Laguna 14BX - First impressions

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Mooose

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Like many here I have been looking to purchase a new bandsaw for some time and have been looking at the many options online, reading the posts on this site, and spending a bit too much time watching youtube reviews.

I feel that currently the number of bandsaws available in the UK is better than ever with some nice options available at almost every price point and it is great to have so much choice. I had set myself a budget of about £1200 for a new machine with £1500 being about the most I would consider. To be clear that is a vast sum of money for me and I was keen on making this my first and last spend on a bandsaw that would hopefully meet my needs now and in the future.

With that in mind I had the following shortlist:
  • Record Power Sabre 250
  • Laguna 14/12
Both of the above are great options and I was leaning towards the Sabre 250 as being about the best balance of price vs performance. However, I have seen a large number of very positive reviews on the Laguna 14/12 and it seems to have a slight advantage in depth of cut (330mm vs 285mm), so it was always running the Record a very close second place.

So how did I end up with a Laguna 14BX??

Simple - Yandles had it 1) in stock and 2) on special. With the current Covid situation and the massive impact it has had on shipping, almost every option is out of stock and showing long lead times. So seeing the 14BX in stock and on special - they had my attention.

After some research, the basic conclusion comes down to the 14BX being a slightly beefed up floor-standing version of the 14/12 with the added bonus of having a foot brake that cuts power and stops the wheels almost instantly. This is actually quite a nice feature as the cast iron wheels have a fair bit of inertia and tend to freewheel for some time once you hit the switch. So I consider it a nice safety bonus that allows me to cut the power and stop the blade without having to remove my hands from the workpiece.

So mind made up I hit the button last week and took delivery today!

Time for some credit to Yandles - they have been brilliant to work with and when I had queries on the shipping they responded quickly and positively. They also noted that the supplied as standard 13mm blade was not in stock but gave me four other blades in compensation! Well done Yandles!!

I still have a load of work to do to get it set up and running, so I intend to post a part two (and possibly three) to this as I progress over the Christmas break. However, here is a shot of the packaging showing that Laguna seems to take care of ensuring that everything is well protected for the journey to its new home.

Laguna 14BX.jpg


Everything feels very well put together and I can not wait to get it up and running.

Some with sharp eyes will notice that I purchased (and gave my impressions) a new Itech 260S at about the same time last year and I hope to do the same as I go through the process of setting this up over the Christmas break. I have my fingers crossed that a December machine purchase will become a tradition!

-
 
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Mooose

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Assembly update:

So after a busy final week before Christmas, I managed to get some time in the garage to complete the setup. The saw is supplied mostly assembled and it comes down to three key steps: 1) Unpacking and getting the saw upright, 2) Assembling the table and fence, 3) Initial fine-tuning to set the table and fence to 90 and make sure everything moves smoothly.

So here are my thoughts on each:

1) Unpacking - I found the easiest method to tackle this step came down to unpacking the table, fence, and all the other bits before raising the whole box to vertical. Using the box as a "cradle" means that you can bring it upright fairly easy and I managed this without requiring any assistance. However, I would only suggest this if you have no other option as it could be at risk of toppling over. If you had someone to hold the saw while raising to vertical I am sure that it would be a fairly safe operation. You could also remove the side of the box under the base to allow attachment of the rubber feet. I did this after the fact by tilting the saw onto a block of wood.

2) Assembly - The first thing I noticed was how large the trunnions are on this saw. The double trunnions sit to the left and right of the main body and it would seem that this will give the most support over the width of the table. The image below shows the trunnions once I had the table assembled and you can clearly see how they support both to the left and right of the blade

Trun.jpg


The table was supplied covered in the usual protective gunk but once cleaned was very smooth and finely machined. The throat plate has four leveling screws and was fairly easy to tune to the same height as the table. It is held in place with the single screw into the table and I did note that it was easy to overtighten this screw and create a bow in the plate. Once finally assembled I put my straight edge over the table width and length and it seems to be level over the whole surface.

Blade and plate.jpg

Flat Table.jpg


Next, it was time to assemble the fence and this is where I hit my only major snag with the Laguna - the aluminum fence was very warped out of the box! The brackets, rail, etc are all perfect but the fence is not even close to being flat and is so bad that you can clearly see the bow from top to bottom just by looking at it:

Fence bend without edge.jpg


I tried to take a picture against the straight edge and although it is not too clear you can clearly see the gap at the centre of the fence. It is not something that requires a feeler gauge - it must be close to 1mm!!

Fence Bend.jpg


I can only assume that I have been unfortunate to receive a fence that did not go through quality control as it is clearly out of line with the rest of the saw.

As a note, I did raise this issue with Yandles and they have passed my details on to Laguna UK. It is not a great time of a year to be looking for support as I am sure that they may be closed over the Christmas break, but I am hoping that they get back to me fairly quickly in the new year.

Once assembled the fence does seem to work perfectly and is smooth over the whole length of the table. I am sure that once the fence is replaced I will have no trouble getting everything fine-tuned and working perfectly.

But man - I wish the fence was not so bad.

3) Fine-tuning and first cuts - as mentioned above it was very easy to set the table square to the blade and I am very happy that the table is 90 in the plane of the blade (front to back if you are standing in front of the saw). When you go left to right of the blade (again standing in front of the saw) it was initially about .4 degrees off and I will need to follow the setting up of the trunnions as outlined in the manual. It does not seem to be too much of a process but will require the removal of the table to get to the set screws to adjust. Something I plan to do over the next few days.

The fitting and adjustment of the blade is fairly straight forward and the "window" on the upper cabinet allows you to adjust tracking without much hassle. I have to say that the build quality is again of a very high standard for all the adjustment wheels, the band wheels themselves, and the breaking mechanism. It all feels very solid and well put together.

Lower wheel and break.jpg


Upper Wheel.jpg


The blade tension guide is in metric and seems to work well. I have used it to set my 10mm blade and it does feel about right as indicated at the 10mm mark.

Ten Guide.jpg


I have not done much actual cutting yet but the small number of cuts I have completed indicate that this is a very smooth saw with no vibration. The blade guides are easy to set and run very smoothly. They also seem to support the blade very well but I will need to do more tests to see how they hold up. Of course, I will need to replace the fence before I can try a wide blade for resawing. The brake is fantastic and cuts the power and stops the blade in a couple of seconds.

Initial conclusion - Overall this is a 10 out of 10 for build quality apart from the glaring problem with the warp in the fence. I hope that Laguna UK will be able to assist fairly quickly as without this issue the saw is damn near perfect!

I will add to this once I have some news on the fence and have had a chance to put the saw to good use.
 
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Nick Laguna UK

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It is not a great time of a year to be looking for support as I am sure that they may be closed over the Christmas break, but I am hoping that they get back to me fairly quickly in the new year.
Hi Mooose, that's a great detailed write up so far and really sorry about your fence - that's a proper 'Friday afternoon job' looking at that pic and should never have got through QC.

Although due to the new Brexit treaty that specifically references back to the 'Bendy banana' issue : under page 637 paragraph 78 (Clause XIII) we can no longer supply aluminium extrusion that does not flex at least 1mm between edges.
Haha - OK I'm just messing and late at night joking before anyone starts another brexit debate in this thread....:D

Mooose, I know Yandles will be flat out next week with all sorts of inbound mails - so if possible, can you e-mail me direct to sort this as I'm back in on Wednesday for a container delivery & pretty sure I can get a new fence sent out ASAP - certainly yours should not look like that - very unusual and apologies again.

[email protected]

Cheers, Nick
 

Ollie78

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This is an interesting write up so far, I like the look of these machines. They look like a good value proposition. I am interested how the guides are set up and how easy it is to access the lower guides.

Ollie
 

AJB Temple

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Nick's response is exactly why suppliers should make sure they access the wood forums. Excellent customer service which will only enhance their brand. Axminster should take note. well done Nick.
 

Mooose

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Ollie78 - The guides are very interesting and they seem to be a Laguna specialty. I have seen some people report that you can get sparks from the ceramic guides but I have only seen that when you bring them too far forward and the blocks make contact with the teeth. As I mentioned above I have not used it to cut more than about two feet yet - so will have to update once I get into it with a project.

As set up out of the box the lower guide had the thrust bearing adjustment knob on the far side of the blade (if that direction makes any sense) and was a bit hard to reach. But you can remove this and position it on the near side of the blade making adjustments very easy.

You can see this fairly clearly in this image below - all three adjustments are now easy to access from the front of the saw and I have no problem reaching them with the table at 90 (no need to tilt it back)



Trun.jpg
 
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sundaytrucker

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I bought a 14/12 four months ago and couldn’t be happier with the build quality. The saw hasn’t seen much use since I got it but I will definitely check my fence tomorrow havibg

I wanted to downsize from a 16” Jet saw that I was never truly happy with and had been looking at the Axminster AT2252 and Hammer N2-35. I looked at the Axminster model at the Nuneaton store and came away convinced I’d be placing an order, then I saw newly released Hammer. I have used Hammer machines at Peter Sefton’s school and it jumped to the head of the queue just on my familiarity with the brand but the cost of the Hammer was escalating and by the time all extras (base and wheel kit) were factored in the N2-35 was coming in at the sale price of the 14/12.

The 14/12 ticked every box and on paper stood head and shoulders above the competition and I was super impressed when I viewed the saw. The wheel kit works really well which I am grateful for in my shed.

I did get a spark off the guides today but I don’t think it was anything to worry about.
 

Doug71

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Nick's response is exactly why suppliers should make sure they access the wood forums. Excellent customer service which will only enhance their brand. Axminster should take note. well done Nick.

Ha ha, imagine if Axminster and Rutlands had their own threads on here where you could ask questions and give feedback on their products, I think it would make some of the political discussions look tame! I do seem to think Axminster used to post a bit but not seen it in ages?
 

OldWood

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My eye caught the picture Mooose took of the lower wheel and the brake. That looks remarkably like a disc brake off a push bike. Might that be a worthwhile mod to un-braked bandsaws?
 

PaulArthur

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This bandsaw is on my shopping list. Looking forward to your full impressions once you’ve had chance. I’m particularly interested in cutting veneers, so ripping capability on thick timber is crucial for me.
 

Mooose

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Small update:

First, the new fence is perfectly flat and I have managed to get it set at 90 to the table. So overall I think I have everything set up perfectly and can now start testing resaw etc.

Secondly, I prefer to have all my heavy equipment on wheels due to limited space and therefore decided to purchase the wheel kit. For anyone looking at the 14BX - the wheel kit is the same one as for the 14/12 but fitted in reverse. That is the single wheel is on the back of the saw with the two fixed wheels at the front. This is actually another bonus on the 14BX as the large swivel wheel is at the back and out of the way.

Here is the wheel kit in the box:

Wheel Kit.jpg


And two images from the front with the kit fitted:
Wheel Kit front 1.jpg


Wheel Kit front 2.jpg


Once again everything is of a very high quality and fits together fairly easily.
 
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