Reply by RichardDePetris

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Posted on Trying to decide between a Rikon, Laguna, and Grizzly Bandsaw - any input?

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61 posts in 2463 days

#1 posted 01-19-2014 07:38 PM

Nice list. I have a so called Crapstman Professional 14” Bandsaw which is nearly identical to the Rikon 320 (older model), but has a 4” higher cutting capacity. You can see the pictures as well as a nice jig for cutting logs.

I will give you a definitive an answer to your question: buy the Laguna! I don’t own one, but I want one after reading the reviews and using my bandsaw over the past year. Both the Grizzly and Rikons are based off of the same tired old design that hasn’t changed in decades. They are probably made in the same facilities with different branding and little in the way of value added features. Laguna appears to have invested R&D into solving some very important issues facing the bandsaw that keep it from becoming the true go-to-tool in the shop. The beauty of the machine alone is worthy the price. Checkout the video: Boy, they really went all out on this model!

Here’s the most important criteria for any bandsaw:

Quality of cut is the most important factor, but Bandsaws all have the same issues and although I haven’t seen the cut quality of the different machines, it’s largely determined by your setup and blade. Of the three bandsaws, Laguna takes a lot of the work out of the setup that typically causes bandsaw owners grief.

The Laguna ceramic guides are legendary. On the other models, you have the typical bearing guides that are painful to adjust. You just want to get your work done instead of playing machinist. With the Laguna just set it and forget it. This also makes it brain dead easy to change the blade which leads us to the next criterion.

Most bandsaw owners keep one general purpose blade on the machine or dedicate the entire machine for one type of cut. They do this because changing blades is too troublesome. You want to change the blade depending on the type of cut without making compromises in quality. Overall, the blade swapping appears to be easy on the Laguna, but since the table is dead flat, there’s less messing around with the table lock to align the table.

The Laguna trunions are very durable and cast iron. It appears to be better designed. My bandsaw has a cheapy aluminum one and it’s a PITA keeping the table squared because there’s a friction knob that slips due to heavy stock or time. The Rikon 325 is iron, but same basic design.

The fence on the Laguna is way better than the Rikon or the Grizzly. It’s the same as on their larger saws you don’t have to buy or make a specialized fence for resawing. It can be oriented to a low profile as well for smaller stock easily. Few bandsaw owners like their fences.

Since the Rikon and the Laguna are identical in cutting capacity, I would definitely rule out the Grizzly. There’s nothing worse than not being able to process raw lumber because of cutting capacity limitations.

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