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Thread: The $800 half pint of finish- Rikon BS Gloat

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
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    The $800 half pint of finish- Rikon BS Gloat

    Hi All

    I’ve had a Grizzly G1148 bandsaw for about 10 years. I did some upgrades over time, ball bearing guides (not worth the money) upgraded fence that I sold and built one I liked better, and most worthwhile a 1.5 h.p. GE motor to replace the .75 h.p. motor that came with it. The Griz actually worked pretty well when properly tuned but it was limited to 7" of resaw and was somewhat inconvenient to use. A 17" or 18" saw wasn’t much more money but I don’t think a larger saw would have fit in my space. The biggest advantage of the larger saws is the ability to use carbide blades for my uses I don’t think carbide is critical to me but Bimetal might be interesting.

    I was at a local woodworkers store (Woodworkers Haven in Southampton PA.) to pick up a half pint of finish ($5.99) for a small project and SWMBO wanted to use the facility. I picked up the finish and spied 2 Rikon bandsaws, the 14" deluxe and the 18". These guys hadn’t sold Rikon the last time I was there. Oh Oh. I first laid eyes on the 10-325 at Highland Hardware but getting it home from Atlanta posed a problem. Southampton PA. was just too convenient for fiscal health ;-). SWMBO said I should get if I wanted it, bless her heart. I didn’t need 2 bandsaws so came home and posted a for-sale on Craigs List. 3 responses in 24 hours, and one guy came up the next day and bought the Grizzly for what I thought was a fair price. The next day was Sunday and the store was closed so it was Christmas Eve level anticipation ‘til Monday A.M.

    Loading the saw at the store wasn’t a problem, they had a hydraulic cart. Unloading it at my house wasn’t as simple. The weather was warm and wet so the lawn was soft. I have a Bilco door to the basement but couldn’t figure out how to get the saw to the Bilco door without causing ruts in the lawn. It had to come through the house and down the basement steps. Here was the only painful part of the process. I grabbed one of the straps that bound the box and pulled. Bad idea. The band broke and I went backward and landed awkwardly against a ramp. OUCH! Time to take a break, some Motrin and regroup. Got a tie-down strap, wrapped that around the box and got it out of the pickup and standing up in the garage. Opened the box, inhaled the new toyl smell and removed the table and box with the base in pieces. That was as far as I could break it down. The saw was in form fitting styrofoam so was pretty safe in the box. I was able to pull and roll the box with the saw in it to the basement steps. A tie-down strap clamped around the box provided a handle and the box slid down the steps under good control. Dragged and walked it to where I wanted it.

    I resized a Delta mobile base to fit the base. Assembled the base and wondered how to lift the saw onto the base. Coffee and contemplation were the order of the morning. I have a steel beam running across the basement and a come-along. Was able to rig the come-along so it’d lift high enough and attached the saw with the ever popular tie down strap. Ratched that puppy up, slid the base under it and bolted it down. That was the part that concerned me most. The rest was straight forward.

    Bear in mind that I’ve only used this saw a very little bit and with the factory blade. Having said that:

    LIKES

    1) 13" of resaw! As far as adequate power, I’ll need to get better blades before I can judge this.

    2) Smooth blade tension release. I was expecting hard to move and jerky and was pleasantly surprised.

    3) Pretty good fit & finish. The table appears to be flat and it was protected with oil, not cosmoline. Easy to clean up.

    4) Not only is the table good sized, the slot to remove the blade is ahead of the blade, not perpendicular to the blade as many saws are. The blade comes straight ahead instead of having to turn the blade ahead of the lower guides. There should be less inclination to use the wrong blade for a cut when it’s easy to change them. Instead of the tapered pin to keep the table aligned on each side of the slot, this saw uses a bolt and wing nut vertically through a counterbored hole. It seems like it should keep the table aligned just fine.

    5) Easily adjustable blade guides. The guides are bearings with the thrust bearing oriented the right way! The blade runs on the outer race, not the side of the bearing as it common. All 3 of the top blade guide bearings are micro adjustable. On the bottom guide, the thrust bearing has micro adjustment. The two side bearings are adjusted by loosening hex head screws and moving the bearings manually. The manual adjust works better than it sounds like.

    6) There’s only 1 screw to remove (table slot) and one screw to loosen (front of blade guard) to change blades. I don’t know if I’ll have to adjust the side bearings when changing blades, I’m hoping I’ll only have to adjust the thrust bearings.

    7) Dust collection seems very good. After the first use, there was no dust around the lower wheel at all when connected to a DC. There was some around the outside of the saw.

    8) Table leveling. It uses the standard bolt with a locking nut but with a twist. There’s a small figure 8 shaped piece that pivots under the table bolt. Set the bolt so the table is perpendicular to the blade. If using a resaw fence or something like that, move the figure 8 shaped piece away from the stop bolt and the fence can be tilted past perpendicular if necessary.

    9) Blade guard. The blade guard on the guide post is hinged and held shut by one screw & slot setup. Loosen the screw and the blade guide swings open for blade change.

    10) Practical speed change mechanism. The 2 speeds are 2950 FPM and 1445 FPM. I’m not sure what the use is for 1445 FPM, possibly cutting nonferrous metal? The lower handwheel moves an idler pulley which loosens and tightens the drive belt. Works pretty well.

    11) The fence can be mounted left or right of the blade. Right now I have it left of the blade-I have to remove the fence from the mount to remove it from the saw. I think I'll move it to the right of the blade so I don't have to remove the aluminum extrusion to mount or demount the fence. With a 7" resaw height working under the upper wheel housing and left of the blade felt a little claustrophobic so I had the old saw fence mounted to the left of the blade. Shouldn't be a problem with 13" resaw and the fence to the right of the blade should feel more natural.


    The Not-So-Good

    1) The paint on the base seems soft. It was pretty easy to scuff.

    2) The saw is pretty tall and a bit prone to rocking on the Delta base. In fact, it’s too tall for me. My table is about 40" high. I’m vertically challenged and would be happier if the table were about 34". A new lower base may be in the future.

    3) There appears to be no way to use solid Cool-Block type guides. I understand that narrow blades <1/4" blades don’t work well with ball bearing-type guides. Carter sells a grooved upper thrust bearing that works with narrow blades but that’s another expense. The saw is rated to use 1/8" to 3/4" blades.

    4) The lower thrust bearing adjustment knob was disconnected. I was able to get it to engage but the thrust bearing adjustment knob may be short on travel with a 3/4" blade. The saw comes with a 5/8" blade.

    5) Right now, here’s a big one. The saw won’t start without tripping a 20 amp breaker on a dedicated circuit. I spoke with Rikon about it and they indicated over tensioning the drive belt would cause that problem. I loosened the drive belt and it started but slowly. On subsequent starts it was real slow to accelerate and was drawing 40-50 amps. I found that if I helped spin the wheels on startup it would accelerate and run normally drawing about 7 amps. The start capacitor isn’t leaking but does have an odor. I have a message in with Rikon so we’ll see how this pans out.

    6) The motor seemed to be pretty warm for running a pretty short time and not much of that under load. There were several starts in a short time which may have contributed to the heat but I’m still concerned about this.

    7) The door for the base is missing. I called Rikon and they’re sending me one. I don’t know if the box containing the base parts were opened or not.

    The "We'll See"

    1) Table support and stability. This was a concern in the FWW review. The table seems fine but the attach area for the trunnion mechanism is about 4" X 6 1/2" and the table is 15 3/4" X 21 1/2". I'm not worried about my planned uses, but I'm no sure how happy it'd be with a 12" log plunked down on it. With infeed and outfeed support it'd probably be fine.
    trunnion1.JPG trunnion2.JPG

    The finished product
    saw1.JPG saw2.JPG

    Yup, it works
    First Sawdust.jpg

    Thanks for Looking

    Curt
    Last edited by Curt Harms; 01-17-2007 at 9:22 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
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    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    Congratulations, Curt! 'Nothing like a new saw. And you bought it at one of the best places to do business locally. John and Frank are great folks and I highly recommend Woodworker's Haven for anyone in the SE PA area. I haven't stopped in there in some time just due to general "business", so I didn't know they picked up Rikon. When the local (Bensalem) Woodcraft "company store" closed years ago (a franchise opened west of Phila), they were able to grab Delta in addition to Jet and Powermatic that they already did great business on.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Becker
    Congratulations, Curt! 'Nothing like a new saw. And you bought it at one of the best places to do business locally. John and Frank are great folks and I highly recommend Woodworker's Haven for anyone in the SE PA area. I haven't stopped in there in some time just due to general "business", so I didn't know they picked up Rikon. When the local (Bensalem) Woodcraft "company store" closed years ago (a franchise opened west of Phila), they were able to grab Delta in addition to Jet and Powermatic that they already did great business on.
    Good Morning Jim

    SWMBO doesn't refer to "Woodworker's Haven", she calls it "The Nice Guys". She's been in that store only a few times and has cost me a Performax Sander & Band Saw so far

    Curt

  4. #4
    Curt,

    Very comprehensive review! Thanks.

    I own this Rikon and have been very pleased. I've not experienced any problem with start up or tripped breakers - starts easily and comes up to speed rapidly - so keep on top of Rikon on this one. My saw was missing the knob from the tension release when I received it (Woodcraft, Boise). One call to the folks at Rikon and it was in my hands in 3 days. Not bad.

    Good luck!
    I have been black and blue in some spot, somewhere, almost all my life from too intimate contacts with my own furniture. - Frank Lloyd Wright

    I have been black and blue and bloody in some spot, somewhere, almost all my life from too intimate contacts while building my own furniture. - Rennie Heuer

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Milford, Pa
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    99
    Thank you for this write-up.
    I am seriously looking at the purchase of the RIKON 10-325 (if they ever get here). In addition, I've looked pretty closely at the Grizzly resaw model, which I also like a bit.

    Unless there is something I really dislike about the RIKON after I've had a chance to look it over closely, it'll probably be the model I ultimately buy.

    Thanks again for the insight.
    Carry on, regardless.

  6. #6
    I have looked at this saw also. I am really not sure about that Trunnion. It really seemed small/weak. I wonder how the one on the Grizz is?

  7. #7
    Well done write-up. I have on of the early Rikon 18 bandsaws and have been extremely pleased. My skill and pocketbook do not warrant a MM or Laguna, so Rikon seemed right for me and has delivered. I have never tried 1/8 blades because my saw is not rated for them - it is interesting that newer models are: I wonder why/how. Thanks for the tip on the grooved carter guide - I'm going to look into that.

    Finally, as Rennie indicated, my breaker has never tripped and the saw gets right up to speed. Make sure they address that.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
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    Curt.
    I have the older Rikon 10-340. It had the same problem tripping the breaker. Rikon sent me a new starting cap, and I loosened the drive belt. It does takes a few moments to come up to speed.
    The cast iron wheels on mine weigh close to 55lbs total. That weight, combined with a properly tensioned blade 1" blade, and the drive pulley tension are significant for a 2HP motor to overcome. Mine doesn't come up to speed like my Jet 14" does. It's not tripping the breaker any longer though.
    The table trunnion does look kinda wimpy doesn't it. Somehow or the other it seems to work fine on mine. I haven't had any problems with it. I have resawn for lumber a few hickory logs that were 6' long and 14" in diameter, with the help of infeed anf outfeed tables ofcourse. That log was probably close to 300lbs.
    Something doesn't sound right with that lower thrust bearing adjustment mechanism. Mine has plenty of fore and aft adjustment.
    I have been using 1" lennox blades on mine for resawing, with no problems, but I'm thinking of going to a narrower blade, 3/4", or maybe even 1/2" based on some things I've read.
    Overall, I'm pretty happy with my Rikon. I've abused it a little and it's held up.

  9. #9
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    Apr 2006
    Location
    Lexington, MI
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    Curt,

    I'm not sure from your article (which I enjoyed very much) why cool blocks won't work.

    I restored a Yates American band saw years ago. It used an unusual sized steel blade guide. I found a place locally that would custome maching cool block guides to fit my saw.

    Larry

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Conely
    Curt,

    I'm not sure from your article (which I enjoyed very much) why cool blocks won't work.

    I restored a Yates American band saw years ago. It used an unusual sized steel blade guide. I found a place locally that would custome maching cool block guides to fit my saw.

    Larry
    Thanks for reading. The guides are bearings. There's no provision for any sort of shaft perpendicular to the blade. You'd have to replace the entire guide assembly as far as I can see.

  11. #11
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    Thumbs up Motor Update

    I Emailed Rikon's tech support last night. By 10:30 this morning there's a new motor on its way. I can't ask for more than that-they seem to have their product support in order.

    Curt

  12. #12
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    Hi Larry

    After replying to your post, I looked again. If You really wanted to, You could machine guides that would work. A block of aluminum with a hole to fit the existing screw that now hold the bearings and a cross hole to hold the cool block. The trick would be to make a square hole in the aluminum block, because most cool blocks are square, I think. I have seen round cool blocks and round would be easier but I'm not sure they'd work as well. Where there's a will there's a way I guess
    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Conely
    Curt,

    I'm not sure from your article (which I enjoyed very much) why cool blocks won't work.

    I restored a Yates American band saw years ago. It used an unusual sized steel blade guide. I found a place locally that would custome maching cool block guides to fit my saw.

    Larry

  13. #13
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    Apr 2006
    Location
    Lexington, MI
    Posts
    143
    ...oops...

  14. #14
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    Larry, when you get into the larger band saws, the guide systems tend to be different, although most use some form of Euro guide. (Sounds like the Rikon has rollers from the text above) For example, my MM16 has the typical Euro guides. In order to allow for cool blocks, the guide mounts have to be replaced. MM makes a kit for that so users of very narrow blades have the option to go to cool block type guides...I have them, but haven't used them yet. I don't know if the Rikon would be set up the same way, but suspect at least a similar method could be used that would allow removal of the OEM guides and some form of "holder" for cool blocks to be installed.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  15. #15

    It must be new Rikon 10-325 month!

    I got my new Rikon 10-325 last week from Woodcraft, after having ordered it at the end of November. I was going to post a review, but I think that Curt covered most everything I had to say. I have no trouble at all with blown breakers. It comes up to speed just fine and the low vibration level is excellent! There are only a few minor and one major thing I would like to add:

    Minor:

    The manual says to bolt the unit to the floor, and although I don't like to drill into the concrete, I will probably do it, as this saw does have some rocking on the base. It might be my floor, but I wish it had some levelers to correct it without having to permanently mount it.

    The light should be mounted to the front of the saw, not the back. That is just a personal preference.



    Major:

    The assembly manual is just about the worst I have ever seen! The pictures do not match the unit, parts have been changed without updating the manual, and the only way I was able to figure some of it out was to look at the exploded parts diagram. Fortunately, it was a one time deal, but it really needs to be re-done.


    And Curt, I think you have the bar that mounts the fence installed backwards. (Another of the confusing manual diagrams - the picture does not match how it states for it to be mounted....) My fence is mounted left of blade, and I am able to remove the fence without having to take the fence off the mount. Also I have good adjustment on the lower thrust bearing on my saw. Finally, I am glad to hear that Rikon customer support was that good in their response to your problem. With a two year warranty, it makes me feel much more secure.

    Once I got it all adjusted, and put on a good Timberwolf blade, the cut is excellent!

    All in all, I am really happy with this new saw!!!!!!!!


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