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I am considering the purchase of a Laguna 18BX bandsaw but prior to doing so would appreciate input on the pro's & con's of a larger vs smaller machine.

Regular bandsaw tasks will consist of a variety of general woodworking activities including crafts, furniture (more of the primitive variety and not necessarily fine woodworking) and for creating other items and general wood uses.

I would also like to do occasional resawing and have an old one-room school (unfortunately beyond economically feasible renovation) that has an addition that was used for a barn/farm building with a variety of 2"x 4"-10" and other lumber that I would like to re-purpose, some of which I would like to resaw into thinner stock. Additionally I have a 103 acre tree farm and have plans to at some point acquire a portable sawmill (EZ Boardwalk Jr, smaller Woodmizer or similar) to make use of the trees that occasionally fall or die and to mill & dry the lumber for a variety of projects (including creating items for sale), and while the timber will be processed into a multitude of sizes, I anticipate the need to still do occasional resawing to further process some of these boards. I may also do some small-scale tinkering around with the shop bandsaw in regard to smaller (easy to handle 1-2 ft long, less than 12" diameter) log sections for a few project boards and 'cookies' or such. Much of my focus is on remaining within the realistic capabilities of my equipment and any heavier log work would be with the portable sawmill. I am not interested in anything larger than a 18" bandsaw or those much over the $2,000 price point.

I have looked at a variety of saws in the 14" range (Laguna, Jet, Rikon) and while I was originally focusing on that group, upon having the opportunity to view the 18BX (as well as the 18" Jet) and comparing the different saws side-by-side, I began to lean toward the 18BX.

On the plus side, the Laguna 18BX offers a much longer blade - thus lasting longer between sharpening, the option for a wider blade and less overall stress on the blade due to the larger diameter wheels. The table size and fence is also considerably larger on the 18" vs the 14", and additional horsepower comes with the 18". The 18" is also a substantially more beefy machine in all areas and I would be less likely to ever push the upper limits of it's capabilities in comparison to the 14", particularly when utilized for resaw use. While I may be (slightly) open to other manufactures, I very much appreciate the design and features (guide system, brake, etc.) and overall quality of the Laguna.

On the concerning side is that the 18" is a lot more machine in comparison to the 14". While each saw can run similar smaller width blades, I was wondering how much of a hindrance (if any) the larger machine would be for everyday use or in smaller projects and cutting. I realize that bigger isn't always better (but can be nice when you need it), and want to look at the intricacies and possible advantages of a smaller over a larger machine too - or whether the larger machine can perform satisfactorily.

For further background, I am retired from the fire service and looking for something to fill my free time and to possibly supplement our income with products sold at an active local craft establishment (basically we would set-up / restock our display space and they handle everything else) or to possibly individually market and sell select items elsewhere. I have a 30' x 40' x 10'h workshop (that also houses my tractor & pick-up), a radial arm saw (crosscutting / miter work), table saw (ripping and such), router & table, scroll saw, and well as a variety of hand and portable power tools. I also have an older 10" Craftsman bandsaw that I acquired when my father passed away (I believe he may have bought it at a yard sale or such), but the tires are toast and while the motor runs, I don't know how good of an overall machine it is, and have been reluctant to replace and invest in the three tires that would be required - thinking it could be better to just upgrade to a new machine (Rikon 10" - $250) for small tasks if I would decide to go that route.

Any input would be appreciated and while I am feeling pretty confident in the direction I am leaning, before shelling out a couple thousand dollars, I'd like to hear and learn all I can.

In a nutshell, are there disadvantages in having an 18" saw in comparison to a 14"?
 

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Welcome to the forum, Art! Glad you found us here and I'm eager to see what folks say on the saws. You already know we have the 14SUV but that 18BX is a great saw if you have the budget and room.

David
 

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Yes, welcome Art! I've had the 14BX since September and absolutely love it. It's a world of difference over the 1980s era 14" Delta that I had. I have a fairly small shop. I suspect you won't go wrong with any of the Lagunas, and I totally agree with David that if you've got the space and budget, go big. Aside from space and budget (including cost of new blades), I can't think of a disadvantage of a bigger saw.
 

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Hi Art and welcome. If the Craftsman has 3 wheels then it is very possibly a Delta. You can google Sears manufacturer prefixes and see who made it from the first 3 numbers of the model number. I never heard much good about those 3 wheeled machines, that they were hard to get the blade to track properly but someone who actually owned one may have different advice. Tires aren't a big deal as a rule.

I have an 18" saw but not a Laguna. I wish it was. They are very good machines. If there are any disadvantages to owning an 18 as opposed to a 14 it would be blade availability (most woodworking stores stock the 14" standard and extended height blades) and Carter does not make blade guides for an 18" last I checked. I'd like to convert mine if I could. I'm not sure what Laguna has, theirs may be better than mine. Usually an 18 has a bigger motor so that comes into play if you are thinking about resawing.
 
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Hi, I have the 14 inch Laguna fourteen/12 and find it to be a great machine that is built extremely well. I live close enough to Laguna HQ to have visited several times, and helped a friend select the 18 inch for his shop (he makes molds for aircraft parts). He's an engineer and pointed out the quality of the wheels and bearings, which are no nonsense heavy duty things. Laguna's larger saws are made in Italy and so far as I can tell, are the best tools you can buy in this category. I also have their hybrid table saw, and really love using it. I had one wing that was slightly bowed, and they had me bring the saw to them. They replaced it with a new saw, perfectly set up, and used machined straight edges and feeler gauges to make certain it was flat! First rate customer service. I also got to watch their Resaw King blade sharpener in action and met the president, who is very fussy about the engineering. He is also shown in a video skillfully resawing a chunk of cherry burl, so he actually uses his tools (bet not many Stanley employees do). So I'd personally go for the Laguna without hesitating.

That said, I also keep a small, 10 inch Rikon (WEN sells an identical model) for more delicate work. I have a 3/16th blade for that one that turns on a dime. My smallest laguna blade is 1/4 inch and I really like the way the 3/4 Resaw King performs. Pretty smooth, and set up right, no drift to speak of.

Wise to get a portable mill for your personal forest. If you have some hardwood, and have the patience to wait for it to dry, you're going to avoid having to buy the really expensive stuff. I'd also get a really good wide jointer and planer, with all that rough cut lumber you'll need them.

You are correct, the longer blades last longer, and the larger wheel diameter means less stress on the blade. I use a purpose built hone on a stick to round over the back edges of the blades which makes for a smoother, easier cut.

Final thoughts. Those Lagunas are beautiful machines. The engineering and workmanship is amazing. A pleasure to use. If you can, visit Southern California, Disneyland, Laguna Beach and many other attractions are close by, and they have most of their machines on display so you can handle them. You can buy and have them ship it to you. Nice people there. Not sure if they have it for the 18 inch, but they have a 14 part, step by step setup video for the 14/12 that enabled me to set it up single handed (amazing, I'm old). Take pictures when you get it.

I am definitely a Laguna fan.
 

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Cbeck availability of small blades for small projects...then go for it. The Rikon would be a good choice over the Craftsman repair.

"There's no replacement for cubic displacement"...
 
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If 14" is good --- 18" is better!!!!

I have a 14" Grizzly and wish I'd have gotten the 17". Not a bad saw but not the cream of the crop either.
 
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I have the Laguna 14SUV. I've never wanted more power, but sometimes run up against its blade-to-frame limitation. I'm plenty happy with mine, but if a larger saw is in your budget, go for it.

HOWEVER, if you are planning to pay for a $2,000 bandsaw with things you can sell at craft shows, then I encourage you to read the thread WOODWORKING FOR INCOME on this site. Consensus here seems to be that you can pay for some tools by doing such woodwork, but you won't pay yourself very much at all.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The comments are quite insightful and reassuring in regard to both Laguna and the lean toward an 18" machine.

Sight-unseen, I was originally interested in the 14" Rikon which seemed like a nice saw. Upon attending a demo on resawing, speaking with a dealer, and having the ability to actually view the some saws in person, my perspective and horizons began to broaden. Further research then drew me to the 15" Jet and upon having the ability to check out the Jet models, they moved upward on the list. Interestingly, the dealer had an 18" Jet on the floor and my initial thought was that it was much too big.

After more research and in creating a side-by-side chart of the specifications - as well as a list of the individual features I did and didn't like about each saw - my ability to compare & judge became much easier.

No dealer carried each of the specific models I was seeking though, so with some saws still unseen I made a stop at another dealer which actually brought about a somewhat seismic shift in my focus. Sitting in the row of saws and beside some of the models I was considering was the Laguna 18BX. Comparing the mass of the machine to my previous focus saws, as well as having some tinker-time with it's features, I quickly became quite attached.

The 14BX and the 14SUV both seem like great machines and with their many similarities with the 18BX, I think I could be satisfied with either saw. Given my projected resaw tasks though, the added mass might provide an advantage (the SUV & 18BX each have a 3hp motor).

I hadn't focused a lot on throat capacity and while the 14" would likely meet my needs, I haven't actually done bandsaw work and don't yet know the full breadth of my needs, but can see that having the extra room could at some point be an asset to have.

The info on Laguna was nice and if I were closer, a view of their facilities would be enjoyable. Alas, it is a long trip from Ohio and while I have been to California on several occasions (including living near Petaluma for several months while in the Coast Guard), I don't have any current plans to be in the area.

I've liked what I've seen about the Resaw King blade and it is my choice for resaw work. The 18BX is rated for a 1 1/4" blade, though I am also considering a 1" blade (still on the fence a bit).

The input on the Craftsman 10" bandsaw was appreciated. I have it sitting on a shelf in the shop but after just watching a couple videos of the 10" Rikon and considering the pro's and con's of trying to utilize the saw I have, it will likely end up as a yard sale item. Should the time come that I want / need a smaller accessory saw, I'd rather have something that is somewhat decent. Still more research to come in that area at some point though.

My woodlands are all hardwood and I have several trees right now that are prime candidates for harvest (broken midway up, dying or uprooted / leaning), though this is often the situation on a continual basis between a larger harvest and sale. Having a portable sawmill and being able to constructively utilize the wood would certainly be an asset. Of course the up-front financial aspects are going to be a significant consideration - particularly with the inclusion of a planer (preferably helical head $$) and a jointer. Should I decide to air dry the lumber, I would likely have a year or so between the purchase of the sawmill and the planer / jointer, however the construction of a solar kiln could decrease that time. This is all in the future though (and after a more thorough working of the numbers) and I have a few other goodies that I will likely want to add to my shop in the meantime (bench sander, drill press and other smaller items).

I appreciate each of the responses and my knowledge base continues to expand.
 

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I happened to come across a review by Roland Johnson of FWW of the 18BX and about the only downside he had to say about it was the bottom guides are a bit hard to get to for adjustment.

If you are planning in using it for sawmilling then I would advise you to consider carefully before you try using the BX. I've been around logging and sawmilling most of my life and using that bandsaw to break down logs will prove a challenge. Most of the portable band mills start at about 12 hp using a gas motor which is equivalent to about 6 hp electric, twice the hp of that saw.
 
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...If you are planning in using it for sawmilling then I would advise you to consider carefully before you try using the BX. I've been around logging and sawmilling most of my life and using that bandsaw to break down logs will prove a challenge. Most of the portable band mills start at about 12 hp using a gas motor which is equivalent to about 6 hp electric, twice the hp of that saw.
Hi, I think he was planning to buy a portable mill for breaking the logs down, and using this to resaw down further to usable sizes. The 18BX takes up to a 1.24 inch wide resaw blade (I'd go with no more than 1 inch). That 3hp 220v motor should be more than adequate for that.

He'll need to let 2 1/4 inch thick slices dry about 2 years before resawing them. He was thinking of harvesting fallen and dead trees, but you have to be careful of insects or rot if they stand dead very long, especially if they've fallen and are laying on the ground. I also think he's considering a drying setup of some sort to speed that process a bit. Think of all that hardwood lumber.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
The Laguna 18BX bandsaw is my final choice.

Wood Werks in Columbus is having their 2018 Winter Expo with a multitude of demos and displays this weekend, along with discounts of 10% off machines, 15% off accessories and 20% off lumber and turning blocks, so my Chief Financial Officer (wifey) and I made the 80 mile trip and purchased the saw. In addition to the 10% savings, I didn't have to pay the standard $75.00 delivery charge that purchasing from other dealers would have added, so that made the saw the cheapest I have ever found it. Next comes unloading and assembly but for convenience I can back my truck to the spot I will be placing the saw, making things go much easier.

'The Wood Working Shows' is also in Columbus at the State Fairgrounds this weekend and thus provided the opportunity to visit both events in one day. I don't think we were the only ones to take advantage of the timing of the events and Wood Werks parking lot was overflowing with parking extending into the snow-covered berm along the road and wherever people could fit their vehicles. Interestingly they received a delivery of Jet equipment today and they had to offload the truck some distance away, making it necessary to make several trips up and down the road with the forklift to ferry the equipment in.

'The Wood Working Shows' was nice and gave us the opportunity to see Alex Snodgrass in person with his bandsaw clinic and additionally to speak with him afterward, as well as to speak with his father and meet Alex's wife. They are a class act and a knowledge base that is very much worth seeing in person.

Thank you to everyone that posted and the insight was quite helpful.
 

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You can't have too big of wheels. The bigger the better. I jumped from a 10 to a 14 and then to a 18 inch Minmax. I never would go back. I now have a much bigger work surface table and a smoother running bandsaw.
 
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