The latest piece of hardware to face the Woody workout is the Jet 14" Band saw model #JWBS-14CS. This gleaming white beauty is both pleasing to the eye and equally pleasing to the touch. The first positive thing I noticed was the ease with which the saw went together. Often when you purchase large tools the term "some assembly required" is not only an understatement but at time a down right joke. But Jet surprised me with their system. The instructions were easy and clear to follow, and the saw went together in about an hour with both Lance and I working on it. I think we could have done it faster but we spent some time looking it over and learning all about our new shop member.
Once assembly is complete the truly exciting moment of a new tool arrives, turning it on for the first time. The anticipation of reaching for the switch, giving your shop mate a cool look as you flip the switch and listen to the motor whir and come to life. The Jet saw again impressed me with its smooth motion and solid sound. No rattle, no metal on metal type sound that would indicate something that might wear out too soon.
After adjusting the guides, guards and table I fed the saw some redwood, pine, oak and a great deal of mahogany. Through straight cuts, smooth curves and even sharp curves, the saw ate wood without binding.
Accepting blades from a 1/8" to ¾" the saw is ready to perform a wide variety of tasks. The slightly larger cutting table (15" x 15") is about 1" larger then other saws in the same class. The tilting table will range from 10 degrees back and 45 degrees forward, producing a good range of functionality. A full 13 1/2" cutting capacity allows a good sized stock to be fed through the saw.
Integrating our new saw into the dust collection system took some tricks with using 2 adapters to finally arrive at the right dimensions, praise be to anyone who can finally standardize the dust collection system hook ups on these tools. The 2 ½" connection made for excellent airflow and kept the sawdust down fairly well.
We also purchased the rolling base for our saw. this old workshop is definitely outgrowing its current location so we are always pleased when we can have the ability to move a tool into a central location for heavy work, and then move it back to a place out of the way for occasional use. The rolling base was certainly a good upgrade for this tool.
One possible down side to the saw was found in the guide blocks that keep the blade centered and straight. These are made of a composite plastic and seem to get eaten up far to fast under medium to heavy amounts of work. Frequent tending to these block adjustments will keep the blade in line and centered but it seemed a little too frequent to me and I was concerned that I had adjusted the guides wrong or handling the saw incorrectly. After a call to our local tool shop and a conversation with the rep I was assured that this is common and they suggested an aftermarket set of guide blocks that should hold up longer (See Cool Tool review for "Cool Blocks")
Over all the Jet 14" Band saw is a beautiful tool ready to perform solid function in your shop. The $699 price tag is not pocket change but certainly in line with its performance. Jet's reputation for solid quality is upheld in this model, without a doubt passing the Woody Workout with flying colors. I believe even the occasional woodworker would get great use out of this tool.