This was one of those purchases I made because I ‘thought’ I should have one. It turns out that while I don’t use it for every project, it has become an essential tool for several of them.
This is a Delta model 28-276 14″ band saw I bought at Lowe’s about four years ago. Oh, sure, I looked at some of those fancy smaller models (the guys at Home Depot really wanted to sell me the 12″ Ryobi band saw), but I decided on this model because 14″ is a common size for most home machines. That way, it would accept the most common upgrades. Boy, am I happy I considered that.
I set it up in my shop exactly as described in the manual, turned it on and – boy – was I disappointed by the performance. Unlike my Ridgid table saw I had set up a few years earlier, I discovered that band saws take some fiddling to get them to work properly.
Yes, this is a warning to all of you prospective band saw owners – don’t be disappointed if you don’t get perfect cuts right off the bat. It take some time.
Some things I like about the saw include the blade tension release control, which means I don’t have to change the tension setting after a day at the saw. I can just flip the tension off and take the pressure off the blade. I also added a rolling tool stand to the purchase, so I can move the saw around the shop as necessary.
Once I got the saw tuned up – it took a day or so – things started to improve dramatically. The saw began to track more easily. The cuts were a little smoother. Things were definitely looking up.
I would strongly recommend that when you buy a band saw, you get a good band saw book to go along with it. My choice was Cutting Edge Band Saw Tips and Tricks. A book like this will give you far more information than the manual ever could.
The monumental step in my bandsaw experiece was when I started to upgrade some items on the saw. First up, I ditched the original blade that came with the saw and bought some replacement Viking/Timberwolf blades. These are made of a Swedish silicon steel and cut very true. The product manual says you can run these blades at a lower tension, but I have noticed some tracking issues if I lower the tension to the recommended levels.
I also recently added the Kreg bandsaw fence. As with the saw, I am still in the stages of fiddling with the fence to get the best fence performance. It is a solid and easy to use fence, so I’m sure once I get it tuned up, I’ll be in the butter zone.
I have used the saw to cut curves and resaw, and the 3/4 hp motor will sometimes struggle with harder woods. If I slow my feed rate, I can get good performance.
Some upgrades I would like to make to the saw include adding a task light to the bottom of the top case. Where I have the saw right now, it’s not in the best lighting situation, so that will have to be addressed. Also, one day, I would like to add the riser block. Sure, I’ll gain an additional 6″ of cutting capacity, but I’ll have to buy new blades. Also, I’d like to upgrade the original steel guide block with some type of bearing system to control the blade, but that’s something to consider in the future.
All in all, the saw has been a decent performer and has served me well. However, if I had to do it again, I would spend the extra cash to get a more capable model which would include a more powerful motor, a larger resaw capacity, a better guide roller system, a quality stock fence and a mobile base as part of the standard package. Probably would have cost less than the saw’s original price and the upgrade money I have spent so far.
Live and learn!