Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 21

Thread: Need 14" Band Saw opinions - Steel City, Powermatic, Rikon

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Sylvania, OH
    Posts
    102

    Need 14" Band Saw opinions - Steel City, Powermatic, Rikon

    I'm stuck and need any input you knowledgeable people can provide. I've read through all the really great bandsaw posts on this forum but was wondering if you could provide info specific to my needs (selfish of me, I know).

    First of all, I know everyone will say just get an 18 inch bandsaw. That's not an option for me. As much as I'd like one, I just can't get an 18 inch machine down my narrow right-angle finished basement stairs without risk of injury to myself or my walls. Walls I could fix, my lumbar discs are another matter. After much research, I've narrowed it down to these 3 choices. All are available locally, without shipping.



    I want my band saw to be mobile, have a 12 inch resaw capacity to trim logs for turning, and to have a fence. When you equip each of these for my requirements, they are all pretty close to the same price. Now for my questions.

    1. Is the steel frame of the Rikon more or less rigid than the cast iron two-part frames of the others? Which one would maintain alignment best under maximum blade tension? Or doesn't this really matter at this size?

    2. The FWW review last Sept. describes the Rikon blade as being "very difficult" to change whereas the Powermatic and Steel City were "easy" to change. Do Rikon 10-325 owners agree with this? Is it a major pain to deal with or just a minor inconvenience?

    3. The Powermatic only has a single speed. Is the lack of a slower speed something I'll miss or does everyone just keep their saws set to 3000 anyway? (I don't plan on cutting metal with this saw).

    4. The roller guides are described as "easy" to adjust on the Powermatic and the Steel City, but "difficult" on the Rikon in the FWW review. In fact, this one point is what lowered the ranking on the Rikon, which otherwise was seen as a nice machine. Any comments from Rikon owners on this? How heavily should I weigh this assessment?

    5. In the review, they could not completely correct the misalignment of the wheels on the Powermatic due to the short bearing shafts. Do any other Powermatic owner find wheel alignment to be a problem?

    6. The main problem they found with the Steel City saw was an inability to adequately tighten the lock knobs for the tilting table, resulting in table movement under a heavy load. Do any Steel City owners also find this to be a problem?

    7. I know all fences are not created equal. Any comments from owners on the quality of their fences? Should I consider a third party fence for the Steel City unit rather than their SC fence if I go with them?

    Finally, I'd like to hear from owners of these machines as to what they like most about their particular model and what they wish would have been done differently. I know I'd be happy with any of these machines. Powermatic has the name recognition and a good resale value. The Steel City is also developing a good reputation and I really like it's built-in mobile base. Finally, I like the looks of the steel-framed Rikon and the windows allowing visualization of the wheel for adjustments is a neat feature.

    Also, for all you Grizzly owners out there, yes I've looked at all their models and they seem like nice machines. I don't want to deal with shipping for this purchase, not when I have so many great choices locally. The Shop Fox I looked at just didn't measure up to these three (but is a great machine if you're on a budget).

    Thanks for your input. I didn't know putting together a small shop could be so much fun .

    Dave

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Sapulpa, OK
    Posts
    879
    Go Powermatic....I think it's the best of the 3. I used to sell Rikon & Powermatic, left before they stocked Steel City. Powermatic is better built IMHO. I have a Jet 16" and never had any problems. Both Jet & Powermatic are owned by Wilton Machine. Powermatic has been making that bandsaw for quite a few years with very few problems, the only one I know of was a couple of the pieces that the quick release handle mounts to cracked, could have been caused by user...WMH took care of it quick. Rikon 18 had motor problems in the beginning, I don't remember any problems with the 14" Rikon has only been around a few years. Rikon customer service is good also. All in all...I'd still go Powermatic
    Last edited by Greg Heppeard; 02-15-2008 at 5:29 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Northwestern Connecticut
    Posts
    7,144

    Go Gold

    I have the powermatic and have been very happy with it. If you've spent some time setting up a bandsaw and you start comparing the guides and bearings on the Rikon and PM you may go powermatic. I did. I can fit an 18" in my shop but the 14" PM fit my budget better. Plenty of power. I have no knowledge of the steel city so can't help you there.

    If your going to resaw logs all stock and most aftermarket fences are marginal until you move way up to something like a Laguna. You can make a very effective fence cheap from wood or plywood and sacrificial sleds to aid in your resaw. Check Mark Duginski's books and Lonnie Bird's. Also the blade on a bandsaw is critical to your success. Check out Timberwolf blades for resaw blades for either green or dry woods depending on your needs. They make great blades and give good advice to boot.

  4. #4
    I have the sc band saw with riser block aand granite top. I am very pleased with the saw so far. I have only had it for a few weeks. I have done some resawing of 11 inch boards w a 1/2 in blade and it cut with no problem. the dust collection is very good on it also.

    The granite band saw came with the fense an resaw guide is included. the built in wheels are nice also. In addition i did not need to make any adjustments right out of the box. on the tilt. i do not see any problem tightening up the table








    i

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Bloomington, IL
    Posts
    5,934
    I will be in Covington, IN tomorrow at 2:00pm delivering a Sander. Come along and bring $500 and I will end your search for a 14" saw with all the goods (mobile base, riser, fence, new spring ((I think I still have the spring)), and 9 Timberwolf blades). makes the saw almost free compared to the cost of the extras. Jet 14" open stand saw.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Sylvania, OH
    Posts
    102
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Heidrick View Post
    I will be in Covington, IN tomorrow at 2:00pm delivering a Sander. Come along and bring $500 and I will end your search for a 14" saw .....
    Thanks for the offer Mike, but I think I'll pass.

    Dave

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Doylestown, PA
    Posts
    5,843

    Rikon blade changes

    This one is a mystery to me. I think the blade changes are easier than most. The slot in the Rikon table is toward the front of the saw so the blade comes straight out, not having to turn 90 degrees around the guides like most 14" saws. I had an older style Grizzly saw and working a 3/4" blade out and around the lower guides, now THAT was a pain. I use all .025 blades so don't have to adjust the side bearings, just the rear thrust bearings. The top thrust bearing is easy to adjust, the bottom thrust bearing under the table can be awkward. I have no experience with your other choices but I'm happy with the Rikon 14".

    HTH

    Curt

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Spring, Texas
    Posts
    578
    I know that at least one person has had difficulty adding a riser block to the Powermatic. WMH said it's normal for a riser block to need shims to get the alignment right. The Rikon looks very attractive, and the reviews have been good. Tough call. I'm holding out until I can afford the Rikon 18". IMHO, nothing else can touch it in the price range.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    495
    Hi David,
    I have used the Jet, PM, sears, rigid, delta 14" cast iron saws.
    They all cut almost identically. the only real differences I noted were horse power and choice of guides.
    many, if not all of the cast iron 14" saws will loose an inch of throat capacity when you install the riser block. you can also have issues with keeping the upper guide post parallel with the blade. I would bias my decision on the ability to adjust the post.
    I really like the Rikon 14", lots of nice features and a good price.
    I have their 18" machine and it is the most used machine in my shop.
    In my experiance, Jet, Powermatic and Rikon have good customer service.
    Just cut off the parts that don't look like a bowl...

  10. #10

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Grand Forks, ND
    Posts
    2,150
    Dave,

    I just went through about the same decision, I went with the PM and couldnt be happier. Its my first quality bandsaw and I'm still amazed at how easy it is to set up and now that I've changed blades a few times even that is a very simple process.

    1st off the PM is very easy to adjust, roller guides upper and lower and also the thrust bearing is easy to set, the lowers are a little harder but nothing major, I went through the setup process and fine tuning process in the manual and have no complaints.

    The fence is very nice IMO cuts square and is easy to set up, it could use smaller fractional marks.

    I wish the unit came with a mobil base as I bought that extra.

    I recently installed a 3 tpi 1/2" resaw blade and have been resawing some quartersawn red oak, I still have alot to learn about resawing as my cuts are pretty wavy. the planer cleans them up but I'd like straighter cuts, I wont blame that on the saw though. It has PLENTY power to cut 6" resaw cuts.

    I've also heard negative remarks about the riser block situation with the PM saw and I'm already wishing I could resaw more than a 6" piece. So I'm sure I will install one down the road, I guess I'll have to keep my fingers crossed.

    PM makes nice equipment, I'm sure the others you are looking at are very good also, but thats my 2 cents, hope it helps.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Wakefield, MA
    Posts
    508
    I have the Rikon 10-325. One addition: it has a cast iron table. One correction: it does have a wheel brush. I used to have a Grizzly 1019 Z with a riser. There is no comparison between them. Louis Iturra in last year's catalog liked the Powermatic, but I think the Rikon is great also.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Sylvania, OH
    Posts
    102
    Thanks everyone for your responses. I've updated my spreadsheet, but cannot edit my original post to point to the new picture, so I'll put it here.




    With the WC sale coming up March 1st, I'll be able to get a good price on the Rikon, so am leaning in that direction right now. Also, I feel more comfortable without having to use a riser, with its potential alignment issues.

    Dave

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Spear View Post
    Louis Iturra in last year's catalog liked the Powermatic, but I think the Rikon is great also.
    I noticed that there are not a lot of after-market add-ons for the Rikon.

    Why is this?

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Doylestown, PA
    Posts
    5,843
    Quote Originally Posted by Eddie Darby View Post
    I noticed that there are not a lot of after-market add-ons for the Rikon.

    Why is this?
    Probably because it's a pretty new saw. I think someone offering cool block-type blade guides might do well. The bearing guides work okay but it'd be nice to maybe have a choice. Sears sells a very similar saw so there should get to be enough saws out there pretty soon to make aftermarket accessories worthwhile. You gotta figure the Delta 14" and clones have been made for how many years and have how many saws in users' hands?

    Curt

Similar Threads

  1. Steel City Drum Sander - Feedback?
    By Mike Mortenson in forum General Woodworking and Power Tools
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 02-20-2008, 9:57 PM
  2. Steel City hybrid saw with riving knife and granite top
    By David Stoner in forum General Woodworking and Power Tools
    Replies: 17
    Last Post: 02-06-2008, 10:43 AM
  3. Help I Need a Good Drill Press! Steel City, Pm2800,Delta?????
    By Gary Russo in forum General Woodworking and Power Tools
    Replies: 18
    Last Post: 01-18-2008, 11:32 PM
  4. opinions on new Rikon 14" deluxe
    By Grant Charlick in forum General Woodworking and Power Tools
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 01-03-2008, 8:01 PM
  5. Steel City or Rikon Mini Lathes
    By E W Wilkinson in forum Turner's Forum
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 03-12-2007, 12:49 PM

Posting Permissions

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