Laguna Tools Review: The Ultimate Guide
Posted by Mallory Kramer on January 31, 2014
Laguna Tools Review
The Ultimate Guide to the Laguna Tools Brand and the Equipment that Makes Laguna Legendary
Since January 1984, Laguna Tools has challenged the woodworking industry with superior craftsmanship and innovative design. Offering crafters of all skill levels the ability to grow and thrive within the woodworking community, Laguna Tools represents the pinnacle of high-quality fabrication and of devotion to both the detail invested their machines and the satisfaction of their end-users. Today, more than 30-years later, Laguna Tools is still bringing the passion of a bona fide woodworker to the forefront of our ever-evolving industry.
A Brief History of Laguna Tools
Torben Helshoj, founder of Laguna Tools, came to America a royally awarded woodworker and, using his knowledge of the craft and his engineering savvy, Torben seized the opportunity to bring European designs to an American marketplace. After receiving the Silver Medal for Outstanding Woodworking by the Queen of Denmark, Torben left his home-country to pursue woodworking in the U.S. Finding the available equipment more-or-less inadequate, Torben quickly found a niche for himself building woodworking equipment with the improved features, functionality and safety measures found abroad. This gave woodworkers a new breed of woodworking machine that delivered significantly greater results while saving time and materials.
Demand for Torben's machinery grew and Laguna Tools quickly gained both notoriety and a loyal following of craftspeople. With that following and the fuel to continue enhancing the potential of woodworkers in the U.S, Laguna Tools has become one of the most powerful contenders in machinery production. Today, Torben Helshoj is still deeply involved with the development of Laguna and their products. As President of the company and a steadfast woodworker himself, Torben contributes to each part of Laguna's creative and developmental processes. Offering a comprehensive platform of woodworking machines and accessories, Laguna Tools provides the service, support, opportunity, and means each woodworker need to advance his craft.
More Affordable Laguna Tools Machinery
For good reason, Laguna machinery can be expensive and, as the U.S. economy has suffered, the price for Laguna's European engineering has made Laguna machinery cost-prohibitive to some woodworkers. In response to the demand for less expensive machinery, Laguna has established a line of Asian-made machines. After performing a rigid screening process, Laguna selected the most highly reputable, qualified manufacturers to fabricate a small line of products. Each machine meets Laguna Tools's standard of excellence and delivers a comparable level of performance their European models. While many of Laguna Tools's machines are still priced at the higher end of the spectrum, the Asian-made platform makes Laguna Tools machinery (and the superior performance they're known for) available to all varieties of tool user.
Laguna Tools Bandsaw Review
Laguna Tools is perhaps most well known for their bandsaws. This award-winning product line offers a huge selection of machines along with the largest resaw heights found on any bandsaws in the world. Right now, Laguna offers seventeen different models (ranging from 14-inches to 37-inches and including tilting and horizontal bandsaws) and each one is built around an American-made Baldor or Leeson motor. This foundation ensures powerful performance throughout the most challenging applications and longevity despite rigorous use. Each bandsaw also includes Laguna's patented guides (the same ones they're famous and awarded for) and heavy-duty cast-iron tables.
Laguna Tools's most popular bandsaws are their 14- and 18-inch machines. The Laguna 14 bandsaws standout for their literally unparallelled cutting capacity and a more powerful performance than other machines in their class. The Laguna LT14 SUV bandsaw (SUV, of course, stands for Souped Up Version, model number MBAND144200), offers the features of their standard 3000 Series 14-inch bandsaw with a few upgrades that render the bandsaw basically unmatched. Where Laguna's standard 14-inch bandsaws offers a 1.5HP or 2HP motors (still more powerful than the average 14-inch bandsaw), the LT14 SUV boasts a 3HP Leeson motor. This additional power makes resawing faster and smoother than any comparable saw. In fact, Laguna's 14-inch bandsaws (even the economical machines) perform much more comparably to competing 16- or 18-inch bandsaws.
The LT14's enormous cutting capacity (14-inches to be exact, which is 8-inches larger than the average 14-inch bandsaw and 2-inches larger than an average bandsaw with a riser block) renders these machines the ultimate machine for resawing. With their higher-power Leeson motors, Laguna's bandsaws also provide the power to accommodate their larger resawing capacity. For example, when using an average bandsaw (or, for the sake of this conversation, a non-Laguna machine) with a riser block and a traditional 1-3/4HP motor to resaw a large or challenging workpiece, most average machines don't have the chops to complete that cut successfully. The Laguna saws, on the other hand (and most especially the SUV) have the power to back up their capacity. They cut smooth, straight and fast despite large pieces or hard woods.
To ensure such heavy-duty resaw cuts always remain super smooth, the saw accepts a 1-inch blade (offering greater cutting strength when compared to the 3/4-inch blade maximum of other bandsaws). This larger blade runs cooler and is more resistant to twisting or bending during use ensuring your rewsaw cuts are perfectly straight. This, of course, is especially helpful as straight cuts are often a must or when cutting veneers.
The Laguna 14 bandsaws also cut fast. Really fast. With that big-power motor and larger, more capable blade, the Laguna LT14 SUV bandsaw cuts about twice as fast as it's most compelling competitors.
Laguna additionally outfits their LT14 bandsaws with a patented guide system that offers complete support (both top to bottom and front to back – this is the aforementioned system that Laguna is so acclaimed for). These ceramic guides are extremely hard so they're super durable and keep the blade running true and cool, and because they never wear down, the guides themselves do not require truing. Though the nature of the guides makes them slightly more challenging to adjust than some other bandsaw guides, the full support offered by their design discounts the extra time spent.
While the 14 bandsaws are built most specifically for resawing, they also deliver precise scroll cuts and include a mobility kit for simpler movements about your shop, better balance and low vibration.
Laguna's 14 bandsaws are built with a robust and unyielding construction. The cast-iron table is sturdy and won't budge under pressure. The fence, too, is infallible and can be angled for drift ensuring you can accommodate a variety of cuts and materials. The SUV additionally features a foot brake and two dust ports to deliver the best possible dust collection. Ultimately, while some users of the saw may find it's table height a few inches too low (at 35-1/2-inches), the smooth, straight cuts you'll get from Laguna's 14-inch bandsaws speak for themselves. Despite the low table, tough to adjust guides, and no cabinet storage in the base of the saw, the LT14 bandsaws remain the most powerful, most efficient and most impressive saws in their class.
Like the 14-inch saws, Laguna's 18-inch bandsaws also represent the very best of their breed. Including the above features, the Laguna LT18 3000 Series bandsaw (model number MBAND184200) is built to offer the best of performance while, again, taking it easy on your budget. Each bandsaw comes equip with Laguna's patented blade guides, offers a huge 15-1/4-inch resaw capacity, and includes a hunky, American-made, 4HP Leeson motor.
Similarly, the Laguna Italian LT18 bandsaw (model number MBAND185400) is essentially in a league of its own. This European bandsaw offers a large, sturdy table, an 18-1/2-inch resaw height and increased throat capacity to accommodate your largest projects. With a 4.5HP Blador motor and Laguna's ceramic blade guides, the 18 bandsaw cuts precisely and effortlessly resulting in face cuts that barely require finishing. In the event you're extra audacious, the LT18 is also available with a 6HP Baldor motor and a variable speed option.
The Laguna 18 bandsaws leave very little to be desired and, in the world of bandsaws as a whole, there is scarcely a better place to look than Laguna. Offering uncommon high-performance from both the European and 3000 Series saws, Laguna Tools delivers the kind of bandsaw that doesn't ever make concessions.
Laguna Tools Planer Review
As fate and probability would have it, bandsaws aren't the only thing Laguna does right. Laguna Tools offers a huge range of planers from their standard 16-inch machines (which appeal most specifically to small or midsize shops and hobbyists), to their Signature Series 24-inch planers (built to satisfy the needs of heavy-duty production shops). With souped-up features and unmatched precision, Laguna planers appeal to all levels of crafter, to all budgets and all types of projects, too. Their 16-inch planer, for example, is not the best in class by coincidence.
The Laguna 16 planer (model number MPLAN1510-0130) features Laguna's ShearTecII Cutterhead with a helical, six-row carbide blade system. This is significant for two major reasons, first being the number of cutterheads included. Most planers offer only four (or less) cutter heads (which translates to 74 (or less) individual blades. The ShearTecII features six rows with 108 individual carbide blades. These extra cutterheads deliver smoother results, less or no tear out, and they last longer than those built in to other cutterhead styles. The second significance of the ShearTecII is the quality of blades used; ShearTecII utilizes terriffic quality, four-sided German carbide knives that are thick, durable and ultra-sharp to offer faster material removal and a better finish; the result is a quickly planed surface with a glass-like finish.
The Laguna 16 planer is also surprisingly quiet, “ULTRA quiet,” to quote Laguna Tools, and includes a digital readout to display the thickness of the each board as it exits the planer. While a digital readout is not a standard feature on competing machines, the Laguna planer also includes extensions and a built-in wheel system.
Also featuring that infamous ShearTecII cutterhead design, Laguna additionally offers a 13-inch moulder/planer, four different 20-inch machines, a 24-inch planer and two 25-inch models (including their Signature Series 20- and 24-inch planers designed for production shops). Like the smaller models, Laguna's Industrial 25 planer (model number MPLAN25-10-1-0130) is designed to give the best results to each specific user. Accordingly, this heavy-duty thickness planer, with it's 10HP, single phase motor (yes, 10HP), can plane full 25-inch boards without missing a beat. The machine also features oversized bearings, so despite all that power, the planer delivers an ultra-smooth, ultra-quiet performance. These larger bearings also contribute to the overall longevity of the machine. Laguna's 25-inch planer also offers electronic variable speed to ensure you can always operate at the right speed, and while other planers in this class offer only two or four speed settings, Laguna's variable speed system allows you to infinitely dictate unique speeds to each application.
The Laguna 25 planer offers another uncommon feature in its PLC control which allows users to input a desired height and the planer bed will move automatically to that setting. This is precise, really easy to use, and, when compared to spinning a handwheel, the PLC controller feels like a no-brainer. The mechanism also includes an automatic backlash compensation feature witch instantly compensates for any backlash during operation. This keeps your thicknesses exact despite rough or stubborn materials. Apart from requiring some patience to put together, the 25 planer, along with the rest of Laguna's line of planing machines, is a big step towards greater success.
Laguna Tools Lathe Review
Offering lathes from entry level to industrial, Laguna builds a lathe for every type of woodturner. From inexpensive lathes for small shops and hobbiests to production lathes that cost a pretty penny, each Laguna lathe is built to satisfy one basic purpose and that is to be the best lathe in its product range. Offering their Pinnacle Lathe, the Platinum Series Lathes, the CL1200 and the Revo line (“revo,” for revolution, of course), Laguna provides the features and precision needed by every woodturner with the options to ensure every crafter has the small, mid-size or production lathe required to excel his craft.
The Revo lathes, including the new Revo 10-16 mini lathe (model number MLA10X16-1/2-0130), offer the most mass and least vibration of any other lathes their class. They also feature the “revolutionary” servo motor, which, all quotation marks aside, is an amazing, super-stable motor and is now, by popular demand, a little more affordable. Laguna's Revo lathes are available in that aforementioned 10-16 mini lathe, 20-36 and 24-36 models. They're ideal for any type of turning project from small and creative to more demanding or professional level jobs.
Similarly, Laguna Tools's Platinum Series 18-47 lathe (model number A175017) was designed by woodturners to be the ultimate, affordable woodturning lathe. Additional cast iron in the lathe's bed reduces vibration during use and cast iron gussets in the legs allow users to add more weight to the lathe or to rig-up a shelf for convenient storage. The headstock easily slides the entire length of the lathe bed and allows you to turn near or off the edge of the bed. This is especially ideal for projects like hollow forms or platters.
Laguna's Platinum Series lathe also features electronic variable speed allowing you to easily adjust speeds with a knob. This machine also has a digital readout to display your adjustments, and your speed control can be used in both forward and reverse to make sanding significantly easier.
On another hand, the Laguna CL1200 indexing lathe (model number MT0CL1200) is built specifically for custom woodcrafters and includes all the features to encourage users to enjoy the creative side of lathe work. While this is a giant lathe and may appeal only to very serious enthusiasts or professional crafters, it offers the structure, precision and capabilities to help master projects like spindle and bowl turning.
The Pinnacle lathe, another large machine (model MTP105), is designed for serious woodturners and advanced production shops. The Pinnacle is basically enormous and, as such, provides the stability and capacities to turn really enormous projects (up to 48-inches in diameter). It also accommodates optional extensions to deliver the support needed for larger architectural work and an optional spiral device for twist work.
Ultimately, and owing especially to the addition of the Revo mini lathe, Laguna Tools's offering of woodturning lathes is comprehensive and terrifically high-performance. Whatever your skill level as a woodturner, Laguna is likely to have something designed and priced to nicely meet your needs.
Laguna Tools Jointer Review
Laguna also offers a comprehensive selection of jointers, and though some of them feature standard knives, most of these machines are equip with Laguna's ShearTecII cutter. Offering two 6-inch, two 8-inch, one 12-inch and two 16-inch jointers, Laguna caters to the full spectrum of users including hobbyists and professional woodshops. As a rule, Laguna Tools's jointers run smooth and quiet, they offer closed stands for a sturdier base and they feature longer beds to accommodate big projects.
More specifically, Laguna's 6-inch wedgebed jointer (with ShearTecII cutting technology, model number MJOIN6100-0130) is built to offer more of everything. It features more blades (6-rows and a total of 42 6-sided carbide cutting inserts), a 1-1/5HP motor, closed stand and a 56-inch bed. Additionally, the cutterhead design sets solid German carbide inserts onto a flat rather than conical surface. This adjustment allows more torque to be used when setting the inserts. Each of these cutting inserts is also angled to deliver a “shearing” cut for smooth, low impact cuts with less kick-back.
In addition to the wedgebed jointer styles, Laguna Tools also offers a parallelogram jointer in both 8- and 12-inches. These machines also feature the ShearTecII cutterhead and, with a fully enclosed cabinet, the machine's motor and pulleys are protected from dust and other debris. Owing to sturdy construction, the machines offer super-low vibration and consistently accurate cuts. The parallelogram support system allows the table to move in the same arc as the cutterhead; this delivers an especially uniform, close-clearance cut. These unique jointers also allow you to control not only the edges of your workpieces, but the face as well. This gives you the versatility and accuracy to complete complex projects. Instead of levers, the long beds on these jointers (83-inches on the 8-inch parallelogram jointer (model number MJOIN8020-0130) and 87-3/4-inches on the 12-inch (model number MJOIN12X86-5-1-0130) are controlled by smooth handwheels and an impressive center-mounted Rack & Pinion fence. The fence is cast-iron and extra long to support the full length of each cut and doubles as a rear guard during narrow cuts. Considering the sturdiness, smooth performance and precision of these jointers, they are very reasonably priced.
Laguna Tools Table Saw Review
As trend would suggest, Laguna Tools also builds a miraculous table saw. While these babies are often overshadowed by Laguna's bandsaws, their table saw platform is definitely worth equal attention. In fact, like most of Laguna's offerings, their line of table saws, which now includes 16 different models, has never been so robust. Offering their Platinum Series and Fusion table saws to provide superior performance in an affordable price range, and their Pro Series saws to outmatch any professional table saw in its class, Laguna ensures that whether you're an enthusiast or a professional woodworker, these saws will compliment your skill and enhance the possibilities of your craft.
Laguna's new Fusion table saws are the best in their class. Available with a 36-inch rip capacity (model number MTSAW17536110-0130) or a 52-inch rip capacity (model number MTS0200-0180), these premium light-duty table saws incorporate new features that make them more functional and more reliable than other hybrid saws. Like true cabinet saws, the trunnion on the Fusion table saws is mounted onto the frame rather than to the table top. This design adjustment works to keep the table top flat and your results more accurate. Like a more expensive machine, the Fusion table saws also include a quick change riving knife, precision fence with hairline readout and a mounted push-stick, fence storage, a double miter slot, and built in wheels. The saw is smooth, cuts well, it's affordable and exceeds any expectation of a light-duty hybrid table saw.
Similarly, Laguna's Platinum Series table saws offer both high-quality construction and performance without an inflated price tag. These saws include a precision ground table top that's made totally of premium grade cast iron. The table top is then heat-treated and ground to produce an ultra-smooth, ultra-flat surface; mirror-like is how Laguna describes it. The saw table is also spacious allowing enough room to simplify big projects. The Platinum trunnions are huge, widely spaced and machined for total accuracy, and the spindle, also very sturdy, is supported by two ball bearings. Between those bearings lies Laguna's triple v-belt drive system which, while not quite so smooth as the systems in Laguna's more expensive table saws, keeps vibration low during use.
The Platinum table saws also feature a simple-to-use EZ-Glide T-Square system that helps with accuracy and repeatability. As you may have learned already, Laguna Tools values the products they build and especially the motors they design this equipment around. Accordingly, the Platinum saws come with an oversized, super-powerful 3- or 4HP TEFC motor (with a magnetic safety switch, of course). The saw is also built with a 4-inch dust port with a sloped dust chute inside the cabinet to offer better dust collection. If you're looking for a table saw with dovetail, there's one available in this Platinum series. The 4HP version (model number MTSO300-0180) features a saw carriage that travels vertically rather than pivoting. Meriting the price difference, this adjustment reduces blade deflection and vibration and offers smoother control when adjusting the blade.
Laguna Tools also offers heavy-duty industrial saws (both table saws and panel saws) to cater to pros and production shops. While these saws can get very expensive, Laguna ensures you always get what you pay for. Big or small, if you need something precise, powerful, safe and efficient, Laguna Tools is a good place to start looking.
Laguna Tools Dust Collectors Review
Working with machinery typically makes a really big mess. This is why Laguna offers a full platform of dust collectors including nine different machines that range from small and portable (for home shops or small spaces) to huge, super-powerful dust collectors that can operate with multiple machines. Offering dust collectors like their DS|16 Dust Separator designed to convert almost any shop-vac into a 99% efficient, two-stage dust collection system, and their Circulator, an in-shop air filter designed for customization and total efficiency, Laguna meets the needs of every messy shop. Their Cyclone dust collector are the most well known and the most commonly used; as such, it's these dust collectors that will get the most attention.
Laguna Tools Cyclone Review
Seeing a perpetual issue in the incessant build-up of dust and debris on a dust collector's filter (and the resulting loss of suction), Laguna developed a system that significantly reduces internal build up while also offering exceptional dust extraction; the Cyclone Dust Collector. Once inside the Cyclone, air and all incoming particles enter the cyclone phase where they are rapidly spun and forced against the cyclone wall. Any particles that are heavier than air fall down into the collection drum(s) and 99.9% of your clean air is expelled through the center of the cyclone. The suction impeller in these machines is also positioned after the cyclone phase which ensures high-performance and quieter operation from the fan.
Ranging from 1.5HP to 10HP, Laguna offers seven different models in their Cyclone dust collector platform. Each model delivers the same superior dust collection (and super-quiet operation) while appealing to a slightly different demographic. From users who require a smaller unit and those who need maximum mobility to users who need heavy-duty dust collection for industrial jobs or production shops, the Cyclone line is versatile and comprehensive.
The most universally appealing of Laguna's cyclone dust collectors (and the most advanced of their 3HP models) is the 3HP Mobile Cyclone (model number MDC0680-0145). Offering the best of high-power dust collection with the total mobility needed to maintain shops of all sizes, the machine is designed to keep your environment more comfortable and more productive. Like the other units in the platform, the 3HP cyclone separates dust and wood particles from the air stream before they enter the filter. This means neither the filter nor the fan unit struggle with large debris and the result is much more efficient dust collection. The 3HP Mobile Cyclone collects debris in a 60-gallon metal drum (and, of course, this offers better durability). The drum features a patented one-handed quick-lift lever and it's own set of wheels for easier dust management. The unit itself features industrial casters for smooth movement about a shop environment.
The Laguna 3HP Mobile Cyclone Dust Collector also features automatic filter cleaning. This not only means that you don't have to clean the filter manually, but also that the unit's pleated filter is always clear and ready to perform. This automated cleaning also increases the life of the filter ensuring you get more life-time work from the product. The unit is remote activated so users may engage the machine from anywhere within their shop and the collector is surprisingly quiet ensuring your ears are just as protected as your lungs.
Whatever your level of need, there is likely a Cyclone machine to satisfy it. Like much of Laguna Tools's machinery, if you need something small or if you need something seriously macho, Laguna offers dust collection units in all sizes and price ranges. If your budget is minimal, don't be afraid to look into Laguna's more economical models; they're well fabricated and they do what they're meticulously designed to. Across the board, Laguna Tools builds professional machinery that consistently outperforms the competition while (for the most part) remaining friendly to your budget.
See Laguna's new line of dust collection machines > Please call 877-583-7278 for more information about these units.
Laguna Tools Dealer
If you're ready to shop or if you have additional questions, M&M Tool and Machinery is an authorized Laguna Tools dealer.
Laguna is different and so are we. Like a lot of folks, we're an authorized dealer for Laguna Tools but, unlike most folks, we also offer technical support and repair service for every machine we sell. Our technicians are certified to repair your machinery and our representatives are woodworkers and crafters just like you. Accordingly, our real-life experience makes your experience better. Our customer support is second-to-none and we ship every Laguna Tools machine for just $75. Click here to see our selection of Laguna Tools equipment and click here to learn more about M&M Tool.