10 Inch Craftsman Bench Top Woodworking Band Saw

Well a month ago I received my Craftsman 10 inch woodworking bench top bandsaw and I have to say that I like it. In my other shop I had in Connecticut I had a Jet 14″ bandsaw and boy that got a lot of use… great machine. Being in an apartment now I don’t have the room for a 14″ and as I’m on the third floor of a building it would be extremely difficult to get a machine like that up three flights of stairs to begin with. Anyway a bandsaw is a versatile machine for cutting wood and I simply had to have a bench top model for the kind of woodworking I do.

Looking around I soon found there wasn’t many choices for a benchtop woodworking band saw. The Craftsman machine is identical to the 10″ Rikon bandsaw but is more than $100 less so I took a chance and bought the Craftsman. They both come with a generic 70-1/2″ 1/4″ blade, fence and ball bearing guides, upper and lower. Another nice feature is it’s all metal, meaning no plastic wheel covers as some cheaper models have and a full welded metal base and frame. It was nice to find that the table was cast iron ground flat and once attached to the trunnion I found to work okay changing the angle of cut. The knobs are plastic all around but seem to be of a good quality dense plastic, I don’t see that they will ever need replacement if not mistreated. And that is another thing… the adjustments are positive and don’t need a “heavy handed” pressure to make the adjustment secure. A blade guard that’s installed on the machine works on a rack and pinion to raise and lower it and is superb, wish the same feature was on my 14″ Jet, that one you pushed up or down to adjust, not so elegant. The supplied fence is adequate for a machine this size and quickly secured with a metal lever. Overall the fit and finish is nicely done.  Some things with the machine I felt needed some help and below I discuss what I feel that if done to the machine will make it even better.

This is my bandsaw set up as it is right now. I have it placed on an inexpensive Harbor Freight tool stand and find the bandsaw to work so smoothly and without vibration that I didn’t feel a need to bolt it down. As you can see I added a maple board to the miter gauge, making it more accurate. Now for the miter gauge, it’s all plastic except for an extruded aluminum runner. It’s basic and you won’t find yourself, at least you shouldn’t, relying on the accuracy of the protracted angles you set. Use more accurate methods of setting cutting angles. The fence is factory set, meaning it is not laterally adjustable. It’s not as important an adjustment on a bandsaw as it is on a table saw but it would be nice to have the option to adjust the fence angle. As you can see it looks exactly like the Rikon machine except for cosmetic differences and actually I like Craftsman color scheme much better.

Below I will go further on my minor tweaks I did to the machine.

As you can see the machine is of a clean design and very sturdy for it’s size. The wheels are balanced and nicely cast. The band tension is adequate for the size of the machine and I have not had any problems cutting even difficult hard woods.

Now I have to mention about the dust pickup for this machine. It has a 2-1/2″ connection for a shop vac and out of the box, it’s just okay. But I figured it could be improved.

First of all, I noticed that air being blown by the wheels turning  blew dust through cracks where the doors met with the frame, ie: there were gaps along the where the doors and frame were supposed to meet. What I did was add 1/8″ weather stripping along where the door edges would meet the frame to seal the gap as you can see above.

This pic shows where the motor shaft and it’s pulley enters the inside of the saw. Originally the oval brownish shape is cut out  to allow for the motor’s belt tension adjustment. When the saw is operating wood dust is thrown out of that open cut out. What I did was to cut a piece of leather with slits for adjustments and glued it around the edge of the saw housing with yellow wood glue. Did it work? Well the combination of the weather stripping and this oval hole closure made a HUGE difference in the saws dust collection. I can cut wood for quite some time with my vacuum running and not notice any dust anywhere except a bit of dust on the table near the blade.

Here is a same size illustration of the leather cover for the oval hole for the motor shaft/pulley inlet. You can use this template to cut out your own cover. Right click the image and “Save image as” to your computer for print out.

 

Okay, here’s where I had a pet peeve with the saw. You might think it’s minor but it’s not. The table circular insert was a good ways set below the level of the table and smaller pieces of stock run through the blade would catch on the back end of the recess. More than annoying because you had a tendency to force the stock through the blade past that “catch”. So what I did was to pop the insert out and shimmed and sanded flat the insert to make it level until I was satisfied it wasn’t a problem anymore.


A small minor upgrade was to add a magnet to the side of the machine which I attach the supplied Allen wrenches used to adjust the bearings and such. Very convenient. Where did I get the magnet? From an old non-working hard drive (that’s why I take apart EVERYTHING that has useful stuff inside).

The dust port connection on the backside of the saw is shown here. The best position for dust port is directly under where the blade exits the top of the saw table. Alas, on a small saw like this it’s not possible so they position where it’s assumed most dust falls which is just outside of the blade’s downward chip flow and that’s okay if all other gaps are sealed as I mention above. If you seal all of the gaps you’ll be pleased with the machine’s dust collection ability.

Something else I must mention about this saw. There have been complaints from owners of this machine that they find it impossible to correctly track a narrow blade on the wheels. They complain as soon as the machine is turned on the blade slips off the wheels. Nonsense. All adjustments are available to the owner to track even a 1/8″ blade.

On my machine, out of the box, the 1/4″ supplied blade tracked perfectly. Then I installed a 3/16″ blade  and it quickly slid off the wheels. Okay. Let’s figure this out. The blade seemed to slide forward off the lower wheel, so the lower wheel may be out of plane with the upper wheel. I worked with the vertical bolts (upper and lower) on the back of the saw and made test runs until the blade ran perfectly. Piece of cake. A quick run of the machine will show a blade slipping either horizontally or vertically and to correct the problem is to adjust the bolt array in conjunction with the upper wheel vertical plane adjustment on the back of the machine.


This pic shows further adjustments to the machine. The left paddle knob loosens/tightens the blade guard, middle knob adjusts the height of the guard, right knob adjusts the top vertical wheel alignment.

I hope you realize that on the current market this is the best 10″ bench top woodworking band saw there is for the money. I expect to have many years of enjoyable service using this band saw. If you have any questions regarding the Craftsman 10″ band saw please leave a comment.

 

39 thoughts on “10 Inch Craftsman Bench Top Woodworking Band Saw

  1. Dan

    Robert: I just bought this same band saw after much research and reading your review. I haven’t used it much to really get into a review, but I am happy with it so far. For the money and the metal construction it seems hard to beat. The lower ends have too much plastic and look like toys. The next size up are considerably more. I actually saved $20 on mine by ordering it online at Sears and then picking it up at the local store in the mall. Question for you is where are you getting your blades? Obviously Sears has them but are they any good? The 70.5 inch size seems to be an odd ball size as I look around on the web. Thanks for your help. Dan.

    • Robert Tutsky

      Hi Dan, I think you made the right choice. The Sears band saw is exactly the same as the Ricon but much cheaper. I also agree it’s more saw for the money than the lower end saws. There’s a few places you can get bands for the saw. As you know the saw comes with a blade and believe it or not it’s not bad. I did buy a band at Sears but it is a bit thicker metal than what came with the saw. Other bands I bought was a Lenox 3/8″ band and it broke after a month and a half. I called the factory to complain and didn’t get much out of it. They told me to take it back to where I bought it and hash it out with them. Problem is I bought it off ebay so I just dropped the whole thing. Next blade came from Lumina, also off ebay and it had a warranty. That blade was a 1/2″ blade with 3 teeth to the inch, mainly for resawing. So far I like it. Bought another one from Lumina, a 1/4″ @ 6 tpi and I like that one also. You can purchase Lumina blades from http://www.abetterblade.com. If you search online for “70-1/2″ Bandsaw Blade” on Amazon you’ll see some there also. I hear good things about the Woodslicer blade from Highland Woodworking. They also sell blades that will fit. In a pinch the Sears bands are okay but I would go with Lumina before them.

      It appears that some folks have problems with bands coming off the wheels, especially the narrow bands like 1/8″. Your saw may need some tweaking like mine did but I don’t have that problem anymore after setting it up right. Heck I could probably get a string to track properly.

      One other thing I’ll mention is bands on small size saws like ours break more frequently than the larger saws because of the small diameter wheels. If you are not resawing logs but cutting smaller thickness stock try not tightening up the band so much, that should help. Also I release the tension on the blade if I know I won’t be using the saw for an extended period. One habit that I quickly got into is after releasing the tension I remove the tensioning knob and place it on the table. Why? Because I would forget that the saw blade has no tension and start it and whala the blade would immediately pop off the wheels.

      Good luck with your saw and if you need any help, just get in touch.

      • Dan

        Robert: Highland Woodwrking! Went to Atlanta to see brother and walked into store. Unbelievable. Loved that store. Got a tshirt and some little thing. I will check them out and the others. Don’t do resawing but I do a lot of hardwoods and so I am thinking I need something with a lot of teeth for easier cutting. Thanks again……….Dan

        • Robert Tutsky

          Dan, a lot of teeth on a band doesn’t necessarily mean easier cutting. More teeth may mean smoother cutting but definitely slower cutting, especially in hardwoods. Fewer teeth per inch is generally faster cutting but a rougher cut edge. The cheaper blades have teeth stamped rather than ground edges, ground edges will give you a smoother cut.

    • Tim

      Dan, I purchases this band saw from Sears and have been frustrated with it. First, from the factory I thought the adjustments would be close, but they were not. After working for an hour or so adjusting the lower wheel, (the manual does not give instructions for the lower wheel), I finally got the top and bottom wheels in alignment enough to keep the band I the center of the wheels. It worked great for awhile, but when the band came off, I realized that I had it backwards. After reinstalling the band correctly, it can no longer cut the same curves I had been using it for. It only wants to cut straight. It now binds when I turn the wood. Is this an adjustment problem or did I ruin the blade?

      • Robert Tutsky

        I don’t think that running the blade backwards (blade’s teeth pointing up rather than down) would ruin a blade. Not sure why the blade won’t cut curves when properly installed. A wide blade won’t cut tight curves, you would need a narrower blade. Also make sure that the rear bearings are almost touching the back side of the blade. If it isn’t there is a tendency for the blade to slip off the wheels. Hope this helps.

  2. Russ

    I just purchased this saw today. Did the set up per Alex snodgrass video and it worked great to cut hrough two inch maple, no issues . Thanks for the nice review. Btw, are there better quality fences that will fit?

  3. Hi Robert, I’m currently looking at a new 10″ bench-top band saw as my 20 year old three wheeled Delta is about to retire. Finding the Delta 1/4″ @ 6 tpi blades has become difficult. I have tried other blades but the small 6″ wheels are killer on a 56-1/4″ blade’s welds. The current crop of plastic band saws leave me cold and the Rikon’s price is a tad high versus my budget. So I find your blog very helpful! The Craftsman 10″ band saw looks like it is from the same company as Rikon but the current $170 price vs. Rikon’s $300+ made me nervous. I have found if you go cheap it sometimes turns out badly but thankfully you have put that to rest for me in this case. Since my den is my workshop I too have a small workspace that I must keep clean and as dust free as possible. I do mostly small projects and wood carve so I think this saw has sufficient precision and will serve me well.

    BTW.. I like your vise design and believe I could make something similar but if you could send or post the dimensions that would be appreciated.

    Best regards,
    David W.

    • Robert Tutsky

      Hi David. Yup the Rikon is the same machine just different name. I have had mine for almost two years and like it very much. Some have said that it’s underpowered but I haven’t had any trouble with it (see this). The band saw blades that fit this saw mostly are .025″ in thickness and because of the smaller size wheels band they have a tendency to prematurely break. I have found a few companies that sell .020″ or less in thickness (Olson and Powertec sells them) and they generally perform equally well as the thicker blades and don’t break as often. One thing I have made a habit of doing is releasing the tension of the blade completely after each use. I believe that helps. Another tip: after releasing the tension I remove the tension off the blade then remove the knob and leave it on the saw’s table… that way I know not to start up the machine with no tension on the blade. It is very easy to reapply the tension to get up and running again… less than a minute.

      Anyway, good luck with the saw if you end up purchasing one and if you need any help, just let me know.

      • Thanks Robert,
        When I bought the saw Sears was out of blades so I will have to look into your suggested brands and thicknesses. I’m looking forward to doing some smaller stock resawing. The throat on my previous one only allowed for about 3″ thick boards and that was hard on the machine.

        • Robert Tutsky

          David, the best blade I have used so far for re-sawing is a Laguna 1/2″ blade, 3tpi. It cut very smoothly through 4.5″ (just shy of the maximum the machine will cut) thick hard maple using a slow feed rate. I was pleased with the outcome. I will be trying a blade thinner than .025″ than the Laguna blade to compare.

  4. Hello again Robert,

    I see my earlier comment was not added, sorry not sure why but just wanted to let you know I did get the saw this weekend. Thanks in large part to your review here. It was most helpful…

    Best regards,
    David W.

  5. Joe G.

    I just got my band saw put together but am having trouble with the fence as it appears to be too long and I cannot get to clamp on. It appears to be about a half inch too long. Any help will be appreciated.

    • Robert Tutsky

      Hi Joe, check to make sure you have the ruler bar attached to the table. It seems to me that would be the only reason why the fence doesn’t fit or on the outside chance the fence you have got mixed up from another saw. Possibly the 9″ version saw. Bottom line, if you don’t see how it can fit, take it back (or call them if possible) to where you bought it and let them know the problem.

  6. Hello,
    That was an excellent review. My 14” Jet, purchased new in the mid 1970’s, had to be retired.
    My main boatbuilding saw is a 19” Grizz extreme which serves me quite well but I need a smaller saw for detail work and began looking into bench top units.
    Thanks for your insights.

  7. Keith Brand

    as mentioned in the review, I am also having problems keeping an 1/8″ blade on. you said to work on the verticle bolts. what exactly did you do. I have tried shims but no luck yet. please help.

    • Robert Tutsky

      Keith, sorry to hear you are having problems tracking a 1/8″ band on your saw. Not sure what you are doing with shims, but there is no need to use shims anywhere on the machine. There are four bolts on the back of the machine that are used to adjust the lower pulley shaft. They are factory set (hopefully correct) so that the upper and lower pulleys are coplanar. You shouldn’t have to mess with those.

      Basically there are two adjustments that work together to track a blade. The tension knob at the top and the upper pulley wheel adjustment knob in the back. Those are the only adjustments you need to use to track a blade. Here’s how I get a 1/8″ blade to track true:

      1. Get the blade mounted onto both wheels. A thin blade, like 1/8″, is sometimes frustrating just getting it onto the wheels. Try this: place the blade onto the top wheel. Then wrap a couple of twist ties to hold it in place on the top wheel. Then place the blade on the bottom wheel. The twist ties will prevent the blade from slipping off the top wheel while pushing the blade onto the bottom wheel
      2. Add some tension with the top knob to take up the slack then remove the twist ties. The blade should have a low sounding “boing” when plucked. Slowly turn the top pulley wheel clockwise observing how the blade tracks. Add or subtract tension until the blade starts to track true. If too much tension is required for tracking, turn the rear knob either clockwise or counterclockwise as you slowly rotate the pulley to get straight tracking again. Once the blade stays in one position on the pulley check the tension by plucking the blade for sound. If more tension is needed, slowly turn the tension knob (top knob) while slowly spinning the pulleys. If the blade starts to move off position, adjust the rear knob until it tracks correct. All of these adjustments are manually done without power from the motor.
      3. Adjust the guide bearings next. The rear guide bearing must be adjusted so it is almost touching the rear of the blade. If it isn’t the blade will slip of the wheels as soon as you push stock into the blade for a cut. Moving the rear guide bearing forward as far as it will go may not be enough for this adjustment. A work around is to track the blade off center, more towards the rear of the machine.

      With some patience at first you will find that the narrow 1/8″ can be tracked without problems. Once you get the hang of it you can mount and track any size blade in a matter of a few minutes.

      • Keith Brand

        Thank you for your help. I finally figured out what I was doing wrong. It turned out that the upper and lower wheels were out of alignment slightly. I reread your instructions and a light finally turned on. Adjusting the Vertical bolts on the lower wheel fixed the tracking problem in 2 minutes.Duh!!

        • Robert Tutsky

          Keith, I’m glad you found the solution for tracking the blade on your saw. Having perfectly set coplanar wheels certainly will simplify tracking a blade.

  8. bilagaana

    Thanks for this excellent thorough review. I have purchased the saw and am now looking for a tool stand. The stands you illustrate look sturdy and a good size but I can’t find those at my local HF. Could you provide a manufacturer and model number? Thanks, again.

    • Robert Tutsky

      I originally purchased the stand you mention from Harbor Freight from their website and it was shipped to my home. They still sell the stand. You can see it here. They are sturdy enough but are a pain to put together.

      • bilagaana

        Thanks for the response. The problem in finding it was that HF calls it a workstation and the girl I talked to couldn’t find it under “stand”. It’s listed as US General Heavy Duty Workstation, item 46725. And you’re right: though sturdy and a good value for under $30, it’s more of a project to assemble than it should be. Other reviewers have pointed out that the provided shelves are thinner than the cardboard box it comes in and it’s a good idea to cut your own before assembling.

        • Robert Tutsky

          I totally agree regarding the “shelves” are ridiculously thin but I used them. What I did though is I glued an “X” bracing from corner to corner of the shelf to make it sturdy. That worked without discarding the shelf and cutting a piece of ply to replace it.

  9. Thomas

    Robert, thanks for the review of the 10″ band saw. I’ve been looking to buy one for awhile and after finding your review I made up my mind and went to sears and purchased one. I’m going to set it up tomorrow and start some projects I’ve been itching to work on.

  10. Al B.

    Robert – finally a review that actually says something. Many thanks. I’m probably going to buy one of these guys (if I can capture one on sale anytime soon). And the HF stand is a better choice than I had originally come up with (the non-height adjustable HD stand). All that said, I think this will do everything I need based on your review and the comments from the users. I am looking at the Timberwolf blades ( 3 pack, 1/4, 3/8 and 1/2″) for around $ 50.00. Any thoughts? My normal stuff is under 4″ hardwood (white/red oak, maple, etc.) with some pine thrown in. I don’t do production anymore, just family furniture stuff (still keeps me busy). Again, many thanks.

    • Robert Tutsky

      Hi Allan! I used Timberwolf blades years ago on a Jet 14″ bandsaw that I had. At the time I was pleased with the their blades. They cost a bit more at the time. I plan on doing a review on band saw blades soon as I have tried a few different ones, and found there are differences between the ones I used.

  11. John

    Just received the Craftsman 10 inch bandsaw. While setting it up I found that the bottom guide carrier will not adjust to hold the blade. No matter how tight I turn the lock nut, the entire assembly moves. If I tried to cut a piece of wood, the entire bottom assembly would push backwards. Now I wonder if something was missing when it was put together. Sears is less than helpful and refer me to Craftsman. Craftsman refers me to Sears as I bought it from them. Tired of the run around and just need some answers as to how to make this work.

    • Robert Tutsky

      Not sure what the problem is there. My only thing I can guess at is maybe the threaded shaft is missing the proper depth of threads, so the locking nut won’t fully engage the bearing setup. If that is the case add a washer to take up the space so the nut would fully tighten down the assembly.

  12. Bob

    Robert, thank you for excellent review. I just wanted to note that I’ve been looking into hobby-sized bandsaws for a very (very) small apartment workshop, and I was hoping to mount the 10″ Craftsman sideways onto the end of my 20″ deep workbench; since the entire saw was spec’ed at 21″ width I thought it might be dicey, but you had conveniently placed yours on a ruled workstand which pretty clearly shows the dimensions of the base. In addition to the great insights in the text there was even new, helpful information in the photos!

    • Robert Tutsky

      Hi Bob! I too have a small workshop area. The saw is quite compact for the base. The rear mounted motor extends about 5/8″ beyond the base but it shouldn’t be a problem for you. I don’t have the saw bolted down and I have never had a problem with it… I have needed to move it before. Once you get the saw all tweaked out you’ll find it’s quite a capable saw for it’s size. I love mine.

  13. I just picked up one of these saws today, based in part on this excellent article. I’m replacing one of those little 3 wheel Horrible Freight saws that’s on it’s last legs.

    I linked back from my little place tonight, and will be trying to catch up on everything you’ve posted here.

    • Robert Tutsky

      Thank you for the comment. I had a 14″ Jet band saw with a riser in my previous shop which was a nice saw to have. Now that I look back there wasn’t much I built that the 10 inch Craftsman couldn’t handle. Once you get your new saw set up I believe you will find the 10″ saw quite capable.

  14. mat dillin

    does anybody know how to remove, repair, and reinstall the bottom wheel on the sears
    craftsman 10″ bandsaw model# 119214000?

    • Robert Tutsky

      Hi Mat. I haven’t removed the bottom wheel on the saw before but the removal looks straight forward to me. I would remove the snap ring that holds the wheel on its shaft and gently pull it off. If its really snug on the shaft you could use a small gear puller if you have one. If not I would try heating the general area with a torch. That might help. Just don’t apply to much heat to cause a problem with bending the aluminum wheel. Not sure what repairs you need to do but if you have to replace the bearing, I would gently tap it out of the wheel using a wood block. Let me know how you make out with it and if I can help you further.

  15. Ken

    Robert,

    Great review and very helpful – just picked up the same saw, great deal at $179. I see you noted the Lumina Blades as a good upgrade – I can not seem to locate them on-line. New name maybe? Any additional recommendations for blades?

    Again very informative review and quite helpful to a small workshop person.

    Thanks again,
    Ken

    • Robert Tutsky

      Ken,
      Glad you were able to find a saw with a reasonable price. Good luck with it. The Lumina blade I found on ebay. Sometimes they are there, other times sold out I guess. Frankly though I have had good luck with Olsen blades. You might want to try them.

  16. Papa John

    My blade guide ball bearings have worn out. I am looking for replacements.
    I found this problem after replacing worn blades and drive belts but did not solve my problem. The problem that I was trying to resolve and could find any help anywhere was a series of uniformly horizontal ridges on my cut wood pieces. I proved that the trouble was the ball bearings by backing off the upper blade guides and the problem stopped. Now I want to get a set of decent ball bearings to replace the sub standard ones that came with the unit. I am the second owner and have no idea how the previous owner made his adjustments but I don’t think that the ball bearings should start to fall apart. Any suggestions would be helpful and I hope I may have helped someone else solve a similar problem.

    • Robert Tutsky

      Hi Papa John! Thank you for your comment. Any ball bearing will fail after a while, especially if excessive lateral pressure is present. I adjust the bearings just so they will spin but I am able to stop the spin by lightly touching the bearing with my finger. Do this by manually turning the blade wheel, not when the machine is turned on! You can purchase new bearings from VBX bearings. Here is their link to the bearings to get: https://www.vxb.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=626-Z The bearings are inexpensive enough that you can buy them in bulk. My last purchase was eight of them.

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