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Bandsaw thoughts for a woodturner.

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Richard_C

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I'm getting close to buying a small bandsaw mainly for preparing spindle and bowl blanks so I'm posting here rather than in 'tool buying advice'. I've got a fair bit of wood from various sources. It will get used for other things along the way.

Cost and space are driving me towards a bench top 10inch/250 model with a maximum cut depth c. 100mm so I can go up to 3"+ blanks and spindles. I need to be able to move it, the workshop/garage gets used for other things at times like putting a car in when we have overnight visitors post covid. Looking around, there seems to be a lot of "badge engineering" with different brands charging very different prices for very similar machines, and a lot of places - even the importers own websites - are out of stock.

I think I've narrowed it down to a Record Power BS250 at about £300 and a Metabo BAS361 for about £250 - both hard to find but I can wait a bit. The Axminster AC1400 seems a bit small, the AC1950 looks good but comes in just shy of £400, albeit with a stand, by the time you add a mitre fence which is not included but its getting into the over-budget hard-to-fit in and hard-to-move category.

Any comments or thoughts welcome, especially if you own one of the models, bearing in mind this is a bandsaw for a woodurner and general fixer and not the start of a bandsaw box making journey.

Thanks.
 

Paul Hannaby

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My advice - get the biggest bandsaw you can and let the visitors park somewhere else! ;)
Which ever bandsaw you buy, you will eventually realise you need a bigger one and for turning, it's all about the depth of cut rather than the width. I use mine for cutting down logs and all sorts and for that, the extra capacity comes in very useful.
 

scooby

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If you can afford it, I'd recommend going bigger than the BS250. Especially if you're going to be cutting thick pieces.
I had one for a while but I was never really happy with it, so sold it. I was using pretty aggressive 3 and 4 tpi blades from tuff saws, and at 3" upwards, it did struggle.
 

Phil Pascoe

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Yes, the bigger the better. You are a turner, so much of the interesting stuff you'll want to be sawing won't be nice flat pieces. I don't know that I'd be too worried about a mitre fence - my saw gets used used for all manner of excrement and I actually had to stop and think where my mitre fence was the other day. Maybe if you're into segmented turnings it matters, but it rarely does to me. Don't forget also that just because a manufacturer says the saw's capacity is n mm it doesn't follow that it will cut that.
 
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Lakeburch

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Hi Richard,
I have the Axminster AC1950 and can't fault it. I regularly cross cut 2.5" Sapele, Iroko and Oak, I bought a freshcut 37 blade 6 tpi 12.7mm to do this and I'm very impressed, even though close to the maximum width it tensions really well.
 

Trainee neophyte

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Last year, all in a quandary, I was exactly where you are. After much gnashing of teeth etc, I went mad and ordered the Axminster 2880, which cuts 200mm. It's not big enough. Or at least, bigger would be better. I'm having lots of fun with it, but the amount of waste in a log is astonishing, and to get to a usable piece of wood you have to start with something much, much bigger.

As an example, my new mallet was actually part of my learning to drive the bandsaw training regime. It's quite a big lump of wood, but it has a couple of waney edges, because wood doesn't grow in neat, perfectly round cylinders, and anything bigger wouldn't have fit inside the saw. I'll post the photo again, not because it is a good example of a mallet, but because it is a gorgeous piece of wood that started out as a log on the firewood stack, which is probably what you are planning, too.

20210408_112842.jpg


And a second view, with the imperfections more obvious:
20210408_112851.jpg


So, get a really, really big saw. Seriously.
 

LJM

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With the availability of new machines being an issue, why not go second hand? There’s lots of good stuff on eBay and other sites at the moment, possibly because people have had the time to clear things out!

Just one example:

Or there’s a decent little bandsaw for sale in on this site for £90; needs a fence and guides, but that can easily be forged within your budget, giving you a nicely upgraded saw.

I’d add to the chorus of voices saying “pipper the guests; get something bigger”; I’ve not even used my recently acquired 14” machine, and am already wondering whether 18” would have been better.

So grab an eBay bargain such as that, safe in the knowledge that you’ll get your money back, come the day that you relent and get a bigger machine.
 
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quintain

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I have used my Kity 613 12" wide cuts x 6" (maybe 8") ?? deep bandsaw for about 20++years. I built a heavy but moveable trolley for it to sit on with other bits and pieces.
I have found that an ideal tool for my use BUT on rare occasions I wish it had accepted 14 or 18" widths...go as big as your budget will allow you to push it.
 

Richard_C

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Thanks all.

I want a bandsaw not a 'project' so new or good & complete s/h seems the answer. Ebay is fine if its local, but nothing really turned up that I can easily drive to.

Useful comment on mitre fence, I now realise I don't need one and the 19mm Axi one is close to £50. Strikes me that 3 home made 19mm slides each with a fixed block 90, 45 and 30 will do all I want and can always cut more, or make adjustment wedges, on the mitre saw. I can order a proper one later if I need it.

Permanent loss of one side of the garage is not on. We have 2 cars which live in the drive but parking in the village is such that I don't want to ask overnight visitors (including adult offspring) to park half a mile away so we need to be able to get one car in the double garage. I've worked out that with a big re-organisation and modest clear out I can fit a stand mounted bandsaw on the 'workshop' side and more portable stuff in the occasional-car side.

I did build an upside-down jig saw table last week, surfaced with some leftover laminate flooring. It works on small stuff, up to 12 mm ply, but doesn't have the power to do anything more. Quickly made a "holed box" drill bit stand using some 6mm ply I had lying around. Using it convinced me that a bandsaw will be both fun and useful for much more than prepping blanks.

So its looking like the Axminster 1950, the biggest of my original shortlist. I accept that bigger is better and never big enough, but the next size up is a lot more money. I've looked at what I have to cut to start with and the 1950 will do it. Any big logs can be chain sawn to approximate length and I have skills with axe, hatchet and adze to render them roughly right.

Thanks for all the comments, good to hear from someone who has the Axi one I am thinking about, helped to distil my thinking. Nice mallet, must be a big hit with people :)
 

Tris

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As you mention chainsawing logs have you considered a chainsaw mill. Cheap enough on auction sites and a good way to turn a log into planks that will be more manageable on a smaller bandsaw. Check out the posts by Lazarus and Topchippyles for more info.
 

AlanY

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I had a Charnwood W730 bandsaw delivered just before Easter. This to replace a little Record Power benchtop bandsaw which was next to useless when trying to cut, well, just about anything. The Charwood is a bit of a beast but it cuts through 9" diameter seasoned ash logs with ease. I added the castor set to the base for ease of moving it and I could not be happier. To be fair, the old Record Power saw was well past its best and is now on the stack to go for recycling. Maybe it will spend its next life as part of a Tesla...
 

Ttrees

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Thanks all.

I want a bandsaw not a 'project' so new or good & complete s/h seems the answer. Ebay is fine if its local, but nothing really turned up that I can easily drive to.
I'd agree with the above, in getting the biggest bandsaw/band saw you can.
Bear in mind what could be considered a project.
A small one could be endless faffery, and new doesn't always mean perfect.
 

Blister

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My bandsaw is big enough , 4 HP motor , Its this one

 

Richard_C

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For that money I could employ a couple of people for a while, one to be in the pit below and one to stand on the log, and between them a very big saw. :)
 
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