Bandsaw advice

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Forum topic by John146 posted 04-15-2017 04:02 PM 829 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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90 posts in 1054 days

04-15-2017 04:02 PM

I’m looking to get a bandsaw. Initially I thought I would need it primarily for resawing, but I’m finding myself needing to make close, tight and accurate cuts quite often – things that I can’t do on the table saw (safely or not). For example, I was finding myself needing to make a push stick earlier this week.. and went through several trials until I realized that without a bandsaw (or a scroll saw) I’d never be able to get a proper cleat (without gluing it on…)

Another tool I’ve been eyeing recently is a scroll saw. My impression is that I can do any kind of non-resaw-related task on thin (1” or less) stock using a scroll saw instead of a bandsaw. Used scroll saws are fairly cheap and available (I say that now, but it seems the moment I start looking for a tool, it’s gone!).

As far as bandsaws go, I’ve done enough research to know that I should get something 14” or bigger – however I’m wondering if a smaller one would do the trick (minus the resaw) – those can be had for a fraction of the 14”s.

The price for used 14” bandsaws here (Reno, NV) seems to be $300 – and usually missing a fence. There have been some “Packard” and “Summit” bandsaws selling for less ($200ish) but I understand those are older Harbor Freight models, and it seems like something I’d want to avoid.

Here are some examples:

I’d also need to add another $50 to anything from Sacramento to account for gas. If it’s really big I’d need to use my friends’ pickup which is even less fuel efficient.

Available locally, I can get a Rikon 10-324 new for $600 – and that’d come with a fence and good customer service. I’m tempted to get it (or wait until I can get it – though it is a special, not a regular price) just because it’s a good deal. However, the 10-324 stands right next to the 10-326 in the store which looks even nicer…

I’ve realized that the Rikon has better adjustment features than any of the used ones (whose adjustment features seem rather primitive looking at pictures), but I’m not sure how much that will serve me in the long run, and whether a bandsaw is one of those tools that need adjustments. I know in my TS usage, I adjust the fence the most often, the blade height slightly less, and the blade angle very rarely. In the BS I presume most of the adjustments are for blade tension, but I’m not sure if that’s a useful feature to have constantly, or if it only affects changing blades.

-- John 14:6

7 replies so far

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 4257 days

#1 posted 04-15-2017 04:40 PM moves a lot of machinery
through a warehouse near Sacramento… for

View John146's profile


90 posts in 1054 days

#2 posted 04-15-2017 04:52 PM

Interesting. Tracy is the wrong type of “near” to sacramento unfortunately, as it’s over 80 miles west of Sacramento, with me being 120 miles east of Sacramento. I’ll keep an eye out for machinery max in case I ever need a really big tool worth the drive.

Of course, if it’s actually $100 and in good condition and available for me to pick it up on a weekend, and comes with enough accessories, then it might be worth it.. but those are a lot of ifs, with a certain investment of lots of driving (gas + time).

-- John 14:6

View Steve's profile


57 posts in 1068 days

#3 posted 04-16-2017 01:11 PM

I think you will find that changing the blade happens fairly often and requires the most adjustment. Many of the older saws require more work to do a blade change, and some even require removing bolts or parts from the fence rail. Then you have the guides, a good new saw will not even require tools to adjust the guides and that is really a nice feature.

The other thing to consider is the depth of the throat, you will find very quickly that smaller saws really limit the size of the work piece when you are cutting curves, i would not consider anything less than 14”.

Also many older saws and some new ones need a riser added to resaw anything thicker than 6 or 7”.

I understand working with a very limited budget, but I also have learned the hard way to make sure I buy good quality with all the right features up front, and avoid the upgrade blues later. Hopefully you will find something on Craigslist.

Best of luck!

View John146's profile


90 posts in 1054 days

#4 posted 04-16-2017 02:09 PM

It seems a used older bandsaw is a piece of work? and if I get one at $300 I’d be spending another $200 or so in parts to make it usable again without frustration? Am I correct to assume that the newer “budget” bandsaws (Porter Cable, Harbor Freight, etc) will have the same basic design/frustration as the older ones I see on CL? (The design seems similar, visually speaking).

Any thoughts on that Rikon? I really wouldn’t feel comfortable spending more than $500 right now ($600 is a stretch, if it’s a really good deal, with my ideal purchase being $300). Should I spring for a Grizzly?

Then there’s the Craftsman 14” bandsaw – which I understand is identical to the Rikon 10-321, which is the predecessor to the 324. It’s “only” $469.

The used Rockwell now has pictures. It also has a new Baldor motor.. I wonder if that’s worthwhile jumping at.

I did expand my search to the SF bay area – and still nothing

-- John 14:6

View splintergroup's profile


3219 posts in 1832 days

#5 posted 04-16-2017 02:47 PM

I have a heavy-duty 16” (Minimax) that excels at resawing and small blade scroll work. The problem is I often need both operations when working on a project and blade swapping (1” to 1/4” and back) is a real slowdown.

I ended up buying an old (1964) Powermatic through a local Machinery Max auction and did a through rebuild (wrote a blog on it). Total cost was still worthwhile and I now keep the resaw on the 16” and have a 1/4” blade on the 14” PM. One of the best tool decisions I’ve made.

I think you are on the right track to get a worthy 14” since it can do modest resawing and is great for small blades, but as you have discovered, if a tool requires extensive setup (blade change) to make a quick, simple cut, you often will resort to a tool that is not really ideal and can be a challenge to do correctly.

If you have the room (and need), another 14” saw (or larger) can be obtained at a later date and dedicated to resawing.

View RichCMD's profile


427 posts in 2550 days

#6 posted 04-16-2017 02:58 PM

I think you might come to regret the smaller Rikon. There is not a lot of cutting height, which you might find limiting when you are resawing. As Steve pointed out, it’s painful to buy a tool and then quickly outgrow it and have to contemplate replacing it.

I bought a Grizzly 14” and then added a riser block to increase the height. I needed the extra height for preparing turning blocks for the lathe. I do’t do that much resawing, but when I have the extra height is nice to have. I also found that once I had the bandsaw I started finding other things to do with it, like making bandsaw boxes.

As far as adjustments, once you have the blade installed and tensioned, I find the only adjustment I make frequently is raising and lowering the upper guides. Ocassionally I tilt the table for a project, but that is far less frequent. The fence is needed for resawing, but not much else.

-- Ride the bevel!

View John146's profile


90 posts in 1054 days

#7 posted 04-16-2017 08:59 PM


The Rikon as a resaw capacity of 13-5/8 – I probably won’t have a need to resaw anything wider than that. The Rikon is also a 14” bandsaw. It appears that the 10-321 ‘only’ had an 8” resaw capacity.

-- John 14:6

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