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wbs-14 bandsaw

Ben Martin gives his review of the WBS-14 Woodworking Bandsaw

 

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The Saw:
Size: The saw footprint is roughly 2’x3’. The table surface is 36.5” inches off the floor. This falls within the range of standard heights for band saw tables, but I will likely build a stand to get it up to about 42”. Just a matter of personal preference, I’m 6’3” so I like a higher table. Baileigh’s website lists the overall height of the saw at 60”, which sounded short on reading. It’s actually 66” to the top of the cabinet and another 6” for the blade tension lever with tension released. The saw may look smallish in the video, but bear in mind I’m 6’3” and many many pounds – a lot of things look small next to me. It’s formidable in person.

wbs-14 bandsaw wbs-14 vertical band saw measurment


The saw is powered by a 1.5 HP Kai Shen motor that is pre-wired to 110V, but can be rewired to 220V. The motor is quiet and powerful – there isn’t any noticeable spool-up when you switch on the saw – hit the button and it’s running full speed, again quite a contrast to similar 14” saws I’ve used which have a noticeable acceleration time between startup and full running speed (the saw I’m referring to has a 1.5 HP motor as well). The WBS-14 is very quiet, topping out at about 75 dB in my shop, which is quiet enough to carry on normal conversation, obviously this noise increases when you actually start cutting material.
wbs-14 vertical bandsaw motor
The motor drives the 14” cast iron wheels via a belt that can be configured to run 2 different speeds: 588 rpm (2300 lin fpm blade speed) and 840 rpm (3250 lin fpm). The changeover between different wheel speeds is quick, easy and doesn’t require tools.

Two 14” cast iron flywheels are mounted to the frame on large sealed bearings. The wheels have rubber tires. The adjustment of the upper wheel alignment is handled via 2 knobs on the rear of the saw. The stock blade was positioned perfectly from the factory with the bottom of the blade gullet centered on the upper wheel. The single lever on top of the saw handles blade tensioning and tension release – I like having both of these tasks handled at the same point, a lot of saws have separate tensioning and tensioning release mechanisms but the WBS-14 keeps it simple and works effectively, most importantly it’s accessible from the operator’s position at the front of the saw. There is a tension gauge behind the upper wheel, these are fine for ball-park but tension is highly blade dependent and there are other effective ways to gauge tension – but I won’t get into that here.

wbs-14-baileigh-bandsaw wbs-14bandsaw wbs-14bandsaw2 Vertical Bandsaw


The fence on the WBS-14 is really excellent. I feel that on a lot of band saws, even on the higher end brands/models, the fence almost seems to be an afterthought – not the case here. The fence is a substantial piece of extruded aluminum with track on 3 sides to easily mount auxiliary items, such as taller fences for resawing. The fence is supported on both sides of the table with substantial rails that are easy to adjust if you need to compensate for blade drift. The front of the fence is heavy steel and rides on two large bearings. This results in extremely smooth and effortless adjustment. In fact this fence is probably the smoothest I’ve ever used including the excellent Beismeyer style fence I have on my table saw. The saw also includes a hook on the back of the column to hang the fence out of the way when it’s not being used – a great idea to keep the workspace clutter free.

vertical band saw for wood machinery woodbandsaw


Dust collection is excellent, there are two 4” ports in the lower cabinet, one directly behind the blade before dust hits the wheel and the other in the bottom right corner. The lower cabinet is fairly well sealed and I was able to get good airflow with my 1300 cfm collector hooked up. A brush mounted to the lower door keeps sawdust off the wheel.

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The WBS14 comes equipped with a foot brake, a nice safety feature. The brake stops the blade quickly and a micro-switch disables power to the saw immediately upon depressing the break. This is especially useful if you aren’t operating the saw from the front and need to kill power and stop the saw.

Performance: In the short time I’ve had the saw I’ve been able to test out the performance and I’m really pleased with how the saw cuts. There is ample power for resawing , and with proper adjustment the blade tracks straight as an arrow. The stock blade handled resawing of shorter stock (up to about 6” depth of cut) fine, but taller boards benefited from a blade with fewer teeth, something in the 2-3 TPI range. I installed a ¾” woodslicer blade (which has variable 2-3 TPI) and had excellent results resawing 10-12” hard maple. Cross cutting and ripping was handled no problem. The stock ¾ blade yielded straight cuts and a narrower 3/8” blade ate up the curves.

In use the saw just feels industrial. Not only is it extremely heavy construction, there’s a high level of precision as well. Thus far I haven’t managed to bog it down. Cuts are smooth and effortless. The saw is truly a pleasure to operate.