Bridgewood - 18-in. Bandsaw PBS 440 - Fine Woodworking Tool Review
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18-in. Bandsaw PBS 440

Bridgewood - 18-in. Bandsaw PBS 440

Bridgewood’s 18-in. bandsaw is ideal for resaw work and features a cast-iron rip fence and wheels.

$2,095 (As of 6/1/2004)

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Editor Choice-Best Overall

Editor's Review: 18-in. Bandsaws

by Roland Johnson

review date: June 1, 2004

If you cut a lot of thick stock, or if you resaw stock in the 9-in.-wide to 12-in.-wide range, an 18-in. bandsaw is worth considering. Not only does it offer extra capacity, but most 18-in. saws also have more horsepower to cut faster. I looked at 11 models ranging in price from $900 to almost $3,000, evaluating cutting ability, machine sturdiness, and blade-changing ease. The Bridgewood had the fastest resaw cutting speed, did well in the curve-cutting test, and ranked best in the frame-deflection test. The cast-iron trunnion support and trunnions are a plus. It has a very good rip fence but the lowest rip capacity, and the fussy-to-adjust guides made blade changing a chore.

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Editor Test Results:

Blade Changing Fair
Table Flatness N/A
Frame Deflection 0.0145 in.
Wheel Alignment N/A
Runout N/A
Tension N/A
Quality of Cut Curve-Cutting Test: Excellent; Resaw Test: Excellent
Table-Lock Effectiveness Very Good

Manufacturer Specifications

Manufacturer Bridgewood
Manufacturer's Web Site
Manufacturer's Phone Number 800-235-2100
Rip Fence Included N/A
Riser Block Option N/A
Rip Capacity 16-3/16 in.
Guide Type Wheel
Table Tilt 0° to 45°
Table Size 16-1/2 in. by 22-3/4 in.
Horsepower 3 hp
Amps 16.5 amps
Volts 230v
Speed N/A
Blade N/A
Resaw Capacity 11-5/8 in.

This is an exceptional production model shop tool. My interest in the PBS 440 came as a result of the Fine Woodworking review of several 18 inch bandsaws. I conducted my own research and purchased one. Upon delivery, I immediately noticed how well packaged the unit was. While completing the set-up process, I was amazed to find how very well aligned the machine was from the factory.The cast-iron table was machined completely flat. The rip fence was almost perfectly in line with the miter slot (requiring only very minor adjustment). When positioned at "0" the factory alignment of the table surface and a tensioned blade was exactly 90 degrees. Using a Blade Tensioning Gauge, I determined the factory setting of the blade tension meter to be less than accurate by under 250 pounds. I was so impressed by these results that I decided to assess the alignment of the upper and lower wheels. The difference was so slight, I had to order a Shim Kit to find an object thin enough to bring the wheels into perfect alignment!Unlike the Editor's Review conducted by Roland Johnson on 6/1/2004, I found blade changing to be very simple. The straight forward and easy to understand design of the upper and lower blade guides facilitated a nice and easy adjustment. As far as "cutting speed", the horsepower of the motor has less to do with it than a clean and sharp blade. As is true with most work shop machinery, the function of greater horsepower is for production work (refer to my User Review of the Dewalt 735 Planer - 11/5/2006, VTOL51). Far more significant to cutting speed than horsepower is blade guide adjustment, blade tension and as mentioned above a sharp blade.When testing the cutting ability of a bandsaw it is important to use the widest blade possible for the work being conducted. I used blades ranging in width from 1/4" to 1". I believe most cutting can be accomplished with a high level of success using a 1/2" blade with 3 tpi (the wider gullets provide for better saw dust removal - thus a more efficient cut with less blade damage caused by excessive heat!). Naturally, I "Scratch-Built" my own jigs for this outstanding machine and because of the well thought out design of the table, attaching them is a snap. The table tilt mechanism of the Bridgewood PBS 440 is excellent. However, I prefer to use my own jigs to cut angles and consequently enjoy an unlimited capacity in this regard.I like to do most of my "ripping" on the bandsaw and this Bridgewood machine is as good as any I've used since 1965. This includes the outstanding machinery I operated over several years in Hollywood at the Major Motion Picture Studios.In conclusion, it must be obvious how pleased I am with my PBS 440. The Good Lord willing, I expect to enjoy using this machine for many years to come.

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