Advice please on first Band Saw purchase.

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bacchanal

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Hi all,
I'm new here, but have been reading this great website and forum for some time.

I am a musical instrument maker (Lutes), about to purchase my very first band saw. Due to the size of most pieces I need to cut, it does not need to be the biggest band saw.
I was told the old Inca table band saws were very good small band saws, but I have not been able to locate one for sale. There is also the fact that I would like to buy a modern-ish one, that was easily serviceable etc.

Are there any modern, high quality band saws that would sit on a table/work bench, like the old Inca models, and capable of fine, accurate work? I was advised to steer clear of the Axminster 'Hobby' range...

The other option I am thinking of is an old military green Startrite 352. I have been recommended these buy a few more senior instrument makers. Similarly, what would the modern equivalent be, in terms of usage and quality, were I to buy a new band saw?

Any advice would be much appreciated.

Thanks all.
 

RobinBHM

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I would suggest being patient and waiting for a startrite 352 if you can.

There are quite a few around.

plenty of threads on here about the machine.

the equivalent would be quite a bit of money.

The thing about bandsaws is that their ability to hold tension depends on the strength of the frame
 

custard

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There's a world of difference between a bench top Inca and a 352. A 352 is a serious machine that will allow you to deep rip your own components from solid billets..
 

deema

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Another option is a Startrite 14S1 or 14S5 the only difference being that the S5 has five speeds and the S1 is single speed. It can handle a 3/4" wide blade and is IMO every bit as good as the 352.
 

AJB Temple

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Are you ripping down from thicker stock, and cutting veneers? A proper bandsaw such as the 352 or any trade rated saw really will do the dimensioning stuff and veneers, cutting neck blanks etc. For dealing with thin stock, such as making the back of a lute, cutting ribs etc, a scroll saw might be your best bet.
 

bacchanal

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Thanks all for your tips.
I will be doing all sorts, such as cutting neck blanks, lute ribs (to around 2.5-3mm), etc..
Are there any good modern alternatives to the trusty 352 or at second best, a good quality Inca?
I shall look out for a used 352. But any tips to alternatives would be great.
Thanks
 

MikeJhn

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Do a search on here for Record Power 350 or 400 they seem to be the favourite of most who have them, but don't discount the Proxxon's they have very good reviews.

Mike
 

Ttrees

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Hello Bacchanal
I presume you will be using some dense species of timbers to make the back from,
and you may wish to resaw a billet of spruce if you had the chance, no?

You won't get a bench top machine that will suffice
Think of having mobile machines instead.

What is your price range ?
How long can you wait ?

I suggest looking for a saw with at least 400mm/16" sized wheels as anything below that is a toy.
By toy, I mean that because of some of these things like .....
Blade tensioning mechanism on smaller saws relies on a puny bit of threadbar that will fail very fast.

No frame strength, To put a decent blade on that has beam strength would bend the spine permanently...
OK you say, put a blade on that takes less tension ....
Now you are rubbing the back of the blade into the thrust guide, scoring it badly whilst making a racket.

Another reason to go for a larger machine, is the fact that all the smaller ones are either full of adjustability
to compensate for all the misalignment's, or just badly designed.
The larger machines have much more secure parts that won't move out of whack .
Make sure if your buying a used one, that someone has not bent the spine of the machine by putting a 1"
blade on it ...this happens quite a bit.
Look at the saw when its running with all guides backed off ...there should be no flutter or movement.
The guides are not for stopping this flutter from happening.
I would be looking for a machine like a hammer N4400 for less than £500.

You are in London so it wont take long to wait to find a bargain
look bandsaw and band saw in your search.
None on eBay or Gumtree at the moment

Tom
 

Beau

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GrahamF":1bet9fn0 said:
Just watched a youtube video about the Hammer N440 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=16Nhq5swos8

They say the teeth of the blade should be level with the front of the wheel, which goes directly against Snodgrass who states they should be centred. Wonder who's right?


From my experience of a few bandsaws and reading between the lines from comments on here it depends on the design of the bandsaw and if the wheels have a crown or not. If no crown it can run with the teeth just off the front edge of the wheel. Far more convenient as no need to adjust the blades side guide wheels for and aft between blade changes. I have had two bandsaws that work this way. A Kity 613 and a Griggio 600. I set up my old Wadkin with a crowned wheels but now regret it as preferred the set up on the non crowned wheels.
 

MikeJhn

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Try both ways and see how it works for you, personally I followed the Snodgrass theorem and it transformed both of my Bandsaws, one with a crowned wheel tyre, one with a flat tyre.

No matter where you put the teeth of the blade on the wheel, if the teeth remain in that position for all blades then you have no need to adjust the side guides/bearings when changing blades, unless the blade is thicker, just the rear thrust bearing will need repositioning.

Mike
 

Beau

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MikeJhn":1zq8zmlm said:
Try both ways and see how it works for you, personally I followed the Snodgrass theorem and it transformed both of my Bandsaws, one with a crowned wheel tyre, one with a flat tyre.

No matter where you put the teeth of the blade on the wheel, if the teeth remain in that position for all blades then you have no need to adjust the side guides/bearings when changing blades, unless the blade is thicker, just the rear thrust bearing will need repositioning.

Mike

The argument I have heard against setting the blade in the middle of a non crowned wheel is the set on the inside of the blade can get lessened due the continued pressure agains the wheel. Not that I have tried it just was advised against it.
 

Ttrees

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Hello Beau
I have a few questions on your Griggio saw.
For a start, does it run perfectly...guessing pretty good...
Teeth off the edge obviously on these Italian saws.

Does the blade stay in the same position on both wheels equally, or does the blade
ride on the lower wheel a bit back compared to the top wheel ? ..

How crisp of an edge has those tires ...Is there any sign of a rounded edge?

Is there an even sawdust trace on your wheels ...
I'm trying to get an idea of where you should see the dusty blade trace on the wheel
and if its more noticeable on, say the front of the tire.
Thanks
Tom
 

GrahamF

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MikeJhn":3231lyub said:
Try both ways and see how it works for you, personally I followed the Snodgrass theorem and it transformed both of my Bandsaws, one with a crowned wheel tyre, one with a flat tyre.Mike

I used Snodgrass method on my 300e and it certainly improved it. Wasn't aware that some makes had flat tyres.
 

Beau

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Ttrees":11gugkpb said:
Hello Beau
I have a few questions on your Griggio saw.
For a start, does it run perfectly...guessing pretty good...
Teeth off the edge obviously on these Italian saws.

Does the blade stay in the same position on both wheels equally, or does the blade
ride on the lower wheel a bit back compared to the top wheel ? ..

How crisp of an edge has those tires ...Is there any sign of a rounded edge?

Is there an even sawdust trace on your wheels ...
I'm trying to get an idea of where you should see the dusty blade trace on the wheel
and if its more noticeable on, say the front of the tire.
Thanks
Tom

The blade ran fairly well but not perfectly aligned from top to bottom. You would expect a machine of that price to run well though.

The edge on the tyres were and remained pretty crisp but I only had it for a few years.

Cant honestly remember much about the sawdust trace but it did have brushes fitted to keep it clean not that they worked very well. I would say the dust line was towards the middle of blade but it was long time ago and I cant rememberer for sure.

In general I have been impressed with the value for money of Italian machines but that Griggio was my most expensive mistake. The frame would flex when the blade was tensioned. The table I think was steel and not cast iron and was not flat. Good looking guides but they were poor in use and would tow out so would only closely guide the back of blade. Only 3hp on a 12" cut is not enough IMO. It got sold and I bought an old Wadkin and brought it back to life with some quality guides and fence and that is my bandsaw these days.
 

Ttrees

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Thanks Beau for replying with an in depth description.
I must agree, I think the steel is a bit thin on these machines also, I was trying to get an idea if these saws can
handle a 1" blade on the American forums.
(1997 ACM star frame, Griggio SNA600 vintage, which I believe its not changed since.)
I have only ran thin 1" blades on it or 3/4" heavier gauge.
I suspect my frame could be a bit damaged from over tensioning at some point in its life....

Or it could be that it took a fall at some point
Threads damaged in frame for upper wheel mounting, (the part that the tensioning mechanism casting bolts to)....
and a broken off threaded part in the trunnion casting, that the single bolt engages, (which I might add is the only thing holding the table on :shock: )

The table is cast on these as evident from the deep scratches on mine
It must have been used for pallets or something :(
This could be the reason why there was a big lump missing from the bottom wheel also.

Now, I have anything but crisp edges on this thing, so have to guess it could be the reason why blades are dancing back to the thrust guide, and towards the user.
I have dressed them flat (as good as can be done. I probably have done a wip somewhere)
I have another tire that I may put on soon, thinner than the original vulcanised rubber though, so I've nothing to
loose, by dressing the tire down to reclaim more edge "real estate" as the Americans say.

I would like it to be a bit more robust, but then I'd not be able to lift it.
Table off, of course, (will be taking off wheels anymore, since its so easy, I found out, this needs to be done
to check the progress of the wheels when dressing them ...your eyes play tricks on you, judging flat inside cabinet

That's probably more than you guys want to know, but maybe some may find it useful info.
Thanks again
Tom
 

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