Band Saw Buying Guide 2017

The band saw is no doubt one of the ideal machines for professional woodworkers, and hobbyists for performing DIY woodworking projects. Best band saw allows accurate and precise cutting in all types of wood. The basic uses of band saw are ripping, crosscutting, resawing, handling curves, angles and compound cuts.

The powerful band saw is basic machinery found in every woodworker’s arsenal and jewel of woodworking workshops.

Top Rated Benchtop Bandsaw

Rikon 10-305

Rikon 10-305 Reviews* Full-size 10” benchtop saw
* Dedicated for wood cutting
* Large cast iron table
Has 4-5/8” resaw capacity

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Rikon 10-305

 

Featured Bandsaw

Rikon 10-325

Rikon 10-325 Reviews* Balanced 14 inch deluxe saw
* Built-in 13 inch resaw capacity
* Smoothly, quietly, quality cuts
* Great for cutting larger pieces

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Rikon 10-325

 

Types of Bandsaws

You can buy a portable bench-top band saw as well as huge band saws fit for use in large industries. However, all the different band saws fit into one of the three basic styles. These three styles are bench-top band saw, stand mounted band saw and floor-standing band saw. There are also differences in terms of number of wheels, size of wheels and throat size.

We discuss below the defining characteristic and various pros and cons of these different styles.

1. Benchtop Bandsaws

Benchtop Bandsaw

As defined by the name, this style is a portable band saw which can be mounted on a stand or a work table. These do not weigh much and there wheel size ranges from 8 to 12 inches in diameter. One differentiating character of this type of band saw is is that the motor does not connect to the unit with the help of a belt and instead is connected directly.

  • Best for – home handyman, light scroll cutting, cut stationary objects (such as conduit)
  • Pros – cheapest, small, lightweight, easy to move around, lightly built
  • Cons – less sawing capacity, limited cut capacity, limit work bench space, can not be used for internal cutting

2. Stand-mounted Band Saws

Stand-mounted Band Saw

 

The distinctive characteristic of this style is that it has a 14 inch wheel diameter and usually comes with a cast-iron frame. The stand can be either open frame or an enclosed cabinet. The motor is usually located under the saw in the stand and is connected to the wheel using a belt.

  • Best for – small workshops, most woodworking tasks, curve cutting
  • Pros – relatively inexpensive, versatile, need small workshop space
  • Cons – under powered for re-sawing and making boards from small logs, limited cut capacity

3. Floor-standing Band Saws

Floor-standing Band Saw

This particular style of band saw is characterized by large sized wheel which ranges from 17 inches to 24 inches. These band saws are used by professional woodworkers for professional workshops. These come with bigger motor and stronger frame. Professional woodworkers prefer these to the other styles as these provide a very consistent cutting.

  • Best for professional use, heavy duty, need large throat depths, curve work, excellent for heavy rip sawing, decorative work on thick stock
  • Pros more powerful, more stable, more consistent cutting
  • Cons – expensive, require a specialized storage space

Advantage of Using Band Saws

Using bandsaws has a number of advantages over other forms of cutting machines. The following are some of these advantages.

  1. Bandsaws guarantees you a perfect straight and curved cut
  2. Programmable bandsaws ensures an accurate repeat cutting
  3. Bandsaw cutting does not suffer from have a heat-affected zone as with other kinds of cutting machines
  4. It is fast and accurate and thus saves time
  5. The machine can cut accurately narrow bars

8 Important Factors to Look at When Buying a Bandsaw

We have discussed above various types of bandsaw is available in the market. Now we take a look at some of the important factors which one should look at when deciding on a bandsaw.

1. Throat Size

Throat size refers to the cutting width offered by a bandsaw. Therefore, a 17 inch bandsaw will allow you to cut up to a width of 17 inches. Some of the smaller bandsaws make use of up to three small sized cutting wheels for increasing the cutting depth but it should be noted that the smaller the diameter, the shorter the life of the blade.

2. Motor power

Motor power decides the maximum load a bandsaw can handle. It is recommended to go for a motor with greater than 2 HP size. At the very minimum, you should choose a 1 HP motor. Another rule of thumb is that you will get more life out of a large motor running at a lower capacity than a smaller motor running at higher capacity. A smaller motor running at higher capacity will burn out much sooner as compared to a larger motor.

3. Wheel Size

Wheel size is one of the more important parameters when selecting a bandsaw. A rule of thumb while selecting the wheel size is that bigger is better. Also, two wheels perform better than three wheels. Since, the blades with smaller diameters bend a lot more as compared to the bigger diameter wheels, smaller wheels perform worse when compared to larger wheels.

4. Blade Width

Most of the bandsaws use the narrow 1/8 inches wide blades for creating some of the most detailed designs as well as some tight curves. Wider blades have an advantage over thinner blades as they are able to make straight cuts in much thicker wood stock.

5. Table

The sign of a good quality table is that it does not flex, bend and there is absolutely no movement when cutting. Most of the good quality tables are made of cast iron or heavy duty aluminum.

You should never buy the sheet metal tables as they bend while working. These will not last long and you will end up losing money in the long run.

6. Capacity for Expansion through Accessories

It is important to buy a bandsaw that you can easily expand by adding accessories. If there is a bandsaw with such capabilities then it is better than those without such capabilities.

7. Type of Use

If you are going to use the bandsaw on a daily basis, it is advisable to buy from an established manufacturer which also provides good warranty and excellent customer service.

8. The Price

The price of a bandsaw is important. By considering the price against all the above features will help you settle on the best bandsaw within your budget.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. I Am Professional Woodworker. Does Bench Model Suit My Profession?

No, bench top models are generally manufactured for seasoned woodworking hobbyists. A floor model i.e. bandsaw with solid base is must-have equipment in woodworkers arsenal, as they can make your tasks accurate ad precise.

2. How Band Saws are Measured?

Bandsaws are generally measured by their wheel’s diameter and throat capacity, both have the same length. That the reason you find 14” inch bandsaw, 18” bandsaw, etc on the product label. The diameter is used to determine the widest cut the bandsaw can perform. If you see 14” bandsaw, then it will cut 14” widest cut on wood. Band saw comes in many varieties in diameter and 14” is most commonly used by many professional woodworkers as well as seasonal hobbyist.

3. Is Frame important in buying band saw?

Yes, they are absolutely must-look features in bandsaw. Generally, two types of frame are being available i.e. cast iron and welded steel frame. Cast iron frame is the latest trend and used in many modern bandsaws because they are strong and heavy duty. As for the case of welded steel frame, they are also heavy duty and the main purpose for woodworkers to go for welded steel frame is that during heavy cutting load, they absorb the vibration resulting in precise cutting of wood.

4. What about Base of Band Saw? Is it equally important like Frame?

Yes, base is as important as frame because a heavy duty base also absorbs much of the vibrations and helps the woodworkers to cut the wood smoothly with optimum accuracy. Generally, they are two types of base available in the market i.e. closed and floor-based model and open and panel-based models. All the woodworkers prefers closed and floor-based model because it helps in all woodworking tasks.

5. Do Horsepower of Motor Matters in Band Saw?

Yes, horsepower matters in bandsaw and basically 1-hp motor is enough for daily woodworking operations but nowadays, woodworkers are preferring >1 hp motor because they want a powerful motor to cut thicker wood stock. If you perform lot of resaing then 1 hp motor is best suitable for your work.

6. How important is looking for Blade Width during Purchase?

Blade Width is important because many bandsaws accept narrow 1/8 blades for cutting detailed designs and tight curves, while some accepts wider blades. So, you need to carefully coohse between wider blades and narrow blades.

7. How useful is Riser Block in Band Saw?

Nowadays, a lot of band saws are integrated with riser blocks. For example, if a riser block is attached to 14” bandsaw, then there is greater possibility of increasing your cutting capacity from 6 inch to whopping 12 inch with no hurdles and difficulties. Such is the handy feature of riser block in the bandsaw. In addition, your job majorly consists of resawing, creating lumbers from large logs and cutting bowl blanks, then riser block is must-needed feature for you to consider before buying band saw.

8. Does Guides Helpful in Resawing?

Surely, block-style guide are easily adjustable and the best feature is that they work extremely well with the narrow blades. You can easily replace stock metal guide bloaks with cool blocks because they can be adjusted near to the blade, as this action will give you better support in using narrow blades of 1/16 inches. Another guide available in the market is euro-style guide, which are extremely useful, when you use wide blades for resawing purposes. If you use narrow blades, then this euro-style guide can be headache for you.

9. Should I Buy a Band Saw, if it has Column Mounted Switches?

Yes, Simplified control switches mounted on column are absolutely useful, as you can turn on and off easily as well as conveniently.

10. What to look in Wheel Covers?

If the wheel covers are hinged, then it is very easy for you to change the blades. In addition, you can even check the blade conveniently. If the wheel covers are removable, then you will face some problems in changing or checking the blades.

11. How many Styles are Guards available?

Generally, there are three types of guards available with bandsaws i.e one-piece, telescopic and two-piece styles.

12. Which type of Guard is Easiest to Use?

The telescopic and 1-piece guards are extremely useful and basically easy to use.

13. In which Model, Height Adjustments are Easy to Use?

With rack and pinion guards, height adjustments are straightforward to use and if ever, the knocking lob is loosened, then this adjustment will avoid the guard crashing to the table. Nowadays, spring loaded and anti-slip guide post are available In most bandsaws because they keep the guard from crashing in case of locking knob getting loosened.

Conclusion

Bandsaws are important cutting materials that you should have in your workshop. They come in various types and shapes which each type designed to do a specific job. In vesting in a high quality bandsaw will help make your cutting easier and faster. Bands saw are used to cut varius kinds of materials such as metals, plastics and wood among others. If you job involves handling this kind of materials then it is important to consider investing in a high quality bandsaw.

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