Rikon - 10-325 14-Inch Deluxe Bandsaw (Rating: 3)

It was between the Grizzly G0555X, G0513 and the Rikon Deluxe. I deliberated the total cost of ownership and quality of each saw. That meant upgrades, modifications, shipping and the number of years I was sure the saw would be useful to me.

Many reviews I read on the grizzly's said that they had vibration issues so they'd need new poly bands for the wheels and other slight modifications that actually add to the total price. I've never been ok with sub-par quality so I knew would also want to make those and other adjustments. There's also the shipping price of $94 with the Grizzly. Now I wasn't sure when I'd need 12 or 13 inches of resaw capacity which means I very well may need it someday. I like to buy quality tools that last many years so I better get the one designed to do what I want it to at any point in time. Woodcraft carries the Rikon in store. Living 3 hours from a woodcraft store and having friends in that area, a road trip wasn't out of the question and I wouldn't consider it part of the expense. Woodcraft just happened to be having 15% off on all power tools that weekend so I got my Rikon for a total of $714.

I set it up last night (get help lifting) and there seemed to be a problem with the cast iron top. When I squared the table to the blade on one side the other side of the table wasn't square to the other side of the blade. The leveling bar under the table wasn't able to pull the two sides into alignment either. I called Rikon today and tech said that this was very strange but very unacceptable. They have a new cast iron table top in the mail today and they don't want the other one back. Not sure what I'll do with the other table top.

I also setup the upper and lower guides. They were a slightly frustrating and difficult to get precise. It's easy to tell that they were going for precision adjustment abilities but it just wasn't happening. It's actually difficult to explain. I was able to get the guides very close without too much pain though.

I will update later when I get my new cast top and ask their tech some setup questions to make sure I'm not doing anything wrong.

UPDATE: 8-24-09
I installed the new cast iron top yesterday. The front side is square to the blade and the back half is square to the blade. Once that was done it was time to make sure the fence was square to my now level table. Using my engineers square I quickly realize that the front of the fence isn't completely flat. It has a very slight bow in it along the height and it occurs across the fence. (I have attached a picture further down in the discussion) The best I could achieve in squaring the face of the fence was to get the middle (along the height) of the fence to touch my square. That is still not acceptable to someone who wants precision from his tools. Now I'm getting a little more than frustrated with this saw. I know I didn't buy the tip top of the line bandsaw but I definitely thought I paid enough to receive a level table and an unwarped fence.
I will be placing another call today.

Well I called and spoke with Al this time at Rikon. I told him of the problem with my fence. He said he would send out another fence right away. He did ask how many thousandths it was off though. I told him it was enough to make my square rock back and forth ever so slightly. The fence needs to be dead flat.

UPDATE: 8-31-09
I received my fence 2 days ago. All I had to do was hold it in my hand, place my engineers square on the face of the fence and it was painfully obvious that it was worse than my first. I can't believe that they're sending these fences out. 2 out of 2 is pretty bad for 1 customer. To be sure I took my engineers square to my local woodworking store and compared it to a new Incra square. Mine was just like the incra and I don't think the incra's off square.
I spoke with Rod this morning. He said that there were some problems with the cutting bit overheating the front of the fence as it cut the openings for the resaw bar. So I may have received 2 fences where they used a dull cutting bit and no cutting lubricant he said. Rod's going to personally check each fence face for flatness and send me a good one this time. Thanks Rod.

UPDATE: 9-10-09
I received my 3rd fence. I pulled it out of the box stuck the edge of my square on the face of the fence and my heart sank again. Again! I couldn't believe it. Another fence that doesn't have a flat face. That makes 3 bad fences I've received from them. I'm going to call them today but I can't imagine what they'll say. I posted pictures of this one down below.