Do I Really need a band saw?

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Forum topic by RJS posted 10-21-2010 11:44 PM 10915 views 1 time favorited 27 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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89 posts in 3407 days

10-21-2010 11:44 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question band saw

Ok, so I am building my tool collection and do not have a band saw. There are a few projects that I have seen some lumberjocks have made some awesome things with a band saw. I see them for sale on Craigs List for a decent price. Can anyone here tell me if this is a wise investment for a couple hundred dollars, or if I should pass?
What kind and how big of a band saw is good for a starter?
If anyone can tell me what to look for when buying a used band saw I would REALLY appreciate it.
Thank you all for you’re help.

-- RJ

27 replies so far

View Dandog's profile


250 posts in 3336 days

#1 posted 10-22-2010 12:06 AM

well you can take a jig saw to large parts ,but for cutting smaller irregular shapes its the way to go. If your on a tight budget u can invert a jig saw on a piece plywood .

-- life an woodworking is one big experiment

View Lumber2Sawdust's profile


139 posts in 3427 days

#2 posted 10-22-2010 12:25 AM

For a long time I had a table saw and thought there wasn’t a big need for a band saw. I ended up buying an old, abused 14” Delta without a motor at an auction. I cleaned it up and put on a 1/2 HP motor from HF. It cost be about $200 total.

When I use it, I keep thinking “How did I not have one of these before?” It isn’t an essential tool, but I have cut tenons on it done some simple resawing and used it for odd cuts for carpentry projects, too. I even used it to make some custom shims I needed.

One of the nicest things is that I was able to make cuts I needed on the band saw which meant I didn’t have to change the setup of the table saw when I was in the middle of a “project”.

I have some plans to do some resawing for boxes, and maybe try a band saw box over the winter, too.

In short, you can certainly do a lot without it. But if you can afford one, I think you will enjoy having it and will find lots of ways to use it.

Good luck

View newbiewoodworker's profile


668 posts in 3388 days

#3 posted 10-22-2010 12:26 AM

I would go 14”.. its a good middle ground…

I dont recommend the inverted jigsaw method.. Its dangerous. It lacks a guard, and it can buck like a POed bronco…

Its good for moderate sized scrolling.. for fine scrolling you need a scroll saw, for rough scrolling, you can use a jigsaw..

They are 1 of 2 saws can that resaw… 1 of 1 that can do it safely… And the only one that can slice paper thin veneer…

They are also good for cutting circles, with the appropriate jig…

-- "Ah, So your not really a newbie, but a I betterbie."

View Abbott's profile


2570 posts in 3865 days

#4 posted 10-22-2010 12:31 AM

I think a guy’s shop grows to the point where a bandsaw becomes a very handy piece of machinery to have. A 14” saw will work especially with a riser block. I am watching for a 17” saw to come along. Band saws also need to be “tuned” and have a quality blade to get a good straight cut…the good part is once they are setup they seem to stay that way for awhile.

-- Ohh mann...pancakes and boobies...I'll bet that's what Heaven is like! ♣ ♣ ♣ ♣

View Tomoose's profile


422 posts in 3935 days

#5 posted 10-22-2010 12:43 AM

I bought a Hitachi CB13F used on CL for $85 and would say I can’t live without it now. That said, a bigger saw like the guys above are talking about would be great if you can swing the $$. For me I have never done any re-sawing, and will be limited by my little saw if I do, but it has allowed me to do some cool projects with little to no experience with the tool – see my chess set bandsaw project here: – this was the first thing I did with a bandsaw and was great practice making fairly intricate cuts that you just cannot do with another tool (as far as I know…). I would say get one for sure if money and shop space allow.

-- “I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.” Pablo Picasso

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2172 posts in 3412 days

#6 posted 10-22-2010 12:58 AM

Stay away from the three wheelers. They’re entry level, not stout enough, etc etc.

I think the value in a new one is in the Grizzly GO555 but that is not in your post. Yes, used, Jet on up, avoiding early green Grizzly. All the parts are easily seen on the bandsaw, so a careful inspection before buying will assure that you have no ugly surprises. Know that you can replace the tires, and the blocks, and the guide bearings, easily.

Happy hunting!

-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View DragonLady's profile


298 posts in 3568 days

#7 posted 10-22-2010 01:01 AM

well…NEED and want are two entirely different things :)

-- A woman's work is never done-but power tools help!

View GMman's profile


3902 posts in 4259 days

#8 posted 10-22-2010 01:02 AM

If you’re going for a band saw get a good one I have a small cheap one and it is sitting in the corner collecting dust.

View Roper's profile


1389 posts in 4274 days

#9 posted 10-22-2010 01:09 AM

Yes a band saw is a must have in a custom shop. If you plan on doing any odd or irregular cut you need a bandsaw. If your building boxes you probably don’t. 14 inch is a great home shop size.

-- Roper - Master of sawdust-

View Chip's profile


1904 posts in 4654 days

#10 posted 10-22-2010 01:21 AM

I put off buying a band saw for years. Now, like many of the above LJ’s, I don’t know how I lived without it. Very versatile piece of equipment if you get the right size (14” is great) and spend the money to put a very good blade on it.

-- Better to say nothing and be thought the fool... then to speak and erase all doubt!

View Moron's profile


5043 posts in 4455 days

#11 posted 10-22-2010 01:24 AM

of all the stationary tools I own

the band saw would be the last one I would give up


of all the stationary tools I own, the band saw has retained the most value

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View mtnwild's profile


3474 posts in 4089 days

#12 posted 10-22-2010 02:11 AM

I’ve had my band saw for years, an old Delta, 14”, I love it. I’ve replaced the motor three times and if this one goes bad, I’ll put in another one. Don’t know what I’d do without it. Each time the motor went out I was desperate to get it running again. A must for a well tooled shop.

-- mtnwild (Jack), It's not what you see, it's how you see it.

View Ben 's profile


164 posts in 3926 days

#13 posted 10-22-2010 05:15 AM

Yes, you need a bandsaw. You will use it on every project you build.

View Jesse 's profile


105 posts in 3423 days

#14 posted 10-22-2010 06:58 AM

Band saw was my very first machine I bought, and that was just a bench top ryobi. Now having a “bit” more experience under my belt, I wish I would have just gotten a 14” with a good resaw capacity. BUT, I didn’t even know what resaw capacity was a few months ago. Regardless, I used it quite a bit and just try and deal with it’s limitations.

View Gregn's profile


1642 posts in 3545 days

#15 posted 10-22-2010 06:16 PM

No, you don’t really need one. Although it would be tough for me to get along without one. I can’t begin to tell you how often I use mine. I would suggest a minimum of a 14” or larger.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

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