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Well I have been reading alot on this forum and really like all the info that is posted but it also has added to my confusion…I am looking to get a bandsaw to cut wood to make solid body guitars and to cut aluminum sheet metal that is around .026 to .031 thickness. I am not sure what speed you need to cut the aluminum? I like the small 10" craftsman saw but it does not have speed control. but I like the size for my small garage. I read that most guys use the 14" model saws for cutting guitar bodies so I am leaning towards the Jet 14" but it does not have speed control but I see you can purchase a 3 speed pulley for it on ebay. The other saws I like are the Rikon 14 deluxe and the Grizzly G0555. I have been looking on craigslist for 1 month and missed out on 2 Jet 14" saws do to 1 person sold the saw after I called him and told him I wanted it and would meet him after work he calls me and says he sold it to someone else. The 2nd I made a 60 mile drive responding to the ad that the saw was new in a box and when I got there it was not and missing all the bolts to put it together and the base and table were rusted and dirty..I am still looking on craigslist as the $300 to $400 price for saw is attractive. Today the Rikon is on sale for $699 and the Grizzly would be $648 with wheels..A new Jet Pro is almost $1000.

If I can use the 10" to cut the aluminum I would buy it as I believe I can cut bodies on the 10 as the wood blanks are 13" by 20" ..I know the resaw is the problem so that rules that saw out.

The Jet saw I like but it is also the most expensive and would have to buy the pulley and all the other extras thet the Grizzly and Rikon come with. What to do? Help!
 

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The Harbor Freight 14 inch is very similar to Grizzly's and Jet's 14 inch. The HF has pulleys for 4 speeds with it. I would imagine with most any saw you can get other pulleys yourself and change the speed.
 

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I was pleasantly surprised with the Harbor Freight one. I added the riser block and the better fence that they had , roller bearing blocks, and a good quality blade (Timberwolf). No complaints at all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the replies ..I have looked at the HF saw and I look at the add ons and before you know it you are at the G0555 price..the aluminum that I want to cut is very thin and I understand that cutting metal requires the blade speed to be slower but what speed will work? Is 1400 or 1500 too fast? The HF saw can go down to 600 I guess when I know what speed will work it will help make the decision.

This site is totally addicting for research…I need to step away from the computer..
 

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The Jet is a solid saw…very similar to the Griz, but unless dealer support is important to you, no reason to pay that premium. There's a lot of praise for the value of the Griz 14" on these boards.
 

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Wilton makes a nice variable speed band saw but the price is well over $1000 for a 14". You can always get a cheap craftsman 10" and put a VFD or other motor control system on it and make it a variable speed saw to cut the aluminum. This can be rough on the motor so if you do this I wouldn't drop big bucks in it. Like Skarp and Jim said, keep the metal away from your wood!!!! I don't know the exact blade speed you need for aluminum but since it is a soft metal the blade does not need to go as slow as it would for steel. I have seen people cut aluminum with a table saw. This is not recomended, as a matter of fact it is getting close to downright stupid.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Well I am giving up on the idea of cutting the aluminum so I guess just a good saw will do. I was at sears today and looked at the 12" 22400 model very nice features nice size table 20" by 15 3/4',bearings for guides,fence,2 speed,7 inch resaw which would work for guitar tops,wheel brush. The saw gets alot of good reviews on the sears site but not to good here at lumberjocks. It's on sale for $349.99 + tax and the grizzly G0555 is $499 shipped..the 21400 10" saw table is a little small if I made the table bigger it would work fine for cutting bodies only and for $149 + tax it seams like a great choice…Does anyone have the 22400 or the 21400 would like to hear from you..
 

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You can save another $25 on the Grizz if you go with the white G0555 (G0555P). They have started making white versions of many of their tools and are offering them at intro prices. It's called the Polar Bear Series.

Also, you don't need to give up on cutting aluminum. It's just not something you'd want to do often…and you won't get a very clean cut, especially on Al that thin.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Liver4ever Thanks for the hot tip! I just ordered the G0555P with the mobile base…I believe this saw to be the best choice for me. I will get the riser block when I see the need for it. I have read all the reviews on this site and other sites and for the money you can not beat this deal. I researched the craftsman 10,12,14 saws and rikon,Ridgid,Jet,steel city and shop fox. There are many choices and with so many it is hard to make a decision and I was glad to stumble on to the LumberJocks site. Many good reviews and good input. I look forward to setting up the saw and asking more questions on this site as I am sure I have alot to learn..
 

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Congrats on the purchase! The white G0555 is a great deal (same price as Christmas-time 2009 blowout on G0555, which was a superb deal as well). An even better deal is the G0513P 17" for $700…anyone eyeing a high-end 14" should seriously consider the jump to the 17".

Anyways, if you think there's a riser block in your future, consider getting it sooner rather than later. Otherwise you'll lose all that investment in the 93-1/2" blades you're going to buy right now (the stock blades - both the 93-1/2 that comes with your saw and the 105" that comes with the riser - are junk, so you need to be buying at least one blade right off the bat). If you're going to be doing any resawing, the riser block is a good investment. While I've never used the full 12" of resaw capacity on my G0555+riser, I find myself very frequently resawing in the 6-9" range.
 

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My first thought about cutting the thin aluminum was that it should work ok so long as you keep the cuttings from getting to the motor. Also, use a special, dedicated blade for it and others for wood to avoid contamination. Steel cutting is slow as it builds up so much heat it will destroy the blade before it can get the work done, hence the often found oil feed system. Aluminum is soft and cuts easily, I don't know why it wouldn't work so long as you kept your feed rate slow. I'd sure be interested in how it works out. lastly…Eye protection!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
What would be the best choice of blades sizes to get? I think I might just order the riser and blades and tack them on my order..I read that Timberwolf are good and woodslicer but what is 1/4" 1/2" 1/8"?? Help..
 

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The two main factors to look at in choosing blades are the width of the blade and the teeth per inch (TPI).

Width of the blade determines how tightly you can curve cuts. For straight cuts, like ripping and resawing, the wider the blade, the better. The limitation here becomes the fact that 14" bandsaws generally can't tension blades wider than 1/2". This makes the Woodslicer (1/2" wide) a good resaw blade for a 14" bandsaw. Higher-end premium blades that are carbide-tipped ($$$!) tend to be 3/4" and wider, and are for use on larger bandsaws. The really thin blades let you turn tight corners.

The TPI affects the quality of cut. You choose different blades based on the material you are cutting (hardwood, softwood, plywood, etc.) and how thick it is. Generally you want a few (3-4) teeth in the thickness of your material at once - this will give you the best quality cut.

This chart should help you choose blades based on what you think you're going to be cutting:
http://www.suffolkmachinery.com/silicon_steel_selection.asp

Basically, ask yourself…
1) Am I going to be resawing? Get the Woodslicer (you won't be disappointed)
2) Am I going to be cutting gradual curves in really thick material (think bandsaw boxes…)? Get a 1/4" with low TPI…like 3 or 4
3) Am I going to be making a lot of intricate cuts without much room for making relief cuts (like cutting out a maple leaf pattern)? Get a 1/8" wide blade.
4) What's a good general purpose bandsaw blade that can do everything OK? 3/8" 6 or 8 tpi (there's a reason why this is the stock blade…it's just that the stock blade isn't sharp).

These are just my opinions based on what I've learned and researched so far, and I'm a recent bandsaw user. I've been using it quite a bit since I've had it though!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Live4ever- Thanks again for the info..I placed the order today and received an email from Grizzly saying that they were out of stock and would be the middle of August before they receive more…I could not believe this as I believe they just put the G0555P up on their site saying they just arrived. I called an spoke to customer support and the woman said that they had them in stock in the Missouri warehouse but not in the washington warehouse where they would ship mine from as I live in Burbank Ca.. She put me on hold and came back and said they will ship it to me from the Missouri warehouse at no extra charge so I will be getting it next week..

I gather from your post that I should get 2 Blades one for resaw and one for general purpose or for my main work which would be guitar bodies I might be able to get by with a 3/8" but I think 1/4" might be a better choice..the material will be 1 3/4" to 2" thick pine , mahogany ,ash and cedar. Would I still go for 6 or 8TPI for a smooth cut?

Have you ever used a template pin on your saw?
http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?page=18055&filter=template%20pin
 

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Not surprised they're selling the white stuff fast with those prices! I'm glad they're able to come through for you…

I'd go with the 6tpi if it were me but I'm not a luthier (been wanting to build a guitar for a while though!). Maybe a lutherjock can chime in with their go-to blade for guitar bodies. Difference between 6 and 8 tpi cut quality at that stock thickness is probably negligible. More important will be how dialed in you can get your saw.

Haven't used a template pin…when I do identical parts I just cut outside the template/line by 1/16-1/8" and rout with a flush-trim bit.

If you're looking at other cheapie bandsaw accessories, pick up a bandsaw honing stone to smooth out/round over the back of the blade. Really helps with cut quality and burning.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Well I got the call from UPS Freight yesterday and she will be delivered on the 16th between 10am and 2pm. I am hoping that the height of the saw with the mobile base and riser block I can roll it out my garage with out hitting the door or the header. so I can run the saw in my driveway until I get a dust collection system in place. I do have a shop vac mounted on a wall and thought I could use this with the Grizzly 5 gallon dust collector.http://www.grizzly.com/products/5-Gallon-Dust-Collection-Cyclone-Separator/G6102 I have the smaller hose on my vac so i would have to get the converters for the kit.
 

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I am curious as to why some think cutting aluminum on a table saw is "stupid." Big metal working shops, including one government shop at Keyport, Washington, have a cabinet saw dedicated to this task.

I often cut aluminum stock on both my site saw and my cabinet saw. I just swap over a fine tooth circular saw blade, set up my feather board and hold down, and go for it.

If you are cutting thin stock (e.g., 1/8" or less), it may be even more important to focus on a means of holding it down and in line with the fence and blade. That's no more insurmountable than when using a saw to cut counter top laminate.

In a pinch, you could also set a router up to make cuts in aluminum. Of course, there is also the use of a circular or jig saw.

In the end, cutting aluminum may be akin to or only marginally worse than dealing with certain hard woods. It, certainly, is not in the category of metal cutting.
 
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