Author Topic: Bandsaw, what to look for and why?  (Read 5675 times)

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Offline Acrobat

  • Posts: 465
Bandsaw, what to look for and why?
« on: August 18, 2015, 09:55 PM »
Hi all,
I need some advice on what a bandsaw can and can't do and if one is a worthwhile addition to my home garage workshop. I'm pondering whether to get one in the near future. I have a small garage workshop which I do general DIY for home and make woodworking projects regularly in all shapes and sizes. I envisage making more furniture and gift boxes and who knows what else. I have never used one before so would like to know what to look for and what to look out for and any tips on their use.
I have a CMS TS table with the saw and router modules, Kapex, MFT/3 table and ts 55 saw, carvex jigsaw and various festool sanders and Domino which I've put to good use over the years. I use the carvex jigsaw mainly for cutting out irregular shapes and am possibly in the future looking at the jigsaw module for the cms table (if I don't get a bandsaw) but I'd need to replace my battery powered 420 for a plug it version so it would fit the module. Instead of that option I was thinking of getting a bandsaw but having never used one am wondering what use would it get? Is it just a glorified jigsaw? I have space to have a floor mounted bandsaw, but don't know what size to look at or what features one would recommend? Brands?
Your thoughts?
thanks
Don't wake me, I'm livin' the dream!

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Offline RL

  • Posts: 3039
Re: Bandsaw, what to look for and why?
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2015, 10:21 PM »
A 14" bandsaw will be good for 95% of your needs, and you'll find it will become your go-to saw for almost anything you used to use your jigsaw for, and even some of your TS cuts. When the wood is too heavy to bring to the bandsaw you'll still reach for the jigsaw probably.

It's probably the most versatile cutting tool in the workshop, safer than a tablesaw, easy to set up, small footprint, and you can keep a couple of different blades on hand depending on the work you are doing.

I think you need to find someone who has one and go and watch them use it, ask them how to set it up etc. It's not difficult but there are a few no-nos and things to watch out for.

Offline thedude306

  • Posts: 192
Re: Bandsaw, what to look for and why?
« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2015, 10:56 PM »
I have a laguna and like it.  Don't forget to look at cutting height as well.  12" minimum.    I have a riser block and like the extra room.  They should be pretty cheap on any saw. 
Brad T.

Offline ScotF

  • Posts: 2504
Re: Bandsaw, what to look for and why?
« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2015, 12:04 AM »
A 14" bandsaw will be good for 95% of your needs, and you'll find it will become your go-to saw for almost anything you used to use your jigsaw for, and even some of your TS cuts. When the wood is too heavy to bring to the bandsaw you'll still reach for the jigsaw probably.

It's probably the most versatile cutting tool in the workshop, safer than a tablesaw, easy to set up, small footprint, and you can keep a couple of different blades on hand depending on the work you are doing.

I think you need to find someone who has one and go and watch them use it, ask them how to set it up etc. It's not difficult but there are a few no-nos and things to watch out for.

I agree...except I think that the bandsaw is one saw to buy the biggest you can afford and fit -- the big saws run big and small blades and the extra mass comes in handy for resaw. I think that 12 inches is fine under the guides unless you are turning bowls. The big limiting factor for me is throat depth -- the distance from the blade to the column. I think that having 20+ inches adds a lot of versatility. The Euro-style saws offer a lot of rigidity to the saw at less of a cost than cast iron. Also, the guides are important - I really like ceramic guides -- they can touch the blade and run cooler and less moving parts. I have used all kinds of bearing, cool blocks, chunks of wood and ceramics and the ceramic guides are really quite good. You want something with cast iron wheels as these will run smooth and help power through cuts.

I think that the band saw is the single most important piece of stationary equipment you can own -- a well tuned saw can do just about anything and as RL mentions, it is a relatively small footprint. 

Offline Kev

  • Posts: 7651
Re: Bandsaw, what to look for and why?
« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2015, 12:41 AM »
I have the PS module and I got a 300 to dedicate to it.

It's not a bandsaw replacement and it's also not a scrollsaw replacement.

A bandsaw is on my list. (I'm screwed for space, otherwise there'd be two bandsaws on my list !!)

When it comes to resawing (think ... "I've got this big log"), the biggest you can reasonably fit and appropriately power (most over a certain size will require 3 phase power) is you target. Outside of felling trees, a 14" of very high quality is a common target.

I love the idea of two as that lets you set up one for big blade resawing and the other for finer work (shaping).

Flat tables with a good range on movement are important, adequate power for the blade your turning, quality blade guides, balanced wheels, etc, etc all come into play. This is one area where a solid ten year plus old second hand imported Euro machine is a much better bet than a lot of the Asian imports.

I'm personally considering the Hammer 4400. It does get criticised a little for the small table size and a couple of other quirks, but it's priced quite well relative to similar sized machines from Asia.

There can be a bit of setup and tuning, so if you're buying new, make sure you're going to get some serious support (another reason for my preference her in Oz).

You're also going to want to look into high volume DC.

Offline ScotF

  • Posts: 2504
Re: Bandsaw, what to look for and why?
« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2015, 01:03 AM »
I have the PS module and I got a 300 to dedicate to it.

It's not a bandsaw replacement and it's also not a scrollsaw replacement.

A bandsaw is on my list. (I'm screwed for space, otherwise there'd be two bandsaws on my list !!)

When it comes to resawing (think ... "I've got this big log"), the biggest you can reasonably fit and appropriately power (most over a certain size will require 3 phase power) is you target. Outside of felling trees, a 14" of very high quality is a common target.

I love the idea of two as that lets you set up one for big blade resawing and the other for finer work (shaping).

Flat tables with a good range on movement are important, adequate power for the blade your turning, quality blade guides, balanced wheels, etc, etc all come into play. This is one area where a solid ten year plus old second hand imported Euro machine is a much better bet than a lot of the Asian imports.

I'm personally considering the Hammer 4400. It does get criticised a little for the small table size and a couple of other quirks, but it's priced quite well relative to similar sized machines from Asia.

There can be a bit of setup and tuning, so if you're buying new, make sure you're going to get some serious support (another reason for my preference her in Oz).

You're also going to want to look into high volume DC.

I think that this is a very capable saw, Kev. I actually like the new Felder made saws too -- the 510 and 610 versions. Small height and large resaw and throat depth and not that much more than the Hammer, at least in North America.

Offline Kev

  • Posts: 7651
Re: Bandsaw, what to look for and why?
« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2015, 01:31 AM »
I have the PS module and I got a 300 to dedicate to it.

It's not a bandsaw replacement and it's also not a scrollsaw replacement.

A bandsaw is on my list. (I'm screwed for space, otherwise there'd be two bandsaws on my list !!)

When it comes to resawing (think ... "I've got this big log"), the biggest you can reasonably fit and appropriately power (most over a certain size will require 3 phase power) is you target. Outside of felling trees, a 14" of very high quality is a common target.

I love the idea of two as that lets you set up one for big blade resawing and the other for finer work (shaping).

Flat tables with a good range on movement are important, adequate power for the blade your turning, quality blade guides, balanced wheels, etc, etc all come into play. This is one area where a solid ten year plus old second hand imported Euro machine is a much better bet than a lot of the Asian imports.

I'm personally considering the Hammer 4400. It does get criticised a little for the small table size and a couple of other quirks, but it's priced quite well relative to similar sized machines from Asia.

There can be a bit of setup and tuning, so if you're buying new, make sure you're going to get some serious support (another reason for my preference her in Oz).

You're also going to want to look into high volume DC.

I think that this is a very capable saw, Kev. I actually like the new Felder made saws too -- the 510 and 610 versions. Small height and large resaw and throat depth and not that much more than the Hammer, at least in North America.
If you can spring for a Felder I believe you'll be sweet. They price the range split more aggressively here in Oz.

Online Cheese

  • Posts: 5069
Re: Bandsaw, what to look for and why?
« Reply #7 on: August 19, 2015, 02:06 AM »
As @RL states, "it's probably the most versatile cutting tool in the workshop." I concurr 100%, with a bandsaw and a track saw I could eliminate my table saw if I wanted to. That probably will not happen but the versatility of the band saw cannot be overstated. Try removing 1/16" of material from a strip of wood that's less than 1" wide, want to hold on to that piece of wood on a miter saw? How about passing that baby past a 10" blade on a table saw spinning at 4000 RPM? I think not, use the band saw and save a digit or two.

I have an older Delta 14" unit with a 2 speed transmission. That means it's suitable for cutting both wood and metal. A definite bonus round if you're thinking about metal fab in the future.

Suggestions:
Purchase at least a 14" floor standing unit
Make sure it has a 3/4 or more HP motor
Good after-market blade guides are a must
A brightly lighted cutting surface is a must.



Offline Wuffles

  • Posts: 1313
Re: Bandsaw, what to look for and why?
« Reply #8 on: August 19, 2015, 02:33 AM »
I have an older Delta 14" unit with a 2 speed transmission. That means it's suitable for cutting both wood and metal. A definite bonus round if you're thinking about metal fab in the future.

I can foresee a single speed Record Power band saw being sold by me soon. I didn't know you could interchange the materials -  [smile]
Tool list updated to reflect knowledge :: hammer, screwdriver, one pozi bit, and another bigger hammer.

Offline Kev

  • Posts: 7651
Re: Bandsaw, what to look for and why?
« Reply #9 on: August 19, 2015, 06:25 AM »
I have an older Delta 14" unit with a 2 speed transmission. That means it's suitable for cutting both wood and metal. A definite bonus round if you're thinking about metal fab in the future.

I can foresee a single speed Record Power band saw being sold by me soon. I didn't know you could interchange the materials -  [smile]

@Wuffles for a giggle, have a look at the DoALL band saws ...

http://www.doallsaws.com/sawing-machines/vertical-contour/2613-v3

Offline WarnerConstCo.

  • Posts: 4076
    • Warner Mill Works
Re: Bandsaw, what to look for and why?
« Reply #10 on: August 19, 2015, 07:44 AM »
I love my 36" saw, all 2200 pounds of her.

Offline Kev

  • Posts: 7651
Re: Bandsaw, what to look for and why?
« Reply #11 on: August 19, 2015, 07:47 AM »
I love my 36" saw, all 2200 pounds of her.

You need to make allowances for this guy ... everything he owns belongs at the top of the beanstalk [wink]

Offline fuzzy logic

  • Posts: 337
Re: Bandsaw, what to look for and why?
« Reply #12 on: August 19, 2015, 07:59 AM »
Now isn't a that a nice looking machine Kev? 

Love that it "...features variable frequency 3 hp (2.23kW) AC inverter drive controls that start the motion of the band wheels slowly to reduce mechanical shock and increase drive train life." 

Has me wonder how many bandsaws, especially lower down the food supply, have that feature. 
The more I think about it - makes lots of sense. 

Richard (UK)
Decent people do the right thing - always?

Offline Kev

  • Posts: 7651
Re: Bandsaw, what to look for and why?
« Reply #13 on: August 19, 2015, 08:30 AM »
Now isn't a that a nice looking machine Kev? 

Love that it "...features variable frequency 3 hp (2.23kW) AC inverter drive controls that start the motion of the band wheels slowly to reduce mechanical shock and increase drive train life." 

Has me wonder how many bandsaws, especially lower down the food supply, have that feature. 
The more I think about it - makes lots of sense. 

Richard (UK)

@fuzzy logic

There's a second hand one here going for ~$4K I've been watching ...

http://www.machines4u.com.au/view/advert/DoAll-2613-3-bandsaw/239487/

... a monster - sadly I've no space and also don't have 415V available [sad]


Online Cheese

  • Posts: 5069
Re: Bandsaw, what to look for and why?
« Reply #14 on: August 19, 2015, 10:20 AM »
I can foresee a single speed Record Power band saw being sold by me soon. I didn't know you could interchange the materials -  [smile]

@Wuffles
If you're talking aluminum, that's usually cut at the same blade speed as wood, approx 3000 FPM. So you could probably cut aluminum with your existing bandsaw. I've also cut 1/2" copper plate at 3000 FPM.

It's only if you want to cut hot or cold rolled steel, stainless or cast iron, etc. that you need to slow down the blade. A blade speed of 40-100 FPM is then needed. My Delta allows blade speeds of 40, 60, 85 or 115 FPM and then you engage the transmission and the speed goes up to 3000 FPM. It's also a 14" model so the footprint is the very same as any 14" wood only model.

@Kev
The DoAll's are really nice. [thumbs up] I used one years ago that had its own on-board band welder & grinder. Is that convenient. [big grin]

Offline Birdhunter

  • Posts: 2363
  • Woodworker, Sportsman, Retired
Re: Bandsaw, what to look for and why?
« Reply #15 on: August 19, 2015, 05:47 PM »
I have 2 bandsaws. One is a 14" and the other is 18". The small one is good for 80% of what I do. The big one is used mostly for resawing big hardwood boards.

I suggest roller bearing guides as an absolute requirement. I don't like the friction bearings. I suggest running the machine before the delivery people leave. Some bandsaws have unbalanced wheels and they vibrate like crazy. If the machine vibrates, don't accept it. The fence should be adjustable to be at right angle to the blade.

There are some good sources on setting up a bandsaw. The two wheels have to be aligned and the guides set just right to get good cuts. The tension has to be set for the size of the blade.

Bandsaws can be dangerous. It's as important to use push sticks and safety glasses as with any power saw.
Birdhunter

Offline MrGinCT

  • Posts: 102
Re: Bandsaw, what to look for and why?
« Reply #16 on: August 19, 2015, 06:05 PM »
Hi, I have a Laguna 14SUV which has a 3hp motor and 14" resaw capacity.  Very solid machine and little to no vibration.  I have the ceramic guides by Laguna but I'm going to change them out for the Carter guides which are all roller bearings top and  bottom as I don't care for non roller bearing guides.

Offline Kev

  • Posts: 7651
Re: Bandsaw, what to look for and why?
« Reply #17 on: August 20, 2015, 06:30 AM »
I have 2 bandsaws. One is a 14" and the other is 18". The small one is good for 80% of what I do. The big one is used mostly for resawing big hardwood boards.

I suggest roller bearing guides as an absolute requirement. I don't like the friction bearings. I suggest running the machine before the delivery people leave. Some bandsaws have unbalanced wheels and they vibrate like crazy. If the machine vibrates, don't accept it. The fence should be adjustable to be at right angle to the blade.

There are some good sources on setting up a bandsaw. The two wheels have to be aligned and the guides set just right to get good cuts. The tension has to be set for the size of the blade.

Bandsaws can be dangerous. It's as important to use push sticks and safety glasses as with any power saw.

Supporting the two bandsaw config isn't helping my financially independent retirement planning very much [crying]

Offline Acrobat

  • Posts: 465
Re: Bandsaw, what to look for and why?
« Reply #18 on: August 20, 2015, 07:57 AM »
Well that's a bit to mull over, thanks guys, that's some good info on what to look for. If I can afford it, a 14" model sounds like it would do what I need. There's a few tool shops around and I will visit in the coming month and see what machines they have and sounds like blade guides are something to enquire about. I hadn't given it any thought on what types of blades, just assumed they would come with one or two general blades so will ask about those too.
So, throat depth,
Depth of cut,
Blades
Blade roller Guides
Motor size
Adjustment for blade speeds
Lack of vibration
Ease of blade fitting?
Work light
Flat table, tilt-able?
Fence
On wheel base?

Think that should cover it! I better write out this list when I go else I no doubt forget to ask something important
Don't wake me, I'm livin' the dream!

Offline Kev

  • Posts: 7651
Re: Bandsaw, what to look for and why?
« Reply #19 on: August 20, 2015, 08:40 AM »
@Acrobat

An easy way to de-tension the blade is a handy thing too! Some have a nice big lever that makes it easy and tends to keep you from being too lazy.

Offline msweig

  • Posts: 11
Re: Bandsaw, what to look for and why?
« Reply #20 on: August 20, 2015, 08:58 AM »
One other thing to be aware of is there is a ton of variation in the length needed for the blade.  Some sizes are rather common and can be easily picked up at most stores, others require special ordering.  The oddball ones don't cost particularly more, but when you need to replace the blade it'll take some time.

Also, remember to tighten the blade.  I ended up making a sign so I didn't forget.  It sits right on top of the switch and is held in place with magnets.  In the photo I have it slightly offset to one side to show the switch.

Online Cheese

  • Posts: 5069
Re: Bandsaw, what to look for and why?
« Reply #21 on: August 20, 2015, 09:03 AM »
Well that's a bit to mull over, thanks guys, that's some good info on what to look for. If I can afford it, a 14" model sounds like it would do what I need. There's a few tool shops around and I will visit in the coming month and see what machines they have and sounds like blade guides are something to enquire about. I hadn't given it any thought on what types of blades, just assumed they would come with one or two general blades so will ask about those too.

Just to make your life a little easier: [big grin]
For the blade guides check out these folks, they have guides to fit everything. Don't even consider "Cool Blocks", they're junk.
http://www.carterproducts.com/band-saw-products/band-saw-conversion-kits

Some people like to remove the blade tension from their saw between uses and some of the newer saws incorporate this feature. If that's what you want and it's not included on the saw you choose, the Carter folk offer this.
http://www.carterproducts.com/band-saw-products/band-saw-tension/quick-releaser

For general woodworking I use this blade. Very long life and on occasion I've cut aluminum with it.
http://timberwolfblades.com/proddetail.php?prod=1204PC

For resawing many people rave about this blade, never tried it myself.
http://www.lagunatools.com/accessories/3-4-Resaw-King/3-4-X-2-3-Variable-TPI-X-93-1-2

For lighting these people offer a lot of options, good quality and made in USA. I have them over my lathe, band saw & drill press.
http://www.electrixtask.com/machine_tool_main.htm

Offline Billedis

  • Posts: 613
Re: Bandsaw, what to look for and why?
« Reply #22 on: August 20, 2015, 09:48 AM »
I'm with @Cheese on Carter products and TimberWolf blades.  Check out Carter's site on you tube for some very good information on bandsaws.  Bill

Offline WarnerConstCo.

  • Posts: 4076
    • Warner Mill Works
Re: Bandsaw, what to look for and why?
« Reply #23 on: August 20, 2015, 11:35 AM »
I never detension the band on my saw, time waster, not really important.

I despise carter guides, I usually toss them or pawn, er sell them to some poor sap.

Wright guides are the best guides you can have for woodcutting.

I have had the same bimetal band on my saw for almost two years, its about due to be changed.

My bands comd from my saw sharpener, he welds up my 19 footers for me.

Offline Lbob131

  • Posts: 459
Re: Bandsaw, what to look for and why?
« Reply #24 on: August 20, 2015, 02:18 PM »
When you look at  a band saw  hold the table  from the front  with both hands  and see  if you  can  move it  from side to side.

Some have movement   and some don't. The better quality  machines  obviously  will be   quite solid.
It can be a source for  vibration.