a bad thing if some more assembly was required.  A larger number of smaller, and hence easier to assemble, pieces would be appreciated.  A lifting point at the top of the machine wouldn't go unused, either.  

Aside from the mass, the assembly was easy.  The saw mounts to the base, the cast iron table mounts to the trunnions and those are the major steps.  The saw includes a blade which is already mounted and curiously shipped under tension.  The box included all of the metric allen wrenches needed, except for 4 mm, but frankly if you have any power tools made this century you need a set of metric allens so pick one up next time you're at the True Value.  I think including the tools was a nice gesture.  

The instructions were relatively clear and easy to follow (for this day and age).  One suggestion I would make is to postpone mounting the table until you have set up the blade and blade guides.  Although doable, it is difficult to make the lower guide adjustments from under the table, and while you will have to make these adjustments from under the table in the future, it is nice to be able to see what you are doing the first time and get familiar with the under table arrangement.  

Also I recommend you review the Snodgrass bandsaw setup videos before you set up your blade.  I set up using the factory instructions, but I like Snodgrass' approach better, so now I get to squirm under the table a second time.  By the way there is not a lot of difference, mostly where on the wheel he centers the blade.

When I mounted the table I had to shift it all the way to one side to get it aligned.  But it is aligned and I don't wish for more travel, so...OK.  I had to file the miter slots at the leading edge of the table.  There were burrs that impeded the travel of the miter gauge, certainly not a big deal, but what?  they don't have files in China?  

A bigger beef is the blade guard.  It goes down just fine, but jams on the way up.  Jiggle it and it continues up, but jams a second time, jiggle and it continues to the top of its travel.  The problem is repeatable.  After investigating here's what I discovered.  It's a stupid design.  The orange guard sits loosely in the machine (intentionally).  As it is elevated from its lowest point it snags on a couple of internal structures.  Here's some pictures:


The guard is intentionally able to move a little.


But it then snags on this raised area of the rack and pinion housing.


And also snags on this screw.  Jiggling it will free the guard up, but here is a simple solution.  


I just put in a simple shim anchored with a piece of packaging tape.  Solved both snag points.  Now the guard goes up and down fine.  

Again this is no biggy,  a simple solution with easily at hand materials, but apparently that Chinese tool box that has no files has no shims in it either.

Lastly, once we had it assembled and on the Portamate mobile base it wobbled.  I don't know if this was the fault of the mobile base or the machine base, but again pop in a shim and done.  

I think these "problems" were minor, so I am pleased with what went together this weekend.  As far as performance, I cut through a two inch piece of poplar so I can attest that it will cut through two inches of poplar.    

Oh one other thing.  It has a tensioning lever, and I have been given to understand that running a bandsaw with a detensioned blade is a badness, so I put a bicycle reflector on the tensioning handle to call my attention to its position.  




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So I was going through the Snodgrass routine and got to thinking more about that blade guard.  Although it seemed intentionally loose, there is a spring that holds the blade guard to one side,  there just didn't seem to be any purpose to making it that way.  Spent some time looking at the mechanism more closely  and found two recessed screws in the back.  Sure enough they were loose and sure enough they were 4mm allen.  I guess that the factory had neither files nor 4mm allen wrenches the day they made this unit.  Anyway tightening the two screws solved the problem.  Took out the shim.  

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On that blade guard... I had a similar problem with my Laguna 14-12.    Although I think in my case it was the blade rubbing on the guard.  I had to adjust some screws to reposition it.    Maybe this is something that just kind of gets knocked loose during shipping.

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