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Looking to buy a bandsaw: Jet, Powermatic, or Grizzly?

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I'm in the market for a band saw. I'm trying to keep the price below $1500, so that probably limits me to 14" bandsaws. Initially it'll most likely be used to round blanks and cut up pen blanks, but resawing and maybe even segmenting for pen or bowl blanks is definitely going to be something I'll be doing in the future.

I was originally set on the Powermatic PWBS-14CS, the 100th anniversary edition. One, because its Powermatic. Two, because its cheaper than the non-anniversary edition that is otherwise exactly the same thing. :shrug: I think the anniversary edition comes with all the nice addons including the roller wheels. I ended up not actually pulling the trigger, though, due to finding a rather mixed bag of reviews. I'm curious what people here think...Powermatic used to be a very solid brand, and the name alone spoke of the quality. It seems since about 2017-2018 or so (maybe before, but that was roughly the timeframe when I seemed to start finding mixed reviews), that may no longer be the case... Still, the package deal is pretty nice, and it seems there are some things that are more convenient with the powermatic.

In a number of powermatic reviews, people seemed to speak more highly of their Grizzly bandsaws, such as the Grizzly G0555XH, especially for its power and resawing capabilities. That kind of surprised me, as I don't generally trust Chinese manufacturing...too much of a crap shoot. I'm curious, though, what other people's experiences are. IS it a crap-shoot? One of the appealing things about Grizzly is for the price, they usually offer more power (maybe a good deal more power, i.e. 1.75HP vs. just 1HP), which should help resaw capabilities I'd think, and maybe even a larger swing.

I have a number of Jet tools already. So far, I actually really like my jet equipment. I use my drill press almost every day, and its been great. Simple, not a ton of features, but it gets the job I need done and does it well, does it reliably. Same goes for my air filter. The Jet 14" bandsaw seemed to be over $1600, so originally it wasn't on my list...but, I'd rather buy once and cry once, than anything else... That said, the reviews on Amazon indicate that these things have shipped with a lot of paint chipping, scratches, gouges...and in some cases broken parts. Peoples reviews of customer service were lackluster...
 
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The Powermatic to which you refer is an older design and has only 6" resaw capacity.

I have the jet 14SFX bandsaw and I think it has a lot capabilities and features. First, it's 120V so I didn't have to run a 240V circuit. It is a steel frame saw and has a very large table with two miter slots. A 12" throat and 13" resaw. Tension relief lever and 1.75 HP motor. The only feature I think it's missing is a brake, but I couldn't find a saw with everything that was 120V.

I can't comment on the Grizzly, but I will say that I believe that all three are made in China.
 
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Jet makes a very good bandsaw for the money. Powermatic with the 6" under the throat, is going to be very limiting, unless they make a riser. Myself, I found a 30 year old comercial bandsaw that I restored for less than 500. It runs circles around most new ones.
 
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I just noticed something else, too... The Jet I've been looking at, the JWBS14-SFX, has a FIVE YEAR warranty! The PowerMatic and Grizzly have a 1 year. The Rikon 10-326 (which I forgot I was also looking at) has a 2 year.

A nice long warranty is a huge deal...that still speaks volumes to me, as to how much a company stands by its product... Puts the jet at the front of the list for sure.
 
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You don't say what you want for resaw height. If you get into bowls, you may want 12 inch of resaw capability, as a minimum, but going over that would require 220 volt plug in. 6 inch resaw height is good for cutting out circles, most of the time. Rikon bandsaws do seem to be popular.

robo hippy
 
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I've had the Jet 14" 10-326 for a while and really like it. No issues and push quite a bit of large green logs and blanks through it.
Just checking here...you say Jet, but isn't the 10-326 the model number of the Rikon?

I forgot I was looking at that Rikon as well... I checked some reviews today, and, they do seem to be fairly good...
 
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You don't say what you want for resaw height. If you get into bowls, you may want 12 inch of resaw capability, as a minimum, but going over that would require 220 volt plug in. 6 inch resaw height is good for cutting out circles, most of the time. Rikon bandsaws do seem to be popular.

robo hippy
Yeah, that is something I've noticed. It looks like the PowerMatic has a 6" riser block kit (that comes with the 100yr anniversary ed) that can make it support 12" resaw...but some of the reviews I've read say that with its horsepower, it isn't really quite capable of handling 12" resaw some of the time, depending on the wood.

The 1.75hp of the Jet and Rikon seem to be more capable, and those two seem to have native 12" resaw capability.

I was thinking for some of the resaw, it would be to split fatter wood down to thinner pieces, which would then be cut into pen blanks. At least initially. There are some other cases where I expect to need to cut taller logs into pieces, or in half...I'm honestly not sure if that would be called resawing or not, but its the height there that matters, and looking at some of the logs I've got, 6" won't cut it.
 

brian horais

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I'm in the market for a band saw. I'm trying to keep the price below $1500, so that probably limits me to 14" bandsaws. Initially it'll most likely be used to round blanks and cut up pen blanks, but resawing and maybe even segmenting for pen or bowl blanks is definitely going to be something I'll be doing in the future.

I was originally set on the Powermatic PWBS-14CS, the 100th anniversary edition. One, because its Powermatic. Two, because its cheaper than the non-anniversary edition that is otherwise exactly the same thing. :shrug: I think the anniversary edition comes with all the nice addons including the roller wheels. I ended up not actually pulling the trigger, though, due to finding a rather mixed bag of reviews. I'm curious what people here think...Powermatic used to be a very solid brand, and the name alone spoke of the quality. It seems since about 2017-2018 or so (maybe before, but that was roughly the timeframe when I seemed to start finding mixed reviews), that may no longer be the case... Still, the package deal is pretty nice, and it seems there are some things that are more convenient with the powermatic.

In a number of powermatic reviews, people seemed to speak more highly of their Grizzly bandsaws, such as the Grizzly G0555XH, especially for its power and resawing capabilities. That kind of surprised me, as I don't generally trust Chinese manufacturing...too much of a crap shoot. I'm curious, though, what other people's experiences are. IS it a crap-shoot? One of the appealing things about Grizzly is for the price, they usually offer more power (maybe a good deal more power, i.e. 1.75HP vs. just 1HP), which should help resaw capabilities I'd think, and maybe even a larger swing.

I have a number of Jet tools already. So far, I actually really like my jet equipment. I use my drill press almost every day, and its been great. Simple, not a ton of features, but it gets the job I need done and does it well, does it reliably. Same goes for my air filter. The Jet 14" bandsaw seemed to be over $1600, so originally it wasn't on my list...but, I'd rather buy once and cry once, than anything else... That said, the reviews on Amazon indicate that these things have shipped with a lot of paint chipping, scratches, gouges...and in some cases broken parts. Peoples reviews of customer service were lackluster...
Jon, Have you checked out the Laguna 14/12? It is well within your price limit. I've had mine for a few years now and continue to be impressed with the quality of the machine. I added the wheels on the bottom to be able to adjust position for longer boards. It has a 13 inch resaw capability and all of the components are very high quality. The Laguna uses ceramic blade guides which work very well when they are adjusted properly. I prefer these to the roller guides.

Brian
 
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I own a Grizzly G0513x2. It's been a good bandsaw except for the tires. The original tires were crap. I replaced them with good quality urethane tires and it's been good since. I've read both good and bad on the 555. If it were me I'd go for more cutting height, 12" or more.
 
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I have a little bit older Laguna 14" European built saw. It is so much higher quality build. But I do wish it had the foot break. I agree that the steel frame is the way to go over the cast iron with riser block. You want that 12" resaw capacity.
 

Randy Anderson

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Just checking here...you say Jet, but isn't the 10-326 the model number of the Rikon?

I forgot I was looking at that Rikon as well... I checked some reviews today, and, they do seem to be fairly good...
Duh, what was I thinking.. Yes, Rikon. No idea where my mind was at but obviously not on what I was typing.
 
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Duh, what was I thinking.. Yes, Rikon. No idea where my mind was at but obviously not on what I was typing.

Hah!

So, mentions of Rikon made me dive into reviews for them... I'm pretty amazed, people really seem to like their Rikon bandsaws. I kind of always thought of them as maybe a lower end brand, as at least some of their tools are a lot cheaper than say brands like Powermatic. When it comes to some of their tools, though, they seem to be pretty darn good quality, and it sounds like the company stands behind them pretty well too.
 
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I got the Rikon 10-326 14" Deluxe model early last spring when it was on sale at Woodcraft for $1199, and have been very pleased with it: Rikon 14" Deluxe Bandsaw

I use mine to cut turning blanks round, and sometimes even for length-wise cuts on logs up to 13" deep. When I've got a good blade dialed in right, it will even go through green black walnut without too much strain.

No doubt they've gone up a bit since (currently $1499 at Woodcraft), and may take some time to get if not in stock. Let us know what you get!
 
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Guy, you got a great deal on the Minimax saw.

As for riser blocks, I wouldn't go there. Mostly this is a case of if I want to cut that high, then I would buy a saw DESIGNED for cutting that high, rather than trying to make a small one big. If you only cut the full 12 inches once in a while, then not a problem, but if you are going to make it work, then you need some thing more heavy duty. For cutting 12 inches high, 1 hp motors are barely enough.

This brings up blades. If you have a terrible blade, no saw is going to perform well. Most will tell you to throw away the blade that comes with the saw, or maybe use it for cutting some thing that has nails in it. I am lucky to have a blade maker in town, who a friend sent me to when I got my first bandsaw, and I was just starting to turn at the time. They asked me what I was doing and I told them and they started me with the Lennox Diemaster Bimetal blades. They can cut through nails and not be ruined. They can be sharpened a number of times before needing to be recycled. The teeth are M42HSS, so they cut longer and straighter. I asked about carbide tipped blades and they told me that those are fine for cutting fine veneers, but for bowl work, stick with the Lennox. I prefer the 3 tpi blades, and the 1/2 inch wide, and the thicker blades. I can cut a 5 inch diameter circle, no problem. Smaller blades tend to wobble a lot more..... I think there are several videos on setting up and using your bandsaw. Very helpful if you don't have much experience with them. The one from Carter Bandsaw is pretty good.

robo hippy
 
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I bought the 1hp 14" jet with 6" riser blocks for the past 25 years. It does cut 12" logs slowly and it's suitable for me as a hobbyist woodturner.

As I learned more about saws from Carter Products, I realized the weakness of the model I owned and how much more it costs to get a lot of these features. The Original saw cost about 750. I added a fence system, ball bearing guides, tires, etc. By the time I was finished investing in my Jet($1300), I could have bought a Langua or other Euro-style saw. It's ironic, that they keep copying the same old design with the same old features. Carter made a whole business on enhancements!



If I were in the market for a bandsaw today in your budget area, I probably would get either the Rikon or the laguna woodturning saw.

I never liked the small table size of the Jet and other 14" saws like the Jet. Also, I prefer a lower table height.

Just my thoughts.
 
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You make a good point about the cost of upgrades. And not to defend Jet, but they do make more than one 14" model. The table on the 14 SFX is one of the largest available on a 14" saw.
 
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Hey all, thank you for your replies. I ended up buying a bandsaw, the Jet 14SFX. I was considering a used Rikon 18" for a while, but after really considering how I'd fit it in my workshop and where I would get 240V power, not to mention how I'd get the thing up here (they don't really disassemble, it seems, outside of the table), I decided against it. In the end, the one spot in my shop that I had for a bandsaw barely seems to fit the 14"!

I spent some time hemming and hawing about the differences between the Rikon and Jet 14" bandsaws. Both seem to be great machines, both seem to operate as reliably as the other, they have slightly different features, or different guide mechanisms, etc. I really couldn't decide, at least not based on featureset, fit and finish, size, etc. In the end...it came down to the warranty. Jet offered a 5 year warranty...which seems to be pretty much unheard of for machines of this class (if not just in general!) That was the thing that got my money in the end...a company that stands behind their product for a reasonable amount of time! This was also the deciding factor between the used 18"...there are potentially some larger logs I'd like to saw, and the greater horsepower of the 18" would have been nice, but having a product with a solid warranty for my first bandsaw was still a deciding factor. A lot of the use cases for the bandsaw will be cutting blanks, trimming blanks to size, and eventually segmenting. For the vast majority of use cases I can think up that I'd actually need it for, a 14" will do the job.

I picked up a 1/2" 4 TPI Timber Wolf blade to go with it. Haven't done anything serious, but wow...this thing cuts so amazingly well!! Its also very, very quiet. Will be nice trimming pen blanks to tube size with this thing, instead of the miter saw. Can't wait to do more with it! Already discovered that you can create little 3D reindeer with a bandsaw, a 3/16" blade, and a little guide you can pick up from Carter, among other things.
 
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I recently purchased the powermatic 100 anniversary edition.
It comes with the riser block , mobile stand , fence and miter gauge, 1.5 hp, 5 yr consumer guarantee.
Only had it a week but so far no complaints and the price with the options make it a good price in its class
 
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After years of working with a hamster-powered Delta 14" with the riser block I finally upgraded to a Powermatic 1500. It was a floor model from the Portland symposium, so I got a discount. It runs on 220, has loads of power and can whip through my big green blanks with power to spare. There are some details about it that don't please me, but on the whole I'm happy with it. The things that I take issue with are these:
1. The locking screws for the upper and lower blade guides invariably vibrate loose, so that I'll suddenly realize that I've got massive blade deflection in the middle of a cut. I've added loc-tite to the threads, but then needed pliers to loosen them for adjustment. I'm still trying to dial in the exactly perfect amount of loc-tite, which is absurd to have to do on a tool that costs as much as this one did.
2. The drive belt had a tendency to drift toward the back side of the lower axle and rub against part of the casing. I did eventually find out how to adjust that, but it was worrisome before I figured it out.
3. There are 2 exhaust ports for a dust collector in the lower housing, and you REALLY need to use the dust collector on this saw. For reasons that pass all understanding, each dust port opening, rather than being a round hole, was a circular hole with crosshairs (heavy ribs running up/down and across). If you've ever cut wood on a bandsaw, you probably know that often the shavings are long and fuzzy, and when you're making fuzzy shavings and your dustports are blocked with freaking crosshairs, you get instant blockage. I'd have to stop the saw every 30 seconds or so, open it up, pull out handfuls of fuzz, swear a lot and start it up again. Finally I sawed them out, filed the edges smooth and reconnected the dust collector and it's fine. I truly don't understand what the point of the crosshairs was. Just poor, thoughtless design.

Things I do like:
1. POWER! At last, I don't have to worry about bogging down my saw every time I cut green wood.
2. The blade de-tensioning lever is lovely. I can take the stress off my blade and then put it back to the original setting with the swing of a lever. I just clip a binder clip onto the blade when I've de-tensioned to remind me to flip the lever back up.
3. The upper blade guide assembly seems to track extremely well when I raise and lower it. I've worked with some very high-end bandsaws where moving the upper guide up or down a few inches meant 10 minutes of re-adjusting the guides before resuming cutting (I'm looking at you, Agazzani!).
4. The fence and miter gauge are really nice. I don't use them much, but when I do I appreciate their sturdy build.
5. I love having the foot brake.

All things considered, it's a really good saw with a few annoying details. I would recommend it. It's expensive, though, so used or discounted is the way to go.
 

hockenbery

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truly don't understand what the point of the crosshairs was. Just poor, thoughtless design.
Those are to to keep a block of wood from destroying the impellers on the dust collector.
most dust collectors can pull a 6” long 2x4 through the pipes.
shouldn’t be a problem if the dust collector is only connected to machines.
and no problem if you have cyclone type separator in front of the impellers.

i get the long strings when I’m rip cutting endgrain. Since I mostly cross cut blanks I just clean out for the rare endgrain I cut.
 
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Those are to to keep a block of wood from destroying the impellers on the dust collector.
most dust collectors can pull a 6” long 2x4 through the pipes.
shouldn’t be a problem if the dust collector is only connected to machines.
and no problem if you have cyclone type separator in front of the impellers.

i get the long strings when I’m rip cutting endgrain. Since I mostly cross cut blanks I just clean out for the rare endgrain I cut.
The crosshairs would make sense if the dust chutes weren't underneath the bandsaw table, where everything that could reach the ports had to go through the little hole in the throatplate first. Seriously, if it's larger than 1/4", it can't get to the ports.
 
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I think the cross hairs on the band saw dust port are to keep you from sticking your hand inside while the saw is running to clear the dust port. I cut them out as well, and put a 5 inch dust port on my both of my bandsaws. One video I did was 'Bandsaw dust ports to not suck'. They are designed for the cabinet shops.... Used to have them on my first dust collector, which was a 1 hp model, on wheels, with a 5+ micron bag that would send off a big dust plume every time I turned it on. I bent the impellors several times by sucking up wood chunks and rags.... Bent them back into shape. Getting a cyclone system fixed that problem.

robo hippy
 
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I wondered about the crosshairs on the Jet. The way the Jet is designed, it has two ports, one at the top right where dust would fall through from the blade, and one at the bottom to collect dust that accumulates in the lower wheel compartment. So far, I've only had dust...honestly not sure how chunks of wood could get down in there. There is a red slotted plate that you put into place around the blade, so only things smaller than the size of the slot on that plate should ever get down below the table... If only dust gets down there, the grate on the dust vents shouldn't be a problem...

Which makes me wonder...how are some of you getting chunks of wood large enough to damage an impeller blade below your bandsaw tables?
 
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I wondered about the crosshairs on the Jet. The way the Jet is designed, it has two ports, one at the top right where dust would fall through from the blade, and one at the bottom to collect dust that accumulates in the lower wheel compartment. So far, I've only had dust...honestly not sure how chunks of wood could get down in there. There is a red slotted plate that you put into place around the blade, so only things smaller than the size of the slot on that plate should ever get down below the table... If only dust gets down there, the grate on the dust vents shouldn't be a problem...

Which makes me wonder...how are some of you getting chunks of wood large enough to damage an impeller blade below your bandsaw tables?
I think Reed was referring to chunks from other areas. Yes when you do a rip cut on a bandsaw it produces streamers and not dust (wet wood in particular) and that will clog that grate rather easily.
 
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When I rip slabs for bowl blanks, as I said in my bandsaw video, the inside reminded me of the Star Trek adventure, 'the Trouble with Tribbles'..... Lots of big hair balls.

My first DC was on wheels and I used it to clean up the shop floor. An occasional chunk would get sucked up. Even a shop rag can damage the impellor blades, at least on my first cheap DC...

robo hippy
 
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I ended up buying a bandsaw, the Jet 14SFX.
Again congratulations, Jon. I was just looking at my bandsaw and a couple of thoughts occurred to me that I thought I'd share.

I have a 3/4" ReSaw King mounted and while it fits the saw, tensions and cuts true, it's just tiny bit big. When I replace it I am going to get a 5/8" blade. I use the Alex Snodgrass set up method and if I put the gullets on the top of the wheel crown the back edge of the blade hangs off the wheel a bit. I don't think I'll be giving up a thing with a 5/8" blade. But I'm hoping it will mean less readjusting of the guides with blade changes.

The other thing is those red lower blade guards (under the table). I found they were always in the way and have to be removed for adjusting the guides. Finally I just left them off. I'm not going to be fishing around blindly under the table with the motor running (or even with it off) so they were offering me no real function.
20211125_115757.jpg
 
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Again congratulations, Jon. I was just looking at my bandsaw and a couple of thoughts occurred to me that I thought I'd share.

I have a 3/4" ReSaw King mounted and while it fits the saw, tensions and cuts true, it's just tiny bit big. When I replace it I am going to get a 5/8" blade. I use the Alex Snodgrass set up method and if I put the gullets on the top of the wheel crown the back edge of the blade hangs off the wheel a bit. I don't think I'll be giving up a thing with a 5/8" blade. But I'm hoping it will mean less readjusting of the guides with blade changes.

The other thing is those red lower blade guards (under the table). I found they were always in the way and have to be removed for adjusting the guides. Finally I just left them off. I'm not going to be fishing around blindly under the table with the motor running (or even with it off) so they were offering me no real function.
View attachment 41483
Yeah, I've been finding those lower blade guides are a real pain. I think I'll be taking those off as well...

I am a bit concerned about the fence...it seems to sit high. At the side nearest the track the fence tracks along, its off the table by a couple millimeters or so. It also doesn't really seem to sit quite strait, and I'm not sure I'm getting truly strait cuts. Tapered pen blanks (what I'll be cutting most in the shorter term here) are a real pain to work with. I'm not sure if I've just not set the fence up properly, or if there is an issue with it.
 
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I suggest you run that past Jet Tech Support. They've been very helpful to me. There may be some fence adjustments possible that the manual neglects to mention. I can't give you any more specific feedback as my saw is the original version and the fence is one of those things that was changed.
 
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I decided on the Rikon 10-347 (18") bandsaw back in August. I really like the flexibility of being able to slab bowl blanks, if desired, because it has insane resaw capacity vs many of the other saws I researched. However, I'm still waiting for it to arrive...
 
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I decided on the Rikon 10-347 (18") bandsaw back in August. I really like the flexibility of being able to slab bowl blanks, if desired, because it has insane resaw capacity vs many of the other saws I researched. However, I'm still waiting for it to arrive...
Yeah, I looked pretty heavily at the Rikon 18". In the end, I simply didn't have room for something that large, and also wasn't sure I could supply enough power for another 220V device (already drew in 220V for a garage heater, which draws a fair amount of power on its own). I thought I did, but once I got the 14" in place, I realized that barely even fit. The 2.5HP or whatever of the Rikon was definitely a big resaw bonus.

I am going to be trying out bandsaw reindeer soon here. That is, in a sense, a bit of a freestyle resawing project, at least in part. :p I think the blocks of wood I'll be using are 3-4" tall. So far, the Jet has cut through everything I've thrown at it without breaking a sweat, though, and I've sawn through some pieces of wood about 2-3" thick (not resawing, mostly just cutting the corners off of large square blanks so they will fit my lathe). I've been amazed at how the bandsaw just moves right through them. Probably not anywhere as fast as a table saw, but fast enough for me.
 
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