Tool review: Deluxe 14-inch Bandsaws
Now look at these user-friendly features
Comfortable table height. Table height on five of the seven tested saws ranges from 42" to 44". Find a working height that's comfortable for you without hunching over, then look for a match. Our 6'-tall tester found himself bending down to use one saw's 35 1/2"-high table; he liked a 40"-ish table height best. If you plan to add a mobile base to your saw, remember it will add an inch or two to the table height.
Accurate, adjustable rip fence. For straight-line cutting, a rip fence proves a vital accessory, and all but two saws include one. All the fences include adjustments to compensate for blade drift (when the blade fails to cut parallel to the fence). Four of the saws' rip fences can be used in two dimensions: upright for resawing tall stock, and low and flat, shown at right, for reaching underneath the blade guides on thin, narrow rips.
Reliable tension scale. On these deluxe saws, we hoped for more-reliable blade-tension gauges, but found we could rely on the scales of just two saws. So it's a good idea to know how to set the tension without the scale. Our tester used the flutter method, where, with the blade guides pulled back and the saw running, he loosened the blade tension until the blade fluttered side-to-side. Then he tightened it gradually until the flutter disappeared. All of the saws have quick-release tension levers that relieve enough tension to change blades, and then return to your previous setting without tedious cranking and checking the blade tension as you go.
Effective dust collection. Dust buildup on the rubber tires of these saws reduces blade grip, so it's important to hook up the saw to a dust collector. Each of the models in this test has a 4" port next to the lower wheel; these proved most effective on the steel-frame models. Doors on the C-frame saws did not seal as tightly, reducing dust-collection effectiveness.
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