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JET 708115K / JWBS - 14CS 14'' Bandsaw with Enclosed Stand (662755123290)
(1 Epinions review)
This One Makes Sawdust
Feb 19, 2002 (Updated Feb 27, 2002)
Review by Larry Carpenter
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:Quality construction, Easy original setup, easy adjustments
Cons:Fence could be better, so could supplied blade.
The Bottom Line: In 14" bandsaws this is the "bang for the buck" leader. You won't be disappointed..... unless you want my Reliant.
I got the Jet 14" bandsaw with the closed stand after using a Delta 8" table model for several years and a Reliant clone of the Jet for three years. I outgrew the Delta when I moved to larger projects and I found out the Reliant is not a clone. I wouldn't even call them siblings. Maybe they are related somewhere by ancestry but the good gene pool is definitely in the Jet.
Recommend this product?
My wonderful spouse (Did you read that honey? Can I get a new toy now?) uses the bandsaw to rough out her craft projects. I use it to cut curves for furniture projects and to resaw. Between us it gets used quite a bit. I will do some comparison to the other bandsaws I have owned. Please don't consider this a proper review of those, however.
The Jet sports a one horsepower motor driving a well balanced 14 inch wheel that drives a standard 93 1/2 inch blade over the co-planer top wheel. It has a useable dust port that catches much of the waste coming off the blade. It weighs in at 185 pounds and sits as steady as a rock in use. The blade that comes with it is nothing to brag about. The power switch is conveniently located on the stalk of the machine and has large buttons. The bearings show no play or runout. In short it is quality through and through.
I got the Gold Edition package with this bandsaw. It adds a mediocre miter gauge and a good quality but not too useful fence. It is one of three very similar models imported by Jet. The low end uses an open stand and a 3/4 horsepower motor. Another is much like this one but with four speeds, none of which are really fast enough for tough sawing tasks like resawing. The Jet runs the blade at 3000 SFPM. That moves a lot of teeth through the wood and gets the waste stored in the gullets of the blade out of the wood before it heats up too much.
Out of the box, three boxes actually, this saw oozes quality and thought. Although it is manufactured in Taiwan, I understand that Jet engineers do the design and Jet quality control is on-site at the factory. Both of these show when you open up the boxes. Assembly is very straightforward. All you need is a husky friend and a few metric wrenches. Much of the assembly is done. The manual is generally well written and illustrated. If you have a problem (I didn't on this one) the Jet tool doctor is as close as your phone.
Getting the closed base saves any major assembly in that area. I noted in the manual that there were forty more bolts for the open stand version. The motor is already mounted in the base. Although the motor looks identical to the one in my Reliant except for color I found it to be much better. The working part of the saw is also nearly assembled. It even has a blade already mounted. You and your husky friend get to place the business part of the saw on top of the base and one of you balances it while the other installs four bolts and the associated nuts and washers. There is a door in the base that has a nice latch. Unfortunately the latch didn't release when I pushed the button on it. Luckily I could get my arm down through the belt slot in the top of the base and coax it open. A little judicious bending made it all better.
Place the belt on the saw pulley and the motor pulley and tighten it. First you have to loosen the four bolts holding the motor to a well engineered motor mounting plate. Then you have to lift it and slip the belt over the motor pulley. Finally you wedge the motor down with a piece of wood and tighten the four bolts. In the enclosed space this is easier said than done. I had some red marks on my arms from the fairly sharp sides of the openings I had to squeeze through to make that happen.
The belt cover is a little easier. You mount the knob on the door, then mount the cover to the base with four bolts. Then you loosen the bolts and push the sides closer together so the door will close. You think I would have remembered that from the Reliant but I didn't. This saw has a dust port that mounts next. The Reliant didn't. You open the lower blade gaurd to install the port. I unscrewed the knob (you had to do this on the Reliant) only to find out it just pulls open. Oh well. The knob (the one that said pull) was upside down anyway. Two bolts hold the trunnion for the table to the cast iron that is the bulk of this saw's frame. Drop the 15" X 15" table on the trunnion and screw on the knobs. Set it for zero. You are done. Maybe an hour with the mistakes I made.
The fence instructions were a little less clear. I don't know what it is with Jet and fences but I had trouble interpreting the fence instructions on my Jet contractor's saw as well. I had to examine the blowup parts diagram to determine where extra parts not mentioned in the text went. The fence is well built and it does have an add-on to do resawing. Blades, however, seldom track true. If you can't angle the fence to match the drift of a blade, it isn't very useful. The Jet doesn't allow angle adjustments.
The miter gauge is better than some cheap plastic ones I have gotten with tools. There is no adjustment for the miter bar width, however, and the bar wasn't as wide as its slot. Some judicious peening got it fitting snug.
As I said, the blade was already mounted. The tension was set correctly by the tension gauge and the tracking was perfect. The Jet comes with cool blocks. I loosened the thumb screws and slid them loosely against the blade. They were already set right front to back, just clearing the blade gullets. The thrust bearings were a little too far away from the back of the blade. Loosening the thumb screws and twisting a nicely knurled knob brought them right into position. That was a several minute task on the Reliant.
When the quick connect from the motor was connected to the power harness and the power cord plugged in, it was time to do the fun part, turn it on for the first time. I reached for the cheap switch mounted on the base. Nope that was the Reliant. This one has a nice set of buttons on the column. A quick push and I couldn't believe my ears. No groaning at startup. No vibrating sound. Just a very quiet, smooth whoosh as the blade jumped quickly up to speed. The manual tracking check was good enough. The blade didn't move. That was another quirk of the Reliant. I always had to run the blade and reset tracking before it settled in.
Any cutting tool is only as good as its edge. This is also true of bandsaws. The blade that comes with this saw will not show off the quality of this tool. Luckily I was already aware of the shortcomings here and moved the blade to the Reliant. Since the Reliant is marginal anyway, a poor blade will be less noticeable to its next owner. I slipped a carbide resaw blade on and set tension the way the folks at Suffolk Machinery, the makers of Timber Wolf bandsaw blades, recommend. I tweaked the tracking to get the blade dead center of the slight crown in the tires on the wheels and then I remounted the guides. A few easy adjustments and I was ready to test drive my new toy. I had a four inch wide piece of hard maple marked for a 1/8 inch slice and, using the resaw attachment on the fence, I drove it through. Wow! It wasn't quite like cutting butter but there was no hesitation as it sliced a neat 1/8 inch piece off the maple.
I switched to a 3/16 inch Timber Wolf blade and ran a couple of scroll saw patterns through it on 1/4 inch birch ply. (See honey, I do think of you. Can I have a new toy now?) It was easy and the edges were clean enough to go to final sanding. Much of the credit has to go to the blade for this one.
I had considerable powder around the saw so figured I better get it hooked up to the dust collection system. I had 1 1/4 inch hose and 2 1/2 inch hose but nothing for the 2 inch port of the Jet. I used 2 1/2 inch with a blast gate and a homemade adaptor to make it work. Now cleanup is much less. It's not perfect but it will do.
After using the Delta for a few years, I was unimpressed with the Reliant from the start. It got the job done but with more sanding and finish work. I had to move thick pieces through slowly and still the blade sometimes just stopped. No slowing. No warning. (Honey, this isn't a new toy. It's a replacement part for the Reliant.) Now when I push the Jet too fast it lets me know gracefully so I can recover. Even good blades can't make a poor saw into a good one. On the Jet the blades I already have work just fine.
I paid three hundred for the Reliant. I paid double that for the Jet. There is no doubt it is worth the difference. For example, I lost my first part on the Reliant just after the one year warranty ran out. It took two months to get a replacement. The Jet warranty is two years and they have excellent parts and technical service. Once more I learned you get what you pay for. Wonder how many more lessons I'll need?
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