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I have been giving serious consideration to buying a bandsaw. I am leaning towards a Laguna, either the 14-12 or the BX, although I have not ruled out the Rikon. The most significant difference between the two Laguna models is the brake at a cost of a couple of hundred more. So my questions are, for those of you who have a Laguna, are you glad you got the brake?, do you use it frequently?, if you didn't buy the model with the brake do you regret that decision?, are there any other features that you think distinguish the two models aside from the brake? Since I have never had any power tool with a brake, I have never felt complacent when using my tools, and I think that helps to keep me alert. I would not want to lose that edge. Just wanted to get some feedback on what others think.
 

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I don't have a Laguna, Rikon, or a brake but I have never felt it to be a problem when using my 18". Maybe if I were in production mode or it was in a shop where safety is paramount it might make a difference to me but I just wait for it spin down to zero.
 
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David - Machinist in wood
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We have the Laguna 14 SUV and it has the brake. I use it fairly often but mostly because it also has a microswitch to turn the bandsaw off while my hands are holding the work piece. So I usually tap the brake and let it coast to a stop but often only let it coast a few seconds and then stop the blade.

But I think there are many other differences between the Rikon and Laguna besides the brake. There are online comparisons but I haven't watched any in a while. All the comparisons I watched a few years ago had the Laguna coming out on top.

And again, I haven't kept up with the specs but do these Laguna models come with ceramic guides? The 14 SUV does and they're fantastic!

We've had terrific customer service out of Laguna, as well. I would definitely buy again from Laguna.

My $0.02

David
 

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I have the Laguna 18BX and one of the many features that caused me to choose it was the brake and I have been happy with the decision ever since. The brake is a great safety and convenience feature and well worth considering when it is an option.

It can be surprising how long the blade can continue turning once the machine is shut off and how quiet it can be. Should you make a cut and shut down the machine, then return to make another cut before the blade has stopped, it is entirely possible to make inadvertent (and painful) contact with a blade that doesn't know the difference between flesh and wood.

If making multiple cuts using a variety of settings (height, fence, etc.), the brake can save a lot of time over waiting for the blade to stop before making the adjustments, or for removing small pieces that are sitting close to the blade.

If using two hands to make a cut partially into a piece of wood, it can be easier to step on the brake to stop the machine than taking a hand from the workspace to activate the shut it off (and associated wait time for the saw to stop) before backing the workpiece out of the wood (and possibly pinching & pulling the blade from the guides).

During some processes, I will start on the infeed side of the saw and end up on the outfeed side to finish the cut and the brake is convenient for shutting the saw off vs getting back around to the switch. This activity is also one of the reasons I chose the the Laguna over other models as both dust collection ports are on the same side of the machine and out the workspace, unlike some machines that have dust ports on two different sides.

Depending on what I am doing, I use either the switch to shut down the machine or (most often) the blade brake applied with just enough pressure to slow and stop (not causing an immediate stop).

Of note, when my machine was new, I found that the pedal was tight enough that it didn't fully raise once activated and thus the saw would not start due to the lever not contacting the shut-off switch. A gentle toe under the lever easily raises the pedal should it be necessary. It wasn't long though until the machine became broke in enough and this was no longer an issue.

I did a lot of research and was hands-on with a wide range of machines (Rikon, Jet, Laguna, King, others) and for my personal use I really liked the Laguna and have never had any regrets in going with it. Each user is different though, as are individual preferences to various features, which makes having a variety of options available a plus for each user to choose from. As far as cost, having the brake was worth the additional funds and I have a machine that I use with pleasure, never stopping to think back to "what if...".
 

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I have the 14-12, bought it before the brake. I think there's about $300 or more for the brake. Although I don't have any issue with mine running down, I think I would rather have the brake. The price difference at the time, I spent on several premium Laguna blades, inlcuding their fantastic 3/4 Resaw King.

One small difference between the Laguna and Rikon is that Rikon will take up to a 1 inch resaw blade, although someone posted that the person he bought the Rikon from said he'd be best off using the 3/4.

I went with an engineer friend to the Laguna Warehouse down near the coast, and what made him pop for his saw was the quality of the machining and bearings in particular. Wonderful machine, and I like the cool blocks far more than the Carter guides.

I'd definitely go for the brake today, then saved a bit more and bought the same premium blades. Laguna customer service is outstanding, by the way. It's owned and run by a fussy European engineer and even their sales guy knows a LOT about and uses the machines.

When you get it make sure you either get the videos on how to set it up single handed. There are 14 of them and it's ingenius how they do it. BTW, their in house sales guy does the demo! Here's a picture of the light I put on my 14-Twelve. The light they supply is mediocre and gets hot. This uses the four holes drilled for the Laguna light so you don't have to drill new. This light plugs into a second power outlet on the back of the saw. Cost me about $10, including the 50 watt equiv. LED spot.
 

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Oh, almost forgot, the cutting height for resawing is actually about 13 inches. trivial bit of info, but if you ever need that extra inch, you'll be happy you have it.

Now I'm thinking about it, I want to add that when you assemble it, take a gander at those gigantic trunions that hold the table in alignment. You'll be passing this thing on through your son to your grand children. Good sawdust control as well.

Take a picture with it and post it. It's fun to see the pleasure when someone gets a great new tool.
 
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