Bandsaw question(s)

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Jim

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What do you look for when buying a bandsaw? What should I avoid? This is for general and hobby use, but not full time professional use whatsoever.


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bigger pulleys and longer blades. hydraulic drop with adjustable rate. ability to setup as vertical AND horizontal if ya got the $$$$$ look at the distance between clamping jaws, can you fit your work in there? can you fit a machinist vice in there? auto drip oiler and auto off after it completes the cut.
not having to baby sit is key, time is money and while it is cutting, you can be doing important stuff like having a beer, whistling at chicks, polishing your tin...........
 
I'd first want to know.....is it for metal or wood? If wood, then I assume you're looking for a vertical saw.
Brand name, warranty, blade availability now, and parts availability ten years down the road. Throat depth (most are 12"), vertical cutting height, possibly variable speed. I've had one of those benchtop, 10-inch jobs. Was not pleased with it at all. (I suggest you steer clear of them.)

If for metal, then Poorthang's advice is pretty good.

Roger
 
I would suggest this is one tool where you want to avoid the cheap harbor freight stuff -- even for hobby use. The saw Frame must be able to put enough tension on the blade being used and the tool's adjustment systems for tracking is important as it will drive you nuts constantly trying to correct for drift. I would say no matter what kind of project, blade drift is a PITA. I would look for well known name brands. Getting an older model off craigslist is great if you can find one and want to refurbish it.

I had a Rikon brand with a 13" capacity. I wasn't doing fine woodwork. It had capacity for up to a 3/4" blade. Honestly I doubt it would have been able to tension a 3/4" blade properly. I used it primarily for producing large turning blanks from freshly cut logs.

Whatever you end up with, I suggest you look at bandsaw set up articles by Alex Snodgrass. If you take the time to tune-up the saw, it will work like a dream.

PS: A band saw will not cut intricate patterns like a scroll saw. For example, if I were cutting lure profiles, I would go with a scroll saw.
 
I would have suggested a Craftsman, but the spare parts or accessories supply has got to be drying up, so that would be my biggest concern with it.

Curious......I see no "quote" icon in the top-right corner of PGR's post.
Never mind. Now that I've posted mine, there is a quote icon in his, but not mine. Never noticed that before. :?

Roger
 
gt225, now there is no quote mark in your post. i have brought it up before. as soon as i post this, the quote mark will appear on yours, but you cant quote me back.
 
It's apparently a quirk of the software. I checked other threads this morning, and every one, the last post didn't have a "quote" icon.
Not sure why, but maybe I'm not supposed to understand it. :? :?:

Roger
 
Jim said:
Thanks all! much appreciated.

Jim Im late to the party, but I'm a bit of a bandsaw junky. :mrgreen:

In general, look for something older and made of cast iron. 2 wheel units are generally better than three wheel as they make life easier on the blade. As far as parts availability there's not a lot to go wrong on a bandsaw. The tires are a wear item but their easily found on line.

The single most important part of a bandsaw and something people overlook when buying is...THE BLADE. Skinny flimsy boxed/Box store blades are money pits and some people think they are stuck using that saw MFG's (Delta, Craftsman, etc) blades.

Find someplace that will custom make you a good blade from good blade stock and buy those. Yeah they will be 2x the cost, but their worth it.

I'm a Toolmaker so I have a metal cutting bandsaw and was lucky enough to find a blade welder for cheap.

You're probably not going to be that lucky, but with a brazing outfit you can silver solder your own blades and come out way ahead in the long run cost wise. I buy rolls of bandsaw blade for pennies on the dollar from CL and FB market and can make blades cheap at will whenever I need them.

A couple months ago I bought a 100' roll of metal cutting bandsaw blade for what one single blade would have cost.

Food for thought.
 
RaisedByWolves said:
Jim said:
Thanks all! much appreciated.

Jim Im late to the party, but I'm a bit of a bandsaw junky. :mrgreen:

In general, look for something older and made of cast iron. 2 wheel units are generally better than three wheel as they make life easier on the blade. As far as parts availability there's not a lot to go wrong on a bandsaw. The tires are a wear item but their easily found on line.

The single most important part of a bandsaw and something people overlook when buying is...THE BLADE. Skinny flimsy boxed/Box store blades are money pits and some people think they are stuck using that saw MFG's (Delta, Craftsman, etc) blades.

Find someplace that will custom make you a good blade from good blade stock and buy those. Yeah they will be 2x the cost, but their worth it.

I'm a Toolmaker so I have a metal cutting bandsaw and was lucky enough to find a blade welder for cheap.

You're probably not going to be that lucky, but with a brazing outfit you can silver solder your own blades and come out way ahead in the long run cost wise. I buy rolls of bandsaw blade for pennies on the dollar from CL and FB market and can make blades cheap at will whenever I need them.

A couple months ago I bought a 100' roll of metal cutting bandsaw blade for what one single blade would have cost.

Food for thought.


Good stuff RBW. I just finished watching an episode of Wordsmith Shop that featured a small CNC machine. Made me think of your post, you being a tool maker. Now that is an impressive machine.
 
I would stay away from the big box store bench top model.
You want one with sturdy table that will take a fence, because all that comes with those models, is a flimsy and sloppy little plastic fence. You don't want the table to move when putting a bit of pressure on it.
 
I found older Delta 14" bandsaws for wood cutting in the market place(craig's list) in my area zip code. They are built much better than the new models.
had them for years without a problem. you can upgrade your blade guide blocks with aftermarket units. a good work light attachment is very useful too.
Readily available are the replacement wheel tires , which can be found on line as well...
 
I am total novice woodworker. I just use my saw for boat and hobby stuff.
I found an older Grizzly model G0580 on CL for approx. $200. It was in like new cond. As others have said, the cast iron models are very nice and heavy duty. I purchased a few quality Olson blades for different woods/cuts and the saw has worked great! I also added a roller kit frame with locking wheels (Grizzly) so that I can move the saw around with ease. This has helped with use and storage. Not a fan of table top models as they are very light weight and not very stable.
 
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