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craftsman bandsaws (the newer ones)?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by wilser, Mar 24, 2006.

  1. Hi,
    I'm trying to decide to what bandsaw to purchase. I'm considering these two as they seem to be better on paper than more expensive Jet or Delta models. They also seem very well built and sturdy and include better specs per buck. Anyone has any experience with any of these two specifically?



  2. Ooooh... I like the resaw capacity on both, but especially on the smaller one.

    But I've heard really good things about the Rigid from Home Depot. But it only has 6" resaw.

    Sorry to be absolutely no help.
  3. last call! I'm buying tomorrow! c'mon, talk(bass) me out of it!
  4. budman

    budman Commercial User

    Oct 7, 2004
    Houston, TX
    Formerly the owner/builder of LeCompte Electric Bass
    Go buy the 14". You need it.
  5. Buy the best saw today you an afford in two years. That's how long it'll be until you can get buy an upgrade saw after buying to small the first time. You're wife won't even talk to you about new tools for two years so do it right today!!

    First, consider saw frame strength. Craftsman frames are pretty weak (as are most off-brand or no brand band saws) and you'll never get near proper band tension before the frame bends or the wheel axles pull out of alignment. Small bands operate at about 21,000 psi tension to avoid barrel cuts. If one cannot pre-tension the band properly physics will do it in the form of a barrel cut when the saw is run. The best you can hope for is tighten the band until the wheels groan and back them off until it spins free and loose. Weak frames used to be problems with better known saws...Laguna, Delta, etc., but they got wise and beefed up.

    Second, consider the horsepower claimed. Most claims are for peak horsepower and not continuous use horsepower. Even with an 8" (probably 7.75) resaw capacity it doesn't mean you can really cut woods this thick easily. It takes a lot of horsepower to push small bands thru dense woods without problems of drag and bog. 1.5 claimed hp should be minimum if you are sawing over 6" thick.

    Third, do not expect high quality guides on cheap saws. Guides can be very critical to the band performing properly under work loads. The thrust bearing gets heavy abuse on cheap saws because of the low horsepower requiring more effort to push the wood thru which results in pressure against the thrust bearing.

    Forth, remember you wife will not let you buy another big tool for two years :D

    Do not sacrifice complete product research for a burning desire to saw your own wood today. "Fine Woodworking" just came out with their new bandsaw test and ratings report so check that out. For serious wood workers, I'd not suggest anything less quality than a Jet or Delta 14" with riser block.

    My main resaw is a Laguna LT28 backed up with a Mini-Max 18" and finally a Sears 12" tilit head I use only for cutting plastic templates.
  6. Thanks for that great insight Larry.

    The 'big' one (14") actually seemed better built than the ~$400 delta (actually, Delta and Jet are cheaper than the craftsman 14"). I read somewhere that the old craftsmans, deltas and jets were built by the same company in China, don't know how true that is. The 14" craftsman did seem pretty sturdy and is all steel or cast iron (frame, table, and wheels), so that seemed like a good thing. I don't know about the quality of this steel frame, the rep said it weights about 300lbs, but I don't know how stiff it is. That's a little more than the ~250lbs Delta and Jet.

    Again, I haven't used any of these, so I don't know how good they are. Reviews on the web for Jet and Delta generally seem disapointing as people are expecting to resaw to full capacity and performance is usually less than expected. Looking at both (not side by side, but about a 5 minute drive apart :cool: ) the delta and jet did not seem better built than the 14" craftsman. That's the reason I was considering the 14".

    I don't expect to resaw tops or anything big. I inted to use it to do curved cutting, resaw the neck to thickness taper and side taper, make templates and patterns, and do quick cuts that'll otherwise be riskier on the tablesaw.

    What do you think? Budget is around $500 (that is what I could spend for the next 2 years in tools :D).
  7. If your intent to only resaw smaller pieces stays intact any of these bandsaws will work for you except maybe the Sears 12". Having said that, I think you're in this for the long haul and after sawing up a bunch of neck blanks you'll think, "hummmmm.....wish I could saw some big rosewood and maple top sets and maybe thin some body woods to save the veneers instead of planing away as chips." Maybe some passion restraint, save up a bit more and go for the bigger saw up front.

    Is the Sear's band length special and only available from them? That might limit your purchase of better quality bands.

    Laguna is having a clearance sale on demos/closeouts and a Jet 18 is listed in the flyer for $695.00. They will dicker sometimes. There is that pesky shipping cost thing.

    The true investment price of a big tool purchase for a married guy is, "How many trips to the Pottery Barn will this cost me?"
  8. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    I can't find a demo/closeout sale. Is it on the Laguna homepage? I did notice they have a couple of nice monthly specials on their 14" and 16" models that include free shipping.
  9. I got a flyer from them. They had a "yard sale" yesterday of closeouts and demos. 800-234-1976 is the phone # in the flyer.
  10. Rodent

    Rodent A Killer Pickup Line™ Commercial User

    Dec 20, 2004
    Upper Left Corner (Seattle)
    Player-Builder-Founder: Honey Badger Pickups & Regenerate Guitar Works
    I believe I saw one of these in surplus last week:


    If they price it typical, it ought to be about 40% (or more) off the listed new price.

    These are great guys to deal with!

    And ya know, there's more to a saw than just the spec's than what a cheap manufacturer likes to boast about. Compare an OLP to a real MM bass ... sure both will work to carry the bottom, but one is definitely more user friendly and feature endowed than the other. Compare a Gold Seal home entertainment system to an upper end Marantz - sure both boast 100w per channel, but a careful read reveals that the Gold Seal is self destructed to get that 100w at a specific frequency and the Marantz is spec'd at an RMS value. It's like comparing a Yogu to a BMW or Porche, both will get you someplace ...

    If all you want to make is birdhouses, I'm sure a cheap saw will work just fine - but if you want to get into the precision work required by instrument making ... I recommend you strongly consider the gems shared by Larry.

    all the best,

  11. Luke Sheridan

    Luke Sheridan Commercial User

    Dec 30, 2004
    Yonkers, NY
    I build guitars and sell them. Strings, too
  12. Hey Rodent, I don't know how your budget looks, but I'd hardly call $500 cheap! Anyhow, I am strongly considering all things said here, otherwise I'd be sawing right now ;)

    Thing is, with a new house, 2 kids/wife and a single income it's kinda hard to come about spending money.
  13. Rodent

    Rodent A Killer Pickup Line™ Commercial User

    Dec 20, 2004
    Upper Left Corner (Seattle)
    Player-Builder-Founder: Honey Badger Pickups & Regenerate Guitar Works
    Hi Wilser

    I was referring to cheap = quality, not cheap = price

    when I bought my powermatic 14" last year, I considered into the equasion the value that frustration would add to a cheap bandsaw. I was totally prepared to spend $100 on an el-junko to 'get by', but thankfully my wife talked some sense into me.

    since that purchase I have recently added a Performax 22-44 to the shop (purchased at the same place in my original post), and got to use it for the first time recently. In prepping a rough cut birdseye fingerboard, I easily knocked 4+ hours of block sanding off of the time it takes to ready a fretboard for slotting and gluing. On two boards I saved an entire day of hand work. This was put to use by spending that extra time with my family instead of in the garage alone with a sanding block. That extra available time is worth every penny I spent on the sander. We each need to decide what the real price of cheap tools are when compared against the cost of quality tools and added free time with family.

    all the best,


    p.s. if you were in the area, you'd be more than welcome to drop in and make use of the saw

    p.p.s. I wicha on the mortgage, family, and single income deal
  14. fyi,
    I ended up getting the craftsman because:
    1) fair price
    2) seemed better than delta/jet at the same price
    3) power is greater than delta/jet at the same price
    4) has greater capacity than delta/jet at the same price.

    I got to tell you that this is a high quality saw for the price. Not saying that it would compete with a laguna or powermatic (but then again, the cheapest of these is almost twice the price), but it is really very high quality. It's got a heavy steel frame and a very heavy cast iron table machined flat. The wheels are 14" cast iron and come balanced from the manufacturer (I tested balance, btw).

    I resawed some 5" wide birdseye maple yesterday and the results were very accurate, not smooth, but I blame the cheap blade for that.

    The concerns Larry had about the motor were understandable, but this is a continuous 1 hp motor and runs very smooth and quite. There is almost no vibration at all!

    My only real concern is the cheap fence that comes with it, but everybody seems to build their own custom fences and jigs for the various tasks specific for their craft. It's very adjustable, though.

    I also wish the table tilt mechanism was crank operated because it's very difficult to move as the weight of the thing makes it jiggle a lot when it's loosened.

    All in all it's a very good saw for the price and I would recommend it.
  15. Resurrecting an old thread here, to celebrate a little bit!

    I just picked up the 14" Craftsman saw. $300, slightly used, from Craigslist. :bassist: It's missing the fence, and the manual. First impressions - nice, heavy feel, good flat cast iron table, and I agree, it's really smooth. It takes FOREVER to stop once you turn it off!
  16. scottyd

    scottyd Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2006
    Waco Tx
    Builder/owner Redeemer Basses
    Thats what I have, its a little underpowered imho. It still works well for all that I do. BUT the cool thing is that its made by whoever makes the Jet brand so a Jet riser kit was a direct bolt on! I installed the riser and I've got a 12" resaw now, but 7" is about the motors limit on harder wood. Could always upgrade the motor later.:meh:

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