Reply by AHuxley

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Posted on help picking up a bandsaw

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874 posts in 4057 days

#1 posted 12-02-2018 04:47 PM


I ve read as many threads here on LJ and looked around, but still can t quite figure out what s the best investment I can make, hope folks here can help out as usual :).

First off, budget and goals: I ve saved up around $1K, better if I can stay around $800, and will mostly be resawing logs, cutting blanks and a bunch of small parts for bandsaw boxes and other box-like stuff for gifts etc.

Looking at what s out there it seems that most people are happy with 14” BS and add a raiser block to get 12” of resawing, which seems to be the max on larger 17” bandsaws. Brand wise I ve seen recommendations for just about anything, powermatic (most expensive?), delta (most common probably, easier to find used on ebay), grizzly (second most common) and apparently laguna is on the rise and the 14|12 is a big hit.

So here s the list of things I can t quite figure out:

1) is the older(?) “round” design worse than the squarish design they seem to go on new bandsaws? ie this:

vs this:

I can t find information why that diff in design, if it adds rigidity and that s it

2) Size of the motor. obviously the more powerful the better, but do you need 2HP to cut through hardwood or will 1HP do just fine?

3) how important are cast iron wheels?

4) some grizzlys for example are made in taiwan vs some in USA, should the taiwan ones be avoided?

5) I can t tell if a 14” bed vs a 17” one will make that much of a difference for what I m trying to do, thinking it won t, but not sure.

6) how effective/useful is to have 2 dust collection ports? one larger at the back and one on the side, closer to the blade/hole

anything else I m missing I should keep in mind when getting a BS?

thanks for all the feedback,


- Spikes

You can get significantly more than 12” of resaw on 16-18” saws, Laguna, Rikon, SCM/Formula, Powermatic and Felder all have tall resaw height saws but those are out of your budget.

As mentioned the rounded 14” saws are cast iron frames and clones of the venerable Delta saw. This is neither a positive or negative but depends on the build of the saw. There are plenty of incredible old cast iron saws around (Oliver, Yates, Northfield, Robbins, Wadkin etc) but they are extremely heavy. The welded steel saws can be much stiffer for the same amount of weight and welded steel saws dominate the market today. The Delta and clones of their 14” saw are solid saws but the modern 14” steel saws are stiffer and generally better for resawing as a result of being able to tension a blade with a larger cross section. At your budget, if you are buying new the Laguna 14/12 and Rikon 10-326 are arguably the best saws. It is harder to recommend used saws because one never knows what they might find at what price.

2. horsepower in general terms just means speed, with the proper blade and enough patience you can slice 12” veneer with 3/4hp but the feedrate will be very slow and the quality of the cut will suffer. My personal recommendation is 1/4 hp per inch of cut, this is the hp matches a good resaw blade for feedrate in most hardwoods. Again less power just means slower in most cases.

3. the lower the horsepower of the motor the more important cast iron wheels are since they store energy that can be used when the saw is pushed but it is just momentary. It generally is an indication of a better built saw but just for info since you won’t be looking at them with your budget the huge old American bandsaws almost never had cast iron wheels.

4 No Grizzly machines are made in the US, just Taiwan and China, all their bandsaws except the tiny table tops are made in Taiwan. The only two companies that build vertical woodworking bandsaws in the US today are Northfield and Tannewitz. Italy is well known for high quality welded steel bandsaws but both these options are well outside your budget.

5. only you can answer if you need more than 14” of throat.

6. I have saws that are more effective with one DC port than ones with 2, it depends on how they are designed

Some of the things not mentioned that can be important are table size, guides and the ability to tension wider blades (not when the spec says it will handle a certain width that does not mean it will tension blades of that width, just that the wheels and guides will accommodate them).

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