Band Saw Horse Power

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Forum topic by Farhad posted 03-31-2013 01:09 AM 8417 views 0 times favorited 23 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Farhad's profile


14 posts in 3138 days

03-31-2013 01:09 AM

I am scared to cut wide hard wood with my cheap 1 HP band saw. Is it the blade or the horse power that counts ? Comparing hp to my muscle it tells me that more hp would only cut faster- disregarding motor heat-up. Should I go slowly ? How much feed rate ? and how to get a sense of correct feed rate ?

-- Farhad

23 replies so far

View JustJoe's profile


1554 posts in 3042 days

#1 posted 03-31-2013 01:28 AM

For feed rate – if it feels like you’re pushing the wood too hard or there is resistance, you’re going too fast.
A good blade and everything in proper tension and alignment can go a long way.

For the rest of it – I’m just guessing but based on my other tools’ motors and how they react to my occasional heavy-handedness I’d say that blade speed (faster/slower) is just a matter of the motor’s rpm and the pulley size. A 1hp motor at 3450rpm will go just as fast as a 3hp motor at 3450rpm. The more horsepower you’ve got though, the easier it is for the motor to power thru when it hits a lot of pressure – like someone trying to throw a 12” tall piece of hard maple through it at warp speed. Try that with a 3hp motor and it will whine and complain but keep on trying. Try it with a 1hp motor and it will whine real loud and then just bog down when it breaks a sweat. Try it with a 1/4hp motor and it will just barf all over your workshop floor and go running for the door.
That’s how I view it, a licensed electrician might word it differently.

-- This Ad Space For Sale! Your Ad Here! Reach a targeted audience! Affordable Rates, easy financing! Contact an ad represenative today at JustJoe's Advertising Consortium.

View Nicky's profile


709 posts in 5096 days

#2 posted 03-31-2013 01:54 AM

I occasionally use my band saw to resaw small logs. My 14” Delta, with a 3/4 hp motor does just fine.

I use a 1/2 blade with 3 tpi. I use a slow feed rate. More HP would allow for a faster cut, and plow through the material without slowing down. I’ve popped the breaker a few times because of my feed rate, or not having a flat reference surface when the stock would twist.

1+ for Joe. A well tuned band saw can make a big difference.

-- Nicky

View wunderaa's profile


248 posts in 3207 days

#3 posted 03-31-2013 01:56 AM

+1 on having a well tuned bandsaw. My 3/4 HP delta with 1/2” wood slicer blade regularly chews through 10-12” resaws…just not fast!

View MrUnix's profile


8404 posts in 3203 days

#4 posted 03-31-2013 02:43 AM

The blade makes the cut, the motor just spins it at a constant speed. Any given blade can only remove material fast enough up to a certain point before it starts clogging. Once you reach that point, any additional horsepower is unnecessary. I routinely re-saw oak logs on my Delta 14” BS, and it only has a 1/2HP motor. I’m sure having a 1HP motor would be nice, but I haven’t seen a need for it yet on my machine. Just for grins, I looked at the manual for my saw where it talks about the motor selection.. and it has this to say:


For most work around the small shop or home work-shop a good 1/3-H.P. motor will be found to furnish ample power for this machine. [...] For steady production work, using wide blades, or whenever the Height Attachment is used for cutting thick and heavy stock, a good 1/2-H.P. Repulsion-Induction Motor, like the 84-510, should be used.

So get a good blade and cut away to your hearts content.. you have way more than enough power.


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

View sprucegum's profile


324 posts in 3002 days

#5 posted 03-31-2013 02:14 PM

My old 12” Walker Turner with a vintage 1/2 hp motor will resaw hard wood up to 6” thick with a lennox 3 TPI 3/8” blade. Not fast but I can do it and the motor does not heat up as long as I go slow. It slices through 1” maple and cherry like cutting butter with a hot knife.

-- A tube of calk and a gallon of paint will make a carpenter what he ain't

View MrRon's profile


5990 posts in 4248 days

#6 posted 03-31-2013 03:38 PM

In your case, it’s both the blade and the motor. If the motor is a direct drive, universal type, you don’t have 1 hp. It depends on the thickness of the wood you are cutting. The rule is: a minimum of 3 teeth per thickness. If cutting thin material, you will need a finer tooth blade. Pressure should be sufficient to keep the motor from slowing down. Even a low hp motor will cut as long as you don’t push too hard as to bog down the motor.

View Farhad's profile


14 posts in 3138 days

#7 posted 04-03-2013 07:59 AM

Thank you very much guys – especially SPRUCEGUN. You all took away my fears. Will have my blades resharpened ,go slow and boast on my 1 hp 360$ band saw ever on.

-- Farhad

View Farhad's profile


14 posts in 3138 days

#8 posted 04-03-2013 08:09 AM

Thanks a lot to u Me.Unix . you summed it all. By the way when hen and how u decide that sawblades are no longer sharp ?

-- Farhad

View Surfside's profile


3389 posts in 3178 days

#9 posted 04-03-2013 04:00 PM

Band saw blades are not sharp anymore if it will make crooked cuts and cutting slowly on to the stock.

-- "someone has to be wounded for others to be saved, someone has to sacrifice for others to feel happiness, someone has to die so others could live"

View MrRon's profile


5990 posts in 4248 days

#10 posted 04-03-2013 05:00 PM

Farhad, BS blades are not re-sharpened. They don’t cost that much to replace. Sharpening a BS blade would cost more than buying a new one. The exception is carbide tipped blades and the big blades used in sawmills.

View sprucegum's profile


324 posts in 3002 days

#11 posted 04-04-2013 02:55 PM

I have heard some people say you can sharpen a band saw blade by lightly stoning the sides of the blade while the saw is running. I tried it with a really dull blade just as a experiment it helped a little but it was a long way from sharp. Perhaps my technique was off has anyone else tried this?

-- A tube of calk and a gallon of paint will make a carpenter what he ain't

View bbasiaga's profile


1259 posts in 2999 days

#12 posted 04-04-2013 03:08 PM

Don’t try and do it with the wrong blade. As others have stated, fewer TPI helps tons with resaw cuts. I broke my 6 tpi general purpose blade, and tried to so a small piece of red oak with the only other blade I had – a 12tpi made for scroll work. It was a disaster. Next I’m going to get a 3tpi true resaw blade.


-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

View Ehren's profile


27 posts in 3260 days

#13 posted 04-04-2013 03:46 PM

My 2 cents on the matter. If you are going to do serious regular hardwood resawing I reccomend a 2hp motor with carbide blades. I learned this the hard way. In general I had success with the small motors at 6 inches resaw or less. The woodslicer is nice but dulls very quickly, Lenox carbides are awesome, you can find welders who buy large coils and will custom weld a blade to your length if you don’t want to pay retail. I have a 18” Craftsman Pro not a great bandsaw but it worked. The motor was one of those labeled 2hp but really only a peak 2hp and 1hp running (I learned this after I blew the motor). Aafter doing quite a bit of resawing the motor went out despite slow feed rates. I now face the inevitable decision to add a higher capacity motor to my existing CM BS (3hp motor for $250) or after expenses and selling the CM go with a Grizzly 17” 2hp for basically $300 more.

View Farhad's profile


14 posts in 3138 days

#14 posted 04-11-2013 01:06 PM

Dear Ehren.
Thanks for the advise. You seem to be the only one who is working on my “scary” side. My 360$ bandsaw is the standard 17 Cm type, the German Einhell. But it is assemble in China – or built under license. I got perfect result with it when one of my blades was extremely sharp. Unfortunately where I live carbide blades are not available.I have my blades re-sharpened once in a while thru professional shops. The interesting however is that I once thought about changing the motor. However I fear it is a serious job and could not turn out right due to balancing and vibration . In case you decided to change the motor on your existing band saw, with a different motor- definitely not recommended by the manufacturer, make sure you post your experience here. Would be very rewarding.

-- Farhad

View Farhad's profile


14 posts in 3138 days

#15 posted 04-11-2013 01:22 PM

Thanks Brian, but I can’t grasp the physics of 12, 6 or 3 tpi when resawing. On table saw blades there is this issue of being able to cut and remove the waste which should obviously apply here. But can’t believe it can be v-e-r-y drastic – may be one should go slower.The blades I use is 3 tpi and re-sharpenable and they come from Sweden. However there is a limitation on width of the blade in my country. For small width to do curves, it was suggested to me to use non-sharpenable black-color blade, the type used for metal or plastic ( don’t know the name you give it).It is a 12 tpi type and once dull you have to throw it away ( or re-sharpen it manually with small file ). I have not used them yet. I believe the cuts will be smoother and require less sanding.

-- Farhad

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