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JET JWBS-16B 16" Band Saw
Home shop price, big shop power, size and capacity
Text, photos and video by Tom Hintz
Posted - 9-1-2008
The JET JWBS-16B 16" Band Saw appears to have been designed to bring lots of capacity and power to the home woodshop in a reasonably-sized package. Despite its innovative (say rigid) triangular frame, 16" throat and 10" resaw capacity, the price is reasonable also. I was beginning to think this kind of value-based thinking wasn't allowed in today' marketplace.
The JWBS-16B 16" Band Saw uses JET's triangular column that they claim reduces rotational deflections by 65% over box style frames. Because this is a one-piece frame, much of the vertical flex associated with the single joint of two piece band saw frames, or the two joints when a riser block is installed is eliminated.
The triangular frame sits on a 27"-wide by 21-1/2"-deep all steel base that gives the JET JWBS-16B 16" Band Saw a very steady footing. That includes the base extension that is installed during the initial setup. The main part of the base has pre-punched holes in each corner that make bolting it to the floor a snap if a permanent installation is desired.
Both the upper and lower all steel cabinets are welded directly to the triangular column to maintain the structural integrity. This also lets the cabinets support the band wheels and their mounts. Even the cabinet doors have been tricked out with a curved face that increases rigidity and appearance.
One of the bigger marketing "over statements" with band saws has been claims of effective dust collection systems. Most of these "dust system" only began evacuating dust when the cabinet filled up high enough to reach the reputed dust port. Times are changing! The JET JWBS-16B 16" Band Saw comes with a 4"-diameter port on the rear of the lower cabinet that is located directly below the table, at the blade. This location means it actually can suck up the debris where it is made.
JET also put a dust brush on the lower wheel that helps prevent buildup on that tire and the natural migration throughout the saw if left un-swept. They put the brush directly in front of the dust port so that the debris knocked off of the tire can be sent to the dust collector bag rather than the bottom of the cabinet.
JET powers the JWBS-16B 16" Band Saw with one of their tough 1-1/2HP, 115/230V (pre wired 115V), TEFC (totally enclosed, fan cooled) motors. Keep in mind that JET rates their motors using a continuous duty cycle instead of the always-suspect "peak" or "max developed" figures so many others still use. Basing power on the continuous duty cycle more accurately describes the power available during normal use, not in short spurts.
The motor power is delivered to the lower band wheel with a V-belt and pulley set. This arrangement gives the JET JWBS-16B 16" Band Saw a 3000 SFPM (surface feet per minute) blade speed that suits most cutting situations and the blades used. The motor and the belt tension adjustment are mounted to the outside of the lower cabinet where you can get to them without special tools, smoke and/or mirrors.
The JET JWBS-16B 16" Band Saw is controlled by a simple but dependable industrial-style pushbutton switch. JET put the switch on their trick column where the operator can reach it quickly and easily.
Big Wheels and Tracking
The JET JWBS-16B 16" Band Saw uses a pair of 16 5/8"-diameter, 8-spoke cast iron wheels. JET precision machines and computer balances them so that their mass creates momentum without vibration. Each wheel runs on large diameter ball bearings and has high-quality rubber tires installed that keeps the blade running smooth and quiet.
The JET JWBS-16B 16" Band Saw top wheel has the tracking system built into its mount. A single knob on the rear of the upper cabinet makes tracking adjustments. That same mount also has the blade tensioning system built into it.
A large cast iron hand wheel on the bottom of the top cabinet operates the tracking system. A gauge/indicator on the rear of the upper cabinet has graduations that show tension levels for all common blade widths within the 1/8" to 1 1/2"-wide range that the JET JWBS-16B 16" Band Saw is designed to use.
The JET JWBS-16B 16" Band Saw comes with European style blade guides, including carbide wheels that control side-to-side play of the blade with minimal friction. A large diameter ball bearing at the rear of the blade controls thrust.
All of the blade guide adjustments are tool free and allow tiny adjustments for maximum blade control. Both the upper and lower guide assemblies have plenty of adjustment range to control blades in the 1/8" to 1-1/2" blade widths that the JET JWBS-16B 16" Band Saw uses.
While this Euro-style blade guide system is very effective, JET offers a full ball bearing guide set for the JET JWBS-16B 16" Band Saw as an accessory.
Upper Guide Post
The JET JWBS-16B 16" Band Saw guide post appears to be overbuilt but that insures deflection free performance throughout its considerable range. The post is raised and lowered with a rack and pinion system. A handwheel just above the post engages the rack and pinion, making height adjustment a no-stress task. A locking knob is on the rear face of the upper cabinet. There is a scale on the front edge of the upper cabinet that shows the current post height.
Cast Iron Table
The JET JWBS-16B 16" Band Saw comes with a 17" x 17" cast iron table. The table tilts up to 45-degrees to the right and 10-degrees to the left. Knobs beneath the table lock it in place at whatever angle is desired.
While the JET JWBS-16B 16" Band Saw does not include a fence or miter gauge, the table has a standard sized 3/4"-wide by 3/8"-deep miter slot. The table edge is pre-drilled for the JET accessory fence system or many others designed to fit this machine.
In the Shop
The JET JWBS-16B 16" Band Saw is a nice size band saw for most home shops. This is a rugged, smooth-running machine with plenty of power for the wide ranging project list woodworkers will have over the years. Equipped with a good blade, the JET JWBS-16B 16" Band Saw handles 10"-wide resawing without a whimper - and without having to buy a riser block!
The upper guide post and its rack and pinion drive are a pleasure to use. The mass of the post resists deflection and keeps the JET JWBS-16B 16" Band Saw very accurate at all settings.
This is an economy machine but the European style blade guides are far more than functional. Their carbide wheels resist wear and dramatically reduce heat-building friction so they do a very good job of controlling the blade without damaging it. The micrometer-like side play adjustments make precise settings simple. The lower guides are no more difficult to set on the JET JWBS-16B 16" Band Saw than they are on any other band saw I have used.
I know some will decry the lack of a fence and miter gauge but I think this is a sound cost/price saving idea. Many woodworkers do not like the factory fences so why include something so many are going to replace with an aftermarket piece? The same goes for the miter gauge. The JET JWBS-16B 16" Band Saw makes a great foundation for you to fine-tune to your requirements with the aftermarket pieces you want.
A real star on the JET JWBS-16B 16" Band Saw is the dust collection. Though most band saws come with a dust collection port, most of them have been worthless. JET placed the 4"-diameter port and the brush on the lower wheel just below the table. The results are dramatic. Throughout the evaluation I kept opening the bottom cabinet to see if any dust had accumulated and did finally discover a tiny pile in the corner. Virtually none was found on the wheel, tire, drive belt or pulley. The JET JWBS-16B 16" Band Saw proves that when the port and brush are properly located, efficient dust collection is possible on a band saw.
The JET JWBS-16B 16" Band Saw is a very capable band saw with the capacity, durability and power woodworkers want. With a street price of $1087.00 (8-31-2008) the JET JWBS-16B 16" Band Saw represents a solid investment for your shop. I think you will appreciate having the JET JWBS-16B 16" Band Saw at your disposal in the decades to come.
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