I've had a 20" Agazzani for a few years now and it has never disappointed. I researched all the alternatives for about a year before pulling the trigger. Why did I settle on the Ag?
As near as I can tell, they're the only firm left that designs and BUILDS and markets their saws themselves. A totally vertical operation. I think that counts for something.
The fit and finish is excellent and this is one tough machine. If you could fit an entire tree on the table the machine would handle the weight with no problem.
Eagle Tools, their US distributor is very professional and honest and they crated the machine superbly, it arrived in perfect shape, but I have no doubt that if there had been a problem they would have quickly resolved it.
After I got it and set it up, I wanted to see just how good it is. I put a 1" lennox carbide blade on it and started resawing, thinner and thinner. I eventually got down to paper thin, you could see light through it. Perfect, right out of the crate.
Lately, I've been resawing with a Highland Hardware 3/4" Woodslicer blade and it get's even better results, (smoother surface).
Maybe earlier models had fussy blade changes and adjustments, but that has not been my experience with this one. I've kept the stock european blade guides and have been very happy with them.
I can't say enough good things about this machine. It's hierloom quality and at least when I bought it, it was less expensive then the compariable competitors.
I ended up with a Ag B-18 (18"). I have had it wired up for about a week and have yet to really put it through the paces, but can say that it is an amazing machine. It came crated in 300 lbs of ply that i'm going recycle into a planer stand and had been cleaned up and checked out by the Eagle tools folks.
I've put a $15 1/2 " 3 tpi blade on it, turned it on and was cutting 1/16" veneers with no adjustments what so ever. It came with a lennox 1" carbide as well and I can wait to try it out.
I nearly bought the new triangular Jet. The Jet is a nice saw, though I didn't really like the fence. I am glad that I held out for the Ag for the following reasons:
This is a lifetime investment. Perhaps multiple lifetimes (I have two young sons).
I like that Agazzani is a relatively small company that doesn't spend lots on advertising and marketing. The service at Eagle tools was great, no pressure and felt very honest. They called a couple of times with shipping details to make sure all was well.
The saw and components are european made. I'd prefer to buy american, of course, so this feels like the next best thing. Actually I prefer to buy local and used, but was unable to find an acceptable saw after a couple month's looking...
For me, quality tools inspire me to strive a bit for quality work.
It was a stretch on the budget, but right now I have a bit more money than time and wanted a saw that I knew I would enjoy and wouldn't spend a bunch of time setting up and adjusting at every turn. I'm also a bit of a perfectionist about these things and knew that I'd always have niggling doubts and feel annoyed when something wasn't just right or felt cheap.
FYI to all, the B-18 has been improved in recent years in several ways with a new trunnion, a second dust collection port, and more importantly, a 3 hp motor and 13" resaw. In older reviews and posts on forums that I've run across, several have said that the B-20 is much preferred to the B-18, but with the new improvements, Jesse at Eagle couldn't recommend spending the extra $400 for a quick release on the table trunnion lock (the B-20 shares the same motor. The guides have also been improved and in my experience so far they have been very easy to dial in (contrary to the FWW review, for instance).
In the end, the total price was steep ($2600 shipped and with three blades and a mobile base), but again, its a beauty. I peek in the garage just to look at sometimes... My only minor complaint so far is the foot brake pedal is a bit high and requires a good bit of pressure to stop the blade (the power cuts instantly).
At any rate, I'm thrilled overall with the purchase and doubt that I'll have regrets.
UPDATE six months later: Continue to be very happy with the saw--have milled small logs, cut veneers, fine cut christmas ornaments, and cut curves for timber frame components.
Like Woodchuck49, I also have the 20-inch saw. I visited Eagle tools in Los Angeles and bought the 20 after viewing the entire Agazzani line and demoing the smaller saws (if a 20" bandsaw can be called "small"). The Agazzani replaced a Mini-Max S45, which I frankly came to detest over the years. The B-20 is heavy, stable, easy to adjust, and reliable. It comes standard with Euro guides, but newer types that do not require a lock ring. Carter guides are available and according Jesse at Eagle, most buyers wait until the stock guides wear out before replacing them with the Carters. The tires on the Agazzani are vulcanized on and convincingly tough. I resawed stock at Eagle on a saw with a cut-through tire that Jesse has been using for such demos for years. Smooth as butter. The tires have a very low crown and you can run the teeth off the edge of the wheel on wider blades if you like. The low crown also makes the saw relatively insensitive to tension-related tracking changes. I find using the bandsaw's tension gauge yields 100% acceptable results, both from a tension and tracking standpoint. I also considered the Mini-Max 20" saw and Laguna models ranging from 16 to 20 inches. In the end I found Agazzani to be the best saw overall and the pricing is lower than some of the Laguna saws, though it's hard to compare them due to design and feature differences. One of the deal killers on the Laguna saws for me was the need to rotate their ceramic guides fairly frequently, and those guides now come stock. The Agazzani was one of those once in a lifetime purchases, and one I would make again. Highly-recommended, and the folks at Eagle are just superb to deal with.