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Thread: Rikon 18" Review

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
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    Rikon 18" Review

    Well I finally got the Lennox 1" blades and was able to "put some wood" to the saw. I can tell you that the Lennox 1", 2/3, Bi-Metal VP blade was the nicest blade I'd ever used until I installed the Lennox 1", 2/3, VP Tri Master. This blade is everything that Mark Singer and Jim Becker said it was. If you do alot of resawing for venneer or bookmatching, this is the blade. More on the blades at a later time, and onto the saw.
    As I stated earlier, I beleieved that the saw was maybe a little too "lite" for the pro user, my experience has validated this in my mind.
    I started out having tracking problems, I could not get the blade centered on the upper wheel, and the teeth of the blade were over the front edge of the lower wheel. I contacted Rikon on the issue and they were extremely quick to return my call, and explain what adjustment was necessary. As a matter of interest, I have called Rikon on three seperate occaisions, and they have returned my calls immediately, I was very impressed. The adjustment turned out to be the alignment of the four bolts on the back of the lower wheel housing, these bolts align the "pitch" and the "Yaw" of the lower wheel, incidentally the weight of the wheels are 23 lbs for the upper and 28 lbs for the lower. I had to remove both wheels to understand the design and get everthing aligned, so I weighed them. The upper wheel, however turned out to be a little more problematic, and this problem is in my mind, the Achilles Heel of this machine. The tracking adjust for the upper wheel is a bolt that extends thru the frame, and applies force to the backside of the upper arbor/tension assembly. The cross section of the threaded end is not much, ~ 3/8" dia. and subsequently places a lot of localized pressure on a small contact area on the back of the arbor/tension assembly. This resulted in the deforming of the back of the arbor/tension assembly, and placed a "Dimple" on the back that interferred with the smooth operation of the quick release feature. I removed everything,and pressed out the deformation. I have since placed a 2" wide, 6" long and 1" thick piece of tool steel on the back side of the arbor/tension assembly. This gave me a more progressive tracking adjust, and also corrected the "Yawing" of the upper wheel. Any owner of this saw will have to address this issue. or over time the tracking adjust will have to be continually readjusted, and the quick release will begin to bind as the tesion/arbor assemble tries to slide down and out of the deformation to release tension.
    The saw is childlessly simple to take apart and reassemble, in addition to the 4 allen wrenches provided the only other tool required are a 13mm wrench, a small flat head screwdriver, a phillips driver and a square and a machinist scale for alignment.
    Once I resolved the tracking issues I aligned the saw with no problems.The guides are essetially large Carter guides and all the hardware was of good quality, which made for easy, quick alignment. The table has a "Thin, Lite" appearance but is very strong and stiff, with no perceptiable deflection when bearing weight on during resawing. The blade guard is pretty cheesy, and actually intereferes with blade installation. I'll manufacture a different style of guard that will go on after the blade is installed, but this also no big deal. To install a 1" blade I needed to remove the doors, again easy to do and very quick to put back on. The blade installs from the front of the saw, and accomodations have beem made in the fence assemble for rapid removal. The fence is removed by loosening 4 large plasic wingnuts and pulling it toward you. There is a guide built into the extrusion of the fence rail to reinstall it exactly as removed, again pretty simple.
    Overall, I'm pretty happy with the purchase. It was purchased solely to resaw, I have my Jet 14" for the lighter stuff, and it does that very well. Would I recommend this saw? it depends. If you were on a budget and was only going to have 1 bandsaw and you wanted it for everything, I would say look at the Grizzly 18"-21" bandsaws. If you already have a smaller 14" like I do and just wanted it for resawing, it's great. If you're a pro and make your living with a bandsaw, well then there's Mini-max and Laguna. This saw definitely fills a void in the market though. For a little over $1K with a Lennox Tri Master, it's a hard value to beat.
    I'm going to attempt to attach some Pic's of the saw.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Medford Minnesota
    Posts
    224
    Thanks for the review Mike, I won't get mine going for at least another month. Were did you get the Lennox Tri-Master from and may I ask what it cost?



    Thanks Tom

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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    3,789
    Thanks for the review Mike. I am impressed by the way you were able to analyze the problems with the saw and then to fix them -well done!

    I am definately going to get one of the Lennox Tri-Master blades based on the recommendations that I have heard here.

    By the way, when I was searching for a bandsaw, I contacted Rikon and they told me that their saws are NOT available in Canada.

  4. #4
    Mike, can you post a picture of your "fix" to the dimpling problem. How did you attach that piece of steel?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
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    Griswold Connecticut
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    Tom. I got the Blades from Cyber Woodworking. They had the blades listed in stock specifically for the Rikon 18". The blades were pretty expensive, $52.00 for the Bi-Metal, and $150 for the Tri-Master. They come so highly recommended though, that I took a chance, based on things I'd read here about them. I can honestly say that the blades are fantastic, either on will improve any bandsaw's performance. This is the URL. http://www.toolcenter.com/Lenox/142blades.htm

    Rich. I haven't actually attached anything to the arbor/tension assembly. The "brick" of tool steel stands behind the assembly and the tracking screw places pressure on the "brick", but the arbor/tension assebly is free to float on the face of the tool steel. here are some pic's.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    672

    Rikon review

    Hi Mike,
    Thanks for the info. I have been very pleased with mine so far-no tracking/alignment problems and all of the areas that seem "light" are not a big issue for a hobbiest. I like the effective cutting power and the overall heft of the machine. I have the 1" 2/3 varitooth and find it works well, and I also use the Lenox 1/2" 3tpi Bimetal and and it resaws more smoothly but just a little slower. I have the Lenox 3/8" Bimetal but haven't tried it yet. Thanks for the eval. of the 1" Trimaster. I was waiting to see how much I needed one before I stepped up.
    Thomas, I got both my saw and Lenox blades from Cyberwoodworking. Google them up and compare. Don knows all the specs. of the Rikon. Good luck, John.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Lower Michigan
    Posts
    1
    Mike,

    Thank you for the review!

    I was guided here by an old dear friend, Kelly Hanna. Glad he did. I found the information on the Rikon I was looking for. I've read reviews, but wanted honest, no bias input from an owner. Last year grizzly came out with the G0507 for $1500. This year, it's in the Outlet Store as a Closeout item for $1200. Makes me wonder what went wrong? And glad I did not have the savings to make the purchase then. Now I see the Rikon, and have turned my eyes on it. One of the key features I like about the Rikon is the table height. I'm short, and have milk crates all over the shop to stand on.

    Like you, I have a 14" that will do the little things (not much good for anything else I might add) and I need a resawer. Summer before last I came accross a 180 year old Walnut that was downed. Mis-understanding in terms left it laying in the fella's yard. It ended up in mine, and chuncked it up with a chain saw. It needs to be sliced up, and soon, or it's going to become nothing more than firewood.

    Nearest Woodcraft is a minimum 4 hour drive from me. A trip without prior views of the machine was just not acceptable in my eyes. So your review is more than worth an 8 or 9 hour drive alone round trip just to look at it for a hour or 2.

    Thanks again.

    aka Woody

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Gainesville, Florida
    Posts
    743
    Mike,

    Thanks for the excellent, honest review. I sincerely appreciate it. I hope the tracking problem is the only significant challenge you face with this BS and the it eventually proves to be a "winner" for you.
    Kent Cori

    Half a bubble off plumb

  9. #9
    Thanks Mike!

    I took advantage of Woodcrafts Feb sale price and paid for mine in Feb. I finally got it in my Shop on March 6th. I needed to get it on a mobile stand and a new 240v run before I could hit the switch the first time and that happened last night.

    Your review helped me look for things before I hit the switch. I didnít have any tracking problems and the guides were adjusted a little on the tight side, so I eased off a whisker and that quieted it down. I can agree that the tensioning system is the weakest link and the blade guard being cheesy.

    It had some vibration, but not bad and the fact that it's on a Shop Fox base may prevent the dampening effect of being bolted to the floor. I would add that in order to be comfortable with this saw on the Shop Fox stand, I reconfigured it 3 times before I was happy. This thing is on the top heavy side. I ended up with the wheels sticking out on the front and back to add resistance in the through the saw axis (Check the sketch- no I donít have digital camera, sorry but tools have been the priority) and bolted the saw to the stand and find it rigid enough for my needs. (I need a bigger shop to have room to actually work on a project)

    All the "rattles" I could hear came from the blade guard area and the tensioning area, so I will look at adding something to the tensioning area to prevent/correct the dimpling and yawing problem. Not sure what to o with the blade guard, so Iíll keep looking for you solution.

    Am I happy with the Rikon, absolutely yes and would do it again. I canít really justify more money now and this is a whole lot of saw for the money and the deficiencies are correctable.

    Thanks again Mike!
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Last edited by Hal Flynt; 03-15-2005 at 1:56 PM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Tidewater, VA
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    John/Woody -

    Welcome the the Creek. Glad Kelly directed you here. It is a great place to hang out and exchange ideas with lots of good folks.

    Welcome,
    Ted

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
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    Griswold Connecticut
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    Welcome to Sawmill creek John Adams. I'm glad that the review I posted was of help to some people. I tried to be dispassionate about the review and point out the flaws that I found. Most were really non issues for me with the exception of the tracking issues. in retrospesct some of the issues were probably attributed to running a 1" blade. Had I used a 1/2" or a 3/4" blade I may not have noticed it so quickly, but if that saw couldn't run a 1" blade it was going back.
    I've since modified the fence and beefed it up with a 6"x 21" x1/2" piece of plate aluminum. This has worked excellent, in fact there is no perceptible blade lead in the saw. The fence is square to the table all around. Hal. the blade guard rattling is a little annoying, once it finally warms up here I'll be changing that out. It's just too cold right now.
    Overall I think the saw will more than suit my purpose. I like it so far, and would have no qualms at all about attempting to resaw expensive lumber.
    I want to do a comparison of different baldes in the spring. I want to try a few 3/4",and I want to try the the 1" Timberwolf that Per Swenson uses on his 18" Jet. Sometimes you just gotta experiment and prove or disprove some of the truths or fallacies that you have in your mind.
    Last edited by Mike Cutler; 03-15-2005 at 4:03 PM.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Cutler
    I've since modified the fence and beefed it up with a 6"x 21" x1/2" piece of plate aluminum. This has worked excellent, in fact there is no perceptible blade lead in the saw.
    ahem... picture....

  13. #13
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    Feb 2003
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    Oops, sorry about that. I was at work when I answered the post. Here are some pics. I had to stiffen the fence by sliding a piece of hardwood into the extrusion. I used some MDF to add some mass and widen the footprint of the fence. In addition to raising the height, I also tightened up on the clearance of the fence rail guide in the rear.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  14. #14
    Excellent work. You really "own" this saw, knowledge wise. I'm waiting for the weather to warm up so that I can start putting it through its paces. I'll likely copy your fence. Thanks.

  15. #15
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    Feb 2003
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    John

    I think it was a matter of economics they now have a 19" & a 21".
    I usually find it much easier to be wrong once in while than to try to be perfect.

    My web page has a pop up. It is a free site, just close the pop up on the right side of the screen

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