Rikon 14" Bandsaw with Open Stand - Canadian Woodworking Magazine

A great performer in an entry level saw that will suit the needs of most hobbyist woodworkers

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Rikon 14" Bandsaw with Open Stand



Along with the table saw, jointer, and planer, the bandsaw is part of the basic woodworking quartet. With these four machines, plus an assortment of hand tools, and a few power tools, you can build just about anything. The bandsaw enables you to rip lumber, cut curves, resaw lumber to make your own veneer, cut bowl blanks, and even cut joinery.
 
Bandsaws come in a wide range of sizes, from 9" to about 37". Size is measured by the diameter of the wheel. This diameter is generally about the same as the distance between the inner edge of the blade and the throat of the saw. 

According to retailers, the most popular size among hobbyist woodworkers is the 14" bandsaw, primarily because it offers a reasonable combination of price and performance. These saws come in a variety of configurations. All, of course, have 14" wheels and approximately 14" throat widths. Two of the most important differences are in motor horsepower and resaw capacity (the distance from the top of the table to the bottom of the upper guide assembly). Motor power ranges from 3/4 HP to 3 HP, while resaw capacity runs from 6" to 14". There are a number of other features that differentiate 14" saws, including table size, type of material used for the wheels and trunnion, type of guides used, inclusion of a foot brake, and stand design. It should come as no surprise that, in general, higher priced saws will have more, and better quality features.
 
Rikon Power Tools offers 12 bandsaws, including four 14" models. I've had the opportunity to test the newest addition to their 14" line, the Model 10-321, which features a 1 HP motor and an 8" resaw capacity.

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Well packaged and easy to assemble

As with most stationary machines the 10-321 requires some assembly. It comes well packaged, and assembling the saw will help you better understand how it functions. Expect to spend 2 to 3 hours on the job - depending on previous assembly experience. While you can manhandle the saw onto the stand yourself, it's a lot easier if you have help. The owner's manual is fairly clear, and all the components fit together easily. The cast iron table is covered with a protective coat of oil - I suggest removing the oil before installing the table onto the saw. I used WD-40 Machine and Engine Degreaser, which did a great job. Once clean, apply some kind of rust inhibitor - Moovit, WD-40, and CRC Industrial 3-36 are all good choices.

As you assemble the saw you'll notice that there isn't a lot of cast iron used. The frame is all steel welded construction, which provides good rigidity, while keeping weight to a manageable level. The welds are clean, reasonably flat, and smooth. I use a 1/2" blade on the saw and haven't noticed any flexing in the frame.

The enamel coating is nicely done, and the various knobs are sturdy. Everything fits together well, with top and bottom doors closing tightly against the body of the saw, helping to keep dust inside the machine. 

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Cast aluminum trunnion, dual dust ports, and enclosed motor

The trunnion, which mounts right under the table, is made of a cast aluminum. The casting looks very good. Cast iron would, of course, be more durable, and offer vibration-dampening mass, but, unless you're using the saw for hours on end, and in particular, constantly moving the table to make beveled cuts, I don't think the difference is critical. Besides, at this price point it's what you would expect.

There is only a single locking knob to hold the trunnion in place. When loosened, the whole table moves about freely - fortunately, when tightened, everything locks down firmly.


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Top mounted port catches a lot of the dust
 
Dust collection is very good on the 10-321. There is a 2-1/2" port just below the lower guide, and a 4" port at the base of the saw. I was surprised at how much dust was removed with a dust extractor connected solely to the top port. The upper dust port seems to catch a lot of the finer dust. Connecting a dust collector to the bottom port, which I haven't done, should provide even more effective dust collection - I simply vacuum out the bottom enclosure every couple of days.

The 10-321 comes with an enclosed fan-cooled (TEFC) 1 HP, 9 AMP motor has good protection from dust. It's constructed of aluminum with multiple cooling fins to help dissipate heat. A dual pulley system, accessible behind the lower wheel, provides two speeds - 3,340 feet per minute, the default set-up for sawing wood, and 1,620 feet per minute, for sawing non ferrous metal, plastic composite, and foam materials. Switching the belt between pulleys is straightforward if you follow the instructions in the owner's manual. If you're cutting the odd bit of foam or plastic I wouldn't bother changing blade speed.

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Just about dead flat table

I found the table to be pretty darn flat, both width and length wise. The thinnest blade on my feeler gauge (.004") couldn't slip under the straightedge.

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Large table with a lot of work area

I like a lot of working area on a bandsaw table, and the 10-321 has a decently sized table - 15-3/4" by 20-3/8. There is 6-3/4" in front of the blade and 10-3/4" to the right. The table tilts 46-degrees to the right and 10 degrees to the left. While there is a printed scale on the trunnion at the back of the saw, where the locking knob is located, I think you'll get more accuracy using a digital protractor to set the bevel. 

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Cast aluminum wheels

The 10-321 has cast aluminum wheels, top and bottom, likely in an effort to keep price down on the saw. Yes, I would have preferred cast iron wheels, as their greater weight generates more momentum to power the blade through cuts, and serves to dampen vibration.

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(A) Door latch (B) guide post lock (C) guide post height adjuster (D) blade tracking knob (E) blade tension indicator (F) blade tracking window (G) blade tension adjuster

Blade installation is straightforward, and the various knobs for adjusting blade tracking are no different than you'd find on any other saw. I like that you can lift the doors off the hinges to move them out of the way. What I really like though, is the blade tracking window cut into the frame. Makes it that much easier to see where the blade is when tracking it.

The rack-and-pinion height adjustment mechanism enables you to smoothly raise and lower the upper guide block assembly and guard. 

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Welcome conveniences: Blade tracking window and removable doors

Rikon specifies a 99-3/4" blade for this saw. If you can't find one at your local dealer, you can use a 100" blade, as I do. A good source for quality blades is R&D Bandsaw; expect to pay about $20 per blade. 

The 10-321 comes with a 1/4" 8 TPI blade. It's a decent blade for cutting curves, but you'll probably want to replace it with a wider blade for general purpose cutting. I would recommend a 1/2" 3 TPI skip tooth blade. Assuming you've installed the blade correctly, you'll get excellent rip cuts and have no problem resawing stock up to a full 8" thick. 

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Blade square to table

Setting the blade square to the table was a bit annoying as it took a lot of fiddling with the trunnion locking knob and the hex height nut under the table. Each time I tightened the knob the table would shift out of square ever so slightly. Still, once I did get the table set right, it stayed in place.

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Upper Guide Block- Side Guides (A) lock screws (B) micro adjusting knob (C) fore and aft lock nut; Thrust Guide: (D) side to side lock screw (E) lock screw

The 10-321 uses ball bearing guides, top and bottom. I find them particularly quick and easy to adjust. You simply loosen the lock screws on the guides, and then gingerly adjust the guides so that they're within a hair's breath of the blade. Because the micro adjusting knob fits snugly into the carriage block you can make minute adjustments quite easily.

If you need to adjust the carriage fore and aft (towards or away from the operator) you simply loosen a lock nut on the side of the carriage. To move the carriage side to side you loosen a locking screw at the back of the carriage.

You'll note that the thrust bearing is oriented so that the blade runs on the edge of the bearing, not on the face, as you'll find on most bandsaws. It seems to me that you get more load bearing surface when the guide runs on the face. Still, this set-up is used on a number of other saws and works well. 

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Lower Guide Block: (A) carriage lock nut (B) lock screws

The lower guides are a tad more difficult to adjust (as they seem to be on most bandsaws). I think Rikon could have eased the adjustment process if they would have included the adjusting sliders that are on the upper guides. While it takes a bit more time, adjusting the lower guides is easier to do if you remove the table.

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Top photo: guides adjusted with carriage as high as it goes; Bottom photo: carriage lowered close to table

I usually adjust the guides with the carriage post moved up as high as it goes and locked in place. I noticed that after adjusting the guides, when I lower the carriage close to the table, the assembly shifts ever so slightly, causing the blade to touch against the right guide wheel. Reversing the process (adjusting the guides with the carriage set close to the table) results in the same alignment issue.

Until I get this issue resolved it means I have to manually move the right guide wheel every time I saw fairly narrow stock close to the table - thank goodness that adjusting the guide takes only a few seconds. According to Rikon, locking the carriage post in place before making adjustments should take out the lash and allow the bearings to land in the same position after the height is changed.

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Ample power for resawing up to 8" wide stock

I've been using the 10-321 to resaw 8/4 rough ash and 4/4 alder for my new workbench. Overall, I'm very pleased with the saw. There isn't a lot of vibration, the blade tracks well, and the motor didn't bog down ripping the ash. The large table makes it easier to stabilize stock, and the blade guard doesn't interfere with the line of sight.

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Top: resawn surfaces are pretty darn smooth; Bottom: consistent thickness 

I had no problem resawing 8" wide ash into 1/8" veneer. The cut surface was very smooth, and the thickness consistent along the resawn pieces. 

The 10-321 doesn't come with a fence or miter gauge. You can purchase them from Rikon for an additional $100. Or you can add a 3rd party fence or your own shop made fence to the saw. Rikon also has an optional mobility kit, which would be useful if you regularly move your saw around the shop.

Overall I'm quite impressed with the 10-321. Fit and finish are very good, assembly went smoothly, it's reasonably quiet and smooth running, the blade guide system is great (novices will find it particularly easy to fine tune the guides), blade change-over is relatively quick, and dust collection is about as good as it gets.

If you're looking for good performance at a competitive price, then this just might be the saw for you.


KEY FEATURES:
 
  • Motor: 1 HP, 9A (120V)/4.5A (240V)
  • Speed range: 1620/3340 ft/min
  • Cutting capacity: 8" high, 13-5/8" wide
  • Blade width: 1/4" to 3/4"
  • Blade length: 99-3/4"
  • Table size: 15-3/4" by 20-3/8"
  • Table tilt: 10-degrees left, 46-degrees right
  • Miter slots: 3/8" x 3/4" (2)
  • Dimensions: 67-1/2" H by 37" W by 22-3/4" D
  • Table height from floor: 41"
  • Weight: 160 lbs
  • Warranty: 5 years
  • Includes: 1/4" 6 TPI blade
  • Optional Accessories: 13-321 Mobility Kit $79.99, 13-900 Fence $69.99, 13-912 Miter Gauge $29.99
Note: Rikon has changed the colour on all its machinery from green to blue.

COMPANY:Rikon Power Tools
MODEL:10-321
PRICE:$599.99
MADE IN:China
SOURCE:Where to Buy
October 2013

Author: 
Carl Duguay
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