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Mobile Base Review

 

I recently picked up the General International Mobile base for my 14" band saw. At $59 it is not an insignificant cost, but I've seen higher prices. Sure I could have built one myself, but that wasn't likely to happen anytime soon.

It comes in a fairly small box, which is surprisingly heavy. It may be a small, but it is packed full of metal.

There are no instructions at all included with this product, just a parts list and a pair of exploded diagrams. That said, it is not that complicated a gizmo to put together. Still, some simple instructions would have been helpful, to at least explain the general procedure. I had to backup once, as I'd put things together in the wrong order.

There are 8 interlocking bars, which you can bolt together in various lengths, to accomodate various sized tool stands. There are 4 corner sections, where the feet of your tool should go.

I suggest that you measure your tool base, bolt together the bars and corners, attach the fixed wheels, and then the lifting wheels. I attached the fixed wheels to the corner first, and then had to remove them in order to bolt on the bars.

The two fixed wheels rest permanently on the floor. The two lifting wheels are the ones intended to be raised and lowered, to allow you to move the tool and then set it back down firmly on the floor.

Since two of the wheels are on the ground at all times, it is possible to move the tool if you lean against it or give it a shove, even when the lifting wheels are up. It is a good idea therefore to orient the base so that the two fixed wheels are turned 90-degrees from the direction that you feed stock into the machine.

I was fortunate to see this demonstrated by a General representative at a woodworking show. I say I was fortunate because the photo's on the box (remember, no instructions) show the exact opposite.

For example, if you mount the base under a table saw with the fixed wheels at the back, as is illustrated in a photo on the box (Shown to the RIGHT here), then the saw can move if you lean against the front. I think this is dangerous. Instead if you turn the base 90 degrees, putting the fixed wheels along the right side, then if you lean on the front of the saw it will stand firm.

I have no experience with other brands of mobile bases,so I can't report if this is common to them also.

NOTE: I've since received email pointing out that this advise (about orienting the base 90 degrees from the above picture) might be good for tablesaws and bandsaws, but for larger equipment like an 8-inch jointer, it would be a bad idea. Their point was that a jointer is a long and skinny tool and having the wheels sideways on it could lead to it tipping over when you move it? Hmm. I haven't got such a tool so can't really comment.

That took long to explain, but I don't intend it as a big criticism. I'm very pleased with the base. It makes the bandsaw a breeze to move. It's sturdy and well built, and even without instructions it really did not take that long to put together.

(Here it is, under my bandsaw. Please note how I have the fixed wheels on the left side of the tool, perpendicular to how I push stock through the saw.)

 

Thanks for reading!