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Central Machinery model 32208 4 speed 14" bandsaw initial impressions.
Central Machinery model 32208 4 speed 14" bandsaw initial impressions.
Published by dbhost
08-11-2008
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Central Machinery model 32208 4 speed 14" bandsaw initial impressions.

The Central Machinery Model 32208 4 speed 14" band saw, and its single speed sibling the 32206 (only difference appears to be the pulley setup), can be an amazing band saw bargain. I purchased mine with a markdown from $329.00 to $299.00, and then used a 15% off any one item in store coupon to get the saw at $255.00 + tax. Aside from a well used saw, even 10" saws are hard to come by in that price...

The overall fit and finish of the saw ABOVE the stand appear to be on par with the bottom end Grizzly 14", the Ridgid BS1400, and lower model Delta 14" saws. The main difference that I can see is features (2" instead of 4" DC chute, 1HP instead of 3/4HP motor, etc...). The BIG difference is where / how the motor mounts. (The CM mounts UNDER the stand, the Ridgid for example mounts behind the saw frame on the stand).

Assembly of this saw is NOT an easy task, as the documentation is written initially by somebody that does not speak English as their native tongue, and to make things worse, they simply leave out LARGE sections of the assembly instructions. Plain and simple, have good mechanical skill going in, ask a lot of questions, and if need be, use the Harbor Freight tech support number....

The motor bracket is shown mounted BACKWARDS in the instruction sheet. Both the printed one, and the one online. There are minimal instructions for setting up any of the safety guards, and you can only sort of hit and miss guess at where they are supposed to go... And the blade guides are a quirky design...

As far as I know, even Powermatic band saws need some tweaking from the factory to work their best, and the Central Machinery saw is no different. It needs a much improved blade like almost every other saw on the market, as well as a decent fence, rise block kit if you are going to do any serious resawing, and at a minimum the OE blade guide blocks should be replaced with Olson Cool Blocks as soon as possible.

The tension adjuster is a simple knob, as is the tracking adjuster.

After the headaches and a few unneccesary cuts from the poorly finished metal edges (typical of Chinese construction) the saw is together.

The blade appears to be tracking straight with a home brewed sled.

As a test I cut some curve shapes out of a 3" Oak Plywood glue up / waste that was in the workshop. The saw was on the highest speed setting, and did not bat an eyelash at going through this material even with the poor quality stock blade.

I expect many years of good service out of this saw. It is much smoother than I expected out of an HF saw, and it operates quietly.

So far I feel this has been money well spent. Ask me in two years if I am still happy I spent the $$ on it and we will see!
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  #1  
By leehljp on 08-11-2008, 10:43 PM
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Thanks for this write up. It gives me something to think about for a future BS.

Do you know if the Carter guides will fit this? I know they are expensive but it is one thing I have wanted on a band saw for a long time.

One other thing that I will be interested in is the third party add on 'quick tensioner lever'.
Last edited by leehljp; 08-11-2008 at 10:48 PM..
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  #2  
By dbhost on 08-12-2008, 09:58 AM
I read a thread prior to getting my saw RE: the Carter guides, as well as the release lever. I think if you search for "Pimp my bandsaw" you fill find that info...

I am probably going to go with Olson Cool Blocks to keep it easy on the budget. Those Carter roller guides claim to fit "Imported 14" band saws". If I recall correctly, the Amazon listing for the Carter Roller guide specifically lists the Harbor Freight 14" woodworking band saw.

I may be wrong on this, but after looking at the Ridgid, from the base up, except for features, the saws really appear to be the same. I would not be shocked in the slightest to learn that they are the same castings, and basic mechanicals painted different colors and paired up with different stands / motors / guides etc..
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  #3  
By John Hunter on 08-13-2008, 12:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leehljp View Post
Thanks for this write up. It gives me something to think about for a future BS.

Do you know if the Carter guides will fit this? I know they are expensive but it is one thing I have wanted on a band saw for a long time.

One other thing that I will be interested in is the third party add on 'quick tensioner lever'.
Yes it fits, but you will need to add a 1/4" spacer so that the tension rest lines up properly.

bandsaw_carter2.jpg
HF with Carter Tension release

bandsaw_carter1.jpg
Note the 1/4" aluminum spacer between Carter Tension release and bandsaw.

bandsaw_carter3.jpg
The carter is great but never start the saw with the tension released or it will throw the blade off of the saw. To remind myself I added this above the switch.
Last edited by John Hunter; 08-13-2008 at 12:39 AM..
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  #4  
By dbhost on 08-13-2008, 01:34 AM
John,

That Carter Tension release looks interesting. Can you clue us into the tweaks you have on that saw? From what I can tell it looks like Cool Blocks, Carter tension release, and some sort of fence setup. (Who made the fence and how well does it work?)

I know you posted talking about your saw a few years ago. If those pics are recent, you do a good job of keeping your tools in good shape!

Mine didn't come 100% complete. The star washer for the ground screw is missing... No biggie, except my spares bin is FULL of stuff and it will take me a month to find anything that small in there!
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  #5  
By John Hunter on 08-13-2008, 01:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbhost View Post
John,

That Carter Tension release looks interesting. Can you clue us into the tweaks you have on that saw? From what I can tell it looks like Cool Blocks, Carter tension release, and some sort of fence setup. (Who made the fence and how well does it work?)

I know you posted talking about your saw a few years ago. If those pics are recent, you do a good job of keeping your tools in good shape!

Mine didn't come 100% complete. The star washer for the ground screw is missing... No biggie, except my spares bin is FULL of stuff and it will take me a month to find anything that small in there!
The blocks are Harbor Freight guide bearings, picked them up at my local HF store. The Fence is a Craftsman Universal Band saw fence. It is pretty decent but not the best out there. I added dust collection by taking one 4" flex hose to the existing port and reducing it to fit and cutting a hole in the lower side cover. These are both controlled by the same gate.

bandsaw_dustcollection.jpg

I also added a HF flex light that attached to the top side cover via a magnet.
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  #6  
By leehljp on 08-13-2008, 05:58 AM
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Thanks John, for those added pictures and explanations. Looks great and I appreciate this.
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  #7  
By dbhost on 08-13-2008, 01:55 PM
John,

Do you like the HF guide bearings? What is the item # (do you recall?)

I am based off of a 2.5" shop vac DC setup, so your DC mod won't work for me. But I totally understand why you have it rigged that way...

I am out sick today (stuff has been going around the office and finally got to me). I got to sleep off whatever it was that was getting to me, so I am feeling pretty good now. If I don't feel like I am pushing it too hard, I might just spend a little bit of time cleaning up, and taking some pics of my setup...
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  #8  
By John Hunter on 08-13-2008, 02:40 PM
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I really like the HF guide bearings, they have worked just fine. I don't have a number on them as I just found them at my local store and do not find them searching the website. One thing I have had to replace is both of the large bearing that sit behind the blade. Both wore out and I picked up ones at a local bearing supply that are great. Here are some close ups of the guides.

BandsawGuides.jpg
BandsawGuides2.jpg
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  #9  
By dbhost on 08-13-2008, 02:47 PM
Ah, I see. Very nice... So they drop into the O.E. bracket just like a replacement block. I wondered about those big bearings. They look very familiar. I think I should be able to get replacements from my local Ace Hardware if I need them.

The manual doesn't say much about them. Should I keep them lubed with something? If so what?
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