Ridgid BS1400 W/Riser Block

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Review by MrRon posted 10-28-2012 08:30 PM 5591 views 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Ridgid BS1400 W/Riser Block No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

Out of the box, I would give it a 2 star rating, but after tweaking it a bit, I was able to raise it to 4 stars. I moved the motor to a position below the saw, made a new belt guard, replaced the blade guides and tires. I got it on clearance from HD; I think I paid around $175. I generally don’t expect 100% satisfaction from any tool I buy, but if there is something I can do to improve it, I will. The only time I will return a tool is when the fault is beyond my ability to fix.

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8 comments so far

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#1 posted 10-28-2012 09:47 PM

I have an orange one. I also tuned it up and really like it now.

link belt
new base
balanced wheels
eurathane tires
cool blocks
Timberwolf blade.

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#2 posted 10-29-2012 01:58 PM

I’m in the middle of fixing one of these up right now. I have question for those of you who have just tweaked your saws. I noticed the upper wheel doesn’t spin as freely as the lower wheel, so I ordered new bearings for it. When I started to take the wheel off, I found that the bearing was fine, but that when the nut that holds the wheel on is tightened down, it causes the bearing to rub just a little bit. I swapped out for new bearings anyway since I had them, but that didn’t fix it. I think its the black plastic bearing seal that is either rubbing in back or hitting the nut on the front. Either way, I ddin’t see any washers or spacers on it to prevent that. Did either of you run into this issue?

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244 posts in 2893 days

#3 posted 10-29-2012 01:59 PM

MrRon, forgot to ask, where did you get your riser block?

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#4 posted 10-29-2012 05:35 PM

Craftsman 70; I ordered the riser block from Ryobi, who handles service for Ridgid. It took me about 3 weeks to get it. It went together just fine. Plan on ordering a new 105” blade also as the one that comes with the kit is junk.

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#5 posted 10-30-2012 02:02 AM

Craftsman70, my top wheel spins freely. Again I have the Orange Ridgid, not the older gray one.

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57 posts in 3537 days

#6 posted 11-02-2012 08:09 PM

I have the orange as well, my top wheel was the same thing, I assumed it was because the bearings needed some spinning to free up, I’ll have to check on that now. I also have the riser block which I got from Grizzly. It came very quickly but the color doesn’t match.

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#7 posted 11-14-2012 04:35 PM

I bought the older gray version of this saw off of Craigslist for about $150 if I remember correctly. Initially, my only issue with it was that the base had a bent leg, and the wheels were non-locking. Then I turned it on… It vibrated so much that I thought I was looking at an old steam engine contraption from a black and white movie! As it was also my first bandsaw, I didn’t realize how hard it was going to be to use, but I had a crib to make for my son who was coming in a couple months and decided to give it a shot. After chasing it around the shop for an evening I set it to the side and whipped out the jigsaw.

A few weeks later I replaced the stock belt with a linked belt, built a new stand for it, and picked up the Rockler bandsaw table. I lost about an inch of resaw capacity with the table but now the saw runs just fine, and I’ve had it for about a year. I have no problems with it now, but it will probably end up back on Craigslist sooner or later, once I get the ok from the wife to upgrade to one of the 14” Grizzlys with a riser block. I’d say that for the price I paid it was a good deal, but I would not recommend picking it up new at retail price, unless you don’t mind tweaking a brand new tool.

-- Plan for the worst. Expect things to go downhill from there.

View ferstler's profile


342 posts in 4288 days

#8 posted 12-22-2012 10:29 PM

I own the later orange version of this saw, purchased new some time back, and it is a pretty basic band saw in the old style. It came with the standard metal guide blocks and the usual, right-angle positioned bearing behind the blade. The frame is cast iron, as is the work table. The wheels appear to be cast (not machined) aluminum, but they seem decently round (the blades I use have never drifted or acted up), and the 3/4-HP induction motor is attached to the lower wheel by means of an automotive type V-belt. The blade guard and upper guide assembly can be raised or lowered for a maximum cut of 6 inches by means of a single release knob.

The saw came wired for 120, but it can be wired for either 120- or 240-volt operation. The manual offers rewiring instructions for a 240-volt hookup. The manual itself is better written than some of the other tool manuals I have seen.

The saw came with a stand that is decently stiff, with an additional metal sheet under the top surface to stiffen it up a bit. The motor is rubber mounted. Assembling the stand and saw was a relative snap.

I do most of my woodworking out on a deck adjacent to my small shop (I am in north Florida, where this is possible 9 months of the year, with the summer months being just too hot), so I built a wooden platform under the stand, bolted them together, and installed 3-inch pivoting wheels on the bottom. This bottom board adds chassis stiffness and allows me to carefully move the 200 pound assembly easily onto the deck. It also raises the height several inches, which I find makes the saw easier to use. To secure the saw when working, I made triangular shaped “chocks” that can be wedged under the base for stability.

OK, now let’s get down to the details.

First, the saw vibrated too much out of the box. I discovered that the main offender was the V-belt. The belt was, well, junk, with a twist to it and too damned much stiffness. I went to an automotive parts shop and had the clerk (you need a clerk with a good attitude) go into the back and locate a flexible, segmented belt the same length. That solved much of the saw’s vibration problem.

I also installed little clip-on weights to each wheel. (I had some specialized versions on hand, but any really small, automotive wheel-balancing weights might also work just fine.) To do this accurately you need to remove the blade and V-belt and let gravity swing the wheels down to where the heavy sections are at the bottom. (This operation also allowed one to assess the condition of the wheel bearings.) You then clip the weight on at the top and check again to see if gravity pulls the wheels in any direction after releasing them at different positions. If they do not move they are balanced enough. If things are still off you need larger weights, a second weight, or a smaller weight. I was lucky, and I hit the mark on the first try. This modification solved nearly all of the remaining vibration problem.

I topped off the anti-vibration mods by solidly mounting the motor. Yep, I removed the rubber mounts (which looked like afterthought jokes) and replaced them with a small sheet of properly drilled out 3/4-inch MDF. I also added additional stiffness to the stand’s mounting plate by installing an additional and larger sheet of drilled-out 3/4-inch MDF under the metal surface. Doing this mandated longer mounting screws and large washers below, needless to say. This series of modifications allowed the saw to be butter smooth in its operation. The rubber belts already installed on the wheels were no problem, although I did purchase two spares for future use.

I also replaced the metal guide blocks with some fiber-material “cool blocks” that Ridgid was offering for sale at the time via their phone-order service. In addition, I removed the lower blade guard from the unit, because it appeared to not be needed at all and mainly functioned as a barrier to easily adjusting the lower guide blocks and bearing. I also later on permanently removed the belt cover in the back, allowing me to easily monitor the status of the belt itself. Ridgid may no longer offer the cool blocks, but other outfits should offer them.

While side-mounted, sliding rubbing blocks seem outdated compared to newer-design saws that use bearings in those locations, I believe that the blocks might have one advantage over bearings: they scrape the blade clean as it runs. Bearings might just compress built-up sludge on the blade surface as it runs and gradually pinch it too hard. This is just a theory, of course, with some woods possibly causing more problems than others.

The upper and lower sections of the saw’s cast-iron frame are held together by a large nut and bolt, plus large washers. There was space at that junction point for an additional smaller nut and bolt (and rectangular washers that I cut myself), and I installed them to make damned sure that the two sections locked together with little chance of the cast iron being overstressed. Doing this would also be a good idea if a riser block was added, like what we have with the above review.

Finally, I expanded the size of the cast-iron table by adding a wooden frame made out of 2×4 sections around its back edge, right-side, and front edge. The left-side edge got a narrower piece of wood so that the table could still tilt a few degrees in that direction. This wooden frame around the cast-iron table is screwed together and is held in place by additional screws running into the pre-drilled holes in the front and back of the table. The wooden section is kept in cosmetic shape by regular applications of lemon oil. The notch for blade removal in the cast-iron table is continued through the wooden extension section on the right side, with the groove in the wooden pieces held together with a stiff, quick-release crosspiece below. The overall table is now 20×18 inches in size, with lines scribed into the wooden extensions to help keep things aligned when doing freehand or fence cuts.

Actually, this was not the final thing. I also replaced all of the rubber-covered knobs with wooden ones that I machined on a disc sander (carefully) and stained and polyurethaned. Adds some old-style class to the thing.

Another review I read about the saw said that the optional fence Ridgid offers is not all that good. This is one reason I was not afraid to do the wooden extension modification, since doing it would make it impossible to use the Ridgid fence. I made a fence of my own out of lumber, and if I need a fence I simply hold it in place with clamps, making sure that it is parallel to the lines scribed into the wooden extension sections. Most of my cutting is done freehand, however.

The wooden table expansion does two things. First, it offers a larger work surface. Second, it keeps the edge of the cast-iron table from marring any work pieces. While some owners might just attach a ¾-inch board to the top of the iron table, this approach moves the work surface a bit too far from the lower blade guides in my opinion. I figured that simply surrounding the iron table with a wooden belt would be a better choice.

Oh yes, to make the saw more amenable to what I do when cutting, I removed the 3/8 inch blade that came with the saw and replaced it with the 1/2 incher mentioned above for better straight-line cutting.

Note that I also have a small Ryobi band saw. This thing is almost a toy, but I have discovered that by keeping a narrow blade installed I can use it for some smaller-scale jobs that would require me removing the 1/2 incher from the Ridgid unit for curve-cutting work. The Ryobi, like the Ridgid, has wooden expansion sections attached to the metal table for a better work surface. The Ryobi is actually a decent little saw.

Overall, I think the 14-inch, Ridigid BS1400 model is a decent band saw, particularly for the $350 that I paid. Yes, I had to work on it a bit to get it up to snuff, but the result is an item that I can use for decently precise work. With the fence I made I was able to cut a four-foot hickory broom handle “lengthwise” into four precise quarter sections to make the frame rails for the speaker grills used for the speaker systems I built and discussed in the projects section of this site. That is detail work that is good enough for me.

Howard Ferstler

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