by Chuck Bender
The Laguna 14-Twelve band saw has the look and feel of a machine thrice its price. There’s a lot to like about this machine and the price makes it almost irresistible. Coming in at just under $1,100 ($1,345 with the mobile base and work light) puts it right in line with other manufacturers’ mid-range 14″ band saws.
The Laguna has plenty of oomph, with a 13⁄4-horsepower motor; most other band saws in this class are 11⁄2 hp or less. (Grizzly’s saw is the exception with a 2-hp motor.) It might not seem like much, but when you’re resawing wide material, every bit of power counts. The great thing is you get all that power and can still plug the machine into a standard household outlet.
The body of the saw is a one-piece construction, which gives it rigidity and stability. Some lighter-weight saws with two-piece bodies allow for the addition of a riser block for wider resaw work. The Laguna 14-Twelve has that additional height built in, giving you 13″ of resaw capacity.
The saw arrives decked out with Laguna’s ceramic blade guides. The system is fairly simple to use and functions extremely well, particularly with wider resaw blades. (The blue anodizing on the guide housing is pretty cool, too.) I found the ceramic much easier on the blade than the old-style metal guides; this setup gives you more control, and the ceramic remains cool in use.
The guides are easily adjusted with the exception of the lower back ceramic guide. Its locking knob is set to the inside of the blade, making it hard to adjust if you don’t tilt the table to 45°. If the lock knob had been placed on the outside of the blade, however, tilting the table to 45° would be impossible. If you don’t often tilt your table, move the knob to the outside for easier access. Otherwise, you’ll have to live with this minor inconvenience.
I like the quick tension-release and the tracking and tensioning windows; the blade can be tensioned and adjusted with both the upper and lower doors closed, making it much safer to perform those operations. It’s great not to have to move back and forth between the front and rear of the saw to tweak the blade.
With the rack-and-pinion system on the 14-Twelve band saw, you’ll find the same quality as on Laguna’s larger, more expensive saws. The system, which raises and lowers the upper blade guides and guard, is smooth – I’d like to see, though, some type of clutch system added to make changing the position to the extremes a quicker operation.
The hinged blade guard – held closed with a magnet – makes getting the guard out of the way for blade changes quick and easy. It’s so simple that you’ll wonder why it hasn’t been part of all band saws for decades.
I would definitely spring for the mobile base and work light. They make using the 14-Twelve band saw easier and make it more functional.
The light, in particular, is a great addition. I swiveled the orientation 90° from what is illustrated in the manual in order to allow the light to pivot front to back. This better illuminates the workpiece. If 11⁄2″ to 2″ of extra length were added to the light’s arm, any shadows where the work meets the blade would be eliminated.
Overall, this Laguna band saw is a machine I’d be happy to have in my workshop.
Contact: lagunatools.com or 800-234-1976
Street price: $1,097
Video: Take a closer look at some of the unique details of this new band saw. (To come.)