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Bandsaw for the beginner

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BrodieB

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Hi all,

I’m just getting to grips with starting my woodworking hobby venture and through some reading on here, I’m avoiding the arguably unnecessary table saw and opting for a bandsaw. This is mainly due to space in my 12x6 shed.

I’m looking for people’s recommendations on a first bandsaw. Budget is £200. Needs to work off normal 240v. Bench top due to space. I’ll be using it for ripping hardwood lengths. My interests are cutting boards, small boxes and other basic projects. I’ve had a look into Axminster and Rutlands and both seem fairly priced and of good beginner quality but wanted to get the thoughts of experienced peers.

Thanks in advance.

BrodieB
 

woodbloke66

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Axminster and Record offerings come well recommended, but learn how to set your machine up correctly (it's not difficult) and please buy a couple of top quality blades; it makes a world of difference. I can recommend Ax Diamond Ground which are superb but Tuff saw blades aren't too shabby either :lol: Both are good and both will make an enormous difference to how your bandsaw works - Rob
 

BrodieB

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Thanks for your message buddy. Would you say buy the new blade straight up and set the machine up with a different blade to the one supplied? Or dial the machine in with the supplied blade and then switch it out after that? Any common mistakes when setting a machine up?
 

sunnybob

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Start with the blade supplied. It will be a lower quality, but will still cut. Learn how to set the tension and the guides before fitting a tuffsaw or other make quality blade.
With the guides all the way up, tension the blade until you cant quite twist the blade 90 degrees with your fingers. Thats a good starting point.
The secret to bandsaw performance is in the blade guides. You must set the side guides to be a cigarette paper or near as dammit away from the blade, and most important of all is the rear guide. The biggest newbie mistake is setting it too far back, which means that when you cut wood, the blade is forced back till it touches the rear guide. If thats too far back the blade teeth get squashed between the side guides and they all get flattened and you can throw the blade away.

It takes time to learn a bandsaw, much like driving a car, but once you learn, its a great tool.
 

heimlaga

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There is nothing such as a "one size fits all" in woodworking.
My first and so far only bandsaw was a 100 years old chunk of cast iron with 600mm wheels. I converted it to electric motor driven and made completely new guards and blade guides for it and put it to use.
I am pretty certain that this is not the best route for you to go. I am just telling you this to illustrate that there are lots and lots of very different ways to go about things.

In your case a possible alternative route outside Record or Axminster could for instance be buying a small secondhand bandsaw of decent quality. Look for one in suitable condition to fit your level of mechanical skill and how much time you can spend on it. The less money spent on purchase the more time and skill goes into making it work. What has been well made from the beginning can almost always be repaired. The limiting factors are time and skill and access to machine tools...... so don't go too extreme if you aren't confident that you have those three.

Buying a cheap extreme entry level bandsaw from one of the cheapest suppliers would probably only make you believe that you are unable to learn woodworking. I thought I completely lacked talent for woodturning and was forever unable to learn anything more than the most basic turning until I more or less accidentally came to use another lathe for an hour and consequently found out that it was the lack of rigidity in my own way too cheap Taiwaneese lathe which was the culprit. After 15 years of frustration.......... Then I got a Solberga lathe.......
 

galleywood

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Search for an Elecktra Beckum 315/6 (secondhand).
Alernatively have you considered a budget track saw for ripping?
 

Jacob

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Band saws very versatile but for ripping boards and making small boxes I'd go for a table saw, for the precision and the blade life - ripping gets through band saw blades quite quickly, Track saw better than BS for ripping but not as versatile as a TS.
 

BrodieB

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Thanks for your thoughts so far.

I do like the sound of a table saw but my shed limits me. To explain a little more about my size limitation; I have to take my 254mm chop saw outside my shed to use it.

I will look into your recommendations. Are there any websites or places to purchase second hand other than eBay/facebook/gumtree etc. I have had a quick browse of the sale section on the forum.

Thanks again
 

sunnybob

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Jacob":emjhi1xr said:
Band saws very versatile but for ripping boards and making small boxes I'd go for a table saw, for the precision and the blade life - ripping gets through band saw blades quite quickly, Track saw better than BS for ripping but not as versatile as a TS.
Jacob, i know you love to push peoples buttons, but youre giving the wrong advice to as newbie because I just dont see how you can rip an 18 cm x 29 cm x 2.5 cm walnut plank on a tablesaw.

This is said plank, ripped with my 3/16" blade, unretouched photo.
Match it on the table saw of your choice.
thin blade rip cut.jpg
 

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MusicMan

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Apart from two of the cuts being cross rather than rip, I'd happily match that on my Wadkin.
 

Jacob

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sunnybob":iqtyljxn said:
Jacob":iqtyljxn said:
Band saws very versatile but for ripping boards and making small boxes I'd go for a table saw, for the precision and the blade life - ripping gets through band saw blades quite quickly, Track saw better than BS for ripping but not as versatile as a TS.
Jacob, i know you love to push peoples buttons, but youre giving the wrong advice to as newbie because I just dont see how you can rip an 18 cm x 29 cm x 2.5 cm walnut plank on a tablesaw.
Er - do you mean 180mm wide x 290mm long x 25mm thick, or what? A very short plank! Possible with a very new blade and a carefully set up deep fence, but if it was 2900 long it'd wander off before you got to the end.
I'd do it as deep as possible both sides over the TS and take out the middle with the band saw. Much quicker, more control, saves band saw blade wear.
This is said plank, ripped with my 3/16" blade, unretouched photo.
Match it on the table saw of your choice.
Good with a new blade but they don't seem to last long ripping. That's my experience, I tell no lies.
I used to have to cut the tenon cheeks of 12" door rails and would reserve new blades for the job.
Does anybody do a rip filed band saw blade I wonder? I've never thought to ask!
 

sunnybob

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That blade was a long, long way from being new.
But I'm not a one for circular arguments (did you see what I did there?) so I'm out. 8)
 

Phil Pascoe

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The OP is looking for advice on buying a £200ish small bandsaw. How good Wadkin benchsaws are, the usefulness of bench saws when making windows, how to use a bench saw followed by a bandsaw etc. are well and good but totally irrelevant to his needs.
 

Jacob

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phil.p":27lctuww said:
The OP is looking for advice on buying a £200ish small bandsaw. How good Wadkin benchsaws are, the usefulness of bench saws when making windows, how to use a bench saw followed by a bandsaw etc. are well and good but totally irrelevant to his needs.
Yes but threads are supposed to wander around the topic - you never know what might turn up!
OP did mention boxes which means a TS could be handy - I used to make 100s of 6" cube boxes for Jackinaboxes, with a home made TS of sorts. A Picador Spindle, ammo box and washing machine motor, 6" dia blades, before I had a band saw. It was key to the whole op - cutting to length, forming the joints (tongue and slot), trimming the finished box, cutting off the lid. I bought a Burgess bandsaw eventually, to cut dowels to length and shape plywood toy things, but no use for boxes at all.
Just thought I'd mention it, is that OK?
 

Trainee neophyte

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My thoughts are that if you buy a bandsaw, you will always hanker for a table saw, and vice versa. I bought a table saw last year, which is brilliant, but my bandsaw is now in the post(!), which just means I am profligate with both money and space. You really can't have too many tools. Or clamps.

A bandsaw will (I hope) be brilliant, and versatile, and fun, and is marginally less likely to eat your fingers, so a good choice. You can turn freely scavenged lumps of log and firewood into useable timber, so definitely a good thing. It will pay for itself (is the logic you use on the holder of the purse strings), and besides, you can make bandsaw boxes! It is a must.

Has anyone actually helped with which one to buy? The simplest answer, as per SunnyBob, is the one you can't quite afford. Every step up in quality is a step up in cash, so go as high as you can, and then a little bit further. The limit on the height of the workpiece was my deciding factor: exactly as shown above. Making large book-matched panels might be exactly your thing, but it may not be. Yet.

I had a "budget" of around £300, but I doubled it in the end, and went for the biggest Axminster craft saw. Took 3 months to pluck up the courage, but it is done now - just waiting for delivery. I will let you know if it is a mistake or not.
 

sunnybob

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=D> =D> =D> =D> =D> =D> =D> =D> =D> =D> =D> =D> =D> =D> =D> =D> =D>
8)
 

marcros

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I would look for an Inca. they crop up on eBay, great little saws.
 

BrodieB

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So to make the thread a bit easier;

I dont have the space for a table saw. Suggestions for models and go-to brands (near to my budget) of bandsaw, blades, fences etc would be of most benefit. Thanks for the thoughts so far on setting up and what to get right and avoid.

I really like the advice of going just above budget. Being a complete novice it’s just working out which brands are reliable. Everything nowadays is branded and badged as ‘advanced’ ‘professional’ ‘pro’. The hardest part for a novice is separating the wheat from the chaff with trustworthy manufactures, which is why I’ve come here for the advice.

Thanks again,

Brodie B
 

sunnybob

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Once you get above the dirt cheap too good to be true prices, a particular brand isnt all that important.
You will find someone who will have problems with every make. Its not relevant to you. You will learn about the machine as you use it.
Buy it new from a dealer and you have AT LEAST 3 years warranty. You can even return it for relatively minor reasons.
And the most sensible argument to the significant other is that a decent bandsaw will retain at least 60% of its value when you come to move on.
Just do it. :roll: (hammer) (hammer) :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
 
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