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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Delta Shopmaster Bandsaw - SM400 - A Budget Bandsaw

So I finally made an excuse to buy a new tool - a bandsaw to be precise. The problem is that I can not foresee a need for a heavy-duty model, nor can I justify its expense at this time. For that money, I could simply ask my wood supplier to resaw it for me for a few bucks.

I went to my local BORG and could only find mid-priced models, $400-800. This was more than I was willing to spend. Then I went to Canadian Tire, since there is currently a 1/3 off sale (thanks MsDebbieP for pointing this out). But I could find no information on the MasterCraft bandsaw they offered, other than what was found on their site. No independant reviews, no one else selling it, and I could not even find out who was the original manufacturer (they re-brand, a very common tool practice). So I eventually found a different tool supplier (RONA, a Canadian BORG, but they have not assimilated their way across the country yet). From them, I found a $130 Delta SM400.



There were only 2 reviews online, and one positive, and one negative, but I had experience with cheap tools before, and I knew it was usually a matter of proper calibration. Besides, if I didn't like it, I would just bring it back. So I bought it, then proceeded to look for an agressive blade… but all I could find were 6 or 8tpi blades, and I wanted a 4tpi for the woods I intended to saw. Three stores later, I found a Viking 3/8" blade, with 3tpi! Perfect!



So I brought it home and assembled it in about 30 minutes, and then I took a further 30 minutes adjusting all the guides and stops, then spinning the blade, and re-adjusting the thing until I knew it couldn't be tweaked any more. I plugged it in, and after adding a bit more tension, declared it good to go.

I played around with a piece of 2×4, using a baseball blank for a fence, since it was the perfect height and it was nice and square! You can see the results here.



Now for $130, this bandsaw has done pretty much everything I have asked of it. It gives clean cuts, and as long as I don't feed too fast it chugs along without any dip in power. I'm never in a rush in my shop, so this is perfect.

Overall, I'm pleased. The first project I used this for is a pair of boxes, for which I needed to split a 3/4" lacewood board, and it worked beautifully. The board pinched the blade and stopped it 3/4 way through the board, but that is acceptale for me, and the solution was simply to extract the wood, flip it around, and cut in from the other end. A higher-powered bandsaw would have never hesitated, but I'm willing to live with that. The reviewers also complained of noise/shake, but if you RTFM, it tells you to bolt the thing down! So I just clamped it to my router table, which is the most stable table I have, due to its density, and it never vibrated at all.



So there you have it. A bandsaw for the little people!
 

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Delta Shopmaster Bandsaw - SM400 - A Budget Bandsaw

So I finally made an excuse to buy a new tool - a bandsaw to be precise. The problem is that I can not foresee a need for a heavy-duty model, nor can I justify its expense at this time. For that money, I could simply ask my wood supplier to resaw it for me for a few bucks.

I went to my local BORG and could only find mid-priced models, $400-800. This was more than I was willing to spend. Then I went to Canadian Tire, since there is currently a 1/3 off sale (thanks MsDebbieP for pointing this out). But I could find no information on the MasterCraft bandsaw they offered, other than what was found on their site. No independant reviews, no one else selling it, and I could not even find out who was the original manufacturer (they re-brand, a very common tool practice). So I eventually found a different tool supplier (RONA, a Canadian BORG, but they have not assimilated their way across the country yet). From them, I found a $130 Delta SM400.



There were only 2 reviews online, and one positive, and one negative, but I had experience with cheap tools before, and I knew it was usually a matter of proper calibration. Besides, if I didn't like it, I would just bring it back. So I bought it, then proceeded to look for an agressive blade… but all I could find were 6 or 8tpi blades, and I wanted a 4tpi for the woods I intended to saw. Three stores later, I found a Viking 3/8" blade, with 3tpi! Perfect!



So I brought it home and assembled it in about 30 minutes, and then I took a further 30 minutes adjusting all the guides and stops, then spinning the blade, and re-adjusting the thing until I knew it couldn't be tweaked any more. I plugged it in, and after adding a bit more tension, declared it good to go.

I played around with a piece of 2×4, using a baseball blank for a fence, since it was the perfect height and it was nice and square! You can see the results here.



Now for $130, this bandsaw has done pretty much everything I have asked of it. It gives clean cuts, and as long as I don't feed too fast it chugs along without any dip in power. I'm never in a rush in my shop, so this is perfect.

Overall, I'm pleased. The first project I used this for is a pair of boxes, for which I needed to split a 3/4" lacewood board, and it worked beautifully. The board pinched the blade and stopped it 3/4 way through the board, but that is acceptale for me, and the solution was simply to extract the wood, flip it around, and cut in from the other end. A higher-powered bandsaw would have never hesitated, but I'm willing to live with that. The reviewers also complained of noise/shake, but if you RTFM, it tells you to bolt the thing down! So I just clamped it to my router table, which is the most stable table I have, due to its density, and it never vibrated at all.



So there you have it. A bandsaw for the little people!
an excellent review - and guide for things to think about if looking to buy.

I could spend hours at Rona - oh wait, I do! ha.
As to the Canadian Tire sale, I can't take credit for announcing the sale.
 

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Delta Shopmaster Bandsaw - SM400 - A Budget Bandsaw

So I finally made an excuse to buy a new tool - a bandsaw to be precise. The problem is that I can not foresee a need for a heavy-duty model, nor can I justify its expense at this time. For that money, I could simply ask my wood supplier to resaw it for me for a few bucks.

I went to my local BORG and could only find mid-priced models, $400-800. This was more than I was willing to spend. Then I went to Canadian Tire, since there is currently a 1/3 off sale (thanks MsDebbieP for pointing this out). But I could find no information on the MasterCraft bandsaw they offered, other than what was found on their site. No independant reviews, no one else selling it, and I could not even find out who was the original manufacturer (they re-brand, a very common tool practice). So I eventually found a different tool supplier (RONA, a Canadian BORG, but they have not assimilated their way across the country yet). From them, I found a $130 Delta SM400.



There were only 2 reviews online, and one positive, and one negative, but I had experience with cheap tools before, and I knew it was usually a matter of proper calibration. Besides, if I didn't like it, I would just bring it back. So I bought it, then proceeded to look for an agressive blade… but all I could find were 6 or 8tpi blades, and I wanted a 4tpi for the woods I intended to saw. Three stores later, I found a Viking 3/8" blade, with 3tpi! Perfect!



So I brought it home and assembled it in about 30 minutes, and then I took a further 30 minutes adjusting all the guides and stops, then spinning the blade, and re-adjusting the thing until I knew it couldn't be tweaked any more. I plugged it in, and after adding a bit more tension, declared it good to go.

I played around with a piece of 2×4, using a baseball blank for a fence, since it was the perfect height and it was nice and square! You can see the results here.



Now for $130, this bandsaw has done pretty much everything I have asked of it. It gives clean cuts, and as long as I don't feed too fast it chugs along without any dip in power. I'm never in a rush in my shop, so this is perfect.

Overall, I'm pleased. The first project I used this for is a pair of boxes, for which I needed to split a 3/4" lacewood board, and it worked beautifully. The board pinched the blade and stopped it 3/4 way through the board, but that is acceptale for me, and the solution was simply to extract the wood, flip it around, and cut in from the other end. A higher-powered bandsaw would have never hesitated, but I'm willing to live with that. The reviewers also complained of noise/shake, but if you RTFM, it tells you to bolt the thing down! So I just clamped it to my router table, which is the most stable table I have, due to its density, and it never vibrated at all.



So there you have it. A bandsaw for the little people!
That actually seems to be a nice little bandsaw and I dont see how you could go wrong at that price. I wonder what I could buy at Festool for $130.00…hhmmm
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Router Depth Gauge

I got this tool last year as a freebie when I made an order from Rockler, and I just tossed it in my router table and promptly forgot about it.

But now that I needed to do some precision router table work, I finally got a chance to use it, and so I'll give a bit of a review. Though I'm sure there are other examples of the same concept, this one can be gotten from Rockler for $5.99.



Though they illustrate the gauge being used directly on the router, it is also useful for measuring the height of bits as they protrude from a router table



Deceptively simple in construction, the aluminium is sturdy and can stand unsupported on its "feet". I keep the bit low, slide the gauge over the bit, and raise the router until the gauge moves. If you can slide the gauge side-to-side over the bit, you have to raise it some more… but once it touches you back off a fraction.

You can also use this tool to measure table saw blade heights, but you have to make sure you are measuring at the peak of the highest tooth, or your depths will not be accurate.

The gauge can measure from 1/16" to 1-1/2" in 1/16" increments, so unless you are working with smaller increments, this tool should be adequate.

Overall, for a tool that costs less than a board-foot of maple, you can't really go wrong!
 

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Router Depth Gauge

I got this tool last year as a freebie when I made an order from Rockler, and I just tossed it in my router table and promptly forgot about it.

But now that I needed to do some precision router table work, I finally got a chance to use it, and so I'll give a bit of a review. Though I'm sure there are other examples of the same concept, this one can be gotten from Rockler for $5.99.



Though they illustrate the gauge being used directly on the router, it is also useful for measuring the height of bits as they protrude from a router table



Deceptively simple in construction, the aluminium is sturdy and can stand unsupported on its "feet". I keep the bit low, slide the gauge over the bit, and raise the router until the gauge moves. If you can slide the gauge side-to-side over the bit, you have to raise it some more… but once it touches you back off a fraction.

You can also use this tool to measure table saw blade heights, but you have to make sure you are measuring at the peak of the highest tooth, or your depths will not be accurate.

The gauge can measure from 1/16" to 1-1/2" in 1/16" increments, so unless you are working with smaller increments, this tool should be adequate.

Overall, for a tool that costs less than a board-foot of maple, you can't really go wrong!
I too have a couple of these gauges and find that they work well for the router, router table and the table saw. As said for the price you can go too far wrong.
 

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Router Depth Gauge

I got this tool last year as a freebie when I made an order from Rockler, and I just tossed it in my router table and promptly forgot about it.

But now that I needed to do some precision router table work, I finally got a chance to use it, and so I'll give a bit of a review. Though I'm sure there are other examples of the same concept, this one can be gotten from Rockler for $5.99.



Though they illustrate the gauge being used directly on the router, it is also useful for measuring the height of bits as they protrude from a router table



Deceptively simple in construction, the aluminium is sturdy and can stand unsupported on its "feet". I keep the bit low, slide the gauge over the bit, and raise the router until the gauge moves. If you can slide the gauge side-to-side over the bit, you have to raise it some more… but once it touches you back off a fraction.

You can also use this tool to measure table saw blade heights, but you have to make sure you are measuring at the peak of the highest tooth, or your depths will not be accurate.

The gauge can measure from 1/16" to 1-1/2" in 1/16" increments, so unless you are working with smaller increments, this tool should be adequate.

Overall, for a tool that costs less than a board-foot of maple, you can't really go wrong!
Hmmm. I'll have to pick one up next time I drop by Rockler. Thanks for the review.
 
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