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Tool Test - Bandsaws

Tool Test - Bandsaws
By Tom Caspar, American Woodworker-October/November Issue

October 2004 Issue

"You're about to be marooned on a desert island. You're allowed one power tool to take with you. Which would it be?

After the router, a bandsaw is the most versatile tool in a woodshop. It can cut straight or curved lines; it can turn logs into lumber or make precision dovetails. Of course, you must pick the right blade for the job, and then set the guides just so for each blade-without losing your patience. We all like lots of power. It's really handy for the big stuff.

Shopping for a saw that can do all these jobs can drive you nuts, however. The choices are overwhelming. For any amount you're willing to spend, there's another machine that costs only $100 more-or $100 less."

Profile of Delta Band Saws pulled from Article

"Delta bandsaws have consistently ranked well for user-friendliness in our tool tests. These two models (28-276 & 28-206) continue that tradition and slightly edge out comparable machines. Both Delta saws are essentially the same above the base. Setting the blade guides and thrust bearings is a breeze. Only Delta bandsaws have lower-guide micro-adjust knobs located front and center under the table, where they're easy to reach. The lower blade guides on all Delta 14-in. saws are positioned much higher up and closer to the table than most other saws' guides. This minimizes the length of unsupported blade, so there's less chance it will bow or twist. Both saws feature quick-release tension levers and 4-in. dust ports."

"This versatile saw (28-475X) is our favorite 120-volt machine. It's equally good at resawing and detail work. On the outside, this saw looks like an upgrade of the other two Delta models, but it's not the same machine. It's made to higher standards in a different factory. Two outstanding features of this saw are its powerful motor and excellent quick-release tension lever. This is the only lever that automatically adjusts to different blade sizes. In addition, the table is more rigid than those of the other Delta models."

"From $750 to $950, we like an old 120-volt favorite, the Delta 28-475X. It's easy to set up with any size of blade and has as much power as you're likely to get on a 120-volt circuit."

November 2004 Issue

"With 18-in. wheels and 12-in. of room between the guides and table, this saw (28-682) has huge throat and resawing capacities. The table is located at a good working height and is exceptionally sturdy, because it has a third support point. This is the only saw with adjustable stops for tilting the table to 20, 30, 35 and 45 degrees. A sliding bar on the left-hand side of the table supports wide work. This is one of the few large saws that has a quick-release tension lever, but it's not our favorite design. The guides offer plenty of front-to-back support for a wide blade. This saw has a second, slower speed (2,300 fpm) for cutting plastics and nonferrous metals. With its 2-hp motor, you won't need the slower speed for wood."

"We prefer the Delta because it uses block-style guides, the easiest type to set on very small blades...If your interest is to fully explore all the things a good bandsaw can do, from using tiny to large blades, we still prefer the Delta."