Laguna 1412 Bandsaw: A Cut Above

Review of the Laguna 1412 BandsawI’m not the most patient soul, but after a long search for a band saw upgrade I finally found the one that I wanted; the Laguna 1412 Band Saw. The problem lied in the fact that it was still in prototype phase when I learned about it, and would not ship for another year. Could I wait this long? Well, truth be told I already had a pretty nice band saw and I didn’t really need an upgrade (my wife will corroborate this), so although it was not my happiest year you will be pleased to know that I got through it and I now have a 1412 on my shop floor.

So, why the upgrade?

My previous band saw, a 14” 1 HP American style band saw, was performing well and doing nearly everything that I asked of it. Between my father and me, this saw has gotten plenty of use and we were reasonably happy with it, but it was not great at resawing. Yes, I could do some resawing on my old saw, but the setup process required delicate tuning and the results were hit and miss for me. I would describe it as finicky, and because of this I found that I avoided resawing for the most part. I will accept that some of this was due to operator error, as I have seen George Vondriska make resawing look easy on a saw less powerful than mine, but I was looking for a “resaw easy button”. To be clear, I don’t feel a need for blinding throughput speed when I am resawing because I don’t do it that often and when I do I am typically milling only a few board feet for a project. But when I have a need to resaw, I would like to do it with minimal fuss, and experience sweet success every time. No waves, no tapers, no barrel cuts; just flat, consistent hardwood slices.

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Why Laguna?

After following this evolving market for years, I gravitated to Laguna band saws for a few reasons. The Laguna guides are so simple and effective; it just seems like the right design. Their fences are solid, versatile and simple. Also, these guys have a clear passion for band saws and I have felt that they have led much of the innovation in this tool category over the past decade or so. And, OK, I will also admit that the stylish design of their band saws might have been a small secondary factor. I have never seen my wife so excited about a woodworking tool as when I invited her into the shop for a peek at the 1412 and she exclaimed “Oh my gosh! It looks like a BMW!”.

Why the 1412? This design seemed to have all of capabilities that I had been looking for. I believe that it was designed with the “occasional resawer” in mind, with a stout European frame, ample capacity for resawing (the specifications say up to 12” but read on and I will show you that I successfully pushed that a bit), and the same guide system found on Laguna’s higher end band saws. Another appealing attribute for me was the ability to run the saw on 110V power. I have 220V power available in my shop, but once I wire an outlet for a 220V tool I feel that it is locked into that location. The 110V option allows me to move it around the shop easily. The saw can also be wired for 220V but I don’t see any reason to do this in my situation. With a 14 amp motor there is plenty of electrical headroom to run this saw on my 20 amp circuits.

My favorite aspects of the tool

Resaw simplicity. As high as my expectations were for this saw, it has exceeded what I had hoped for on the resaw front. After setting the saw up for the first time I installed a ¾” Resaw King blade and made a test cut on a 6” plank of hard maple without doing any tuning on the saw other than checking the blade tracking and squaring the table to the blade. The cut quality was astounding. I measured .003” of variance across the freshly sawn plank. I was impressed with the performance as well, as the motor indicated no sign of strain through a fairly aggressive feed rate. Additional testing with a standard high speed steel ½” 3 TPI blade produced similar results.

13 inch resaw action shotRemarkable Power. With a 1-3/4 HP motor on the 1412, I expected to find some improvement over the ¾ – 1HP 14” band saws on which I have had most of my experience, but the actual difference was more noticeable than I anticipated. The saw has 13” between the table and the upper blade guide (although Laguna conservatively rates it at 12” resaw capacity), but could it really resaw a 13” plank? I happened to have a 13” wide plank of 4/4 cherry in my lumber rack, so I gave it a try. Honestly, I didn’t think it could perform this task in a way where I would ever want to do it again, as I have attempted this on other saws with an unpleasant outcome. I figured that would be the compromise, and the reason why many people with similar requirements to mine buy more powerful 220V band saws. I was on Cloud Nine when the saw completed this task without breaking a sweat. Seriously; a 13” resaw with no tweaking, no wrecking stock on the first three attempts? And no indication of strain during the cut? I originally planned to publish a recommended “real world” maximum resaw cut height to properly set expectations. I expected that this value would likely land in the 9-10” range, which would call Laguna onto the carpet for a bit of marketing exaggeration, but my actual finding is that Laguna has sandbagged a bit on this front, and the saw can comfortably exceed their own specification.

13 inch resawResaw results. Even with a plank as large as 13” the variance was .004” – .005” across the entire plank. That exceeded my expectations. A couple passes through the planer and I had two perfect 13” wide book-matched panels.

curvy cutExcels at curved cuts, too. In addition to solid resaw performance, the 1412 also works well at cutting curves, as the Laguna Guides steer the blade and minimize deflection while the work piece is steered through the cut. The project in the picture is a cutting board that I like to make by stacking two boards and cutting the pattern on a band saw. When building this design on other band saws I used to perform an additional step, where I would have to sweeten up the joints using a router with a template and guide to eliminate the gaps left where the blade would flex as it changed direction in the cut. Using the 1412 I can go directly from the saw to the glue-up table because the guides hold the blade so solidly that there is virtually no blade deflection when the work piece changes direction during the cut. This was an unexpected bonus with the 1412.

Quick blade change. The blade change process is quick and painless on the 1412, due to the quick release lever, the nicely designed magnetic release blade guard and the easily accessible blade path.Quality components throughout.When I first heard about the Laguna 1412 Band Saw, and the low price point, I was concerned that I would find some compromises on quality upon close inspection, but this has simply not been the case. Here’s a look at a few standout attributes of the 1412:

huge tableTable. The 21-1/2” x 16” table is massive, dead flat, and ground to a mirror finish. A large surface like this on a band saw is a nice luxury as it provides enhanced stability when cutting larger pieces.

fence flatFence. I love this fence. Kudos to Laguna for incorporating fence features from their higher end band saws into the 1412. The design is simple and ingenious, allowing the fence to be positioned upright for resawing, or switched in seconds to a low profile orientation for ripping operations. One downside; I would prefer if the fence could be slipped on and off the saw a bit more easily, but it only takes about 10 seconds to perform the necessary partial disassembly so I guess I can live with that.

trunion“Man-size” trunions. This underappreciated design element on a band saw is often overlooked, but I believe that this is a critical component. These are beefy and refined, which helps absorb vibration and minimize flexing during the cut. The table tilt mechanism is controlled with convenient lever action releases that engage solidly to whatever angle is selected.

Frame.

The beefy frame is heavy gauge welded steel for serious rigidity compared to cast iron which tends to flex under stress. This is key for reliable, hassle-free resawing, as the frame absorbs much of the stress from blade tensioning.

cast iron wheelCast iron wheels. Big band saws perform better with cast iron wheels to provide stability and to power through heavy resaw cuts. These wheels are well made and nicely balanced. Laguna did not take any shortcuts in the wheel department.

laguna guide

Laguna guides.

These upper and lower guides control the blade at 10 points using a ceramic surface. The brilliance of this design is in its simplicity. No moving parts, no maintenance required, just solid support to keep the blade cool while preventing it from wandering under pressure.

dust port

Dust collection. With a 4” port positioned behind the blade just below the table, dust collection on the 1412 is decent. I am admittedly a bit obsessed with dust collection, and if I designed this saw it would have a second 4” port directly to the side of the blade, also below the table. Resawing produces a huge volume of fine dust and it is important to corral it for health and nuisance reasons. But the dust collection results that I experienced during my tests were quite good. I suspect that most hobbyists don’t have adequate dust collection to draw from two 4” ports simultaneously, so Laguna probably felt that it was not worth the expense of adding the additional port. During one resaw test cut I forgot to turn on my dust collector before starting the cut and I immediately figured it out after cutting into the plank, as a cloud of dust appeared directly in front of my face. That gave me a good indication that the dust collection as designed is actually accomplishing its intended task pretty well.

lever release

Quick-release blade tension lever. This is a not only a great convenience for de-tensioning the blade at the end of a shop session, but also speeds up the blade changing process. The mechanism engages solidly in either position, and there is enough travel in the action that blades can be slid on and off the wheels with ease when the blade is de-tensioned. I also appreciate that de-tensioning the blade leaves it in the 6 o’clock position, providing a nice visual queue to the user standing in front of the saw so that the saw is not accidently turned on without first tensioning the blade.

Blade guard mechanism.

The rack and pinion system used to raise and lower the blade guard is extremely smooth, and I am equally impressed with how rigid the this mechanism remains even when fully extended. This is one of the key attributes for maintaining good cut quality.

lightHalogen work light (option). If you get the saw, I’d suggest that you also choose the optional light. It is a thoughtful feature, and if you are over 40 (or ever hope to be), you will really appreciate having the task lighting readily available. Whenever I do band saw work that requires any accuracy at all, I set up a portable task light, so it will be a nice convenience to have one attached. I also like the on-board outlet for the light so an extension cord isn’t required, and it can be turned on when the saw is not running. Plus, like everything else on this saw, it looks cool.

Any downsides?

For a saw at this price point I’m hard pressed to name a significant functional downside. Although not uncommon, the motor is made in Taiwan (I’m sure that’s the only way that Laguna could deliver a saw of this quality at such a low price point) so that will be a question mark for me, and only time will tell whether that becomes a problem. As I continue to use the saw I will provide updates if I experience any problems with the motor or anything else related to the saw.

Customer support experience

I encountered some minor hiccups during the setup of the 1412 that I could have worked through on my own, but when I am writing a story on a stationary tool I like to get some exposure to the customer service for the company. I called in and was immediately transferred to a technician who spent a half hour on the phone with me, not only answering my questions but taking the time to explain some additional tips for band saw work. He was extremely knowledgeable and seemed to know the 1412 pretty well in spite of the fact that it had been on the market for less than a week and I was the first customer to call in with a question. If this saw performs over the years as well as I expect, I won’t be spending much time on the phone with Laguna support, but it’s good to know that they have both the ability and the commitment take care of any problems that may arise.

Conclusions

For me, this saw is a great value and was a tremendous upgrade from my previous band saw. For professionals with volume production resaw requirements, you’ll probably want to step up to a saw with bigger wheels, larger blade capacity, and more power. But for my needs, and those of most hobbyist and small shop professionals, the capacity, performance and value of the Laguna 1412 are superb. In terms of the saw’s design, construction, performance and value, Laguna has knocked it out of the park with this band saw.

SOURCE

Laguna Tools http://www.lagunatools.com/ 800.234.1976

14/12 Bandsaw $1097

14/12 Pro Light System $99

14/12 Pro Wheel System $149

¾” Resaw King Bandsaw blade $149

Discussion
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32 Responses to “Laguna 1412 Bandsaw: A Cut Above”
  1. Betty Wilson

    It seems like that this information is very helpful for people searching for bandsaw blades. There is wide range of Bandsaw blades available from various companies and I hope you guys also sharing some more information in future too.

    Reply
    • Paul Mayer

      Great suggestion, Betty. I think this is worth an in-depth article itself, but I’ll give you my short list. For general purpose bandsaw use, I like a 3 TPI 1/2″ Timberwolf blade. I use that for almost everything. It’s a bit too wide for tight curves, but I use it anyway and just have to back out and make a lot of relief cuts. It is good for occasional resawing as well. For more intricate work I have a 1/4″ 6 TPI blade. I also have a 1/8″ blade but I rarely use it. For bigger resaw runs I use the Resaw King from Laguna.

      Reply
  2. Michael Lusk

    AWESOME! This will be my first bandsaw! I love your review, and going out today and buy one for my basement shop. Thanks so much…

    Reply
  3. jackmos@optonline.net

    I’ve had this bandsaw for about 6 months. You’re review didn’t mention drift, so I thought I’d comment.
    I use three blades – 1/4, 1/2, and 3/4. Absolutely no drift with any of them. I’ve set up the fence to be square with the table and when I check for drift, there is none. I don’t even think about checking anymore when changing blades.

    Reply
    • Mike Pavia

      Thank you Jack for your post re: drift. This is the main reason I want to replace my current handsaw. The Laguna sounds like the answer to this frustrating problem.

      Reply
  4. Alden Sweet

    Hi Paul
    Hi Paul
    I am considering purchasing a real bandsaw and am trying to decide between the Rikon 14″ 10- 326 and the Laguna 14/12, which you evaluated. I have talked to the local manager of the Woodcraft store, and he was very honest in his comparison of both of the saws which he sells. Some of the reviews I have read, stated issues with the ceramic guides on the Laguna. He told me he owns a 20″ Laguna and has never had a issue with the guides and has not encountered customers who have purchased the 14/12 who have had any issues with the guides. He pointed out a couple of features that the 14/12 has over the Rikon, one being the double trunnions that support the table. He stated that both saws are well designed and built but for relatively the same money, but he thought the Laguna was the better value. He also told me the Laguna will go on sale next mouth. I am a bit apprehensive about spent $1000 for a bandsaw as a retired woodworker/ boat repairer, but I rather spend the money up front for a good product as opposed to buying a used Rockwell, Delta, or Jet and not knowing it’s condition.

    Thanks again for your review. It was very helpful.

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi, Alden. I don’t have enough experience with the Rikon to comment, but the Laguna saw has been fantastic. The only issue that I’ve had with the ceramic guides is that I’ve had ceramic fall out a few times, and I just glue it back in. I don’t like that, but I can live with it as long as I don’t lose a piece of ceramic.

      Reply
  5. J B H SMITH

    What would be a recommended Miter gauge for the 1412? I note that one is not supplied with the unit, yet there is a track for one!

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Most standard miter gauges will work (3/4″ x 3/8″ track), or you can make a simple one. You could also just use one from your table saw if you don’t mind sharing.

      Reply
  6. Dave

    Just got my 14|12; great saw! Problem – the 4.00″ OD dust port on the back. I’d like to purchase a reducer that allows me to attach the 2.25″ hose from my shop vac. The metal grate inside the bandsaw dust port prevents attaching a reducer on the inside of the port, so it must go on the outside. I can not find anything that is the necessary 4.00″+ ID that would allow it to fit on the outside of the bandsaw dust port. Greatly appreciate any guidance.

    Reply
    • Steve

      HI Dave, I just finished setting up my 1412 and for dust control I attached a 4′ section of 4″ dust hose to it and on the other end a 4/ 2/12 reducer going to the ridgid vac. Hope this helps

      Reply
    • Andy

      I use a piece of 4″ PVC pipe with a round wood insert with a hole that fits my shop vac hose.

      Reply
  7. JR Dillard

    I just finished set-up of my Laguna 1412 yesterday. What beautiful beast! At first, things were going a little slow interpreting the instruction manual illustrations. Then, I happened upon the 14-session short instruction videos produced by Laguna Tools on YouTube. From there out, following along assembly/setup was a breeze. The thing that strikes me about this machine is its precision engineering and tight tolerances. Just a quality piece of equipment with no flimsy components. My one, small, frustration was the 4″ dust port. None of my dust port connections/couplings that normally fit on my other equipment and blast gates would slip on, nor would bare flex hose. So, for a temporary test-run to check blade drift, I used a wrap of duct tape.

    Reply
  8. T Lynn Chance

    I must replace my 9″ benchtop band saw with a full size saw. I have liked at both the Rikon 10-326 and the Laguna 14/12. I have read some very negative comments on critical issues with the Rikon, especially with adjustment for the lower bearing guides. Based on this review and the comments, I will soon be purchasing the Laguna saw.

    Reply
  9. Keith

    Great review and very detailed.
    Any thoughts on Laguna BX ?
    With $400 upcharge. Is it worth the upcharge for a break system.
    I am a hobby woodworker and had a 9 inch Black and Decker table top bandsaw. It went out with the trash after 10 years of frustration
    Not sure if I should go with the 1412 or BX

    Reply
  10. Joe

    Hi,
    It’s been two years since this review. Any long term updates you could share? I am going to buy a bandsaw soon and this is my likely choice. I too worry about the dust collection. Do you think I would be able to add another 4″ port myself?

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi Joe. The saw has continued to perform like a champ. I moved it to my father’s shop and have since upgraded to an 18bx which is a larger saw. But I used the 1412 for a long time in my shop and I was very pleased by it’s performance. I found that in practice the single dust collection port was not a problem. The inside of the cabinet remained pretty clean during heavy use and overall I feel that it collects well for a bandsaw. I haven’t considered adding a second port after using the saw for a while. I can’t tell you how difficult it might be to do this, but probably non-trivial.
      Thanks
      Paul-WWGOA

      Reply
  11. Chicago Bandsaw

    Just purchased one of these guys, this review helped a lot. Can you tell me the height of the stand? The specs only have the height of the table and the height of the total machine. I’m planning on building my own mobile base.

    Reply
  12. Dennis O'Shea

    This is going to be a Birthday present by my Family to me I guess 70 is a magic number I have been looking for a while And it can be a little overwhelming .But after reading this review it’s done for me I just now have to relay the info to my family thank you for such an in depth description of the Band Saw and all it’s features

    Reply
  13. ts

    I’ve had issues with mine.
    1. Guide bar pinon box wasn’t manufactured correctly. It fell apart, mangled top and bottom 3″ of guide bar teeth. After prolonged discussions and email with Laguna customer service they agreed to replace both. 2. Tracking wheel/mechanism isn’t easily adjusted. Yes, the locking knob is completly loose. Mechanism seems to fall apart when the wheel is loosened, and only is correctly by tightening it very tightly. 3. The guide blocks aren’t square to the blade and work loose very easily. I’ve shimmed the upper ones. The lower ones are pretty much inaccessible. I’ve given up trying to square the lower ones. Tightening the lower ones take a pair of long reach water pump pliers for me to get at them.
    I’m disappointed that I’ve had issues with this saw. Maybe I got a lemon. I don’t know if all of them have problems.

    Reply
    • Jeremy

      I agree! I’ve had this saw for 2 years. At first I was happy with it but after I have had it for a while my opinion has changed. Some of these might seem picky but at this price point my expectations are higher and these should not be an issue.
      1.The guide blocks don’t hold their settings and when the blade is pushed into them they will throw sparks. Which is slightly scary when you are working with wood. Furthermore, one of the lower blocks keeps sliding out and falling off. I often find it laying inside the cabinet and have to re-install it. I am waiting for the day it gets sucked up by the dust collector.
      2. The greatest depth of re-saw that I have done is 8 inches. I’m unsure how one would do anything greater than this because of the power. And truthfully HSS blades need to be longer to handle greater depths because the blade gets really hot.
      3. I had to spend more money to get the mobile base and its terrible. Bolts will randomly fall off, because the feet on the base scrape the floor when the lift wheel is engaged in the up position. So I have to lift up on the saw to prevent the scraping but then the feet fall out.
      4. There is a magnetic strip that holds a protective door over the blade. That strip was the first to fall off.
      5. The configuration of the saw makes it really difficult to change the blade. The vertical saw support has a slit in it to accept the blade, but its really hard getting the blade into and out of this slit. Every time I put a blade in the teeth rub on it and I feel like I am dulling half the teeth on the blade.
      6. Here in the past month the saw has started to shake. I am unsure why. I am concerned the upper wheel is out of balance some how.
      7. dust collection is not that great since there is only one port. it really needs two

      Reply
      • David

        Sounds like you wouldn’t be pleased with any bandsaw given the kinds problems you’re having with this one. Sorry, but it sounds like poor assembly and maintenance from whomever assembled and is operating it.

        Reply
  14. Jeff Bremer

    Hi Paul,

    Just purchased the 14 12, in part because of your review. Can you describe how you set-up the guides? I’m getting mixed messages from Laguna. The manual says some of the guides should touch the blade, a series of YouTube videos (I believe produced by Laguna) says all the guides should touch the blade, and when I spoke to customer service, I was told that none of the guides should touch the blade.

    Thx, Jeff

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi Jeff. I’ve seen some conflicting information on this as well. I have always set the guides so that they are in contact on all 10 points. Just be sure that the blade still rotates easily and that you haven’t put pressure on the blade. The ceramic should just kiss the blade and it will do a great job supporting it. I also think it would be fine to use traditional “paper thickness” spacing all around the blade, but the contact method of setup is so much quicker and easier, works great and hasn’t caused me any problems so I’m sticking with it.
      Thanks
      Paul-WWGOA

      Reply
      • Jeff Bremer

        Thanks for your reply Paul – much appreciated. Just a bit confused, what are the 10 points?

        Reply
        • Customer Service

          Hi Jeff. Each guide has two pieces of ceramic on each side of the blade and one in the rear for a total of 5 per guide x 2 guides = 10 contact points.
          Thanks
          Paul-WWGOA

          Reply