Most helpful positive review
191 of 194 people found the following review helpful
Great Value, excellent saw with some work.
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.
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 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.