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Best bandsaw under 2k?

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Forum topic by mitch_56 posted 03-10-2020 04:42 PM 1171 views 0 times favorited 37 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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mitch_56

36 posts in 1280 days


03-10-2020 04:42 PM

Topic tags/keywords: bandsaw

The further under 2k the better, but only if there’s nothing better for closer to 2K

I want at least 12” resaw capacity, and other than that, only years of reliable service

What do you recommend? Thanks for your time -

220 or 110 is fine


37 replies so far

View LesB's profile

LesB

2575 posts in 4250 days


#1 posted 03-10-2020 04:57 PM

What size are you looking for, and what will you be using it for?

-- Les B, Oregon

View tvrgeek's profile

tvrgeek

1008 posts in 2456 days


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

I have extensively been researching them. The Rikon 14 inch stands above the Laguna only due to how fiddly and hard to keep aligned Laguna guides are. ( See the thread in this very forum) After that, Jet, Baileigh, Oliver. IMHO, a big step down to Grizzly and ShopFox. Of course, many love their Grizzly’s. I think it is a matter if yo happen to get a good one.

The 15% sale may still be going on for Rikon. I am procrastinating, but should buy a 10-326. You can jump to the 2 HP 342 198 incher and it is still only about 1600.

View CaptainKlutz's profile

CaptainKlutz

3360 posts in 2301 days


#3 posted 03-10-2020 05:30 PM

What is your criteria for best?
(Feels like troll request)

IMHO – Best varies by definition of criteria for being best.
Best resaw?
Best setup?
Best blade guides?
Best paint color?
LOL – not all machines are best for everything!

So you want 12” resaw, do you also want to cut curves with 1/8” blade on same machine?

There are ton of opinions between ball bearing and Euro style guides as ‘best’. It’s almost like love/hate topic, or discussing politics/religion. Not even going to go down that rabbit hole.

Please post more information on your best criteria, and range of uses; or it’s impossible to make valid recommendation.
Without more information, will get same responses here that you would get asking Google ‘best band saw 12” resaw’.

Cheers!

-- 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 mitch_56's profile

mitch_56

36 posts in 1280 days


#4 posted 03-10-2020 05:36 PM



What size are you looking for, and what will you be using it for?

- LesB

As long as it has at least 12” of resaw, I suppose I don’t care too much about the size, but if you have some thoughts on size, I’d love to hear them. I’ll be using it for ripping, resawing, cutting curves, cutting joinery—anything I can think of. I only have room for one bandsaw in my shop, so it’s going to have to perform many different functions.


I have extensively been researching them. The Rikon 14 inch stands above the Laguna only due to how fiddly and hard to keep aligned Laguna guides are. ( See the thread in this very forum) After that, Jet, Baileigh, Oliver. IMHO, a big step down to Grizzly and ShopFox. Of course, many love their Grizzly s. I think it is a matter if yo happen to get a good one.

The 15% sale may still be going on for Rikon. I am procrastinating, but should buy a 10-326. You can jump to the 2 HP 342 198 incher and it is still only about 1600.

- tvrgeek

The 342 does look like a solid choice—thanks for the recommendation!

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mitch_56

36 posts in 1280 days


#5 posted 03-10-2020 05:54 PM


What is your criteria for best?

How about “best only-bandsaw-in-the-shop-so-it-should-be-pretty-good-at-most-common-bandsaw-tasks”? It’s going to be my only bandsaw, so perhaps strongest on the mainstream bandsaw applications (ripping, resawing, curves for furniture).


So you want 12” resaw, do you also want to cut curves with 1/8” blade on same machine?

Definite yes on the 12” resaw, unsure about the 1/8” blade. I don’t know when I’d want an 1/8” blade on a bandsaw. The narrowest blade I’ve ever used to cut curves on a bandsaw was 1/4”, and that seemed to go really well. I have a Dewalt scroll saw, so I don’t need a bandsaw to get into that territory if that’s the main use case for an 1/8” blade.


There are ton of opinions between ball bearing and Euro style guides as ‘best’.

Then I’d love to hear yours, or perhaps a link to your preferred source where the pros and cons of each are best discussed if that’ll help prevent a religious war…

View Andybb's profile

Andybb

2785 posts in 1410 days


#6 posted 03-10-2020 06:21 PM

Laguna! I’m a huge fan.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

View tvrgeek's profile

tvrgeek

1008 posts in 2456 days


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

I was about to go Laguna until all the folks complaining about the guides slipping out of position. I was even going to bump up to the fancier one with the foot brake. I run ceramic guides in my old Delta, so the sparking worries are not an issue to me. ( see thread about hating Laguna guides)

From what I gather from talking to users, the Laguna will resaw better than the Rikon, but Rikon guides are easier to adjust and keep set. One can spend $350 to fit Carter guides to the Lagunas, just as one can fit ceramic guides to the Rikon. So, kind of a coin toss I guess. I have not met someone who did not like either other than the guides and as far as I can tell, no one like any guides on any saw!

Doing more work on my 10 inch Delta, reassessing I can delay. Just too much of a pain with the small flimsy table and small aluminum wheels that just a spot of sawdust makes shake buy inches. That tells me the bigger and heavier the better.

Laguna 18 inch is 3 HP. Rikon either 2 or 4. I do not have the experience to say what is needed. I only know my 3/4 HP can resaw 8 inch oak with only a little patience. If I were going to resaw 12 inch as the primary function, I would go for the 18 incher.

View Axis39's profile

Axis39

269 posts in 404 days


#8 posted 03-10-2020 07:41 PM

I will say, I bought a Rikon last year and it’s been a real pleasure. My first bigger bandsaw (I had a cruddy little benchtop Craftsman for years and years and always cussed it… Every time I used it).

Anyway, I picked up the Rikon 10-326 on sale at Woodcraft. It took me a couple hours to set it up (and i was goofing off) and it’s been a rock solid performer ever since.

-- John F. SoCal transplant, chewer uppper of good wood

View Andybb's profile

Andybb

2785 posts in 1410 days


#9 posted 03-10-2020 08:34 PM


I was about to go Laguna until all the folks complaining about the guides slipping out of position. I was even going to bump up to the fancier one with the foot brake.
- tvrgeek

I would not be worried about the guides. I have had no issues in 3 years on my 1412 and there are tons of great reviews on these saws here and on other sites and youtube. The sparks are part of normal operation with ceramic guides. Laguna’s customer service is excellent IMO.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

View EllenWoodHead's profile

EllenWoodHead

90 posts in 183 days


#10 posted 03-10-2020 08:45 PM

I have the Shop Fox W1706 and like it a lot. It plugs into a 120V circuit and is feature-comparable to the higher-priced brands: quick blade tension release, decent fence and miter gauge, enclosed storage base, decent dust collection, easy tracking adjustment. You need the 6” riser kit to get 12” resaw capacity, about $100. It has ball bearing blade guides, adjusted with Allen wrenches. I replace the worn guides with skateboard bearings. AFAIK these are standard bearings used in zillions of devices, and when they’re sold as skateboard bearings they cost less.

The higher-priced bandsaws have pretty much the same features. Some have bigger tables, a little nicer fit and finish. IMO not a lot of difference.

-- "wood" and "good" rhyme, but not "food"

View CaptainKlutz's profile

CaptainKlutz

3360 posts in 2301 days


#11 posted 03-10-2020 10:39 PM

Hmm..

1) Best Overall Blade Guides: None
IMHO – The best guide depends on type of cut.

- I prefer Euro guides for wide 1/2-1” blades used for resaw work. Ball bearing guides create smaller point contact on side blades. Though with bearing guides, when blade gets dull and starts to wonder, you see 2 distinct marks on side of blade from the dual bearings? Some folks don’t like the wider blade to guide tolerance of euro style; but they work really well on the Grizzly and Laguna saws I have used with wider blades? Bearing guides work, so if that is all you have use them. Just make sure you have supply of replacements on hand when one begins failing and squeals like a stuck pig during a lengthy resaw project.

- I prefer age old standard ‘guide blocks’ for < 1/2” blades. The replacement versions are called ‘cool blocks’. The work for any cut, but excel when cutting green wood. Wet or resinous pine wood tends to clog up bearings quickly, and/or it presses resin/dust into side of blade making for a sticky mess. You can make also your own replacements from any hard resinous wood like; Lignum Vitae, Ironwood, Rosewood, or even Oak.

- If you want to make tight turns on band saw with blades 1/8-3/16” blades, none of the guides does a really great job, with cool block being my choice. There is simply not enough side area to support the blade well. The Carter Stabilizer Guide is a good solution for scroll work, but after owning one; decided it was better to use scroll saw then try to make a 14” band saw for scroll work? Pretty sure I feel into a common beginners trap?
The number of teeth determine your ability to clear frass from cut. Small blades don’t come in large enough TPI needed to cut thick (3-4”+) sections efficiently. So even after upgrading to ‘best’ carter guide for small blade, still couldn’t make intricate cuts I wanted for 4-6” thick band saw boxes. :-(

If you want online guide reference, FWW has an article on choosing guides? It’s old now, ceramic euro guides weren’t sold back then, but it might help:
https://www.finewoodworking.com/issue/2001/04/issue-148
Also a LJ discussion on guides for small blades:
https://www.lumberjocks.com/topics/22167

2) Best size of saw == What will you cut, and what blades will you use?

- I hate changing blades, especially larger 3/4-1” 2-3VPC blades. It’s like wrestling with a shark. Even with leather gloves, I still manage to get poked, snagged, and/or draw blood when I change one. Higher TPI counts create less gruesome issues when I Klutz something during a blade change, but are still be approached with caution. I tend to leave a 3/4” resaw blade in my band saw most of the time. The other blade commonly used in 1/2” 6PC. Can ran 1/4” blade on saw easily, but the long small blade is more challenging to setup than larger blades, and I rarely do curve work with tight corners.

- When I bought my current 17” band saw for resaw work, I sold my 14”. Was dumbest tool liquidation ever, and I want it back. A 14” saw is much easier to set up with 1/4” blade for curvy work. Likely would never need to change blades if I kept that saw, unless the blade was dull? So I am big fan of having two band saws. If you have scroll saw, this might mean your preference would lean towards a larger saw as your 2nd curve saw?

- Am a poor retiree, so 99% of my tools are bought used and restored. When I comes to band saw, not sure that used is best buying logic with new offerings in market? All the OEM have introduced new style band saws with welded stamped frames, that allow larger resaw with classic 14” frame size. They are equipped with 2+HP motors to allow 12-13” resaw, but yet are have smaller structure preferred for curve work in home shop. Sure you can buy a cast iron frame band saw, then add a riser block; but have done this MOD on two saws and never had great results. The riser block units would bend slightly when using max tension on wide blades. Then as the blade dulls, or grabs wood; the tension would create a resonance or vibrate; with resulted in rougher cut. If I was shopping for one universal saw, I would look for one of the newer 14” saws that don’t require riser for 12” resaw.

Last but not least:
Have been around wood and metal band saws for decades, still not an expert. All I can say is your cut depth , material, and radius determines your best blade. The wide variation in cut types makes universal recommendations impossible. Also finding a saw that works with large and small blades has been holy grail search of for as long I can remember. With only one band saw in shop, suggest you have to be careful with selection, and carefully prioritize your needs. While you can MAKE most any size band saw cut any thing: Large saws excel at resaw. Small saws excel at cutting curves. Only YOU can decide the priorities between vast number of options available.
Thanks for reading to end.

Best Luck!

-- 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 Foghorn's profile

Foghorn

529 posts in 193 days


#12 posted 03-11-2020 01:21 AM

CaptainKlutz has some very good points. We all have different uses and experiences. I love my 17” saw and it does everything my 14” did, only better. I usually have a 1/2” 3 TPI blade on mine that I rarely switch out for a 1/4” or 3/4” even for resawing. I find blade changes to be relatively easy however and am usually up and running in less than 10 minutes. I just like the power, smoothness and how blades last a lot longer due to less strain from the 14”, tighter bends on the blade.

-- Darrel

View BattleRidge's profile

BattleRidge

150 posts in 1023 days


#13 posted 03-11-2020 01:27 AM

When I retired and decided to get into woodworking a couple years ago, the first piece of equipment I bought was a bandsaw (I’ve had a Craftsman radial arm saw for years and had a Rockwell contractor-type table saw). My initial focus was on a 14” Rikon, primarily because the price fit best into the budget and after some basic research I began making the rounds to multiple dealers in multiple directions (each an hour or so away) to get my hands on as many machines as I could.

The more machines I saw and the more I researched, the more my preferences evolved. Being able to physically handle the various bandsaws was invaluable and I would highly recommend making a road trip (or multiple road trips) to do so – I know that it made a big difference in helping me decide what was best for my personal needs.

I chose the Laguna 18BX and truly love the machine. The features (and reasons) I chose the Laguna are (in no particular order):

Both dust collection ports are on the same side of the machine and I stayed away from machines that had two dust ports on two different sides of the machine, primarily because the hose would protrude out into my workspace and interfere in some of my activities.

The brake is a great feature for both safety and convenience. It can be amazing how long the blade can continue moving after the machine has been shut off and how quiet it can be, creating a hazard should you step away for a few moments and come back and inadvertently touch a still silently moving blade. The brake is also convenient to stop the blade when you need to make adjustments for a different cut, to back out of a cut that you don’t go all the way through, or to remove small pieces near the blade. There are some processes in which I will begin making a cut on the in-feed side of the machine, then end up on the out-feed side to finish the cut and the brake can be much easier to reach than going back to the off switch.

I really like the ceramic guides and haven’t had any issues what-so-ever. While I have never had a bandsaw with standard bearing-type guides so have nothing to actually compare with, the set-up and operation of the ceramic guides have been trouble free and a pleasure to work with (the only thing I have done to the guides is to occasionally give a slight rotation to the back guide). I don’t have any plans to ever get a saw with standard guides in the future, though if I ever decide to get a blade smaller than 1/4”, I might consider the Carter Saw Blade Stabilizer.

The two-position fence has been easy to work with and the stop features for repeat cuts works well.

When I first saw an 18” bandsaw (a Jet), my first impression was that it was too large and just gave it a passing glance. While at multiple saws at one of the dealers, there was an 18BX at the end of the row and the more I started looking at the machine, the more drawn to it I became. My main concern was that it might be ‘too big’ for some reason, but I have only found the size to be a plus and not a negative in any way. The added cutting capacity is good to have and the spacious table is a pleasure to work with for projects both large and small. An additional plus is the longer blade which means you do more cutting with each revolution and thus the blade should last longer. The additional horsepower has room to spare during heavier cutting and has never bogged down.

Laguna is a quality machine and I am quite pleased with their product – and if I were to do it all over again, I would make the same choice without hesitation.

In the end, I feel that when it comes to the choice between Laguna, Jet, Rikon, Powermatic, Grizzly and perhaps a few others, that you will likely be okay with the overall product quality – and that it mainly comes down to the size, features and final price that fits your budget.

As a side-note, in regard to sawblades, I run the bi-metal Lenox Diemaster II (1/4” & 1/2”) and the 1” Laguna Resaw King – though the 1/4” blade is my daily-cutter with the other blades only coming into play when needed.

-- ~Art~

View ibewjon's profile

ibewjon

1774 posts in 3600 days


#14 posted 03-11-2020 01:31 AM

I have the Laguna 14 SUV, 14” resaw with no riser to play with. Tension release, foot brake. Great table tilt setup. Two dust collection ports. 3hp motor. Great saw, no complaints. No complaints on the ceramic guides. If you like ceramic guides, you like them. If you don’t, you never will.

View Woodmaster1's profile

Woodmaster1

1500 posts in 3394 days


#15 posted 03-11-2020 01:59 AM

The lugana 14” appears to be made well but the woodworking club has had nothing but trouble with the guides. It’s largely due to people not keeping their hands off and setting the guide too far above the workpiece. I get in the habit when I go to shop the first thing I do is lower the blade guide all the way down. The trouble they’re experiencing has turned me off of the lugana. I will stick with my Rikon 14” which is a fine bandsaw.

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