I have read so many reviews trashing Laguna that I had a hard time buying one of their tools. However, after doing a ton of research I ended up buying the LT18 3000. I did a ton of sifting through various options. Almost bought a Rikon 18, Minimax S45 ( just waiting to hear the barrage of you should have bought the MM16 the mystical beast of all bandsaws ) and also took a hard look at the Felder N4400. Anyway, the wife liked the Laguna we saw at Woodcraft and that always makes things easier to pitch. Although, I can afford to buy any of them I still place limits on myself for practical reasons. Of course I walked through the forest looking for Grizzlies and almost got taken by one but alas Laguna won the day.
1) The saw arrived well packaged with no damage and bolted with four bolts to the pallet.
2) I wrestled it off the pallet myself after taking off the table, motor, box of blades, mobility kit, and other misc items. It was a bit of a bear but got it off without any problems. Put the mobility kit on the saw in about 10 minutes and had here stable and on wheels. I than proceeded to assemble the rest of the saw. I didn’t need to look at the instructions because I had watched a video online on assembling them and it is pretty idiot proof. All in all it took me about 1.5 hours to have the whole thing assembled an over into its designated spot in the shop. Another 1 hour reconfiguring my 6” PVC runs and 4” branches to hook it up.
3) Initial blade install and tuning the guides was about 10 minutes. I am a bandsaw novice so I had to do some learning here.
4) About 5 minutes later I took a 2X12 piece of SYP and sliced a 1/8” piece with the basic 1/2” blade. Didn’t bother to put on the Resaw King.
A couple of key things:
1) The saw table was perfectly flat. Not as much as a bit of light making through the straight edge.
2) Very little vibration at all when running and very quiet. Didn’t do a nickel test but it will pass with ease.
3) The guides are straight forward to use. I really really like their guides versus bearings. I am sure it’s just a personal thing but there it is. Side to side adjustments are via hand screws. Thrust bearing is done by allan wrench. The lowers take two different allan wrenches but are easy to reach and adjust. The saw tensions the blade very well and there is zero movement when cutting.
4) The cast iron wheels are very large and heavy. No they are not like the HD’s or MM16’s but I am sure they will provide the necessary umph I need.
5) Blade tracks very steady with not back and forth and no moving at all on the tires. Very easy to put the blade on and get it to track. I did not check the wheels for coplanar as I watched the “Carter Guides” guy give a very long video on setting up bandsaws and he was adamant that it doesn’t matter ( I cringe now waiting for the abuse from the crowd ).
6) I would anticipated blade changes taking about 2 minutes once I get some practice. That is acceptable for a guy in his garage.
7) The fence was dead square with the table and miter slots.
8) The table is 20” X 20” but on the left side it has 5.75” additional inches of steel. So you really have a 26 X 20 table. Plenty big enough. Also has two miter slots one on each side of the blade.
9) The brake does and acceptable job and stops the blade in about 5-6 seconds with moderate pressure. ( Here comes the Grizzly motor brake comments now ).
I guess my only Cons on the entire saw would be the blade guide and like I said in the grand scheme of things it is fine.
I used the saw all day long as a dedicated rip saw while I had my crosscut sled on the table saw. I ripped about 30 pieces of wood on the saw and for a 1/2” blade and moving the stuff through quickly it left very little rough edges and I could clean them up with 1-2 passes of the sander. I also cut about 5 pieces of SYP from the 2X12 about 1/16 – 1/8 inch and the saw tracked right through. Didn’t bother with drift adjustments yet.
As far as Laguna goes….. I spent a ton of time talking to their sales folks and they were nothing but responsive and followed through on all my requests. I initially ordered the LT14 SUV and than upgraded a couple days later on the same day it was shipping. They were very nice about the change and it all got taking care of promptly. Took a week to get it here in NC from CA and that includes New Years Day. I have talked with Laguna folks on many occasions and have never anything but the best service.