'tis better to have tools you don't need than to need tools you don't have

Posted: 9/29/08
Updated: 1/8/09 - Added note about wheel quality; 12/15/09 - added update section on use with tablesaw ; 7/22/10 - minor rewrite, incorporated thoughts on it being OK but not for bandsaws into main article

Review: Jet 708118 Universal Mobile Base

Great for tablesaws, but don't use it for a bandsaw

$72 from Amazon.com

When I assembled it, the Jet base impressed me ...

You couldn't get any easier to put together. The side rails snap into the corner pieces in seconds with spring-loaded pins. Note, however, that you can only adjust the base size from 18" to 27" in 1" increments. Because my bandsaw wouldn't quite fit on one setting, I had to go up an entire inch on each side, resulting in a rather unsightly ½" gap on each side.

Every time I moved my bandsaw, the Jet base annoyed me ...

Moving my bandsaw on the Jet base was a very annoying process because the wheels squeaked and creaked. I was rather surprised at this, since I was putting 200 pounds on a base that's rated for 600. The culprit, I've found, are the rear wheels ...

They're not exactly high-dollar items. The wheel has just a plain shaft, no ball bearings. When I pulled the bandsaw off the base I found I could make the wheels squeak with just hand pressure.

Every time I used my bandsaw, the Jet base scared me ...

It's just wasn't stable. The base twisted and wobbled and made me really nervous. When I'm working on a machine where really sharp stuff is whizzing by near my fingers, I want stability. I didn't get it from this mobile base. I ended up cutting some low-angle wedges to chock under the frame so it didn't wobble so badly.

Once again, the culprit appears to be the back wheels. Look again at the picture above. See how far out the support is cantilevered? That arm is relatively thin sheet metal and provides a very weak support against torque forces. Compare the rear wheels to the front ...

They're perfectly OK because they don't need that extra room to rotate. They're nice and tight to the frame.

Just not meant for bandsaws?

After giving up on the Jet for my bandsaw, I gave it a whirl with my old Grizzly tablesaw for a while. It was perfectly fine there, no squealing, no wobble. Overall, it's a pretty decent mobile base. Just not for anything tall like a bandsaw, stick with low-profile machines.

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