12”/14” bandsaw comparison

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Rozza

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Hi all,

Want to buy my first bandsaw. Only really need 300mm throat and 150mm cut but would probably go to 350mm for some future flexibility. Mostly shaping 20mm ply, 25mm hardwood planks and ripping down the odd 100x300mm s/w and oak

Looking for something reasonably compact so can stick in a corner and wheel out when needed. I only have a smallish workshop. Only hobby use. So I don’t really want some heavy 150kg lump to manoeuvre about!

Looking around, all machines in this size seem to be clones of each other (unless going bonkers with Laguna or similar).

Are any of them ‘standout’ as being a bit better built/consistent than the others in this crowd of mediocrity? I appreciate that even clones can vary according to the spec given to the manufacturer by the end-label.

Trying to keep to a budget of well south of £1k but will stretch towards that for some tangible increase in build quality. Don’t really want to go S/H thanks, so current’ish models & manufacturer recommendations/observations would be much appreciated.

Thanks in anticipation
 

Spectric

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It is not all about the throat, larger machines have larger tables and so more space to cut curves etc. I found that there was little difference in the footprint of the BS300 and the BS400 except more height and it is manouvable on it's wheels. Yes they are all similar with some changes and probably because they are all made in the same place but it can be the details that make the difference. I would also look at the blade guides, some use disk like the 300 / 400 whilst the later 350 / 450 use bearings. Also don't expect the std blades that come with the machine to be any good , i found them to be absolute shieette and many round here will be using Tuff blades.
 

Seascaper

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Hello,
My advice would be to look out for a good secondhand Startrite 301, it would be perfect for your requirements, good solid machine that will last forever and blades and parts are readily available. It is not big and heavy like some of the other Startrite bandsaws and is easy to move.
 

Rozza

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I found that there was little difference in the footprint of the BS300 and the BS400 except more height and it is manouvable on it's wheels……some use disk like the 300 / 400 whilst the later 350 / 450 use bearings.

Thanks @Spectric …. Are you talking about Record Power here?
 

Spectric

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Yes I looked at several machines and was all set on buying the Record BS300 from Biven Machinery, but saw the BS400 next to it, it was not as large as I had thought it would be. The 300 / 350 are on legs so dead space whilst the 400 was floor standing and the price difference was around £300 more but It looked like you got a lot more machine with a nice large table. Then of course you know the larger machine can do what the smaller machine can but not vica versa and also the 400 has the blade tensioning lever which makes it easier to change blades. At the time the 400 was a lot less than the Record Sabre 450 and you would only gain a 2 inch extra cut. In some ways the newer sabre models do have a better fence arrangement and the blade guides are bearings not disk but the fence is available from Record as an upgrade to the earlier models or like me you could just get one of these Kreg KMS7200 Precision Bandsaw Fence.

Something I have learnt is that it is not just a case of size, you don't just get a choice of a machine in three sizes which would be sensable but you seem to get added features on the larger machines not found on the smaller ones.
 

Richard_C

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My experience is limited to a year owning an Axminster 1950, smaller than you want and OK-ish without being spectacular.

By chance today I was in Snainton Woodworking where they have some Record Power machines on display. I had a quick look and was impressed by the Sabre 350 and 450, particularly the blade guide and tensioning arrangements. Might be a bit outside your budget though. ( I think they have some deals on if you want the wheel kit as well.)

If I didn't already have a Bandsaw I would have been very tempted.
 

Rozza

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Thanks to @Spectric and @Richard_C for your comments and advice which is really useful.

I am no nearer understanding which are clones and if so, which might be the better clones and so I probably need to try and find a couple of examples to “kick the tyres” and make a judgement call. At the moment I can go and see Record Power, Axminster and Jet. Trying to decide if I should travel further to include Charnwood and Draper.

Thinking of the future needs, I am leaning towards the 14” end and I suspect well in excess of my budget but isn’t that always the case!

So things to look out for? Size and mobility still high on my list but thereafter it’s primarily about quality of the guides, table, fence, tensioning? Any tips would be appreciated
 

Alexam

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I have has the BS400 for a few years now and can honestly say that it is a superb machine. I also use a Carter Stabilizer for the 1/8" blades I use in making bandsaw boxes and it enables me to turn a closer curve than the standard blade guide. Bought it from new and its never let me down. Getting to the point that I will be selling it now as I have other things to do and dont think I will make any more, so lots of gear to sell off as well.
 
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