Page 1 of 5 12345 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 75

Thread: New Bandsaw Purchase: Laguna vs. Minimax

  1. #1

    New Bandsaw Purchase: Laguna vs. Minimax

    I know this territory has been well trod, but I am hoping to get some general and specific information and opinions about various bandsaw comparisons.

    I've been using a Grizzly G0555x 14" saw (which I just sold), mainly for resawing but also for general-purpose cutting and curved work. It is a nice little saw, and a very good value, but for resawing wider boards well, it seemed to have trouble tensioning blades 3/4" wide, and it simply couldn't accomodate a blade any wider than that. Trying to resaw with a 3/4" Woodslicer became maddening, as the blade drift seemed to change from cut to cut. Thus I decided to get a more robust, though not necessarily larger or more powerful machine. Actually the Grizzly's 1.5hp motor and 12" resaw capacity weren't bad.

    Now I'm considering a Laguna 14" SUV, which features a 3hp motor and 14" of resaw capacity (we'll see), along with the bells and whistles of a larger saw, including brake and rack-and-pinion guide post. All for a pretty good price of $1495. The only issue for me is that this saw is made in China, and after learning my lesson from a few Chinese tools, I'm trying to avoid them. (I do have some Taiwanese machines that work well, but with any new acquisitions I'm trying to buy European tools. I'm also hoping one day to pick up an old Oliver, Northfield, or Tanny jointer and table saw, but that's one day...when I have the time and money to restore such a machine.)

    I know from friends who own them, and from reading the testimony of many fellow-Creekers, that the Mini-Max bandsaws are much beloved. On one thread here, numerous MM owners said if they had to make the decision again, they would buy the MM16 or MM24 without hesitation, a powerful endorsement. Clearly the machines are well-made, with the power and strength to tension a larger blade and resaw with aplomb. Purchased new, however, they are also much more expensive than the Laguna 14" or 16" bandsaws, and I'm not sure I want to or can afford to spend the extra money. And as I've just sold my Grizzly, I'm going to need to fill its spot soon.

    So: is there anyone out there with experience with both the Laguna SUV and MM (or Aggazani or Centaur or Griggio or Felder or Zimmermann$$$$)? Does anyone have an informed opinion on the Chinese-made Laguna bandsaws in general, vs. European saws? Am I making too much of the Chinese vs. European quality issue, or is it worth it for me to wait for a good deal on a used MM here on SMC or elsewhere?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Washington state
    Posts
    511
    I purchased the newer design MM16 several years ago. In my search for a BS I put Laguna, Aggazani and MiniMax in the running. The MM won out in the end because it had a greater resaw capacity than the Aggazani, which I have needed several times, and had a stellar CS reputation very much unlike Laguna at the time. If I had to do over again I would look at the Aggi and the MM in a 24" size, but perhaps I'd just go with the MM16 again.

    I know that Laguna would not be considered, nor would any Chinese or Taiwanese made saw.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Fort Collins, CO
    Posts
    945
    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh MacDonald View Post
    Laguna 14" SUV, which features a 3hp motor and 14" of resaw capacity (we'll see), along with the bells and whistles of a larger saw, including brake and rack-and-pinion guide post.
    I have this saw. The most I have cut was 13-3/4" in mountain ash - no problem, plenty of power to make the cut. Opened all the way up, the distance between the table and the bottom of the guides is 15-1/16". The gripes that I have had with it are that the initial setup took some time as adjustments were not spelled out very well at all in the manual (the manual looked like it was slapped together in Microsoft word - then photo copied until all the pages were out of alignment and the picture quality was fuzzy. Also, the foot brake got bound on the trim piece where it went through the lower cabinet. Had to grind out a new bolt hole to gain enough adjustment to allow the foot brake to work freely. Last thing was the belt tension indicator was not assembled correctly. I had to disassemble the quick release mechanism and put it back together with the tension indicator installed correctly.

    I was pretty frustrated with the setup of this machine, however, once I got it set up and started using it, the frustrations disappeared. That said, I would look hard at another brand, or possibly look at the actual Italian made saws from Laguna before getting another 14" SUV.
    Man advances just in proportion that he mingles thought with his labor. - Ingersoll

  4. #4
    I think you should strongly consider the Aggazani. I would comment that MM is no longer owned by the same company they were when all those glowing threads were written. I think based on recent threads that Laguna has realized the importance of CS but some of their saws are built in Taiwan. I didn't exactly have great customer service with MM. They sent me the wrong saw (3 phase) when I ordered a single phase. They promised me stuff to make up for the mess this turned into and I never saw a single thing. They eventually sent a tech out to my shop to help but I was out of pocket hiring help to load/unload the second saw that arrived. This wouldn't be so bad if it was an MM16 but an MM24 is very large and heavy. There was aslo some damage that wasn't fully addressed.

    Edit: I meant to add that you never hear anyone complain about Aggazanni. And Eagle tools always get Kudos for customer service.
    Last edited by Todd Bin; 02-24-2011 at 3:01 PM.

  5. #5
    I taught woodworking and had the 14 and the 14suv. I had no idea that they were built in the far east. Both were incredible saws and held up well with student use. (student use is equivalent of setting the saw in the snow for a few seasons, hitting the saw with a few well placed hammer hits and in general mis-use.) I have not used the other saws, but I did like the Laguna. replacing the blade was tedious because of all of the different sized allen screws.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    St. Louis
    Posts
    3,336
    I didn't know that Minimax had changed hands. Good to know. I bought my saw before that happened, so have had nothing but good experiences with them.
    Where did I put that tape measure...

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    LA & SC neither one is Cali
    Posts
    9,447
    Quote Originally Posted by Todd Bin View Post
    I would comment that MM is no longer owned by the same company they were when all those glowing threads were written.
    Care to elaborate...

    AFAIK Minimax has been owned by SCM since the middle 80's. I think if you look at the MM threads over the last year the vast majority have seen excellent CS but as a general rule the BS hardly ever need support, they just cut.

    "I think based on recent threads that Laguna has realized the importance of CS but some of their saws are built in Taiwan."

    I am pretty sure no Laguna bandsaws are built in Taiwan.
    Last edited by Van Huskey; 02-24-2011 at 4:39 PM.
    Of all the laws Brandolini's may be the most universally true.

    Deep thought for the day:

    Your bandsaw weighs more when you leave the spring compressed instead of relieving the tension.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    LA & SC neither one is Cali
    Posts
    9,447
    There is a lot of questions and ground to cover with your thread. I own both a Laguna LT 18 and a MM20 and have spent some time playing with the Laguna 3000 series.

    I think the Laguna 3000 series is pretty well liked very rarely do I see anyone have issues with them. They are very well built compared to most of the Asian saws and better designed than all but one BS that comes from Asia. They are well priced, highly featured and overall do a great job. It also has the Laguna guides which are my favorite.

    The Italian saws are in another league, period. Each of the big three have their strong points and their weak points. I personally would not buy a Minimax if it was going to be my only BS, but I collect bandsaws like dogs collect fleas. For a dedicated resaw bandsaw the MM line would absolutely be my choice, it is a heavier built machine, it has a triple boxed spine that laughs at deflection.

    I could wax on about bandsaws all day but it comes down to this, I would always suggest one of the Italian saws over the Asian saws but the SUV is a fine saw and their is no similar Italian saw imported. Waiting for a resonably new Italian saw to come up used CAN be a long wait, so your patience comes into play. Waiting for an EXACT Italian bandsaw on the used market might try Job, so if you decide to go the used route and wait for an Italian saw it is probably best not to get your heart set on an exact make and model, it isn't like buying a used car.

    Some things to think about in the used market. I really like Agazzani saws BUT most of them in the used market are going to be "traditional" bandsaws with shorter resaw heights, they do have "resaw" bandsaws now with the taller resaw heights brought into vogue by Laguna but they tend to be few and far between in the used market. I suppose what I am saying is you will have to educate yourself about the different eras and models so you can quickly jump if one pops up on CL. In the end it is hard to go wrong with any one of the Italian saws even in the used market as long as they haven't been abused but you do need to verify exactly what you are getting in terms of capacity and motor.

    In very general terms used as a dedicated resaw I like the MM, Laguna and Agazzani in that order, for a general use bandsaw that I expect to do everything I rank them in just the opposite order.
    Of all the laws Brandolini's may be the most universally true.

    Deep thought for the day:

    Your bandsaw weighs more when you leave the spring compressed instead of relieving the tension.

  9. #9
    I'm very glad that I asked, because I've gotten superb responses so far. Everyone's input has been extremely helpful.

    Van Huskey, you touch on several important issues, one of which was on my mind but which I forgot to pose: the Laguna guides get rave reviews, but I've only used roller bearings. Are they really superior or do other guide types work just as well, and are they worth getting a Laguna for?

    Van, out of curiosity, which Asian bandsaw is better designed than the Laguna, in your opinion?

    I know that it could be a long and arduous wait for a bandsaw to come up for sale near me. I passed on a MM16 at a great price here about two years ago and really regret it now. But I'd be happy to acquire either a MM, Griggio, or Agazzani and my requirements are hyper-specific. I also don't need, like, 30" of resaw capacity. But I would like this to be my last bandsaw for quite awhile, so I want it to be very well made and to be capable of executing well a range of bandsaw tasks. For that reason I have been concerned about buying Chinese and have preferred idea of the Italian saws.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by McKay Sleight View Post
    I taught woodworking and had the 14 and the 14suv. I had no idea that they were built in the far east. Both were incredible saws and held up well with student use. (student use is equivalent of setting the saw in the snow for a few seasons, hitting the saw with a few well placed hammer hits and in general mis-use.) I have not used the other saws, but I did like the Laguna. replacing the blade was tedious because of all of the different sized allen screws.
    Very good to know, McKay.

  11. #11
    Van, thanks for the great response.

    As for your location in the world, I think it is no coincidence. You are living on the wrong continent, and need to move to Italy.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    LA & SC neither one is Cali
    Posts
    9,447
    Quote Originally Posted by McKay Sleight View Post
    replacing the blade was tedious because of all of the different sized allen screws.
    Sorry I missed this earlier but they have been redesigned and much more user friendly, it isn't the "dance of nine allen wrnches" anymore much more is done with thumb screws now.
    Of all the laws Brandolini's may be the most universally true.

    Deep thought for the day:

    Your bandsaw weighs more when you leave the spring compressed instead of relieving the tension.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Arlington, VA
    Posts
    1,850
    I was searching for a BS to do resawing, looked at both Laguna and MM, ended up with the 14SUV, and am very happy. I dealt with Laguna when Tim was the SMC rep, and I thought it was a fantastic experience. He was candid, helpful, I felt taken care of, and follow up on a minor issue was prompt and all done on their dime. The machine itself is top notch. I gather Laguna has had some CS challenges since then, but the barometer seems to be indicating that they are now getting back on track. Unlike a lot of others, apparently, my experience with the MM rep so soured me on that company that I will never do business with them.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Weston, CT
    Posts
    274
    Happy owner of a MM16 here. Does a fine job cutting and is completely trouble free. Easy to setup and use. Seriously powerful and resaws wide boards like a dream.
    Would recommend one without hesitation. Have not used the others you mentioned you are considering, so can,t be much help there.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    LA & SC neither one is Cali
    Posts
    9,447
    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh MacDonald View Post
    I'm very glad that I asked, because I've gotten superb responses so far. Everyone's input has been extremely helpful.

    Van Huskey, you touch on several important issues, one of which was on my mind but which I forgot to pose: the Laguna guides get rave reviews, but I've only used roller bearings. Are they really superior or do other guide types work just as well, and are they worth getting a Laguna for?

    Van, out of curiosity, which Asian bandsaw is better designed than the Laguna, in your opinion?

    I know that it could be a long and arduous wait for a bandsaw to come up for sale near me. I passed on a MM16 at a great price here about two years ago and really regret it now. But I'd be happy to acquire either a MM, Griggio, or Agazzani and my requirements are hyper-specific. I also don't need, like, 30" of resaw capacity. But I would like this to be my last bandsaw for quite awhile, so I want it to be very well made and to be capable of executing well a range of bandsaw tasks. For that reason I have been concerned about buying Chinese and have preferred idea of the Italian saws.

    I like the Laguna guides very much, they are easy to set, work very well with a wide variety of blade widths and the biggest key is how much support they give the blade and how close the last support is to the work. Laguna offers their guides for a wide variety of saws SO if one likes the guides they can add them to whatever saw they get, makes more sense if you buy another saw used though.

    The Asian saw that I really like is the PM1800. I have spent some time setting one up and cutting with it and it is a pleasure to use. OK it isn't the perfect saw in my mind but nobody makes that. The details are what really get you. So many things have been so well thought out, from the guides to the table tilt etc etc. The problem with the Powermatic is price, it is priced (even street price) at or above the 18" Italian saws. If it "streeted" 500-700 below the price of an Italian 18" saw I think it would be something to consider. I think the small market and thus economy of scale killed them, where as ACM and Centauro make HUGE lines of bandsaws sold all over the world with a considerable reputation, the PM1800 is a one off proprietary saw.

    My guess is you meant "NOT hyper-specific"? I think the 20" saw is the perfect balance for a well equipped hobby shop and I really love my MM20, got a good deal on a 3 year old absolutely perfect one but I did have to drive 350 miles to collect it. I will say if you do a lot of bandsaw cutting with the table tilted I would lean away from the MM line as they don't have a traditional centered trunnion. Low angle stuff like bowl blanks and some dovetails are a non-issue but high angle cuts will require you to make additional blade inserts. I suppose it isn't a big issue but it can be annoying, that said since you plan to buy used I wouldn't avoid the MMs just for that if I could save a chunk of money.

    One last thing about the LT14 SUV, I don't think you have a Rockler close to you and I don't know how far you are from one of the Woodcrafts that stock the Laguna (Philly, Wilmington and Roanoke do) but if you ahve a chance to see one I tell everyone to do this. Go in and look at every 14" saw they have on the floor that is not a Laguna, pay special attention to the size of the wheel bearings but look they over good. The go over to the SUV and open the upper door and look at the wheel bearing, the wheel and the tensioning/tracking mechanism. That will give you a good understanding about how well designed the SUV is. In my opinion it is the best designed and best built 14" saw on the US market, but it doesn't have any Italian competition.
    Of all the laws Brandolini's may be the most universally true.

    Deep thought for the day:

    Your bandsaw weighs more when you leave the spring compressed instead of relieving the tension.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •