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Grizzly GO513X2 bandsaw

13988 Views 46 Replies 17 Participants Last post by  sgcz75b
Quite a while back, my Craftsman 12” band saw crapped out. Pretty much just wore out and I really didn’t think that “rebuilding” the thing wasn’t worth the time and expense. I began to nickel and dime a stash to purchase a new saw. My target price range was around 1000 bucks. Three things I based the purchase on were 1, longevity, I wanted a saw that was going to outlast me and 2, resaw capabilities and 3, budget. Being a weekend warrior, a good decent saw should out last me easy enough. I don’t use a band saw on every project, but when I do need one, I wanted one that will do what it’s supposed to without a lot of fuss. When it came to resaw capacity, I wanted a saw that could handle at least 10”s easily.
After considerable homework I narrowed my choices down to 3 saws. Laguna 14/12 14”, Powermatic PWBS 14CS 14” and the Grizzly GO5132X 17”. Each of the 3 saws have reviewed extremely well. A few negatives could be found on each, but that’s to be expected. Pricing on all 3 saws were a bit more than what I had originally set my budget at. Retail pricing was generally consistent with the Laguna at 1100, the Powermatic at 1400 and the Grizzly at 1100. Sale pricing brought the Powermatic down to the 1100 range with the Laguna and Grizzly running 10% off pretty regularly. All three saws required shipping charges which varied between 50 and 100 bucks. With drop gate charges being additional depending on where the saw was purchased from. Occasionally you could find the shipping charges waved. Seldom did I find shipping charges waved and sale pricing combined. Both the Laguna and Powermatic would occasionally offer accessories to sweeten the pot. Usually a light or a mobility feature. I never did run across the Grizzly offering any kind of accessory deal. That’s not to say they didn’t run one, I just never came across it if they did. Depending on the saw either could save you a hundred to a hundred and a half give or take.
I think it safe to say that by far, Powermatic has the reputation for longevity. They have a lot of equipment out there that has been running strong for 30-40-50 years and longer. It’s hard to argue with that kind of history. Its safe to say Powermatic has earned it reputation. Everything I could find on Laguna suggested that there was no reason to doubt that their saw would stand the test of time as well. Again, just based on reviews and countless comments made by owners, I think the same can be said of the Grizzly line. All in all, I think all 3 saws are fine pieces of equipment with Powermatic having an historical edge over the other 2. I should add however that I did run across comments on all 3 saws that claimed all 3 were anything from just fair to flat out junk. Make of it what you wish.
When I got down to it, there were 3 things I looked at for resawing. 1st being capacity, 2nd was power to back it up and 3rd was blade. The latter being a subject for another thread. The first two however were researchable.
Resawing: Each saw is easily capable of handling my requirements. Since the majority of my time on a band saw is spent resawing, this was a very important if not the most important selling point I was looking at. Resaw capability for each saw is:
Powermatic PWBS 14CS: 6”s. BUT, it was easy enough to find the 6” riser being offered as part of the sale price. Thereby extending resaw capacity to almost 12”s.
Laguna 14/12: Advertised at 12”s
Grizzly GO513X2: Advertised at 12”s
Hell, that was easy enough _
Ok, so what was going to back up those numbers. Each saw came with a different horsepower rating. The minimum I would have considered was 1 1/2hp. The only thing I can base that on is just a gut feeling. I felt that anything less would be insufficient when dealing with wide hard woods such as Maple or figured woods. Both of which I spend a lot of time with. At some point or another I came across which mfg. was supplying the motor to each of the 3 machines. Off hand, I don’t have the information but I think it safe to say all have quality motors.
Powermatic PWBS 14CS: 1.5hp, 115/230v, 60hz, single phase, 11amp at 115v/5.5amp at 230v, prewired at 115v.
Laguna 14/12: 1 3/4hp, 115v/230v, 60hz, 14amp at 115/7amp at 230, prewired at 115
Grizzly: 2 HP, 110V/220V, single-phase, TEFC capacitor start induction, 60 Hz, 1725 RPM, pre-wired to 220V, Amps: 20A at 110V, 10A at 220V, prewired at 220v
All 3 saws meet or exceeded my minimal requirements with the Grizzly edging out the other 2.
Warranties vary by mfg. Take the time to look at each before making any kind of decision.
Ok, there you have it in a nutshell, the 3 saws that made my short list. There is a ton of data available on all 3, including youtube, retail and mfg. websites. So, which one did I decide to go with? As the thread title would indicate I ended up choosing the Grizzly GO513X2 17”. I could have easily picked either of the other two saws, with the Laguna perhaps edging out the Powermatic. In fact, I probably would have gone with the Laguna over the Grizzly had circumstances been a bit different. Either way, I don’t’ think I could have gone wrong.
Several factors went into the choice of the Grizz. At the time, I was itching to finally get a saw. I had a need, I had a want and I had very little patience left. Grizzly put out on the website that they were closing down their Muncy warehouse. Clearance and closeout pricing. AND they were running their famous tent sale from Sept. thru Oct. to liquidate as much inventory as they could. The possibility of saving a few extra hundred bucks put me over the edge. Off to the Grizzly warehouse my wife and I went. I won’t even get into the adventure of just getting there *L*
Once at the warehouse, first thing I did was head back to the scratch and dent area. There I found TWO saws, just two! One of which I wouldn’t even have considered and the other already had a SOLD sign on it. Disappointed? Yes, Deterred? NO!! Off the the sales floor I went. Looking at the lineup of all their band saws was to say the least, quite impressive. Everything from the 14” 3/4hp up to the 21” 5hp saws were on display. Nothing like being able to touch, feel, open/close and give each a good looking over. I went to the 17”s and starting looking. I looked at the 17 with the foot brake, which I wish I had gotten, but having smacked into a deer on the way up, those extra couple hundred bucks were now already spoken for. So, needless to say, I picked out the 513X2. Priced at 1,095 plus 100 shipping. I thought I’d get a great deal, especially since I was planning on taking it home with me in my truck. Sale price amounted to only 10 percent off. I thought for sure it would have been more. I had even called Grizzly the night before but they would not give me any pricing info for this event at this warehouse. Pretty disappointed with Grizzly in that regard, but not a deal breaker. So, all in all, 10 percent off the saw and a couple of blades that I picked up for it. Saved just a little over 200 bucks with the package, spent 75 on gas and food…so I ended up ahead of the game. *S*
Grizzly loaded up the saw from the back warehouse. The thing is crated, and crated well. It’s quite a big package to say the least. It took two of their guys to get it off of the fork lift and flip it into the back of my truck. From there, you’re on your own. Buyer is responsible for securing the load!!! I can’t blame em for that. So I tied her down and off I headed for the 4 hour drive home. Once home, the fun started. This thing is a beast. It is a BIG saw and at 400 lps a heavy saw. I managed to get the saw off of the truck, to the basement steps and that is where the wife intervened. *L* She would not allow me to muscle the thing into the basement even though I had it under control. So made a call, son-in-law came over and we got her to her new home. This saw is heavy, somewhat awkward and big. It’s not something I’d suggest you attempt to move by yourself. Get some help. For most, this is definitely a 2 man move. If you have a number of steps you have to navigate, I’d suggest an appliance dolly. A 2 wheel dolly may work, but an appliance dolly would make it so much easier. If you are navigating a number of steps, think it out. If the crate gets away from you, it will cause some damage. The saw is very bottom heavy!!!
As mentioned, the saw was crated very well. The saw itself was wrapped in a heavy plastic with the accessories boxed and tucked away nicely. Everything that was to be supplied, was supplied. No surprises there. The only things that needed assembled were the table and the fence. Everything else was pretty much in place and just needed adjustment after getting the table on. The table was the first thing to get cleaned up and installed. Again, no big deal. But the thing is heavy and a bit awkward to maneuver around the preinstalled blade. Once in place, aligning it with the trunnion was a bit tricky but not overly difficult. 4 bolts hold it in place and then a stop bolt at the rear of the table. Fence rails mounted easily with just a couple of bolts. The fence itself is a pretty nice fence. Heavy, well made and locks in place solidly. Takes a little tweaking to get it zero’s out with the blade but here again, no big deal. Nothing unexpected I guess you could say. The saw comes with 1 insert and 1 blade. Adjustment to the fence and the tilt mechanism is positive and sound. Fit and finish on of the overall package is fantastic. Not a single blem would be found. Paint and decals were excellent.
I took some time to get used to all of the new features of the saw that my previous saw lacked. The rack and pinion blade guard is slick as is the tension adjusting arm. The small window to view is the blade as it rides on the upper wheel is handy, but you need a good light source behind you if you are to take advantage of it. Otherwise, it’s pretty dark and difficult to see through. The window for the tension gauge is a different story. You can easily see the numbers. The tension adjuster is massive compared to the old Craftsman. ..
Once everything was in place, time to set the saw up for use. Having viewed the Snodgrass method for setting up a band saw I went with it. First was to get the blade to track properly! I set up things up so that the tip of the teeth tracked just in front of center on the tire. Played back and forth between tension and alignment. Really wasn’t too difficult to get the blade to track properly. According to the owner’s manual you want the tension gauge to read somewhere between 4 and 6. At between 1 and 2 I felt the blade was plenty taunt. So that’s where I left it.
Setting up the guides: Now here is where the fun begins. Dang, this thing has got some seriously large guide bearings. I mean half dollar sized! I still can’t get over how large they are. Especially since the old Craftsman had those cucumber graphite style guides. *L* I can’t say setting up the guides was difficult, just a little fussy. More a matter of getting used to what to expect and making adjustments from there. Using a feeler gauge to set clearances worked well. I used a set that has the bent ends which made accessing between the guide and the blade much easier. After several attempts and a bit of farting around, I got em set up just right . I have to say, I was/am thoroughly impressed with these guides!
I fired up the saw and let things run for a few minutes, just to make sure nothing was going to bind or break or whatever… Nothing did, so time to grab a piece of wood and give this new girl a workout.
First was a piece of 2” square by 24” long block of red oak. I didn’t mess around, I set the fence for 1/8” and began to saw. Very slow, very steady was all it took. The saw responded beautifully. A nice straight line. NO DRIFT whatsoever. Impressive to say the least. Especially considering what I was used to. Grabbed the dial calipers and measured it out. Yep, 1/8”. After sanding, she measured out slightly less. Something like .110. Next I set the saw for 5/32nds. Made the cut, one pass on the drum sander and I was at .123. A little practice and I feel that I can zero this thing out pretty darn nicely. Getting to know what it is capable of is vital. Especially when counting on it for cutting thin veneers. BTW, this was done with the factory ½” standard blade. Not a resaw blade.
I’ve ran a ¼” , ½” and two resaw blades on the saw so far. Each time the saw performed just wonderfully. I’ve also ran approximately 240’ worth of 1 ½ mahogany thru the saw. From 4 ½’ wide to 6 ½” wide. 5 foot long boards. Easily getting one ½” board and one ¾” board with each pass. With a bit of tweaking and a little luck, I might very well be able to get an additional 1/8” board from that 1 ½” mahogany. Very, Very cool!!! Making adjustments to the guides between blade changes is no big deal once you get the hang of the routine. The blade tracking was needed. I could not be happier at this point. I have yet to push the saw to its limits and probably won’t do so for quite a while yet. However, if and when I do, I’ll be sure to post the results. Good or bad.
The only problem I have encountered thus far is a bit of an odd one. During sawing, I was getting this high pitched chatter when pressing material into the blade. Once pressure was relieved, the chatter would go away. It took a little detective work, but I found the problem to be located at the lower support bearing. I suspected the noise was due to vibration more than anything else, but I could not identify exactly what was vibrating. I carefully turned the machine on, pushed a cut-off into the blade and placed my finger below the table and sure enough the vibration was coming from the support bearing assembly. Exactly where, I wasn’t willing to place my fingers any closer to a moving blade. So I took the table off, disassembled the support bearing assembly. And found zip, nudda, nothing. So I had hoped that the problem was just with the assembly from the factory. I cleaned everything up and reassembled. Readjusted and ran some test wood thru the saw. The noise ceased. Nice and quiet. Fact is the saw runs so smoothly its really quite impressive. ..
Other than a little bit of misleading advertising (pretty lame I know) by Grizzly regarding their clearance sale and the 125 pound doe that attempted to become a hood ornament on the way up to Grizzly I got absolutely no qualms at this point with the saw. I could not be happier. I fully expect to get many, many years of faithful service out of this ole girl.
Did I need to get a 17” saw??? Hmmmmmmmmmmm, probably not to be honest. The Powermatic and the Laguna both have similar capacitys but with lower hp ratings. Both may have served my needs well. Footprint wise, there really isn’t that big of a difference between the 3 saws. Maybe 6”s worth either way. Big difference height wise though. The Grizzly is much higher than the other 2. One immediate advantage the PM and the Laguna have is the cost of blades. With the 131 ½” blade being a big more expense than the blades for the 2 14” saws.
I purchased the saw without a mobility base. Mistake!!! Thinking I could walk the saw as needed proved to be a bit much. Shortly after getting the saw I ordered the heavy duty base from Grizzly for 70 bucks. Sweeeeeeet!!! Should have gotten it while I was at the warehouse.
All in all I am totally impressed with the Grizzly GO513X2. It will no doubt open up some new possibilities in my shop. At just a month and a half old, I wouldn’t dare rec. this saw to anyone. But so far, its looking pretty damn good to me 


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I got to pretty much agree with your assessment. The Grizzly will however accept a 1" blade. Interestingly enough, when I purchased the saw and told the salesman I wanted the 1" blade for it. He flat out told me that I would be much happier with the 3/4". ??? He told me that he's sold ALOT of the 17's and the 3/4" was by far the better option. So I went with the 3/4". Now, I"m not sure if he was comparing apples to apples or apples to oranges since the conversation quickly took another direction.

The guides on the Laguna were a question mark for me...just wasn't sure about them. Something relatively new to me and I just couldn't bring myself to take a chance on em. Knowing Laguna rep for quality, especially on their 16 and 18" Italian models, I was certain, any problems with their guides would be between MY ears and not with the saw.

Adding the spacer to the Powermatic would not have been a deal breaker for me. Some reviews of the riser indicated that it wasn't exactly up to snuff, others said it was just fine. I believe the Grizzly motor is Taiwan, and I can't recall about the PM..

I certainly understand your choice of the Laguna. I have no doubt it will serve you well. As any of the 3 saws mentioned would.
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You betcha Bill, :) a follow up review of the saw will be forthcoming. Long about the first of the year. This will give me alot of shop time with her during my 'busy' season *L*.

Along with my friend Jerry, looking forward to playing around with giving bandsawn boxes a go. I did buy the saw for resawing primarily, I"ve got alot of figured woods just waiting to be sliced up :). I doubt the Grizzly blade will last all that long, so I am on planning upgrading to a better blade. I may go with a 1"..
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Misc. Stuff

My apologies for having forgotten to mention a couple of things.
First would be saw blade widths. Since resawing was one of the primary considerations for a saw, blade width was important. The Powermatic and Laguna both max out at 3/4"s, while the Grizzly will accept a 1" blade. Although the salesman at Grizzly told me that he recommends a 3/4" over a 1", I still plan on getting a 1" and give it a good working out... stay tuned..

Construction of the saw itself.. I suppose I could easily drag this out and site all kinds of statistics and so on, but I won't :) Let me just say that the Grizzly saw is built like a tank. Honestly there is nothing about this saw that I'd consider chinsy or flimsy. AND I will say the same thing about the PM and Laguna's that I looked at. All 3 saws are built to be used IMHO.

Dust collection. welp, I don't know yet, I havn't hooked it up *L* sorry about that.

Mobility base from Grizzly. When I bought the saw, I didn't get the mobility base. BIG mistake. The saw was no sooner in its new home when I went and ordered the heavy duty base from Grizzly. Another excellent product. Now it took a little bit of farting around and I had to hacksaw off a couple inches off of two of the supports to get it to snuggly fit the base of the saw, but it really wasn't a big deal. Two of the inside assembly bolts on the lower door side of the saw had to be chopped down by a half inch as well. Otherwise the door would not open, (for the front bolt) or open fully (rear bolt)

Changing blades: As I mentioned earlier, changing blades is pretty straight forward. In most cases you can change the blade without having to remove the table. However, with 3/4" blades you have to play around a little to get it into place and I'm sure that with a 1" blade, the table will have to be removed.

Power: Just as a matter of reference I decided to wire up the saw to 220v. The factory cord does not come with a plug end so you have to decide what voltage your going to run, get the correct plug end and install it. I did have to run a 220 line, but sometimes you gotta do whatcha gotta do..

Lighting: It would be nice if the Grizzly came with or at least had the option for a light but it doesn't. Both the PM and Laguna do have light options at an additional cost. around 100 bucks.
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Man... where does the time go to?..Almost 4 months already. So some impressions based on the short term.

Fit and finish...excellent..not a blem to be found. Out of the box, everything was aligned and tight and has remained so. Even the badging looks good.
Cabinet and doors fit great, close tight and stay closed. When you lock something in place, it stays in place. The saws spine is rock solid!! Period!! If you
manage to bend it, you put some serious effort into "TRYING" to bend it. Paint appears to be well done. Looks to me, that as long as you take the time to
take care of it, the original appearance should last a very long time.

Lets get the unfavorable's out of the way first.

Dislikes: Ummmmmmmm.........errrrrrrrrr..uhhhhhhhhh???? hmmmmmmmmmmmm. Honestly, there is NOTHING about this saw I do not like thus far. Seriously!
But I will temper that by saying that based on what I had prior to this one,,,there is nothing not to like. Now I really can't give a "comparison" perspective
with other saws of similar size and price. As I said earlier, I"m sure all of the saws I mentioned and researched perform well. And I'm sure all will have their
lil quips and quirks either out of the box or over time....I"m sure mine will as well...
Ohhh hey, OK, here is one.... remembered this while writing the followup. There is an occasional ODD noise when using the saw. Im pretty sure I've narrowed it down
to the lower guide assembly. I've even heard it on a few youtube video's. NOt sure what it is. To me, it comes across as a vibration induced noise. It does not appear to
have any effect on performance. More of an oddity right now, than anything else. Cept for when the Mrs. hears it...then its WHATS THAT SOUND??? SOMETHING BROKE?
YOU STILL GOT WARRANTY ON IT RIGHT??? *LOL*... guess who controls the purse strings around here??? *S*

Could be better:
Tracking window: You either need ALOT of good lighting or a flashlight after a while to take advantage of the window. Not a big deal as
far as I"m concerned.
Secondary lighting: I'd really like to see a better focus light setup. I"m sure there are plenty of good aftermarket rigs, which I'll probably end up
getting one. So far, the couple I had and tried have proven to be a bit awkward and fussy. A built in, downward facing LED would be ideal.
Setting up the lower guides is a bit ackward, especially if you got big fat fingers..but doable..just need to get a feel for it.
Dust collection ports: Location of the ports makes routing of the DC lines a bit awkward in my shop. Don't really use the top port. So block it off.
Run off: When you turn the saw off, it does tend to run on for a while. not a big deal except when you want to stop a cut, then you have to wait
(and we all know how much we like waiting) for the saw to come to a dead stop. They do offer a brake option for this saw and I think I would probably
go with one, given a do-over. Not a must have, not a need to have, more of a wouldn't mind having kinda thing.

Likes: Tension gauge: Now this thing is far from an accurate measurement of blade tension, but what it does do is provide a really nice baseline from which
to work with and setup change ups.
Resawing: Excellent!!!
Looks: It is a nice looking saw..
Power; Plenty of it..
What I like most is the fact that it does what its supposed to do as advertised. No over sell, no exaggerations, no bells and whistles you don't need or want, and I'm a bells and whistles kinda guy...The saw over all is rock solid.

In use thoughts:
Working height...fine! no issues here, I"m 5'11"..the table is at a very comfortable height for me.
Power: The 2hp motor has breezed thru everything I've run thru the blade. Including 10" mahogany, 6" sugar maple, 6" red & white oak, 6" walnut..
Resaw: Essentially what I bought the saw for in the first place. I could not be happier with this aspect of the saw so far. Honestly, its pretty much
what I've used the thing for exclusively thus far. And thats with a Grizzly 3/4" resaw blade. The blade itself has held up surprisingly well. The saw/blade tracks beautifully!!!! This aspect of the saw has really peaked my curiosity. I'd love to spend some time with a premium saw to see just how much "better" it would be.
Regular use: I've taken and played around with a 1/4" blade, just ziggin' and zaggin' to get a feel for it. Following a curve, feed rates on different materials and thickness's and so on.. even doing radius's are slick, concave, convex..whatever..just a lilttle bit of a learning curve and you're in business.
Controls. Damn, everything works!! *L* Biggest thing is to learn to release the tensioner when I"m done. Tracking and tension adjustments are straight forward, nothing special here. Thus far, all knobs, guides, threaded rods etc. all appear to be well made and of good materials.
Table tilt; Can't speak to this one yet.. havn't used it. I've played with it, tilted the table down and locked it out.. Was very secure. I didn't take and question the accuracy of the angle...If that is a concern for someone, let me know..and I'll do a couple test runs for you...size of the table is just fine by me. Of course, you know at some point it ain't gonna be big enough for sumptin *L* Setting up the blade to table at 90 was simple and has remained solid. Havn't had to readjust yet.
Fence: This is a NICE fence. easy to set up and adjust. Stays put and has the high/low option. It is heavy and well made. Made to last in my opinion. Zeroing out the fence rail with the blade took minimal fuss and bother, but once set, she's locked in..
Tires: what can ya say about tires??? I do get at and clean em off once in a while, just because. They appear to be wearing well enough thus far.
Guides: When I first tested the guides, they would spin freely when spun by you might expect. Now,,they turn freely enough, without grind or excessive resistance but they dont' spin freely. By that I mean, flick em with your finger and they spin for quite a while..Now they spin for several seconds..a noticeable difference which I am sure can be attributed to nothing more than normal usage. But I'll keep an eye on it. Setting them up is easy enough and they hold the set. As mentioned, the bottom guides can be a big ackward to access and set, but you get it figured out quick enough. I was exceptionally fussy when it came to setting them up. Using a feeler
gauge to set the gaps per Mfg.s recommendations. Had to reset the side guides a couple of times early on and havn't touched em since. Rear guide sets up quick and easy. Micro-adjustable and Carter guides are a temptation. But, Don't know that I really have a need for "Micro" anything on a bandsaw and the Carter guides are supposed to be
such a major improvement over OEM's. Here again, would love an apple to apple comparison between OEM and Carter.
Rack and pinion blade guide. SLICK.. very nice. It works just fine :)
Dust collection: Works just fine. As mentioned earlier, ports are in a position that occasionally the DC hose gets in the way. Otherwise, DC is good.
Insert... Yep, it came with one *L*
Mobility.. This saw is heavy...either set it up where you plan on leaving it or get a mobility rig for it.
Noise.. even when runing (not sawing) you can carry on a normal conversation next to the saw. While cutting, speak up a big deal.. For a saw this size, I am quite happy with how quietly she runs. With the living room right above the saw, the Mrs. never complains about the noise... so this must be a good thing.
Customer Service: havn't had to use it, hope I dont' need to use it... like it that way :)

Apologies if I left anything out, or if someone has a specific question, ask away. All in all, at this point, 4 months later, I am absolutely pleased with the saw.
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Sounds to me like your Grizzly is doing fine without the Carter Guides. They aren't cheap.
That it is Tom... but it always comes down to the ole " better mouse trap. " I have no doubt that in some respects the Carters would out perform the OEM's that came with my saw. But to what extent? I think the thing we look at are the improvement(s) justified by the investment?
Performance, durability, longevity are all things that I'd expect from a product when paying a premium, not so much when I pay less than a premium. Having read reviews and commentary about the Carter products for years, I gotta say, they are a premium product and well worth the investment for many!
I really like having a bandsaw and I use it more than you would think. Mine is 14" Grizzly G0555 and I have been very happy with it. I did buy a riser for it and I have installed it but so far I haven't really needed it.

That 555 line of saws by Grizzly are ones that I looked close at when I was at the warehouse closing back in October. That is a really nice 14" saw. Several of our members have one and I don't think I can recall anyone not liking it! ALOT :)
For that body style of band saw, a riser is almost a must have. The riser takes your band saws capabilities to the next level. Wait until you need the extra couple inches it provides, It'll be one of those "Damn, I knew this was a good idea" moments :)

Bill, outstanding writeup...both of them...

Congratulations on the obviously made the right choice, and to your point, what is right for you...

...and I would add that you have set the bar for writing up a new tool. Haven't seen a writeup as good as yours...very thorough...very objective...

Thank you...
Thank ya Nick,,,makes taking the time to write something up, worth the effort... :) Yep, I do think I got a saw thats "right for me". The GRizzly, Powermatic and Laguna are all great saws IMHO...I dont' think I could have gone wrong with any one of the three

Nothing to apologize for here! I agree with Nick---excellent and comprehensive evaluation. Thanks for taking the time to give the pros and cons, as well as, your general impressions.

It appears that your only complaint is a decent light for the saw. I would have to agree that it is a priority for me...the eyes are getting worse as I get older and I like a LOT of light. I think that a foot brake would be a must on the like to have list...then I'm getting a little less patient in my older age *L*. I think I may be close to being an "old curmudgeon". Lord knows, I've been practicing enough.:wink:

Again, great write-up Bill. These posts should be a great help for anyone looking of a comparison while shopping for a bandsaw.

Bill, nuttin wrong with being an "old curmudgeon". Some of us put alot of effort into that *L*
The foot brake is a REALLY nice feature these saws are coming out with and well worth the extra couple bucks.
I'd like to see a comparison of lighting options, apples for apples. I like the LED's, but there are times when the reflective characteristics of the light tend to wash out alot of what your looking at. I think that a low lumen's light would be ideal.
I have a couple of pieces of 48 x 14 x 4" butternut that I'm looking to give band saw boxes a go with. I think when that time comes, I might fart around with a few ideas and post the results...

Thank you for the kind words regarding the write-ups

Excellent review--both the initial and the follow up. Except for the part where it makes me want one!!

Thanks for the time and energy to do that for us Bill!!

Thanks Earl...

Just another bullet in the chamber, before ya pull the trigger so-to-speak..
I think about getting the riser for my 555 and while I like the idea of being able to resaw more than 6" I always come back to a trade-off that stops me. Basically, if I'm going to go for >6" resaw, I think I want more HP, at least a 3/4" blade and a stronger frame. I know the 555 class saw with a riser will work ok but then I have to invest in a new set of blades. So, I see the riser block as a diversion from the one true path of tool enlightenment. I'm pacing myself on toy acquisition and there are 2 in the queue ahead of a 17" BS. Maybe for my birthday, or christmas, mlk day or just wednesday.
To a certain degree, I gotta agree with you about a riser/vs/HP. The HP issue comes into play when dealing with harder, wider woods. If I'm not mistaken, in the 555 series, 1 1/2HP is as big as she gets. But Grizz does make a 14" with 2HP. Given the number of 555 series saws Grizzly has sold and the number that have been upgraded with a riser, you'd think that if the frame were an issue, it would be well broadcast. My 17" can accommodate up to a 1" blade. So when I bought the saw, I inquired about a premium 1" blade because I do alot of resawing. The salesman at Grizz said, don't both, go with the 3/4" Grizzly blade and you'll be happier. So I did. And couldn't be happier. I do believe that there are some mfg's now that offer a 3/4" blade for a 14" saw. I could be all wet about that, but I'm pretty sure. On my previous 12" Craftsman, I used to regularly resaw 4 and 5" hard maple with a 1/2" Craftsman blade with great success. I should add that I firmly believe that in doing this I accelerated the failure of the saw. Everything on her just kinda crapped out all at once. *L*..but it was a good run while it lasted :)
Now if you have a choice between a 17 and upgrading your 14, geesh, I'd go with the 17 any day now. The 555's hold their resale value pretty well. You could easily sell off your 555 and recoup alot of the addionial expenses a 17 would bring...If you really like what a 14" saw brings to the table, take a hard look at Laguna. IMHO right now, for the money, that is the best 14" saw on the market
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I don't recall getting an answer to my question about the limitations of only having a six inch jointer. When I re-saw material, I like to mill it first with the jointer and the planer. With the six inche planer, six inches is the limit. So far I have actually never needed to re-saw materai that is greater in height than the six inches even though my saw can handle 12" material.

Where I buy my rough cut lumber I seldom find any boards wider than six inches anyway.

Can somebody enlighten me about this issue as I only learn about such things from this forum.


I have read where you can do wider boards on a 6" jointer but I've never really been sold on the process. A few years back FWW came out with a sled you can use with your planer that serves the same purpose as the jointer. I've seen a few on Youtube and they do appear to work quite well.

Isn't it amazing how when you have a 6" jointer, the rough cut lumber is always 6 and 3/4" wide. When you have a 8" jointer, the rough cut is 9"s wide...I do believe there is a conspiracy afoot :)

I think Stick mentioned once about having a 24" jointer...Now Id pay just to see something that big in action....:surprise:
I do not grasp the issue of the importance of the wide blade for re-sawing. I have done re-sawing with every width from 1 inch all the way down to 1/8". The 1/8" blade made cuts as accurae as did the 1" blade. The only issue that I see is TPI issue that dictates the heat issue. Right now my carbide 1/2" 3 TPI is what I'm using and I don't see how any blade could do a better job, but as I said in an earlier post, I have not tried to re-say anything wider than about six inches. Perhaps the rub lies there. I only learn by asking questions like this so bear with me.

I'd try to explain it in simple english, but I know I'd just screw it up. Here is a link to Woodgears which has one of the best explanations I've been able to find. About half way down it goes into blade width, but the entire article is worth a read
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This has been a good thread. My experience has evolved. I was happy with my Rikon 14 bandsaw. I have since replaced my Rikon with an old Minmax 450 bandsaw which they call an 18 inch bandsaw. I would now never go back to the Rikon. The Minmax in my opinion is a much better bandsaw. I realized how little I really know about bandsaws on my first opinion on this thread. It's funny how all this changes.
By just about all accounts, the Minmax line of power tools are an excellent value.
welcome to the community Bolo....

Have you tried just using the fence as your guide? I took great pains to set up my saw....wasn't really difficult just pick about it. Essentially little more than setting both upper and lower guides and having my blade run teeth (gullet) center crown on the wheel. I use to use a Grizzly 3/4" blade until I snapped it doing something really dumb. We wont' even get into that. I've had good luck with 12" mahogany resawn 1/2", 10" sugar (hard)maple, resawn 1/8 and a ton of stuff inbetween. I would suggest going into youtube, search "Snodgrass bandsaw" and watch a few of his setup video's... I'd venture a good guess that the problem lies somewhere in the setup...what blade are you using?
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