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191 of 194 people found the following review helpful
on August 6, 2003
First, allow me to say that, in my opinion, this is by far the best value band saw in its class. Where else could you find a machine with these specifications and (most of) Delta's reputation for quality and service? After working out some of this new model's wrinkles, you can own a very versatile saw with a large 16" table, a quick tension release, and a good amount of power. But, for your savings, be prepared to do a little fussing to get everything just right with this saw.
Let me tell you about my experiences, and most importantly Delta's excellent response to some picky little problems I encountered. I can tell you that I am a very fussy guy and know quality when I encounter it, and will settle for nothing less than "how things should be." When I discovered this saw was totally manufactured in China, I decided I would hold Delta's feet to the fire and demand the same level of quality found in their U.S. made saws, and I think I'm close.
I have been in the machine tool business for 28 years, selling metal working machines, and I have seen the good, the bad and the ugly. This saw is not bad and can be made good, very good with your effort and persistence. If you are not one to take on such challenges, you can purchase less saw for equal money, or plan to pay quite a bit more for something with equal specifications and fewer rough edges; Perhaps as much as $300-$400 more. For me, woodworking is a hobby and I would like to put that much money elsewhere.
The Good:
In most ways this is a typical Delta cabinet band saw. The 1 H.P. motor has sufficient power, the unit is beefy and most Delta parts and accessories are interchangeable.
The cabinet doors are on hinges, and can be easily opened; quite convenient.
The table is larger than their other 14" band saws.
The blade tension release lever is something I would never want to live without again, never. It's so convenient and would normally cost an additional $150 or so.
The saw is a two-speed unit.
The height adjustment is very accurate and doesn't require readjustment of the guides when the elevation is changed.
The Bad:
The lower blade support assembly is sloppy because the bar it connects to is a poorly, undersized and pretzel-shaped piece of sheared hot rolled steel.
The bottom, hinged door on mine was tight and would bind up, sometimes even popping open on its own.
It's hard (impossible in my case) to perfectly align the motor with the pulley on the saw, but with some fussing around, you can get it close enough.
The cast iron parts are not quite as refined as the American units, but acceptable.
The height adjuster is a bit stiff to move up and down, but I presume Delta wants it to be this way so it won't fall down and pinch my delicate fingers. I noticed it has a rubber surface inside its bore for better grip. With time it will probably work a little easier. Silicon lubricant might also probably help.
The saw is not quite as vibration-free as it could be, and Delta is working on this with me, sending me some new pulleys and an upper band wheel. I think the top band wheel is perhaps a bit out of round or out of balance. When I run the saw without a blade, it's quite smooth. I am confident I can resolve the very slight vibration I am experiencing. Also, to be fair to Delta, my saw is on a mobile stand, not the best base to minimize vibration, and I do have the height extension block installed, too.
Some comments about Delta's excellent service:
When I pointed out the problem with the lower band cover's hinge, Delta overnighted a new cover. It was there the very next day.
When I advised them of the sloppy lower blade guide assembly, they got with their engineering group to confirm my observation, and machined a high precision part that now works like a dream. I trust if you call them they will have this part (now) in stock. The American part won't work only because the holes are spaced differently, but the bar is the same dimensionally. It's a little tricky to install, but only about a 20-minute job.
As I said, I am confident I will be able to resolve the slight vibration problem I am experiencing. It's not really enough to worry about, but like I said, I will hold them to my standards.
If you don't mind purchasing a Chinese built machine from an American company, and you are willing to work out or accept some of the rough edges, go for it. It's a great value, all things considered. The only thing I can imagine that may be a future problem is the Chinese built motor. It looks good, but who knows. Everything else should last as long as any other Delta 14" band saw. Hope this is a helpful review.
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70 of 74 people found the following review helpful
Fortunately for me, I decided to purchase the 28-206 based on some actual use, otherwise some of the negative reviews here would have put me off. After all, a band saw is one of the most important tools one the powered side of the workshop, and a poor performing band saw is a disaster. Surprisingly, none of the flaws mentioned here have surfaces, although I have seen problems with the 206's lighter brother, the 28-276. Out of the box and assembled, even before tuning it, the 206 ran smoothly, with no unexpected vibration.

One of the reasons I bought the saw was the closeness of the lower bearing set to the work surface. This, coupled with and aftermarket ball bearing set (not the Carter set) means the blade runs vertically, under use, with almost no deflection - perfect for resawing and making veneer. Even when I am attempting resawing with a stock 1/4" blade. When I give in and put in the 6" extension (another good reason to buy this saw), I will probably switch to the carter bearings. But I'm very happy with what I have now.

Adjustment is quite easy, and necessary as well. Never expect to be able to put on a blade and not have to reset everything. The setting controls are easy to get to and very straightforward, so there is no excuse to have a blade out of adjustment. Which brings on safety lecture number one - a band saw is probably the most dangerous stationary tool in the shop. One where your hands spend a lot of time very close to a powerful, high-speed cutting edge. Most of the time the only thing between that blade and your fingers is your brain - keep it engaged.

The heavier version of this saw is the X5, which is about $300 more, and manufactured in the US. It is a better saw, although I wouldn't say it was 70% better. If you really are a perfectionist you may want to look at it. For me though, some compromises are necessary, and the 28-206 suits all of my needs.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
I am not going to reiterate the things I see in the other reviews here; I will add a couple of things which you should know.

1. You should not attempt to use this saw without checking it top to bottom (not just the checklist in the documentation). For example, when I turned mine on for the first time it vibrated so bad that the door not only came open, the hinge broke and the corner of the door cut into the tire on the bottom wheel. The hinge *appeared* to be very sturdy. I know this sounds a little hard to believe, but it is the truth. I might add, that I have never seen or heard of such a thing in almost 20 years of woodworking.

2. I could not align the belt to my satisfaction until I reversed the pulley on the motor. Judging only from the picture in the manual it appeared to be mounted backwards; at any rate reversal is easy and that solved the problem.

3. The quick release band tension lever would hang about every other time. Sometimes it would hang only for a few seconds and then pop and release. I took it apart, checked for burrs etc, wiped it down and put it back together; so far so good for this problem.

4. It is impossible on my saw to resaw hardwood boards anywhere near the thickness the saw can accommodate. Softwoods (or thin hardwood) do alright. I tried 3 different blades; only the 3/4 inch blade resaws acceptably on mine.

5. The trunions broke on the table when I dropped the end of a 2x4 on it. I normally don't resaw 8 foot boards, but this time I had a reason. I don't treat my equipment roughly and typically use each device I purchase for 4 or 5 years.

6. The guides are pretty bad, but I have always found this to be the case on new bandsaws (anybody who ships one with a good set of guides will probably sell me my next bandsaw).

I am giving 2 stars for quality materials; that seems generous. I have in my shop the following Delta equipment: Table saw, jointer, drill press and several other items which have performed much better. I will still buy Delta machinery because I get more for my money. However, I have to say that I had to work much too hard to make this bandsaw usable.

I am still experimenting with balancing methods and have no intention of involving the factory. After all, I don't think I could possibly make it any worse.
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on January 21, 2005
I purchased this saw vs other saws because I thought this saw was the best value for the money. I could not justify the additional $300-$400 for the X5 version. I knew this saw had some issues, but I figured if I was patient, I would have a great saw for a good price.

Out of the box my saw had several problems:

The table was not flat. I was able to slide a .035" feeler gauge under the worst spot. The table was so un-flat that the work piece would rock. No problem, though. I called Delta and they sent me a new table. Problem solved.

The lower wheel had a lot of wobble. This caused the blade to move forward and back when cutting. This made it difficult to stop the cut where you want it. No wobble was visible on the upper wheel, just the lower one. Once again, I called Delta and they sent me a new lower wheel. Problem solved.

The lower blade guide was very loose and sloppy. I thought about shimming it somehow, but then realized you can shorten the wedges that slide on the guide bar. Don't grind off too much material or you will have to stretch the spring that spreads the two wedges. Now the lower blade guide is rock solid. Problem solved.

I thought the saw had a lot of vibration. After all, it failed the nickel test. The nickel test is a simple test you can conduct to evaluate vibration. Simply place a nickel on its edge on the table while the machine is running. If it falls over, it fails the nickel test. Also, the upper blade guide seemed to shake a lot relative to the table. To be fair, I must point out that I have the saw mounted on the Delta mobile base. Mobile bases are not known for their stability. Also, I have the 6" height attachment installed. This makes the unit more top heavy than without it. After some investigating, I came up with several possible contributors to the vibration problem. First of all, I noticed the table sometimes vibrated against the table angle adjustment bolt. The table angle adjustment bolt had raised lettering on it. I decided to grind this lettering off so the table would make better contact with the table angle adjustment bolt. This eliminated the table rattle. Next, I realized the entire saw would sway forward and back on the stand due to the thin cabinet. I read another reviewers suggestion to add some angle iron to reinforce to top of the stand. I bolted on two pieces of 2"x2" angle iron. I can't believe how much of a difference this has made. Also, I noticed the saw rocked on the mobile base. I decided to bolt the stand to the mobile base. This made the whole unit more stable. Finally, I noticed the motor sometimes made contact with the top portion of the cabinet on the door lip. I solved this problem by installing a link belt. I made the link belt a bit larger, and now the motor clears the top portion of the stand. After all of this, the saw passes the nickel test easily. I am very pleased how smoothly the saw runs. I am glad I spent the time to make it right.

With these problems resolved, I am very pleased with this saw. I really like the 16" x 16" table. I have used older versions of this saw with the 14" x 14" table. Two inches makes a big difference. I also like the blade guide setup. I did replace the steel blocks with some cool blocks. The blade is held very securely with no side to side motion. When I change the height of the blade guide, the guides do not require additional adjustment. The quick release blade tensioner is a nice feature as well. You will appreciate this if you have ever had to turn the little tiny knob on the top of older model saws until your wrist cramps up. I must also give credit to Delta's customer service. They were very friendly and helpful. I hope this review helps.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on April 14, 2005
I purchased this tool in February and have been happy with my choice. I have added the usual items I see suggested in the online reviews and elsewhere (riser, Kreg fence, Woodslicer blade). I also replaced the stock drive belt with the link belt. I was pleased with what it did for my aging Craftsman table saw and had to have it on this tool as well.

I have not used a band saw for 30 years and when I made my first cut on the saw it worked perfectly and my cuts come out better than they should have.

I was able to take advantage of the Amazon free shipping and am very pleased. It arrived on time and in great condition. I tracked it online, received a call from the freight forwarder to confirm a delivery time and date and all went well. I live 20 miles up in the Sierra Nevada foothills and it made no difference to the delivery driver and there was no extra charge.

Assembly of the saw went well, no missing parts, instructions easy to follow and I was able to put it together by myself (not easy but I was able to do it) but I suggest a helper in the final stages. You will need a litle kerosene to clean off some protective packing grease on a couple of items.

The only minor problem I had was the upper drive belt pully housing was not completely painted. I called Delta and had a new housing in a few days, no questions asked and no charges.

When you start up the saw you might notice a vibration from the drive belt/pully housing on the body of the saw. I placed a rubber washer between the housing and the saw which solved the problem.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on August 29, 2006
When compared to other band saws in this price range, the lower cost and high quality of this saw make it a clear winner for even serious hobbyist.

The box arrived in pretty good condition. The packing is very good and all parts of the saw were in perfect condition. The instructions were pretty clear and the assembly went very straightforward with one exception. Note, when it comes time to lift the band saw onto the assembled stand, it would be a good idea to get a helper. The exception came when bolting the saw onto the stand. I managed to twist the head off one of the bolts much too easily. All the hardware is the standard soft Chinese steel. Knowing these four bolts keep the saw on the stand, I replaced the supplied hardware with higher grade bolts. It took me about 4 hours to assemble and adjust the saw.

The instructions are clear on how to get everything adjusted and properly set up. After the set up, it was time to get cutting. I fired up the saw and was a little dissapointed in the amount of vibration. I certainly wouldn't say excessive but more than what I had hoped for. However, when using the saw, I have never been botherd by the vibration. The on and off switches have to be pushed quite hard to engage. This is probably good for the "ON" switch but a little disconcerning for the "OFF". I like my equipment to be very easily shut off in case of an accident. I purchased the riser attachment and mobile base for this saw. Both are good purchases but the mobile base is fantastic. Unless you have a place in your shop where the saw is going to sit, you really should consider the mobile base. It's worth every penny for moving this heavy and somewhat awkward machine around.

I am very satisfied with the machine and can't imagine that any other saw in this class would work any better. Even with the vibration, I would have given this five stars had it not been for the sub-grade bolts. The best recommendation I can give is that, knowing what I now know, I would purchase this saw again.
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47 of 55 people found the following review helpful
on August 8, 2003
I bought this Delta bandsaw 5 months ago, and have not cut a piece of wood yet! The machine vibrated so bad that I was scared to use it.
I spent $$ on aftermarket parts to cut down on vibration. I hired a local machinist to make the stand more sturdy. I phoned Customer Service 5 times. They were friendly and sent me several new parts. The local Delta Serviceman has the saw now. After 6 weeks of work, he just called to tell me he cannot fix the vibration and has given up trying.
I do not recommend this saw.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on February 3, 2003
Bought the 28-206 from a local retailer and found out that I was given the wrong model (3/4hp). The store then gave me the correct model that they had just built up so I cannot comment on the contruction or instructions. The vibration was minimal but unacceptable to me so I changed the belt with a PowerTwist Plus A20-60 V-Belts. Great investment! Eliminated all vibration. I also bought a mobile base and height attachment (highly recommend before buying too many 93 1/2" blades). Wanted to get a fence but found out that since the table is 16" vice 14", all the Delta fences don't work. After buying the accessories and doing the math, I wish I would have bought the Delta L.E. 28-299. In the end, you get an extra 1/2hp for about twenty dollars. You don't need the extra power on almost all cuts, but it's nice to have. Would have been 5 stars if Delta would have done their homework with the accessories. Eventually will upgrade the guides with Carters.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on August 1, 2003
Ordered this saw as a replacement for a smaller bandsaw. Easy to assemble but you'll need a second person for safety. The quick tensioner is a nice touch and the fit and finish are adequate. The only negative is that the two wheels were not co-planer as delivered but the addition of a 5/8" shim washer took care of that issue. I always test my power tools by removing the blades and checking the runout and no load vibration. This tool is adequate but not outstanding. I replace the drive belt with a "link" belt but that didn't help much. I purchased the Delta because I always buy "made in USA" if possible. Guess what: made in China. If I had known that I would have purchased the Jet 14 bandsaw. Overall the Delta is a good solid bandsaw. When I finally find a permanent spot for it I will bolt it to the shop floor.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on May 9, 2006
I've had this band saw for a little over a year and I have to say that I was hoping for more from Delta. It's certainly powerful enough for me and I like the table, the guides, and the ease of taking tension on and off. What I don't like is the vibration - it's pretty bad.

After buying and reading the Band Saw Book (Taunton Press) I found out that the bottom wheel was badly out of ballance. I called Delta and with a little run-around they shipped me a new wheel under warranty. The new wheel is much worse than the original. I was disapointed in the machining quality of the new wheel it was not ballanced well at all, not to mention the fit is too tight. Pretty crummy warranty replacement all togehter. I expected more from this saw and from Delta. There is no way a nickel is going to stay standing on end - I don't think two nickels glued together would stay standing.

There also seems to be no way to get the pulleys lined up between the motor and lower wheel shaft. I've worked for hours shimming this and that to get it better, but it's not great.

On a final note, there seems no way to get the two wheels co-planer under any circumstances and that seems to be hard on the tires. For example, with a 1/4 blade, the top wheel has to be pitched so far out that when I take the tension off, the wheel binds against the back of the upper cabinet.

To do it over again, I would have saved up and bought a better saw - maybe from somebody other than Delta. Don't get fooled that Delta makes the end-all, be-all 14" band saw that has been written about for years; maybe they used to, but not anymore. And that's coming from a guy with a lot of Delta stuff.
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