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Thoughts on Band Saws?

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by semipro, Jun 7, 2013.

  1. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    So, another thread, and Joful's and other's comments on the usefulness of a band saw have got me thinking I need one.
    http://www.hearth.com/talk/threads/table-saw-recommendations.110227/#post-1456535
    I don't intend to buy a fancy one at this point just something basic but well made. I'm thinking I would like a portable one that I can mount temporarily on my rolling workbench that I move outside for most work. A friend that knows much more about them than I steered me away from the three wheel units saying to stay with a two wheel unit.

    At this point I'm thinking:
    • relatively light but sturdy if possible (I realize these may be mutually exclusive)
    • 10-14" size (maybe unrealistic if I want portable?)
    • I'd rather have USA made even if an older unit
    • Dust collection would be nice. I have a DC system built into my rolling workbench.
    • Freestanding is out of the question until my new shop is completed. I don't have the room.
    Specifics on models would be great. I really want to avoid foreign made units unless German or Japanese.
    Your thoughts on this would be appreciated.

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  2. fishingpol

    fishingpol Minister of Fire

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    I use a Delta, not a professional model, but it does what I need it to do. It has a four leg base which I have on a rolling base to move it if needed. It is a two wheel model, 12". I would love a 14" with more power, but I get by just fine. I would suggest getting one with a common size blade. I pretty much have to order blades on-line as local stores don't have much selection. Even the dedicated woodworking stores don't carry the size. I can re-saw 4"- 5" in stock with a new blade very cleanly. There is a built in DC port which is really nice.

    I use it in the winter a lot to cut firewood splits down a few inches so they fit in the stove.
  3. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    Thanks. So I was thinking a Delta 12" would be a pretty common saw with blades readily available, apparently not
    Available blades is a big issue to me so it would help to know what the commonly available ones are. I guess I'll have a look next time I'm in the tool section.
  4. fishingpol

    fishingpol Minister of Fire

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    Depends. I think band saws are not as big a seller as table saws, so the selection of band saw blades seems less. Box stores will have many circ and table saw blades, but few band saw blades. Mine is an 82" blade. I think the 14" saws are 93 1/2" blades. I will say, for an almost 10 year old saw, it runs great and has held up well.

    I really need to get a ripping fence for that thing.

    Blade availability is important as I work with various wood species and have had a few pieces bind and snap smaller blades. They sell brazing repair kits if you are inclined, but the blade is usually mangled at the break.
  5. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    So I was just reading more on them. It seems a tilting table is handy for angle cuts. I hadn't thought about a fence. I have a torch and can braze well so that's good to know that I can repair blades should I snap one clean before it dulls.
  6. fishingpol

    fishingpol Minister of Fire

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    They can be done on the band saw with the tilt or a sliding miter. I use a chop saw for miter cuts, especially compound angles.
  7. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    Not portable, but mounted on a roller base to move around the shop, is my Jet 18" bandsaw. In fact all of my big power equipment is on roller bases except the radial arm saw. I don't use the bandsaw a lot, mostly for resawing plus some curve cutting. For example, as a resaw I split 1-1/4" thick birch rough sawed planks down the middle to make 2 - 5/16" boards (after planing) for a ceiling in our bathroom. An advantage of the larger saws is that they have bigger motors and can be wired for 240V operation, which is a plus all by itself.

    The big power equipment is pushed off to the side until needed, then rolled into position: joiner, planer, bandsaw, drill press, table saw. This leaves lots of floor space to handle stuff and move around. My shop is 32 x 48, so it is not small, but there never is enough room. right now floor space also is being used by a large workbench just off the middle of the floor and a big stack of lumber, as well as my lumber cart (on rollers) and the table saw (on rollers) which I use a lot and don't move very often.The radial arm saw is permanently mounted on a 24' workbench down one side of the shop, with big drawers underneath to hold small equipment and other stuff. It gets used a lot for cross and angle cutting on stock up to 16' long.
    fishingpol likes this.
  8. Thistle

    Thistle Minister of Fire

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    Delta 14" Bandsaw w/ 1HP motor,riser block & Lenox Diemaster 2 Bi-Metal 3-4TPI blades.....I can resaw 12 1/2 thick dense hardwoods (even 7"-8" Cocobolo or other tropical stuff is no problem for this).When everything is set properly its as accurate as my Dewalt table saw.And a lot faster.

    25 years old now & still going strong.
    fishingpol likes this.
  9. Foragefarmer

    Foragefarmer Member

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    I don't think it matters how big a shop is there is never enough room.

    I have a 1970's Rockwell 14" bandsaw which still works great.
    Joful likes this.
  10. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Just saw this thread. Lots of thoughts on this, will post from something other than my phone tonight.
  11. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Okay... bandsaws.

    I have no experience with anything as small as 14", but I hear many complaints from those who've owned newer 14 inchers about frame flex. Seems the vintage Delta's are the way to go, if looking at 14". The trouble with flex is blade tracking, blade wander, and trouble tensioning up wider blades for straight ripping.

    A 20" machine is a nice medium size, if you can only have one bandsaw. The 20" machines are generally small enough to roll around the shop (mine is on a welded mobile base), but big enough to provide the rigidity required to make a useful machine. My first machine, and one I still use, is a JET JWBS-20. This is a good mid-grade machine, and the street price was under $1200 when I bought around 2001.

    My real affinity is for the larger cast iron machines, such as the 30" - 40" Crescent saws. They are a work of art, but weighing roughly 1000 lb. with a motor, they're certainly not "portable". These can always be had for less than $300 un-restored, and I bought one 32" saw for only $75.


    cresent angle band saw.jpg IMG_9353.jpg

    Do note that Crescent also made some small saws (see below), which will outperform anything made today, if you can find one. You'll be in for a restoration project, but I enjoy restoring antique woodworking equipment almost more than using it.

    2201-B.jpg
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  12. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    I never knew such machines existed.
    Thanks for posting Joful.
  13. Gary_602z

    Gary_602z Minister of Fire

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    Band saws scare the living Bejesus out of me! Be safe out there!

    Gary
  14. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Funny, most people have more fear of, and injuries with, roaring circular blades. The bandsaw may be one of the safer machines that can cut wood.

    Tonight, I ripped several widths of 5/4 clear pine on the 20" bandsaw. Table saw is not set up yet in the new shop, and these lengths were too short to rip safely on the radial saw. Rip 1/16" wide of your mark on the bandsaw, and one trip thru the planer, they're perfect.

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