LumberJocks

Harvey Alpha Series Bandsaw Review

  • Advertise with us
Review by mckenziedrums posted 03-11-2020 07:15 PM 5225 views 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Harvey Alpha Series Bandsaw Review Harvey Alpha Series Bandsaw Review Harvey Alpha Series Bandsaw Review Click the pictures to enlarge them

With a big cutting project on the books to start 2020, we were in need of an upgrade to our trusty old 14” Grizzly. It’s not that I particularly had any dislike of the saw, but it wasn’t a production machine and certainly wasn’t going to run the 1” carbide blades we wanted to run for this project. I shopped everything from Laguna to Grizzly and PowerMatic without really a price range in mind other than maybe $3k or less. Most of what I do is 2” or less thickness so I didn’t need the big capacity of an 18”+ bandsaw but I did want some horsepower since we’re cutting through urethane resin 90% of the time.

Big wants/needs items were: Quiet, Smooth cutting (finished part is packaged in plastic, I didn’t want to sand), room to grow, safety features like a foot brake

This particular saw ended up on my list due to the discount they ran back in December of 2019 and the fact that I am lucky enough to have a Harvey T40 lathe in the shop as well. With the quality of the T40, I knew I wanted to give serious consideration to their new bandsaw offering. In case you didn’t know, Harvey has made bandsaws for other brands for years and have basically a Grizzly equivalent sold outside the US market. The Alpha series is a new high end tool line they’ve brought to the US market.

Purchasing experience – At this level, the experience of shopping for the tool and all the steps that happen before it shows up at your shop is important. I purchased mine through LocalWoodWork.com which is owned by Tim Cost and based out of Florida. Bought through the online store, decided to use PayPal’s 0% for 6 months to help with the shop cash flow, and it was a breeze. Shortly after ordering I was informed that they were awaiting shipment of the next batch of saws. Maybe a week later I got a message from the store owner telling me my saw had shipped and that the freight company would be contacting me. I’ve received a lot of freight over the years and this one came faster than most. They do not charge you any extra for a residential or liftgate delivery, which is nice for those of us with shops at home.

Packaging, etc – A lot of thought went into the crating of this substantial tool (440 pounds!) there is an outer cardboard box with a frame of wood under that. They’ve even built a little wood support to hold the table top and prevent damage in shipping. The whole thing is, unsurprisingly, bolted to the pallet so that it won’t move. Short of down right abuse, this one should show up to your shop in one piece. Expect to spend some time uncrating it, and have a friend handy. Two people can get it off the pallet if you’re careful, but again, it is a substantial tool. We were able to get it off the pallet and into a mobile base with minimal drama.

Setup – The instructions for assembly were extremely easy to follow. They’re not quite SawStop level of thought, but they’re not far off. Good pictures, and an easy to follow series of steps makes this a matter of minutes rather than hours. You MIGHT want to get someone to help lift that 20×20 table up onto the saw. That thing is a good portion of the over all weight I think. All the hex keys you need are included, along with a handy little hex key holder that screws into the back of the saw. Most all the adjustments on the saw are the spring loaded handle variety. My particular saw took very little work to get aligned, surprisingly little honestly. They go over all the adjustments in the manual very clearly but this one was darn close from the get go.

The tool itself – After running the saw enough to dull a ReSaw King blade I can honestly say the core of this saw is simply outstanding. It runs smooth, has HP to spare and several visitors to the shop have commented on how quiet it runs. The tool free adjustments to the bearings are great, I didn’t realize how much I would like them until I swapped this blade on and didn’t have to worry about clearances for a hex key. The bottom guides are a little tight for anyone with large hands but if you’re a fan of the “Snodgrass method” you’re probably taking the top off to adjust them anyways. The guides themselves are giant billets of aluminum that just scream high end. Wheels appear to be in excellent balance and thank goodness for the foot brake… Pretty sure this saw would run for a week if you let it coast to a stop. The foot brake DOES have a microswitch, though they don’t do a good job advertising that fact. Both doors are also switched to prevent the saw from starting when they are open. I also appreciate the brushes on the bottom wheel and blade keeping things tidy. We’re only running one of the two dust collection ports and it has done a commendable job thus far despite me throwing resin ribbons of the worst sort at it. Most of the accumulation left in the saw is exactly where the 2nd port is, which means I should probably hook up the other hose since clearly they designed it to work well.

My gripes – No tool is perfect I suppose but the thing about this one is the core of the tool is SOOOOO good that there are some minor things that stuck out on a $3k saw. The first of these is the cheapie plastic measuring window on the fence. It’s a bit too high from the measuring tape which means your head angle can change the measurement enough to be a problem for tight tolerances. Also, the tension window on the back doesn’t have any kind of markings to speed up tensioning with a blade change. I don’t trust those marks on ANY saw, but they’re handy to have to get in the ballpark. The good news is, I brought both of these items up with the Harvey USA rep and within 2 weeks had an email back from their engineers telling me they were addressing both issues. So, they’re taking the feedback seriously and will be improving the saw even more.

So… if you’re in the market for a high end bandsaw. This is one to watch. If you’re in the Charlotte area, you’re welcome to come see mine. I realize they’re fairly new so not a lot of them out there and to the best of my knowledge, only a few retailers carrying the Alpha stuff at the moment. I don’t suspect we’ll see them in Woodcrafts any time soon.




View mckenziedrums's profile

mckenziedrums

122 posts in 3944 days



11 comments so far

View Foghorn's profile

Foghorn

578 posts in 273 days


#1 posted 03-11-2020 11:08 PM

Thanks for the review. That’s a very robust looking saw. The Chinese are improving manufacturing of tools all of the time. A lot of nice features and pretty snazzy looking too!

-- Darrel

View cmmyakman's profile

cmmyakman

305 posts in 3543 days


#2 posted 03-12-2020 03:50 PM

Awesome review – thank you.

-- You can't fail if you don't give up.

View mckenziedrums's profile

mckenziedrums

122 posts in 3944 days


#3 posted 03-12-2020 04:10 PM



Thanks for the review. That s a very robust looking saw. The Chinese are improving manufacturing of tools all of the time. A lot of nice features and pretty snazzy looking too!

- Foghorn


Like anything, it’s all about the tolerances you allow at the factory. The owners at Harvey apparently hold their factory to a higher standard on these Alpha tools for the US market. I can tell you they wasted absolutely no time in contacting me back stating exactly how they were going to improve the pieces I pointed out as in need of some attention. They even offered to send me the replacement pieces when available… I have no affiliation with them other than being brave enough to try a new saw and they took it very seriously.

View tvrgeek's profile

tvrgeek

1054 posts in 2536 days


#4 posted 04-11-2020 09:57 PM

Just ordered their C-14 band saw I will report on it as it progresses. No footprint in NC, so no sales tax and free shipping made it not just what looks like a very good buy to an excellent buy. Very nice to talk to pre-sale even with the pandemic shutdowns. I have great hopes. If it works out, they will probably sell me a new table saw too.

The Chinese can make any level of quality the market will pay for. If a manufacturer is bidding on a Horrible Freight tool, it is going to be really sloppy with crap bearings, poor machine work, and the cheapest motor they can find. If they are bidding on something, say SawStop industrial, they can use the better processes, better parts, etc. as it is being paid for. You don’t always get what you pay for, but if you don’t pay for it, you won’t get it.

View mckenziedrums's profile

mckenziedrums

122 posts in 3944 days


#5 posted 04-11-2020 10:21 PM



Just ordered their C-14 band saw I will report on it as it progresses. No footprint in NC, so no sales tax and free shipping made it not just what looks like a very good buy to an excellent buy. Very nice to talk to pre-sale even with the pandemic shutdowns. I have great hopes. If it works out, they will probably sell me a new table saw too.

The Chinese can make any level of quality the market will pay for. If a manufacturer is bidding on a Horrible Freight tool, it is going to be really sloppy with crap bearings, poor machine work, and the cheapest motor they can find. If they are bidding on something, say SawStop industrial, they can use the better processes, better parts, etc. as it is being paid for. You don t always get what you pay for, but if you don t pay for it, you won t get it.

- tvrgeek

Not sure where you are in NC but I’m in Waxhaw if you ever want to check out this one or their t40 lathe

View MrRon's profile

MrRon

5943 posts in 4130 days


#6 posted 04-24-2020 08:59 PM

Looks like a nice band saw; unfortunately it’s made in China. With the latest misinformation from China and their stealing of interlectural property, I don’t want to help support their economy.

View Steveeeej's profile

Steveeeej

3 posts in 1429 days


#7 posted 05-14-2020 09:26 AM

This may be a terrific product but buying tools made in mainland China feeds the communist party regime. The same regime that loosed Covid 19 on the world and has persecuted and murdered untold numbers of their own people.
You really want to aid and abet a sworn enemy of everything we hold dear?

View Hondo03's profile

Hondo03

60 posts in 716 days


#8 posted 09-28-2020 03:26 AM

I get what your saying about buying from the Chinese. Please name the quality bandsaw or table saw that is made in the US,

View Steveeeej's profile

Steveeeej

3 posts in 1429 days


#9 posted 09-28-2020 08:56 AM

Grizzly is made in Taiwan. Taiwan is not “mainline” China, in fact they are sworn enemies. Never had any issues with Grizzly

View mckenziedrums's profile

mckenziedrums

122 posts in 3944 days


#10 posted 09-28-2020 12:04 PM

I’m not here to discuss politics but to review tools. You should know that the better grizzly lathes are actually made by Harvey…

In any case, we’re still using this saw in our production shop daily. Have dulled at least a dozen carbide blades and I’m still absolutely thrilled with the purchase. I do sort of wish they’d had the 14” one released when I bought this. It’s basically the same saw and at 1400 it’s a steal. Just a smaller table and I think it lacks the door safety switches. Same motor though.

View AndrewZetts's profile

AndrewZetts

1 post in 2 days


#11 posted 10-27-2020 06:08 PM

Any speculation as to what the equivalent model would be for Laguna et al? Seems like it outclasses the 14 SUV in terms of table size, in more ways than just an extra inch for 15”.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com