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Band Saw Recommendation

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Forum topic by Marleywoodie posted 03-10-2020 03:19 PM 563 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Marleywoodie

45 posts in 1237 days


03-10-2020 03:19 PM

Hi folks,

Believe it or not, my shop does not include a band saw. I seek to remedy this. On-line reviews seem conflicting.
Price isn’t the number one factor, but is a consideration.

Reliability is important, I see reviews of some of the saws that say the blades are hard to adjust to track correctly, I had a Jet Belt sander that already is like that, I don’t need more.

Thanks in advance!

-- - Not all who wander are lost -


12 replies so far

View LesB's profile

LesB

2576 posts in 4250 days


#1 posted 03-10-2020 04:46 PM

For a lot of us shop tool acquisition is a progressive thing. I started 30+ years ago with an underpowered Delta 14” I was never really happy with and progressed about 5 years ago to a 17” Grizzly which works great.

That said it would help to know what sort of things you expect to use a band saw for. If it is just cutting curves and quick cut offs then a basic 14” will do. If you think you will be doing some re-sawing then you may want something in the 16 to 18” range. You will find people who are happy with most of the major brands and you will also find negative reports. For the price I’m happy with my Grizzly.

Subtle things like ease of changing blades and making guide block adjustments, tilting tables, stop brakes and tension release levers can be important to some users.

I suggest you spend a little time watching some of videos Alex Snodgrass has made on the subject. Just google his name and the word bandsaw.

-- Les B, Oregon

View tvrgeek's profile

tvrgeek

1008 posts in 2457 days


#2 posted 03-10-2020 05:06 PM

Just like the other thread where I reported my research, Rikon, Laguna, then Jet, Baileigh, Oliver, and a step down to Grizzly. I suppose the bigger the better if yo have room. I don’t so will be getting the 14 incher.

View CaptainKlutz's profile

CaptainKlutz

3365 posts in 2302 days


#3 posted 03-10-2020 05:19 PM

+1 how do you plan on using it? What kind of projects?

+1 educate yourself on band saws and setting them up. Snodgrass is good start. Just be aware his recommendations are not always applicable to band saws larger than 14”, or some small 10-12 saws with fewer adjustments.

IMHO:
All band saws are finicky compared to TS or other power tools. Took me 6 months and ton of research to figure out how to tune my first 14” saw to work perfectly. Even then it required way too long to get it setup right when changing blades. Since then I have owned 3 different 14” and 17” band saw.
Guess what, they are all a PIA to change blades.
Good blade tracking requires learning how to properly maintain and tune band saw.

Reliability is horrible buzz word. Most home shops don’t use a band saw enough to even test reliability. Motor reliability is based on thousands of hours of use. Bearings inside saw are same way. Although bearing grease does age poorly, and once the old grease turns waxy in 7-12 years; the bearings run dry and need replaced. Does that make it unreliable?

Another annoying aspect of band saw is shear number of adjustments, and following proper order to set up the saw. Can’t adjust the blade guides, till the blade position has been set on wheels, and have proper tension. Change the tension so it impacts blade position, and have start all over.

Don’t put one in your shop and expect instant success. Even a brand new saw requires proper setup and tuning. So regardless of buying new, or used; be sure to read the owners manual and learn how all the adjustments work.

Don’t get me wrong, band saw in shop is very useful, and most shops need at least one. But there is a lot to complain about when it comes to band saws. People like to complain in forums and ask for easy help; when all they need is patience and to read owners manual. I.E. Don’t believe 100% of what you read in forums.
:-0)

YMMV

-- If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all, - Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign released 1967

View MrRon's profile

MrRon

5925 posts in 4051 days


#4 posted 03-10-2020 05:57 PM

Even if a particular bandsaw receives negative reviews for one reason or another, they all will cut wood. If you are not in the mood to shell out $2000+, there are many things you can do to upgrade a cheaper bandsaw. I took a cheap Ridgid bandsaw, tore it down, made modifications and now it performs perfectly for my needs. It is still under powered, but does the job; I could replace the motor with a larger one. If resawing is important, then power is what you need. A 14” BS with a riser block will give you the height needed, but 14” BS’s are not very powerful. That’s when a larger frame saw is needed, both for power and rigidity. Tables on the typical 14” BS are too small to afford good support when resawing a large chunk of wood. The bigger the table, the more support you will have.

View Bill_Steele's profile

Bill_Steele

714 posts in 2539 days


#5 posted 03-10-2020 06:01 PM

I think the Laguna 1412 is a good bandsaw. I’ve had one for about 4 years and experienced no problems so far. The blade tracking mechanism works very well. I’ve never felt the need to adjust for blade drift. I can resaw wide boards and get a consistent thickness (+ or – 1/64”). I don’t use the saw everyday so I can’t comment on reliability from a high usage perspective.

View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

7874 posts in 3721 days


#6 posted 03-10-2020 06:05 PM

I have been using a 14in Rikon for several years. IMO, this size is probably the minimum size to do any serious resawing of roughcut lumber. My 14in BS has more than paid me back for its cost by saving me much by resawing.

That said, I added a 10in Rikon BS a couple of years ago and just love it! Added a stabilizer guide to it and just WOW! Great for cutting curves…

I now just leave a 3/4in 3/2VPC blade on it permanently.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View Foghorn's profile

Foghorn

529 posts in 194 days


#7 posted 03-10-2020 07:05 PM

14” saws are OK, but I would never go back after up-sizing, particularly when it comes to re-sawing.

-- Darrel

View tvrgeek's profile

tvrgeek

1008 posts in 2457 days


#8 posted 03-10-2020 08:29 PM

Well, Laguna and Rikon both make 3 HP in the 14. About 2 grand. Roughly the entry point for an 18.
Old cast frames and riser blocks are pretty much obsolete now for the stronger modern tools. I was looking at the $1200 versions, but thinking real hard now.


Even if a particular bandsaw receives negative reviews for one reason or another, they all will cut wood. If you are not in the mood to shell out $2000+, there are many things you can do to upgrade a cheaper bandsaw. I took a cheap Ridgid bandsaw, tore it down, made modifications and now it performs perfectly for my needs. It is still under powered, but does the job; I could replace the motor with a larger one. If resawing is important, then power is what you need. A 14” BS with a riser block will give you the height needed, but 14” BS s are not very powerful. That s when a larger frame saw is needed, both for power and rigidity. Tables on the typical 14” BS are too small to afford good support when resawing a large chunk of wood. The bigger the table, the more support you will have.

- MrRon


View Marleywoodie's profile

Marleywoodie

45 posts in 1237 days


#9 posted 03-17-2020 06:04 PM

Re-Sawing isn’t really a big concern for my work. By “reliability” I was meaning about it working without a shit load of adjustments & jiggles & such, not that i’m going to beat it into the ground, LOL.

-- - Not all who wander are lost -

View MrUnix's profile

MrUnix

8162 posts in 3006 days


#10 posted 03-17-2020 07:32 PM

The 14” Delta is what all of the cast iron 14 inchers were cloned from, and was the standard for decades. If you are looking for reliable, then those are it. They were introduced in the 30’s and remained in production virtually unchanged until the mid 2000’s IIRC. You can still find them, and for considerably less than what you would pay for anything new today.

Cheers,
Brad

-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View tvrgeek's profile

tvrgeek

1008 posts in 2457 days


#11 posted 03-17-2020 07:56 PM

The basic design remains the same. It is just the steel beam is a little more rigid. ( so they say, or maybe just cheaper to build.) That has nothing to do with reliability. New saw guides stink, but older saw guides are far worse. So figure the cost of a set of Carter guides in the equation. Modern saws have a few nice features like the easy band tension release. We will usually get poly multi-groove belts instead of V which have less vibration. Motors are more efficient by a little. So, reasons to go new, but unlike some other tools, not much has changes so if an old one fell into your lap, grab hold.

FWIW, I tested putting 6V DC on the 1 HP motor in my Delta. It did give a considerable braking effort, I do not know if it is enough to substantially slow the blade from full speed so I have to build the relay circuit to test it live. The concept seems valid. Someone mentioned polarity of the start cap. THINK. It is AC, so it is a back-to back or NPE. Polarity does not matter.


The 14” Delta is what all of the cast iron 14 inchers were cloned from, and was the standard for decades. If you are looking for reliable, then those are it. They were introduced in the 30 s and remained in production virtually unchanged until the mid 2000 s IIRC. You can still find them, and for considerably less than what you would pay for anything new today.

Cheers,
Brad

- MrUnix


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MrUnix

8162 posts in 3006 days


#12 posted 03-17-2020 09:03 PM

So figure the cost of a set of Carter guides in the equation.

No way in hell I would put carter guides on my bandsaws – except possibly the stabilizer if I had the urge to do scroll work. Or cool blocks for that matter. As for the rest – that is your opinion only and not born out in my experience over the last few decades. My machines sit quietly ready to go to work at a moments notice – no fuss, no muss, and never a problem with them. And having been built in the 50’s, I would call that reliable. And at less than $100 per machine purchase price, I would call that value as well.

Cheers,
Brad

-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

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