Take a look at the above photo. What you see is the embryonic beginning to the power tool portion of the 2010 Woodworking in America Conference (WIA). General International stepped up to supply the conference with table saws and band saws for all of the power-tool classrooms and for our power-tool playroom. Neanderthals move over , this is the first year that WIA brings power to the woodworker! (Truth be told, I’d bet more than a couple hand-tool proponents sneak a cut at one of these saws.)
My job for the next week or so is to assemble these machines, make any tweaks then get these to the conference on time. What do I have to assemble? The tall crates hold General International’s 90-170 band saw. I suspect that will be the easiest build of the entire group , it’s mainly assembled except for the table, but you know how hard it is to unbolt machines from pallets!
The 90-170 is a deluxe 14″ wood cutting band saw with a 12″ re-saw capability and two blade speeds (2,300 or 3,250 feet per minute) for excellent results in either hard or soft woods. It has a one-piece heavy duty steel frame and 14″ cast iron wheels. The machine weighs in at 293 pounds and is equipped with a 1-1/2 horsepower dual voltage motor that is factory wired for 110-volt operation (that’s good because I don’t think we’ll have access to 220v at the conference). The 16″ x 20″ cast iron table tilts 10Ã?Â° left and 45Ã?Â° right. There are a couple other nice features you should check out on this band saw, too.
If you run “old-school,” General also sent us a couple 14″ cast iron frame band saws, the 90-140. The boxes at the bottom of the pallet are these machines. Assembling the nearly 200-pound band saws is most definitely a two-person task. (With Chris in Germany and Bob out of the office for a few days, I hope Megan eats her Wheaties.) This is the type of band saw that I used for my early woodworking, and still have in the shop today. It was more than a few years before I installed a riser block to add height to my machine. And I only did that due to some shop-made veneer work that came about. These machines are tried and true and a workhorse in the shop.
General offered us any table saw we wanted for the conference, but that pesky 220v problem meant that General’s hybrid saw, the 50-220R was the best choice , it’s a fine machine. The 50-220R was one of the saws tested in the November 2007 review of hybrid table saws. The 50-220R did everything we asked of it , enough power, nice features and a very good fence system. And it was the only saw with digital readout. It also has the best access door if , or should I say when , you have to retrieve a dropped arbor nut. The WIA saws are set up with the Excalibur aluminum T-fence with 30″ rails. That fence makes working with jigs so easy , as you’ll see if you attend one of my sessions.
Of course, the classrooms aren’t the only place you can work with and see these and other General machines. General is bringing in a huge assortment of machines into the marketplace area (which is open to the public). Be sure to check out the booth while you’re there. And don’t forget to visit the WIA web site for a discount coupon to the marketplace.