14-in. Bandsaws Reviewed
Low-cost models might get the job done, but more power and better features come at a price
It’s easy to find a variety of 14-in. bandsaws on the market; the key is how to find the one that’s right for you. Tom Begnal and John White of Fine Woodworking checked nine popular models for wheel roundness, alignment, blade tension, and table flatness. They also evaluated the bandsaws for general quality of basic components, ease of blade installation, and how well related controls and adjustments work. Test cuts completed the judging process to see how they did at resawing stock and cutting curves.
It’s always an advantage to have versatility, which is probably why the bandsaw enjoys a prominent place in most woodworking shops. It rips, resaws, crosscuts and cuts curves. And when the table is tilted, it makes all kinds of angle cuts, too. Plus it can be used to cut tenons, dovetails and various other joints.
Bandsaws commonly range in size from 8-in. benchtops to 24-in. floor-mounted heavyweights. But for many small shops, the 14-in. size offers a good compromise. It has adequate size and power for most requirements, and it does not take up a lot of space, Plus, compared to most of its bigger siblings, a 14-in. saw is softer on the budget.
Almost a dozen 14-in. handsaws are on the market, with prices that vary from about $300 to nearly $900. So the challenge is to find the one that suits your needs at a price that’s affordable.
To help with the selection process, we tested nine popular 14-in. models: seven with cast-iron frames and two with European-style welded-steel frames. The castiron group included the Central Machinery 32206-1VGA (sold by Harbor Freight), Craftsman 22414 (sold by Sears), Delta 28-280, Grizzly G1019, Jet JWBS- 14CS, Reliant DD90 (sold by Trendlines) and Ridgid BS1400 (sold by The Home Depot). The welded-steel look was provided by the General 90- 100 Ml and Shop Fox G9970 (sold by Grizzly). A new 14-in. bandsaw from Laguna (800-234-1976) arrived too late to be included here. However, we plan to review it in an upcoming issue.
A number of things were considered as we evaluated the saws. First we checked the general quality of several important components. After that, we installed a blade in each one to see just how fussy that process is and to check out how well the related controls and adjustments work. And, finally, we got down to the nittygritty, putting the blade to wood and making a series of test cuts to see how well the saw could resaw stock and cut curves.
From Fine Woodworking #153
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