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      Looking for some bandsaw advice...     


distinguished member(1210)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
12/08/2011 08:43AM  
I'm mthinking about buying a bandsaw, and I don't really know what I'm doing or what I should be looking for. My initial use would be for cutting mold stations, but I'd also like to be able to rip strips, planks, and ribs with it.

Ideally I'd like something that doesn't need a ton of permanent floorspace. I see some are smaller & can go on a bench top or a wheeled cart. Would I have any problem ripping strips with one of those, assuming its a decent product, or should I be going straight toward the larger free-standing saws? Also, what traits am I likely to not have and wish I did if I go with one of cheaper options? I know that's hard to answer, but generalizations are great.

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distinguished member(2996)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
12/09/2011 10:34AM  
As someone with many years of bandsaw experience I can offer some quick advice.

Hate to use the cliche' but you get what you pay for.

You didn't mention your budget. A table top bandsaw will cut ribs for you and that's about it. But when you want to cut planking or stations, it won't have the muster.

Cheap bandsaws like the off brands such as Harbor Freight and Grizzly are junk and will cost you many more dollars in frustration so don't go that route. I did one and had to buy another bandsaw.

Delta and Jet are two popular well-made bandsaws that are in the medium priced range and worth looking into. Buy the largest saw you can afford. Bandsaws are usually underpowered for their size and cutting thick stock or thick hard woods usually will cause them to bind or fatigue.

I've built many canoes of all types. I use a cheap portable Delta table saw to cut all my strips. I used to use the bandsaw but it is futile to try and cut consistent straight strips with a bandsaw unless you have it set up with long platforms on both ends to carry the lumber.

distinguished member(1210)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
12/09/2011 12:03PM  
Thanks for replying Tom.

I've spent a lot of time looking at new and used units. It looks like I can get a pretty good used unit on Craigslist for a couple hundred bucks, or a new table-top unit for the same money. The table top units are appealing because I'm as interested in saving space as much as I am in saving money. But if a table top unit won't even handle the stations then its not worth having for me. You kind of confirmed what I was thinking, but I thought it was worth throwing out there.

Thanks again!

distinguished member(2996)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
12/11/2011 07:35AM  

If you can find an old used band saw on Craigslist, that would be great. There are some old Rockwell band saws from the 50's out there that are better than anything made today.

I have a full wood shop that is cobbled together with all sorts of canoe building tools. It's nothing fancy like you see on TV, just a converted garage.

My band saw and table saw are the most used tools with a bench top sander close behind. A table top band saw is made for mostly crafty projects. Even my 14" (Wheel diameter) band saw has a tough time cutting thick oak or resawing a 6" cedar post so it would really make those baby saws labor.

Anyway, good luck!

12/12/2011 09:21AM  
I have a cheapie Menards benchtop model. I cut all my stations out of 1/2 inch plywood on it without any problems. I tried in vain to cut strips with it to save some wood but couldn't get a straight cut and reverted to my table saw for those.

I'd say get something that's just below your budget and then spend the remainder on upgrading it with good blades, ceramic guides, etc.

distinguished member(2996)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
12/12/2011 12:58PM  

"I cut all my stations out of 1/2 inch plywood on it without any problems"

1/2 plywood is pretty thin. Try some 2" oak and get back to me :)

The problem you will have getting a 'good blade' for a bench top band saw and even many stand-up units is not the blade quality but the blade width. You can't put thick blades on small saws.

a 3/8" wide or 1/2" wide blade is pretty standard for many band saws. You need at least a 3/4" or 1" thick blade to cut straight. This is another reason you need a larger unit if you want to cut strips on a band saw. But as I mentioned earlier, use a table saw and a thin kerf blade to cut strips. Band saws are meant to cut irregular shapes, not straight cuts.

12/14/2011 10:10AM  
Now why would I want to cut stations out of 2 inch thick oak, much less try and get a staple through it when stripping? I hear what you're saying though, about the largest blade I can use is 3/8ths, maybe 1/2 inch and the saw is pretty much useless with anything over an inch thick.

12/14/2011 05:48PM  
To cut material on a band saw.
1. Use the largest width blade that you can. The only reason to go down in blade size is to cut a smaller radius.
2. Make sure you have the correct type of blade for material being cut. Band saw blades come in many different teeth styles for many different materials.
3. Need to have correct guides for the gage of the blade.
4. You should always to keep 3 – 5 teeth in contact with the material at all times, if not switch to a smaller pitch (number of teeth per inch) blade.
5. Machine weight makes a huge difference in the quality of the cut.
6. Belt material and belt pulleys (cast vs. machined) can make a big difference in the rigidity of the machine.
7. Taking a hone stone and hone the back edge of the blade.
8. The higher the machine quality, you can control the blade speed, making sure that you are running at correct speed for material being cut.

If you can find a old Rockwell or Do All, get it. Saws are some of the most abused machinery. Been working with both wood and metal band saws the last 30 years. Just my 2 cents.
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