Band saw decision

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Forum topic by sgmdwk posted 01-03-2014 03:29 AM 2192 views 0 times favorited 43 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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308 posts in 2889 days

01-03-2014 03:29 AM

Topic tags/keywords: bandsaw

It has been a long time since I made a major tool purchase (I bought a planer 13 years ago). But I have some Christmas money and got a lucky run at a local casino. Anyway, I have $400 extra cash and am thinking I can finally get a band saw. The local Craig’s List (Seattle area) doesn’t have anything but old, yet over-priced, junk. I am thinking either the Craftsman 14” band saw (currently on sale), or the Harbor Freight 14”. The fit and finish on the Sears saw is a lot better. The HF is a bit cheaper. Reviews of the HF saw frequently say it is pretty good – once you fix some major flaw or another. That puts me off, a bit. I am leaning toward the Craftsman, but thought I’d bounce it off the LJ crowd. Please don’t tell me to spend another couple C notes on something much better. $400 is the limit. What do you all think?

-- Dave K.

43 replies so far

View Josh122's profile


13 posts in 2622 days

#1 posted 01-03-2014 04:37 AM

Honestly, I wouldn’t go for either one. I’m in the same boat, but have been patiently waiting for the real steal on Craigslist or the classifieds. I don’t generally use power tools, but the bandsaw is one thing I’d actually like to plug in. Thing is, I know I can find a good deal, and have on a couple occasions, but arrived just a little too late. If you’ve held out for this long, then another month or two may seem like forever, but you’ll probably be glad you did. Besides, if you get impatient, the other two will still be there…

-- Josh Yuma, AZ

View CharlesA's profile


3462 posts in 2814 days

#2 posted 01-03-2014 04:46 AM

Isn’t that Craftsman a re-badged Rikon? I think that is a pretty good deal. I got the one almost identical when it was a 12” model on CL and it has served me well (I paid $150).

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

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2387 posts in 4564 days

#3 posted 01-03-2014 04:48 AM

I would agree with Josh. Also auctions are a good source. Nothing like a good old heavy well built band saw.

-- .

View BigJerryWayne's profile


138 posts in 3120 days

#4 posted 01-03-2014 07:36 AM

A friend of mine got a HF 14” saw and the upper wheel was out of round. We took it back and got another one with no questions asked. We put it together and it also has a wheel out of round. Not as bad as the first one, so he kept it. About a month later I got a Craftsman 14” saw and have not had any problems with it. After using both saws, the HF saw is way underpowered. Both saws are wired 110 volts. The HF has block blade guides, the Craftsman has bearing guides. A riser block can be upgraded to the HF, but not on the Craftsman. I prefer the Craftsman over the HF saw.

-- An oak tree is just a nut that stood it's ground.

View Charlie75's profile


312 posts in 3281 days

#5 posted 01-03-2014 12:03 PM

I own a Craftsman and I like it. Took awhile to learn how to trace the blade and how to set the bearings but it has been good for my level of use. I am just a hobby wood worker.
I did look at about 6 band saws on Craig’s list and none of them were worth what they were asking. 2 of them I woldn’t taken for free.
I am not anti HF. I have bought a few things there but there band saw didn’t impress me much.

One upgrade I am making on my Chrafsman is a stabilizer from Carter. They are only abut 45 minuets drive from me so I will be picking it up there. I also have on order another Carter blade. I have one and want another. I threw out the original blade because of tracking issues.

Personally as an entry level saw I would go for it.

-- Charlie75, Alto

View MasterSergeant's profile


1441 posts in 3705 days

#6 posted 01-03-2014 12:38 PM

I like the idea of just waiting for a CL steal or scoring on an Estate Auction in the future…....but if you cannot wait I’d go with the Craftsman without hesitation.

-- Kelly, woodworker under construction

View OhioJoe's profile


5 posts in 2623 days

#7 posted 01-03-2014 01:14 PM

I have owned more than my share of bandsaws. A shop fire forced me to retool so I’ve used many different kinds. It really depends on how much you plan on using it. The older bandsaws are usually heavier built and have bearings you can replace. there are two things usually wrong with china tools. One-when you try and drive a bearing out (if it has bearings) the casting holding the bearing breaks. And two- If you do get the bearing out it will probably be metric that you may or may not find. An old North American tool may not look pretty but you can use it, abuse it, break it, and it still fixable to take another round. I picked up a 12” rockwell for 150 and it works great. Did I do some work to it, sure. You start it and it ran rough, but pop the belt off and the motor turns smooth and the drive shaft turns smooth so that tells me it’s the belt and or pulley. A new belt and a pulley, I wanted it to run slower anyhow, and the thing runs smooth. Then I took the table apart cleaned a little surface rust off the adjustments, waxed them with paste wax and you can adjust this thing with your pinky now. And if you don’t like friction blocks a lot of saws have now, check around, ebay, where ever you want, they make little bearings that fit your friction block hole so you can have bearings instead of blocks. I don’t mind cool blocks and I’ve never had any trouble with those add on bearings either and the little add on bearings aren’t very expensive. My buddy picked up a 12” off brand saw at an auction for 50 and it runs fine, might not if you use it hours a day, but for occational use it works. He also picked up a 20” rockwell that you can run day in and day out and only gave 260 for it. He did put new tires on that saw, which ran him 75, so that still puts that price under your 400. Sorry to draw this out I just wanted you to see how you can make you money stretch. If you like the new saws and don’t plan on wearing them out too soon then go get one. Hope you get what you need.

-- Joe

View Kaleb the Swede's profile

Kaleb the Swede

1982 posts in 2986 days

#8 posted 01-03-2014 01:19 PM

That craftsman bandsaw has an 8 inch resaw, it looks really nice too. If I had the money and permission…......I would get that one in a second

-- Just trying to build something beautiful

View Wildwood's profile


2948 posts in 3151 days

#9 posted 01-03-2014 01:23 PM

Have you looked at this band saw? While over your budget will not break the bank, only down side to me is no fence. Can read owner reviews at site.

Heard that Delta will be replacing PC at Lowes soon but not seen anything official on that. The 14” Delta BS Lowes sold few years back were crap, PC BS were big improvement.

-- Bill

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3988 days

#10 posted 01-03-2014 02:02 PM

The Craftsman is really a Rikon without the fence.
It is a steel frame saw and therefore you can’t add a riser block. The resaw capacity is about 8 inches.
I have a smaller Rikon and I really like it, so I feel sure I’d like the Craftsman as well.
I don’t use the fence on mine anyway so I wouldn’t miss that.
The only reason I wouldn’t want that saw is because I already have a small saw and my next bandsaw will be at least 16 or 17 inch.

View Sawdust2012's profile


251 posts in 2729 days

#11 posted 01-03-2014 02:13 PM

People are always suprised when they get a good tool at HF. If the money is burning a hole in your pocket, get the Craftsman. I may have been lucky, but I have had fantastic results scouring Craigslist, Ebay, and local woodworking shops for used equipment. You might put a few bucks into it getting it back up to speed, i.e. tires, blades, belt, but the results are well worth the wait. You will be amazed at what you can do with a quality well tuned bandsaw. I took a 3’ slice of 1/32” walnut yesterday with a 12 yr old 14” Jet I pulled out of a dusty storage shed for $350. That included a mobile base and Carter guides. The deals are out there if you can wait and search.

View DocSavage45's profile


9043 posts in 3859 days

#12 posted 01-03-2014 03:54 PM

Couple of reasonably priced saws here. If you buy a 14” saw you can later get a riser to increase your resaw capabilities.

Best of luck.

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View sgmdwk's profile


308 posts in 2889 days

#13 posted 01-03-2014 04:13 PM

Actually, I hadn’t considered the Porter Cable saw at Lowes. Lowes gives a 10 percent discount to military ID card holders (I retired from the Army) so the $449 price is pretty close to my budget. I’ll take a look.

-- Dave K.

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5344 posts in 4977 days

#14 posted 01-03-2014 04:43 PM

Get the Grizz 14” anniversary edition 0555. You will not be disappointed.

-- [email protected]

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9043 posts in 3859 days

#15 posted 01-03-2014 05:04 PM

Some thoughts I’ve had re: tool decisions. My early thoughts were buy a less expensive tool ( shop type) and see how you like it. I then realized I still have the less expensive shop tools. Like I bought a Delta 1.5 hp dust collector. It’s ok and well respected. But it dose not move enough air for my present needs and I have space considerations, oh yeah limited financial resources. My current thinking is buy the best you can afford. which is where you appear to be. As I’ve shared with people planning on purchasing a car( in the past) Buy what you really like as we can get a bad car no matter what? With purchasing what you like you will not feel bad about.

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

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