Harvey Tools recently released a new line of shop tools aimed at the hobbyist under the Ambassador name. We got a chance to put both the 14“ bandsaw and the C200-30 table saw to work in the shop, and overall, we were quite impressed—especially factoring in the bang for the buck factor.
MSRP: $1399 Buy Now
This floor-standing bandsaw has everything most woodworkers want, including a lot of features found on higher-priced saws. It’s a steel frame bandsaw with dynamically-balanced cast iron wheels and weighs in at about 350 lbs. The saw has a 13“ throat and a 14“ resaw capacity. Coupled with a 3HP 230-volt motor (larger than I’ve seen on most saws this size) and the included 3/4“ blade, it did a great job resawing wide boards. The resawn surface wasn’t as pristine as I’ve experienced on other higher-end bandsaws, but that isn’t a huge deal. When most people are resawing boards, they plane or sand them to final thickness anyway. Under load, the saw was surprisingly quiet with very little vibration at the table.
The cast iron table is 193/4“ x 153/4“, and sits at about 35“ from the floor. The table includes a gas piston to assist in when you’re tilting the table, and the rack and pinion tilting mechanism lets you dial in cutting angles from 45° to -15°. The ball bearing guides can be adjusted without tools (both above and below the table), making switching between blade sizes much less of a chore than it is on some other saws. The two-position fence is another nice touch. Two 4“ dust collection ports (one below the table and another at the base of saw) keep dust at bay. With a foot brake, quick-release tension lever and even a convenient holder for the Allen wrenches you need to assemble the saw, Harvey has really nailed all of the details on this one. At $1399, it’s priced in the upper range of most 14“ bandsaws, but unless you need more capacity, it’s likely the only bandsaw you’ll need in your shop.
C200-30 Cabinet Table Saw
MSRP: $1309 Buy Now
Upon first look, the C200-30 appears to be a pretty standard entry-level cabinet saw. It has a 2HP 115/230-volt dual voltage motor, a 30“ rip capacity, cabinet-mounted trunnions and a 40“ x 27“ cast iron table—all the standard stuff you look for. But there are a few key points that really make this saw stand out.
The blade guard is one of the most interesting designs we’ve seen. To switch from the full guard to the riving knife (for a non-through cut, for example), you don’t need to remove the throat plate. There’s a little quick-release tab toward the back of the throat the releases the guard or riving knife. Once you get the hang of it, you can switch between the two in just a few seconds. It’s convenient and leaves you without excuses for not having the guard on your saw.
The T-square fence is faced with a two-position aluminum extrusion. Upright, the fence functions just like any other table saw fence. In the low position, you can get the fence close to the blade for thin rips without having to remove the guard. Plus, with the built-in cam lock system for attaching the fence, you can easily attach auxiliary fences for specialized tasks without having to use external clamps.
Dust collection points on the saw are also well thought out, with both above and below the blade collection. The enclosed guard connects via a hose to the 4“ below the table dust collection point. The dust collection port is located on the right side of the saw (not the back)—that means you can butt the saw right up to a cabinet or outfeed table without worry about dust hose clearance.
Here’s the kicker: the saw retails for $1309. With the features this saw includes, that price is hard to beat. Much like Harvey’s bandsaw, it’s an excellent tool for the price. And, if you need more power or capacity, there are two other table saws in the Ambassador line.
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