Woodworking Tool Reviews

Steel City 50130 14 Deluxe Granite Bandsaw Review

 Steel City 50130 14” Deluxe Granite Bandsaw ReviewThe Steel City 50130 bandsaw comes loaded with the following features:

• 12” resaw capacity
• Granite table & lower wheel/cast iron upper wheel
• Worklight
• Mobile Base
• Roller bearing guides
• 1.5 HP motor

There’s no doubt the features are great, but does it measure up? That’s what we’re here to tell you. We’ll start out with what works, what doesn’t and conclude with a performance review.

 


What Works

The components come in nicely packaged; the paint job is great and the screws are pre sorted; the fit and finish are also, mostly, great. Granite components work well we weren’t worried about table warping or rusting; the bottom part of the table is super convenient for clamping and granite wheel possesses some great momentum. Furthermore, because the mobile base has been included it saves from the hassle of purchasing a new one. That said, we did have issues with its swivel system which requires quite a bit of manoeuvrings to set it in the right position.

The fixed work light is far better than the magnetic based one that was included in the 50100 version, which didn’t have a significant enough of holding to keep it in position which was problematic. Other great aspects of the Steel City bandsaw are the 4” as opposed to the regular 2.5” dust collection ports; variable speed operation at 1500sfpm and 3000sfpm; it’s got a great trunnion and the table supports aren’t soft or easily movable like some other saws on the market. The saw also provides a quick release level for de-tensioning the blade which even de-tensioned, still has a good deal of tension on the blade.

What Doesn’t
Since it’s based on the Delta 14” bandsaw design, it inevitably suffers from the same problems: poor ergonomic structure and a poor implementation of the blade structure.

It is very surprising that despite the intervening decades in between, the ergonomic structure of this tool has not been updated although we do remain hopeful for Steel City’s subsequent versions, if only because the company is young and seems interested in wanting to improve on previous models.

Moving onto the issue of the blade guard: Steel City seems to have elected for a guard that instead of folding around the assembly guide shielding you from the blade, goes all the way the down to the bottom of the guide bearings. So what results is you being unable to see enough of the blade to guide your way through cuts, which obviously is problematic.

So over all, while it reads great on paper the Steel City 50130 14” Deluxe Granite Bandsaw fails to deliver in key performance areas and while we’ve been mostly optimistic concerning their customer support, we are disappointed that they haven’t been able to capitalize on fixing previous issues with older models. This is troubling, especially if they want to increase their market share which if they continue in this status-quo perspective, they’re not going to get very far.

Oneida Air Systems Dust Deputy Review

The Marketing & PR department over at Oneida has to be pretty good one, claiming as they have that it successfully retains 99% dust, using a mini cyclone attaching onto a 5 gallon bucket lid which in turn, acts as a particle separator for a shop vac.

That’s a pretty tall order, so we investigated. The “secret” to a clean work space is keeping dust to a minimum and if you value your sanity, you’ll agree. But there doesn’t seem to be an adequate dust collector on the market emptying out the shop vac and maintaining a high suction level. But, as you may have noticed, shop vacs are noisy.

We came into the review with high hopes and expectations, judging by the stellar reviews given by other woodworking communities and haven’t been disappointed so far putting it into operation the moment we got our hands on it. After ensuring our shop vac tub and filter were as clean as possible, we took a look at the filter after use and were amazed to see only a light coat of dust inside. This came after using Dust Deputy for a week AND emptying out the 5 gallon bucket five times, making this appliance a godsend.

We individually bought the cyclone from Rockler for $60 plus shipping, and because we had the extra hoses and shop vac attachments, didn’t require the full kit. However, if you don’t have the hoses and attachments we would recommend purchasing the full kit at $100.

 
Having attached the cyclone the bucket’s lit, we cut a ½” plywood piece to the inside of the lid to serve as reinforcement. Filling the 5 gallon bucket to about 1/3 of its volume with 16 penny framing nails, and inserting the Dust Deputy bucket inside the bucket of nails ensures that it won’t fall over. However, we would recommend constructing a cart to hold the two as a long term measure.

Though the price of the Dust Deputy is a bit on the higher side, it will also save you time and money spent cleaning out your shop vac filter. Furthermore, there is no drop in suction power with a hose’s extended length. We give it a 4 out of 5 stars for its perfect performance and highly recommend that you add it to your shop environment.

Makita 5094DWD 14.4v Cordless 3 3/8

Makita 5094DWD 14.4v Cordless 3 3/8” Circular Trim SawYou might not think you need the Makita 5094DWD 14.4v Cordless Circular Trim Saw Kit , until you own one and then life is not the same without it.

The first thing you notice about the saw is how small it is; not so much as a unit, but in terms of its blade size which clocks in at 3 3/8”. And while it isn’t going to be cutting through large stocks any time soon, this is a great little tool for cutting thinner pieces of stock. Clocking in at 4.6lbs and total length 12 5/8”, both including battery dimensions, the saw can be used for long periods of time without user fatigue setting in. The overall feel from front to back, is also incredibly well balanced for a saw of this size.

Powered by a 14.4v 2.6A NiMH single battery, the kit includes a multi-voltage charger kit and one 1.2A battery. The charger itself can handle both Makita pod-style NiCad and NiMh batteries ranging from 7.2v to 14.4v; the charging times themselves can vary based on voltage and capacity but on average, it takes an empty battery roughly 90 minutes to recharge.

Lumber Wizard Metal Detector Review

Metal detectors are of particular importance to woodworkers; how many times have you heard horror stories of expensive saw and planer blades being rendered useless by a stray piece of metal lodged deep in a piece of stock that wasn’t identified until it was too late?

Reviewing the Lumber Wizard , we would like to mention that we owned a downgraded version of this model and the only reason we upgraded was the 2” limit. The Little Wizard allows detection for up to 2” of wood so anything beyond that doesn’t register and needless to say we needed the large scanning field.

Now, the Lumber Wizard is just a fancy name for your regular metal detector in terms of core functionality and is priced at a reasonable $99.95 but is worth the investment in terms of the money and time you’re saving replacing other blades. There have been a few revisions to the core functionality; the latest model is the Lumber Wizard III but at its core this review covers all the basics.

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