Powermatic - PWBS-14CS, POW 14" WW Bandsaw (Rating: 4)

I finally convinced myself that I was ready for a bandsaw. I spent about a month looking into them and settled on the Powermatic 14". I wasn't interested in getting something that I would have to upgrade due to any number of possible deficiencies so I thought I was safe with the trusted Powermatic name. Well, I was almost right.

I had a rough start with this saw. If it wasn't for their superior customer service I would have returned it. I ordered the 14" bandsaw, riser block, and rolling stand. The first thing I opened was the stand. It's very strong with great mobility but the plastic thumb screws you use to lock the wheels were broken (the plastic thumb grip). Not a big deal, but annoying. I read a few reviews on the saw where people had a hard time installing the riser block. The pins that line everything up are sometimes a little off. I was hoping that mine would be OK. I was wrong. It was impossible to track the blade. I called them up and they recommended I enlarge the holes that receive the pins which would allow some side-to-side movement. I did that and was able line the upper and lower wheel. They also sent out a new set of thumb screws for the rolling base.

I also had a issue with the upper blade guard. The threads in the upper bearing block were stripped and I couldn't tighten the blade guard. I called them back and the rep said they were out of stock but he took the entire upper guide (including the bearings) off a new saw they had and sent me that. I appreciated that greatly. I ended up getting another complete assembly a few weeks later. I guess they came in stock?? Finally, I had the saw running. I picked up a bunch of Timer Wolf blades and started using the saw. One of the features of this saw is the Carter quick release for the blade. You only have to lower a handle to loosen the blade to change it, or when you are done for the day. I went to raise it and the gears inside broke. It's entirely possible that the blade was too tight but I don't' think it was. I tightened the blade according to the Timber Wolf's instructions which is generally looser than other blades. I called them back and they sent me the entire lift mechanism minus the handle.

The instructions were good and included helpful pictures for most of the steps. I had a hard time setting up the motor and getting the right tension on the belt. The motor is heavy and it's home is an enclosed cabinet. It was tough to get everything lined up and tensioned while tightening the bolts. I ended up getting my car jack out and placed it below the motor. I used it to raise and lower the motor until I got the right tension. It made the job much easier.

I've had the saw for just over a year now and it's performed flawlessly. I use it for ripping, cross cuts, curve stuff, and resawing. I even cut up logs now and turn them into lumber.

I would have given 5 stars but the issues I encountered take one away.