General Model 490-1 Bandsaw
by Jim Shaver


I recently purchased a General Band Saw, Model 490-1 other wise called a 15". The base model came with factory guides (re saw capacity at 6 1/8") and a hp motor. I chose to upgrade to Carter Guides (re- saw at just over 6 "), a 1 hp Baldor motor (factory wired for 220v on a 15 amp plug), a miter gauge and fence as well. I also purchased a mobile base for the unit, a HTC (not happy with it) that I may return to Ashmans for a Delta base. The assembly instructions are not well done and were the only disappointment. Given that the assembly was straightforward and clearly easy to complete. The hardware was all there, it is of high quality and standard size P/D on all the threads.

The saw was delivered from General 7 days from the placement of order, it came semi assembled in several large boxes. The fence was on back order so I will have to let you know about it later. The total weight of the machine is called out at 345 lbs. with a closed base housing the motor on an adjustable mounting bracket to assist in belt tensioning. The switch is also located on the base and is a standard single throw switch rated for 220v and 20 amps I believe. The base is welded sheet steel and has door to access the motor on the back.

The upper frame is a massive box type one piece of cast steel, it is well ribbed and weighs a ton. I need to get help to lift it on to the base during assembly. It has two stamped hinged doors with a 2" dust port located below the front door. The throat opening is not 15", but 14 " and the wheels measured about 14 7/8" in diameter. The wheels are heavy cast, very good quality tyres and turn true, they were in perfect alignment from the factory and required no adjustment at all. The blade tension control operates very easily and smoothly, the scale is clear and easy to read as well. It also came with a " 3 TPI blade of good quality, but since I had purchased some Timber Wolf Blades I replaced it soon after set up and my first confirmation cut.

The table is dead flat and dimensioned at about 15 1/2" square. It has the standard miter slot and is also made in the same cast material and is heavily ribbed. It has a 45 deg. right tilt and 10 deg. left tilt with an adjustable dead stop that was factory set at 0 deg. exactly. The table is firmly supported on dual trunnions (with dual screw locks) and the scale is clear and located on the face of the front trunnion.

After Full assembly and power up I ran the Band saw for about a half-hour and it was a pure pleasure. It runs very quiet and is steady from vibration and noise. I set up the saw and was able to re saw without a problem (a function of the blades more than anything else I would suspect) and make all the other cuts one would consider with a band saw as well. It was getting late and I needed to put it away for the night, felt real good!

I had considered other machines (Closed base Jet, Delta) in this purchase but decided to spend a little more and go for it in the end. Over all it is a pleasing machine to look at and use, everything fit where it was supposed to and the finish is very good. It's not a Laguna, but then again it fits into the niche I needed to round out my shop.


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© 2003 by Ellis Walentine by special arrangement with Wayne Miller of Badger Pond. All rights reserved.
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