Buying a bandsaw

bob vaughan

Bob Vaughan
Senior User
I'm still looking forward to the next post by Charles-H to see what he's done if anything.

A relatively 'new' Delta 14" band saw will be a 1970 model. That's a 50 year old machine so its going to need some work if it is in original condition. Mostly belts, bearings, and tires. Those are wear points on all band saws. I think that the British sports cars of the 1960s. are more problematic. A USA-made Delta band saw needs to be 'rebuilt' every 40-50 years just as electric motors need their bearings changed every 20-30 years. It sounds like British sports cars aren't as easily rebuilt for the long term use. That's probably a bad comparison anyway.
 

PeteStaehling

Pete
Senior User
I agree on not painting the porter cable brand with too wide a brush. I think the routers and some other items are actually pretty nice. Some of their stuff may be low end, but maybe okay for low end. Some of it is pretty clunky if my impression of what I saw at Lowes was accurate, but to be fair I didn't buy or run the machines, they just looked and felt like junk and were falling apart on the showroom floor. My impression was about like some of the clunkier harbor freight items.

As I have mentioned one of my buddies from the local woodworkers club has their pocket hole jig which he demoed at a club meeting and it looks like a high quality item as do their routers. Those items actually give the impression of being premium brand stuff.
 

nn4jw

Jim
Senior User
I'm still looking forward to the next post by Charles-H to see what he's done if anything.

A relatively 'new' Delta 14" band saw will be a 1970 model. That's a 50 year old machine so its going to need some work if it is in original condition. Mostly belts, bearings, and tires. Those are wear points on all band saws. I think that the British sports cars of the 1960s. are more problematic. A USA-made Delta band saw needs to be 'rebuilt' every 40-50 years just as electric motors need their bearings changed every 20-30 years. It sounds like British sports cars aren't as easily rebuilt for the long term use. That's probably a bad comparison anyway.
The point was that both the vintage MG and vintage Deltas parts can be problematic to find parts for if you need anything other than the normal consumables. You rebuild old Deltas. Where do you find parts other than belts, bearings or tires?
 

Billm0066

Bill
User
I went from an older Delta 14" to a New Rikon and the difference is night and day. People sell those old deltas for a lot of money and its hard to come across a reasonably priced one. I couldnt deal with tuning it and getting it to run right so I splurged for a rikon and very happy with it. If you are just doing adirondack chairs then I would get a jigsaw. Bandsaw is great but it's real purpose is for resawing lumber. You can use it for many things, but a jigsaw will be much cheaper and will fit your needs fine. I just made two adirondack chairs and primarily used my jigsaw and table saw.
 

bob vaughan

Bob Vaughan
Senior User
For parts, eBay and the classifieds over at OWWM.org have been sufficient for my needs. Renovo is also a company that makes and supplies parts for obsolete Delta machines. A second hand machine can be a waste of money or it can be a fantastic bargain. No two will ever have the same history or be in exactly the same shape.

I do see where a lot of people restore the old USA-made Delta machines. There must be some very instructive reasons why there are so few threads on Asian-made 14" band saws being restored to original condition.

Charles-H's original focus was on getting his first band saw and wanting that saw to do a lot for him as he starts out in woodworking. It seems to be the consensus here that what's available new these days in a low-cost band saw is fraught with potential disappointments . My opinion is that only a band saw won't be the long term be-all, do-all that he wants, but it is likely it will be way ahead of nothing.


THREAD DRIFT: I bought one of those Porter Cable pocket hole jigs. The jig worked great for the piece of plastic gadgetry it is, but the downfall in performance came from the horrible geometry of the drill bit. Once the bit was touched up for wood cutting, it worked great.
 

tvrgeek

tvrgeek
User
I did extensive research on band saws as my 10 inch Delta was got getting the job done. Too small, too much vibration. I decided on the new steel frame style saw as they are much more rigid. I expect delivery of my Harvey C-14 Friday or soon thereafter. I also considered the Laguna 14-12-220 and Rikon 10-326. None of them are bad tools, but small details separate them. I like the guide design of the Harvey the best. For the money, bigger motor, brake etc. I thought the Jet 14sfx was a half step down. Mostly for the guides, and partly about several comments on the durability of the upper wheel mounting. Same concerns with Grizzly/ShopFox. I think 1 1/2 HP would do fine for all except those resawing 12 inch purpleheart, but as I had 220 available, I went for the monster 3 HP. If given the choice between power and quality, go quality.

I was able to at least look at the Laguna, Jet, and Rikon side by side in a Woodcraft store and a ShopFox at another. Never run any of them. The Harvey is a leap of faith. Pictures, looking at the parts diagrams, and weight were all hints for my choice.

To me, the old iron C-frame, with old style guide mounting and adjusting, and smaller were a huge step down. Many issues reported with light weight cast components and worst of all, aluminum wheels were not going to cut it. Nothing beats massive iron for woodworking to keep vibration down. Anything less than the ones I mentioned seem like to be just not quite a lifetime tool. I can only almost afford to buy new tools this one last time, so not going to throw away money on a almost good enough or used that takes too much to get going. Even my Delta, I had to do tires and SpaceAge ceramic guides, then balance the wheels myself. In hindsight, a couple hundred wasted if you include several bands. ( Bands do make a big difference. Could not cut a strait line to save me until I dumped the $9 band and put on the $20)

I had not heard of Harvey, but turns out they are one of the small group of OEMs that make almost all consumer and light industrial tools in China and Taiwan. FWIW, about four companies make all of them, who makes any given tool is up for grabs every year. They seem to move around. Most of the iron comes from the same small set of foundries. The difference is in how long it sits to relax before machining and the tolerances for the given brand/spec. All of them can make a fine machine, all of them can make a Harbor Freight piece of junk.

Never heard of an unhappy Rikon owner. Laguna owners seem very loyal though some complain about guide adjustment holding, they won't give them up. In summary, if you can't spring for $1100 to $1500, save up until you can as a smaller saw will just delay how long you can save up for the one you really want. Support is universally love hate and we mostly hear about hate except Delta, where we only hear about hate. Lots of hate.

Cool blocks work fine. Ceramic blocks work fine. Both are said to do better on re-saw. Euro-disk guides ( on one ShopFox) are said to do better scroll, but wear out really quick. Roller bearing guides are said to clog with dust and fail, but I suspect that is only until you buy good Japanese bearings. Personally, I did not like the flat rear bearing guide design. From my limited experience, 90% of problems are from those who have not watched and followed the Snodgrass videos to set their saws up well.

One would think woodworking tools would be pretty well figured out by now. Jointers do not seem to have changed in 100 years. Not many changes to drill presses. Table saws now have riving knives that are a huge safety feature. Planers have not changed. Only real change in the band saws are the different guide choices and the stiffer steel column though old industrial saws wil put them to shame.

Of course, if you are in N.C, I can give you a heck of a deal on a 10 inch Delta!
 

Pop Golden

Pop
Corporate Member
Hi Jim, I didn't say all P-C were junk. I love my P-C routers. I said that saw in that I gave a very thorough examination was not a good saw. It had lots of problems, and yes who ever assembled it was not hitting on all cylinders. The new P-C equipment is not what it was before the great shuffle. (B-D to DeWalt to a holding co. to finally Stanley). Delta was spun off and I don't know if they are still building machines or gone the was of the dodo bird. I do know Delta parts are almost impossible to get. P-C on the other hand has a factory in Johnson City, TN. That's were sanders, routers are made. Those big box stores sell stand alone tools made in China. The P-C drill press looks ok, but some of the other stuff is questionable.

Pop
 

nn4jw

Jim
Senior User
Hi Jim, I didn't say all P-C were junk. I love my P-C routers. I said that saw in that I gave a very thorough examination was not a good saw. It had lots of problems, and yes who ever assembled it was not hitting on all cylinders. The new P-C equipment is not what it was before the great shuffle. (B-D to DeWalt to a holding co. to finally Stanley). Delta was spun off and I don't know if they are still building machines or gone the was of the dodo bird. I do know Delta parts are almost impossible to get. P-C on the other hand has a factory in Johnson City, TN. That's were sanders, routers are made. Those big box stores sell stand alone tools made in China. The P-C drill press looks ok, but some of the other stuff is questionable.

Pop
Pop, I don't think it was your comment that got me wound up. In fact, I no longer see the original comment in this thread. Maybe some editing has been going on? That's fine, it's a better reading thread now. Some of my posts seem out of context though. Oh well.
 

nn4jw

Jim
Senior User
The P-C drill press looks ok, but some of the other stuff is questionable.

Pop
I have that drill press too. As well as the PC table saw they used to sell.

The saw is pretty good. Has a riving knife. Handles an Oshlun dado stack well. Works quite well for me. Easy to keep aligned. Serviceable fence but not the best out there. No complaints.

The drill press is ok, but not really set up at all for woodworking. The holes in the table are not placed well for easily bolting on a shop made woodworking table. You have to extend the table lifting crank if you do attach a woodworking table, but that's a common problem with all metal working drill presses. Then you have to deal with its throat depth in that once you do have a woodworking table attached the quill handels will hit your fence most likely. Still a common problem though with this type of drill press configuration.

For normal metal working it's fine though. That table I was saying was not easy to attach a woodworking table to has decent T-Slots and standard T-Slot hold down clamping sets work fine with indexing tables and X-Y vises and such.
 

tvrgeek

tvrgeek
User
Yes, Delta is still in business. Assembly in S. Carolina, if you can call what they do assembly. Zero support for the old equipment which is more than they give on the new. Owned by Ching.

PorterCable is now just low end consumer and not very good at that.

The drill press that is set up for woodworking is the Jet, but of two on display in local stores, both the depth stop was not working. For big bucks, the Nova is really sweet and more appropriate for wood. You will find a lot of then do not go slow enough to spin a big forstner. I found the benchtop presses to be too flexible when I was drilling holes for mortices. Table would flex and my holes were not true. I made an adjustable support but that was a real pain, so went big floor stander.
 

tvrgeek

tvrgeek
User
I'm still looking forward to the next post by Charles-H to see what he's done if anything.

A relatively 'new' Delta 14" band saw will be a 1970 model. That's a 50 year old machine so its going to need some work if it is in original condition. Mostly belts, bearings, and tires. Those are wear points on all band saws. I think that the British sports cars of the 1960s. are more problematic. A USA-made Delta band saw needs to be 'rebuilt' every 40-50 years just as electric motors need their bearings changed every 20-30 years. It sounds like British sports cars aren't as easily rebuilt for the long term use. That's probably a bad comparison anyway.
British sports cars are not problematic unless the owners and "professional" shops made them so. My daily driver is a 65 MGB, though it is for sale due to my bad knees. My next daily will be my 73 Stag. Parts are surprisingly easy to get. You can actually build an MG from scratch, body shell on. Most of an XKE, most of a TR-6. Besides, technology was simple so it is easy to make or substitute parts. Many suppliers, not like support for an older Delta.
 

nn4jw

Jim
Senior User
British sports cars are not problematic unless the owners and "professional" shops made them so. My daily driver is a 65 MGB, though it is for sale due to my bad knees. My next daily will be my 73 Stag. Parts are surprisingly easy to get. You can actually build an MG from scratch, body shell on. Most of an XKE, most of a TR-6. Besides, technology was simple so it is easy to make or substitute parts. Many suppliers, not like support for an older Delta.
Parts are probably a lot easier to find in these internet days than they were back in the 80's before the web. My MG was pretty much a basket case when I got it and while finally mechanically good when I got rid of it, still had a rusted out body.
 

Drew

Drew Goodson
User
I can't thank you all enough for the responses to this.

I agree with the importance of a sharp blade though, it's on the front line so to speak.

I'm anxiety prone and although I'm sure the block guides would be fine I'd still rather go with the bearing guides.

I was thinking about going with the porter cable bandsaw from lowes purely on the protection plan that I can get with them but it adds an extra 129$ to the bill and I'm not sure its necessary, worth it or how comfortable I feel with even getting a bandsaw made by porter cable for 550$. But grizzly is going a sale right now on their stuff and the 555 and 555lx are on sale for 562$ and come with roller guides, fence and miter gauge, none of which come with the porter cable. What do you guys think about the grizzly?

Because I've never owned a bandsaw before, I'm worried about what to do or if the wheels get out of alignment or anything else and I need someones help to fix it.
Charles-H, buy a Grizzly and get to making saw dust. It should last you awhile and be a good value. Don’t overthink it, the point is to have fun working with wood!
 

tvrgeek

tvrgeek
User
Block or ceramic guides have an advantage in resawing "sticky" wood in they kind of wipe the blade clean where rollers may get a build up. Remember, most of the time the blade never touches the guide. Carter even sells a setup with NO side guides for scroll work. Whatever the type as they all work, not needing tools to set them is a big plus in my book. My Delta guides are held by just an allen screw and they move when you snug them. Very frustrating. A better design would have had a spring shim in-between and a thumb screw. I was going to make said modification but decided I wanted a real saw. 450 Lbs worth.

PS: Been building LBC's from the early 80's. Even TVR parts were not that hard if you joined the clubs. We had these things called "catalogs". They are kind of rare now. Then we had swap meets. Pretty much gone now.
 

bob vaughan

Bob Vaughan
Senior User
[QUOTE="tvrgeek, post: 648388, member: 13882" My Delta guides are held by just an allen screw and they move when you snug them. Very frustrating.[/QUOTE]

You've got a problem unique to your saw somewhere because that's not my experience with USA-made Delta 14" band saws. The blocks are hardened steel, harder than the setscrews. Maybe the tip of your setscrew has worn or has a burr on it or there's a ding in the block's channel. Phule blocks and other soft non-steel blocks will take a set under the setscrew's tip and go back to that point unless the blocks are rotated to a new side under the setscrew.
 

zdorsch

Zach
Senior User
British sports cars are not problematic unless the owners and "professional" shops made them so. My daily driver is a 65 MGB, though it is for sale due to my bad knees. My next daily will be my 73 Stag. Parts are surprisingly easy to get. You can actually build an MG from scratch, body shell on. Most of an XKE, most of a TR-6. Besides, technology was simple so it is easy to make or substitute parts. Many suppliers, not like support for an older Delta.
Glad you spoke up Scott! And welcome to the group.

If my ‘73 B weren’t buried behind a current project I would have taken a picture of it with my Delta 14” bandsaw. The B has only broken down once in the 18 years I’ve owned it (and I’m not even close to an expert mechanic). I’ve only had to replace tires and the blades on my Delta.
 

Wannabe

New User
Vic
Charles, because I'm not talented at anything including mechanics, I hardly purchase anything used. Besides, you don't know what type of abuse it has been through. In addition, I too, am on a strict budget and cannot afford new. So I just save what I can until the time comes when I can purchase it. Now, I'm a proud owner of the same machine (grizzly) that you mentioned. An excellent choice and once you get everything together it runs top notch. The wheels were balanced, but you have to adjust your guides. I'm dumber than a box of rocks, but the manual and Youtube helped me figure it out. Good luck with whatever way you choose to go.
 

Our Sponsors

LATEST FOR SALE LISTINGS

Top