14" Band Saws - Canadian Woodworking Magazine

Shop Tools: Whether you are in the market for a bandsaw or just want to know more about them, here is an overview of features for some of the major bandsaw manufacturers.

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14" Band Saws



Lead Photo by Brian Hargreaves

The 14" bandsaw has remained basically unchanged since it was first produced back in the 1930s. It quickly became as much of a woodshop staple as the table saw, lathe, drill press and scroll saw. The tool featured two rubber-tired wheels stacked vertically with the lower one being the drive wheel. The drive wheel was powered by a belt and pulley con­nected to the electric motor. A flexible steel band with teeth of various configu­rations cut into it was the cutting blade. The blade fit tightly over the two wheels rotating in a clock-wise motion. The blade was kept in line through the use of guide blocks that kept the blade vertical and laterally stable.

The wheel housing was made of sheet steel with removable covers. The base of the saw was also made of sheet steel sit­ting on four steel legs. The motor was mounted externally on top of the base. In some band saws this configuration has not changed, which proves the worth of the original designs from 70 years ago.

The tool is called a 14" bandsaw because of the diameter of the wheels, although there are many other sizes available (some as large as six feet or more). The 14" has proven to be the standard and most flexible for both the professional woodworker and amateur alike.
 
What Does It Do?
The bandsaw has the flexibility to be able to cut circles, arcs and other odd shapes due to the varying widths of blades available for the machine. A ⅛" blade is about the narrowest that the 14" bandsaw will handle, and this blade will cut very intricate designs. In fact, the ⅛" blade can safely cut a ¼" radius.

Through the use of a rip fence, the bandsaw can also rip boards but the  width of these boards will be limited to the throat capacity of the saw and, in the case of a 14" tool, that would be around the 13" mark depending on the manufac­turer. The bandsaw, however, won’t give as smooth a cut as a circular saw.

The bandsaw may also be used to resaw thick lumber into thinner boards. Some saws offer a riser block to extend the height of the saw throat to 12" or more. This allows wider stock to be resawn.

Some 14" band saws offer a choice of FPM speeds (feet per minute). The lower speeds are used for the cutting of non-ferrous metal such as aluminum and mild steel. Craftex and King offer the user a choice of three speeds, while the Delta and General International offer two speeds.

The 14" bandsaw is less intimidat­ing than a table saw and therefore the woodworker is able to cut smaller proj­ects on it. This does not mean, however, that the operator should be blasŽ about its use. The bandsaw can still cause seri­ous harm if misused.
 
The Newer Band Saws
With over seven decades under its belt the bandsaw has received some subtle changes, mostly in the area of conve­nience, although changes have been made in the materials being used to manufacture them. Notably, City Tool Works makes the table of their 14" bandsaw as well as the drive wheel from granite. Steel City says that granite pret­ty much guarantees that there will be no warping or twisting and the drive wheel will be perfectly balanced.

One of the best improvements over the years has been the addition of the quick blade tension release, a lever on top of the bandsaw wheel housing. This allows the user to find the correct blade tension for the blade type they are using and then quick­ly release that tension when they are through using the saw. This releases the stress on the blade and extends its life and prevents flat spots on the wheel’s rubber tires.

The standard type of blade guides used are ball bearing wheels and they are found in most of the listed machines. Laguna uses a special­ly designed 10-point ceramic block system, as noted on the comparison chart.

Rip fences are now a standard on most of the models that we compared and that addi­tion has the advantage of being able to rip a straight line over the length of a long board. The fences are also removable to allow maxi­mum space for curved cuts. King Canada includes a resaw guide that has a short dow­el-like tube attached to one side of the fence. These rip fences may be used on either side of the blade. Laguna’s rip fence may be used in a high or low position. The high position is for re-sawing, while the lower position is used for cutting finer materials.

All of the listed band saws have a ¾" slot on the table top to facilitate a mitre gauge, although the gauge itself is an optional extra on two of them. The standard slot size allows you to use a mitre gauge from a table saw.

Three of the manufacturers use a larg­er paddle-type on/off switch that may be preferred. All but Craftex and Laguna have dual voltage motors that provide users with the option of using 110/120V or 220/240V circuitry. The manufac­turers wire their tools at 110/120volts and provide schematics for the voltage change if preferred. Laguna offers the choice of a 110v or 220v motor at the same price.

All but Ridgid and Laguna have the motors mounted within the stand. The Craftex, General International and Laguna have partially open stands. Delta, King, and Steel City have ful­ly enclosed cabinet type stands, while Ridgid has a fully open steel stand.

Band saws have, in the past, been notori­ous for their vibration that may affect the cutting accuracy. All of the listed band saws seem to be heavy enough to prevent this problem. The Steel City bandsaw is the heaviest on our list. Delta and Steel City have the largest table size at 16" x 16".

Some of the listed band saws have additional features, such as lower drive wheel brushes that help clean the tires of sawdust to prevent the dust from compacting on the tires. General International is the only bandsaw in this category to offer a cut line laser to help straight-line ripping.

Warranties on the listed band saws vary from 12 months to five years. Ridgid is the only manufacturer that offers a lifetime service contract. In all cases the tool must be taken to your nearest service depot for warranty service.

There is slightly more than a $1,000 spread between the lowest and high­est priced tools, but it should be noted that companies like Craftex and Laguna do not have a dealer network. Craftex is a store brand for Busy Bee Tools and Laguna sells their products directly to the end user. Ridgid sells their products exclusively through The Home Depot. Delta, General International and Steel City have exclusive retail dealer networks that sell their products and the manufacturer’s suggested retail price is more usually than not, discounted.


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NOTE: This model has been replaced by the CX104. Visit the Busy Bee website for details.

Model Number: Craftex CT015N (The Craftex is a 15" bandsaw)
Motor Size/Type: 1 HP
Voltage: 110
Speed(s): 3, 750 - 1290 - 2800
Cutting Height: 6"
Six-Inch Riser Available: Yes
Blade Width: 1/8" - 1"
Table Size: 14" x 14"
Table Type: Cast Iron
Table Tilt - L/R: 0/45 degrees
Throat Capactiy (Width): 14 1/2"
Ball Bearing Blade Guides: Yes
Quick Blade Tesion Release: No
Base Type: Steel Frame
Rip Fence Incuded: Yes
Mitre Guage Included: Yes
Dust Port - Size: Yes - 3"
Blade Length: 97 1/4"
On/Off Switch Type: Push Button
Weight: 214 lbs
Warranty: 2 Years
MSRP: $675.00

busybeetools.ca


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NOTE: This model is no longer available.

Model Number: Delta 28-206
Motor Size/Type: 1 HP
Voltage: 120/240
Speed(s): (2) 2900 - 3300
Cutting Height: 6 14"
Six-Inch Riser Available: Yes
Blade Width: 1/8" - 3/4"
Table Size: 16" x 16"
Table Type: Cast Iron
Table Tilt - L/R: 3/45 degrees
Throat Capactiy (Width): 13"
Ball Bearing Blade Guides: Yes
Quick Blade Tesion Release: Yes
Base Type: Cabinet
Rip Fence Incuded: No
Mitre Guage Included: No 
Dust Port - Size: Yes - 4"
Blade Length: 93 1/2"
On/Off Switch Type: Paddle
Weight: 201 lbs
Warranty: 5 Years
MSRP: $1,200.00





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NOTE: This model is no longer available. Visit the General website to view their new models. 

Model Number: General International 90-150 M1 (G.I. includes a Lazer Line)
Motor Size/Type: 1 HP
Voltage: 110/220
Speed(s): (2) 2959 - 2315 FPM
Cutting Height: 8"
Six-Inch Riser Available: No
Blade Width: 1/8" - 3/4"
Table Size: 14" x 19" (Includes 5" Extension Wing)
Table Type: Cast Iron
Table Tilt - L/R: 0/45 degees
Throat Capactiy (Width): 13 1/8" 
Ball Bearing Blade Guides: Yes
Quick Blade Tesion Release: Yes
Base Type: Steel Frame
Rip Fence Incuded: Yes
Mitre Guage Included: Yes 
Dust Port - Size: Yes - 4" (G.I. has a built-in dust collection system)
Blade Length: 97 1/2"
On/Off Switch Type: Push Button
Weight: 183 lbs
Warranty: 2 Years
MSRP: $1,490.00
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NOTE: This model is no longer available.

Model Number: Ridgid 14653
Motor Size/Type: 3/4 HP TEFC
Voltage: 120/240
Speed(s): (1) 
Cutting Height: 6" 
Six-Inch Riser Available: No
Blade Width: 1/8" - 3/4" 
Table Size: 14" x 14"
Table Type: Cast Iron
Table Tilt - L/R: 10/45 degrees
Throat Capactiy (Width): 13 5/8" 
Ball Bearing Blade Guides: Yes
Quick Blade Tesion Release: No 
Base Type: Steel Frame
Rip Fence Incuded: No 
Mitre Guage Included: No 
Dust Port - Size: Yes - N/A (Includes lower wheel brushes)
Blade Length: 93 1/2" 
On/Off Switch Type: Paddle
Weight: 178 lbs
Warranty: 3 Years (Ridgid has a lifetime service agreement)
MSRP: $469.00

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NOTE: This model has been replaced by the model 14|Twelve. Read our review of the 14|Twelve, or visit the Laguna website for details.

Model Number: Laguna LT14 SE
Motor Size/Type: 2 HP
Voltage: 220 (110 Volt model available upon request)
Speed(s): (1)
Cutting Height: 12"
Six-Inch Riser Available: No
Blade Width: 1/16" - 1" (optional cool blocks required for blades less than 1/4")
Table Size: 15" x 15" 
Table Type: Cast Iron
Table Tilt - L/R: 15 degrees - 45 degrees
Throat Capactiy (Width): 13 1/4" 
Ball Bearing Blade Guides: No (Laguna uses 10" cool blocks)
Quick Blade Tesion Release: No 
Base Type: Open Cabinet
Rip Fence Incuded: Yes (Laguna includes a High/Low Rip Fence system)
Mitre Guage Included: No 
Dust Port - Size: Yes - 4"
Blade Length: 112" 
On/Off Switch Type: Magnetic
Weight: 264 lbs
Warranty: 12 Months
MSRP: $1,550.00

 
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NOTE: This model has been replaced by the 50140. Visit the Steel City website for details.

Model Number: Steel City 50130
Motor Size/Type: 1 1/2 HP
Voltage: 115/230
Speed(s): (1) 
Cutting Height: 12" 
Six-Inch Riser Available: Included
Blade Width: 1/8" - 3/4"
Table Size: 16" x 16"
Table Type: Granite
Table Tilt - L/R: 10/48 degrees
Throat Capactiy (Width): 13 3/4" 
Ball Bearing Blade Guides: Yes
Quick Blade Tesion Release: Yes
Base Type: Cabinet (The Steel City bandsaw includes a Mobile Base)
Rip Fence Incuded: Yes
Mitre Guage Included: Yes
Dust Port - Size: Yes - 4" (includes lower wheel brushes)
Blade Length: 105" 
On/Off Switch Type: Paddle
Weight: 297 lbs
Warranty: 5 Years
MSRP: $1,429.00

 
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Model Number: King KC-1433FXR
Motor Size/Type: 1 HP 
Voltage: 110/220
Speed(s): (3) 735 - 1470 - 2350
Cutting Height: 6" 
Six-Inch Riser Available: Yes 
Blade Width: 1/8" - 3/4" 
Table Size: 14" x 14" 
Table Type: Cast Iron
Table Tilt - L/R: 0/45 degrees
Throat Capactiy (Width): 13 5/8"
Ball Bearing Blade Guides: Yes
Quick Blade Tesion Release: No 
Base Type: Cabinet
Rip Fence Incuded: Yes (King inludes a re-saw attachment)
Mitre Guage Included: Yes 
Dust Port - Size: Yes - 2" (includes lower wheel brushes) 
Blade Length: 93" 
On/Off Switch Type: Push Button
Weight: 210 lbs
Warranty: 2 Years
MSRP: $749.00

kingcanada.com

 
Correction: The Steel City 50130 band saw is a two-speed saw, not one-speed as indicated in our comparison. The retail price is $899.99 until end of December with a list price of $1176.47. The warranty is five years but the granite top has a 10-year warranty. It does not come with a mitre gauge but there is a re-saw guide included with the fence. 


GRAHAM McCULLOCH
Graham McCulloch