Great Saw but Assembly was Quirky

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Review by ontheworkbench posted 03-13-2014 05:20 AM 9809 views 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Great Saw but Assembly was Quirky Great Saw but Assembly was Quirky No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

This is my first band saw so perhaps this may not be the best review, but with that in mind I will proceed anyway. I had been looking at bandsaws for a while, and was trying to find one that I thought would fit my needs now and into the future. I just could not justify a benchtop saw as those are not well suited for resawing, but I also wanted to stay in a reasonable budget. Ultimately it came down to this one and the Ridgid. I chose this saw over the orange one due to the closed base which has a more compact footprint so that I can store it against the wall in my garage and have it be out of the way. To that end the saw also needed to fit on a mobile base. One side note on the mobile base, with the configuration that I used, the door on the lower cabinet does not actually open on the hinges but rather is held in place by the magnetic closures.

I purchased a craftsman mobile base on sale a while back and was able to bolt the saw base onto the mobile base; now I can wheel the saw around! This compatibility was a big win in my book! However after that part of the assembly was together, then I mounted the saw on the base, but that is when I encountered a problem. The bottom of the saw, to which to trunion mount is supposed to connect had two holes into which the included bolts were supposed to be secured locking the trunion mount to the saw. However these two holes were NOT tapped. I contacted Porter Cable’s customer service number and the lady I spoke with was kind, and tried to see if my issue had been previously reported, but apparently it had not. To resolve my issue they directed me to contact a factory authorized service center. The other options would have been to return the saw, but moving and transporting this saw is not as simple as tossing it in the trunk of my car. Realizing that to resolve my issue would likely require me to disassemble and transport the saw, I decided the easier method was going to be simply measuring the holes, and then manually tapping them. The included bolts are M8, but the holes were sized perfectly for M7×1.0 threading. After a run to the hardware store and tapping out the holes I was back in business with the saw. This factory quality control issue is why I docked it a star. Given the wheel base and height of the saw, I added about 50 pounds to the lower cabinet to keep it from becoming too top heavy for my level of comfort.

Other than resolving the threading issue, there are two other changes that I would make to the saw. First I wish that it included a work light (like the Porter Cable drill press and bench grinder). However as most other band saws in this price range also lack that feature so I cannot complain too much. Secondly, I wish it included a fence. I’m not sure I need a fence (yet) but at least there are threaded holes in the table to which an aftermarket one could be mounted. Finally, and I’m not sure this is actually an issue, but I noticed that the miter slot is not the same size as the Porter Cable contractor saw (PCB270TS). I would think they should be the same size.

The saw runs quiet, has very little vibration, and was otherwise straightforward to setup and align. Several others have reported success adding a Jet riser block. If you are thinking about a band saw this might be the one.

I also made a video of the unboxing and setup for anyone interested.

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55 posts in 2337 days

8 comments so far

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55 posts in 2337 days

#1 posted 03-13-2014 05:21 AM

In setting up the band saw I found this guide much more useful than the instruction manual

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5822 posts in 4434 days

#2 posted 03-13-2014 04:21 PM

Good review, but I think Porter-Cable owes you something as an accommodation for their sloppy quality control … untapped bolt holes and missing registration pins are not what I would think of as minor issues on a new tool.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

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55 posts in 2337 days

#3 posted 03-13-2014 06:34 PM

@TheDane I agree that I should not have had to tap holes and buy extra bolts, but I’m not sure I want to take it apart and reload it into my vehicle to take to a service center. If i could talk them into a drill press for my trouble then maybe it would be worth it!

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2386 posts in 2783 days

#4 posted 03-13-2014 07:46 PM

I’ve had the same saw for about a year now and I do like it. I wired in a flexible work light(before the motor switch) and mounted to next to the switch. I liberated the light from an old bench grinder, best mod yet. I also added a one inch thick particle board plate inside the top of the cabinet for the saw frame bolts to go through. This made the cabinet more ridgid and helped greatly with vibrations along with a link belt on the motor. I trimmed the upper blade guard to get a little more resaw capacity. I use carter replacement inserts, blades and cool blocks. One of the most used power tools in my shop. Good review of a good tool. Bummer you had to finish manufacturing yours:) I really like the storage cabinet and large table. Maybe a good fence is in its future. I question the power for adding a riser block for resawing. It has bogged a little in 6-1/2” maple, mayb a better blade would help.

-- "My god has more wood than your god" ... G. Carlin.

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2901 posts in 3285 days

#5 posted 03-13-2014 08:30 PM

I also have had this saw for just shy of two years. Using basically 1/4” and 1/8” blades, I was able to crack the aluminum upper wheel axle assembly where it adjusts for blade alignment. Luckily, the part is available from a host of suppliers, and I was able to find one for about $35. That being said, somehow I don’t think this particular part should be a cheap aluminum cast part.
Other than that, I put on bearing guides on the top, and overall it is a great little saw.
I also have a base on mine, made of wood, and the door hits it a little. Have thought many times of shaving off a little of the door.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

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Mainiac Matt

9554 posts in 3099 days

#6 posted 03-13-2014 08:58 PM

From your review, I can’t tell if those holes are supposed to be tapped or not.

I’m not sure what you’re refereeing to as a trunion…. is that part of the mobile base or saw. Also, did the 8mm bolts come with saw or base.

If these are parts that came with the base, then I don’t think PC owes you the ability to be compatible with another manufactures’ mobile base, and the mfg. spec. may not call for the holes to be tapped.

But if they are part of the saw, I’d call BS on the “take it to the service center” bit and insist they issue an RMA to pick up the old saw and ship you one that is correct.

Unfortunately, CS is often outsourced by these monster conglomerates and basically reads you the FAQ list. But even if its in house CS, they are usually very far removed from their outsourced Asian manufacturing, so the chances of them having a clue are very small.

I was very pleasantly surprised by Jets tech support. That guy knew his stuff and was a product expert in every way….. even to the point of knowing what parts from newer models could be used on older models that didn’t reference that sku.

-- Matt -- I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam

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2902 posts in 3019 days

#7 posted 03-24-2014 04:31 PM

Nice video!

Any reason you chose this over the Craftsman BAS350 which is $50 less?

It seems to me like a no brainer between the two. a 4” and 2.5” dust port on the Craftsman (dust collection above and under the table on mine is awesome with the 2.5” port sealed off and just using the 4”), an 8” resaw height without a riser block, and upper/lower bearing guides.


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55 posts in 2337 days

#8 posted 03-26-2014 03:22 AM

@lumberjoe Yes, I would agree that the Craftsman does look nice and has an amazing feature set for the money (guide bearing!). I choose the Porter Cable for one main reason. That being I needed a narrow footprint to store it in my garage when not in use. the Craftsman’s base is wider (deeper) when placed against the wall. It also helped that I had received and saved quite a few Lowe’s gift cards.

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