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64 An UnGrizzly Tale


This article is from the Woodworking FAQ Collection 2, by multiple authors.

64 An UnGrizzly Tale

From: rhoover@watson.ibm.com (Roger Hoover)
Date: Wed, 12 Aug 1992 14:48:25 GMT

An UnGrizzly Tale

I've wanted a bandsaw for a while. I've encountered
enough projects in the last year or so that just couldn't
be easily done without a band saw: Cutting small, thick
objects, resawing wide boards, cutting curves, etc.
Finally, the list of projects "to be done after I get a
bandsaw" hit its saturation point. The subsequent receipt
of a royalty check was that icing-on-the-cake conformation
that I needed to make the jump.

What to buy? The big question. I have a handfull of
Delta tools that have given me great service (Unisaw,
RC-33 Planer, DJ-20 Jointer), so that's where I looked
first. Unfortunately, Delta has a big gap between their
$700 14" model and their $2700 20" machine. I suspected
that the 14" machine would be underpowered for resawing
and that the 13.?" width limitation would get in the way.
And, by the time you added on the riser block and rip
fence, you were up to $900 or so. The 20" model was just
too much money.

What else is there? A bursting sensation of acrid smoke
brought chills up and down my spine as I passed the
Grizzly sale flyer featuring the now familiar 18" bandsaw
for *only* $595. Hoping to avoid a similar grizzly
episode, I wrote off the rest of the Taiwanese import
market. The Hitachi resaw model with the 3" blade looked
interesting for resawing, but it was a bit-o-cash and I
was unsure of its utility for other kinds of cutting.

What about used machines? I found a beautiful 36"
machine. The motor must have weighed in at 250lbs. It
had a machined cast iron table, all 32"x36" free of rust,
that probably was another 400lbs. Add another half ton
for the rest of the beast. Beyond transportation and a
painful move into my basement, only one problem remained.
It was 92" high--the basement has 82" of clearance. Try
as hard as I might, I was unable to convince Kathy that a
monster bandsaw would be the perfect touch for our living
room. A neighbor observed that the arrival of said
bandsaw would result in the exit of said wife.

Ah, but what about MiniMax? Those green and yellow
Italian roadsters made by scmi, looking like miniature
toys next to their $20K industrial brothers found on the
front pages of the woodworking trade mags. As a quick
query to rec.woodworking resulted in a few good words (and
no Grizzly tales...), I thought why not. A few calls last
week to equipment dealers around the east coast to achieve
the lowest price: $1287 from Bath Industrial. Then a
phone call to LeNeave Supply where I expect the real best
price. Greg says "$1269". We agree on $50 for shipping
and he insists on selling me a narrow blade for curve
cutting (the machine comes with a 4tpi 5/8 blade). I
humor him and buy it. It's a bit overpriced at 11 bucks,
but who am I to complain?

The machine was delivered yesterday. I had arranged with
the trucking company to have the driver call me an hour
before he arrived. At the appointed time, three hand
picked cast iron luggers (lured by promises of my home
made loganberry pie) made the 7 mile trek from big blue to
the land of lifting. We pulled in right behind the truck.
The hand cart was out by the road where Kathy had placed

Mr Truck Driver looked at us, all four of us, and sneered,
"it's just a little box." He took a hand dolly from the
interior wall of the trailer, stabbed it under the pallet,
and hauled the box to the rear gate. We watched as he
lowered the overhead door down just above the box and used
his XXL hands to pull the box out the back and gently set
one end of the pallet on the pavement. A quick turn later
and all 390 pounds were on our hand cart.

Compared to the Unisaw and the DJ-20, the trip down the
concrete external basement stairs was pretty easy. Maybe
we are just getting stronger. It took longer to tie a
strap of 1" webbing around the front than it did to get it
into the basement. The bands and box came off in a few
minutes more and by the time the thunderstorm hit outside,
we had the saw upright and in position. I checked the
electrical side of things. As expected, there was no
plug. Not as expected, there was no electrical cord.

Pie in stomach, we headed back to big blue. Narrowly
avoiding a multiple car accident in front of the building,
I went back to my hacking (or was it netnews reading...)
for the rest of the afternoon. A trip to the hardware
store on the way home put a 15A 250V plug in my pocket.

It wasn't until 7:45 that evening that I got to play with
my new toy. I ignored the color clashes induced by my
bright blue electrical cord next to the yellow and green
saw, cleaned all of the gunk off the cast iron table with
#2 fuel oil, and put on wax. Faithfully reading the poor
English translation from the owners manual, I figured out
what each little knob and screw was supposed to do. I
then tightened the tension nob on top to the tension
recommended for 16mm blades on the tension gauge, adjusted
the blade guard height, and cut away. I resawed a piece
of cherry and a length of oak. By the time the 9pm NPR
news came on the shop stereo, I had learned how to change
blades, fold blades, and was cutting curves in a piece of
5/4 cherry.

Still to do: Extend dust collector hose to bandsaw
location, make mobile base, make several wood rip fence
extensions of various heights for resawing, build all of
the stuff that I said I would build if only I had a

Standard equipment: 1.8hp motor, adjustable angle rip
fence, dust collector port, 16mm 4tpi blade, metric open
end and hex wrenches for all adjustments, poorly
translated multi-lingual instruction manual, and as a nice
touch, a shop apron with the Arbor logo (MiniMax is called
Arbor in Italy).

Equipment required:
visa card with high credit limit
hand cart
county map to show Mr Truck Driver the location of Broad Street
loganberry pie for heavy lifters:
4 C loganberries (picked wild on the way to work last Friday)
3/4 C sugar
2 T corn starch
1/4 C loganberry juice
2 C flour
2 T butter
2/3 C shortening
4 T water
12' 1" webbing
#2 fuel oil
250V 15A plug
7' bright blue electrical cord


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