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Table or band saw?

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Anonymous

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I've come to the conclusion that I cannot cut a straight line with a handsaw to save my life and if I am going to build any of the things I would like to I should get a power saw of some kind. Either that or pay huge prices to get the shop to rip stock to the right dimensions for me.

Space is very tight in my garage so I can only really contemplate one or the other so which one, in everyone's opinion, is best for the novice like me. Cost is also important - I have very little cash to spare for such items so any recommendations for a budget model will be gratefully received.

Cheer

Trevor.
 

Gill

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Hi Trevor

Can't use a handsaw? Has anyone actually shown you how?

Everyone is going to shoot me down in flames because I reckon there's no competition, especially when space is tight. It's got to be a bandsaw. They are often bench-mountable, which saves a lot of space, and light enough to be lifted out the way when not in use. Tablesaws simply lack mobility. I know you can fit them into cabinets on castors etc but the fact remains that a lightweight, possibly poorly anchored, tablesaw can be a downright liability.

I've used tablesaws in the past and they're good for large panels - if you've got a large, heavy tablesaw, that is. I don't cut large panels that often and when the need arises I simply whizz a circular saw down a straight edge.

Although the cut with a tablesaw tends to be cleaner, the cut from a bandsaw is nothing that can't be sorted very quickly with a plane.

How much you spend on your saw (bandsaw or tablesaw) will usually determine the perfomance of the machine. If you decide to go for a bandsaw I'd suggest you spend an extra tenner or so for a new blade. It'll improve the quality of the cut by a surprising amount when you compare it against a cut made with the blade supplied by the bandsaw manufacturer.

Happy hunting.

Gill
 
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Anonymous

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Hi Trevor,

Frustrated by hand saws then? Join the club. Never could get the darn things to cut straight, so I ended up with a wide range of power saws from which to choose instead. 'Course, now I know how to sharpen a hand saw correctly I can see it wasn't necessarily my ham-fistedness, but simply a poorly sharpened saw. Very like being put off planes by only ever trying a Stanley Handyman straight from the box really.

Anyway, I second all Gill said. (So we can get shot down together, Gill. Something to look forward to... :roll: ) A decent circular saw with a few appropriate straight edges and jigs will do all a table saw can (safely) do, without hogging all the room in the workshop. In fact you might be best off doing that and saving - and I know how hard that is :oops: - until you can get a reasonably good bandsaw. Can you give us an idea of your budget? We might be able to make more definite recommendations then. No good saying "get a such-and-such" if it's way over. :(

Cheers, Jester
 
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Anonymous

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I appreciate the quick responses folks. I'm really looking for something to cut straight with and for ripping down stock to the (roughly) right dimensions, the sort of thing you cannot easily do with a hand held circular- or jigsaw. The other features are a bonus.

My budget is as little as possible based on the principle that this is only for the odd hobby use (plus my day job is in finance so I'm trained to be a tightwad!). Realistically we're talking about the the budget Ferm/Clarke models from Screwfix/Machine Mart, which are somewhere around the one hundred pounds mark, unless anyone can give me some real horror stories about them.

Thanks

Trevor.
 

gidon

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I don't own a bandsaw (yet - but have used them) but have managed the last 4 years odd with a cheap Delta table saw. As long as the saw has a good rip fence and a decent blade, you will get pretty accurate cuts with a table saw. Funnily enough I find I need more space (in a small workshop) to negotiate getting out my circular saw and straight edges than my little delta saw occupies. And it's pretty light to pull out as needed. Also tables on bandsaws are pretty small which again makes it tricky for handling large pieces. Whereas even a cheapish table saw will often have table extensions as an option or thrown in.

The finish after cutting with a table saw is pretty good and generally won't need any more doing to it as Gill says. Of course you could tidy up the edge with a hand plane, but then if you're like me you'll end up with something worse than you started with! Especially on longer pieces of wood.

If you want a good starter table saw you could look at this Axminster one:

BTS10PP

They also do a cheaper one at £100 I think in their perform range. Still looks ok. And the saw I have which is still around and suspicously like the above saw is this one:

Delta 36-525

Should be able to get it for around £200 also. It's by no means perfect but far better than I could ever get with a handsaw!

Have fun choosing.

Cheers

Gidon
 
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Anonymous

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Trevor":3elnkfdl said:
I appreciate the quick responses folks. I'm really looking for something to cut straight with and for ripping down stock to the (roughly) right dimensions, the sort of thing you cannot easily do with a hand held circular- or jigsaw. The other features are a bonus.
But Trevor, I do all my cutting up of sheet stock with nothing but a handheld circular saw and a straight edge. It does work, honestly. Take a look at this page to see what I mean, and follow the link to FWW. What's more you can get a reasonably good circular saw for £100, but a table saw? Well I dunno. Maybe :?: Certainly a £100 bandsaw is a waste of money IMO. It'll struggle with anything harder than balsa in all likelihood, and be woefully small in capacity. On that basis, scrub round the bandsaw idea and get a table saw I suppose. It pains me to say it though...

BTW, being a tightwad and a woodworker? Ooo, that's gonna be tough. :wink:

Cheers, Jester

P.S. Gidon, sounds like you and hand planes don't get on. That's a shame :cry:
 

gidon

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Trevor
Bet you wish you never asked! Jester's right - you can do very well with a straight edge and circular saw - and for cutting up 8x4 sheets it's hard to use anything else - unless you're Norm that is and can single handedly cut up 8x4's on your table saw! (Sorry only for the sad sky/cable viewers amount us.)

Jester
I do occasionaly get a couple of handplanes out if someone comes to have a look at more workshed! To be honest though I was working last night in the shed without a power tool in sight, only some very new looking hand tools. It was so nice and quiet ... Well apart from the sound of the Microclene air filter (which I soon switched off). I could get a taste for it but life is too short (only kidding!)

Cheers

Gidon
 

Gill

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Hi Trevor

You're not too far from Isaac Lord, are you, so why not have a look at their stuff during a Saturday morning demonstration? You don't have to buy, but it'll give you a chance to see what different machines at different prices are capable of.

It could also be worth looking in the local ads to see if you can pick up a decent second-hand power saw, too. High Wycombe used to be the centre of the British furniture industry (it still may be, for all I know) so there'll probably be loads of local woodies with good stuff to sell.

Yours

Gill (hoping that the evening woodworkers won't be keen to take their shotguns out and bag a brace of overhead birds :) )
 

Noel

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Trevor,

Like most "what shall I buy" questions it really all depends on what you intend to build. With small box type projects a bandsaw may be of more use than a tablesaw. However with bigger projects I think a tablesaw is a must. I had a budget Delta saw similar to Gidons' and it did everthing (almost) that I asked of it. Even cutting 8 x 4 sheets with the aid of a helper although generally I found using a circular saw with the sheet goods laid on the floor on top of a sheet of polystyrene insulation was much easier and safer. Just need the blade a mil or two into the poly and no hassles with batons below the sheet etc.
Anyway, obviously budget and space is also a consideration.
Rather than waffle on best to take a look at rec.woodworking where this discussion has appeared many times over the years.
Lastly if you can get to the any of the shows (Stoneleigh, D & M, Axminster etc) over the next few months it may help.

Rgds

Noel
 
A

Anonymous

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Again, I appreciate your views everyone. And yes, being a tightwad accountant does make looking through catalogues difficult! So does my mortgage....

Yes I'm close to Isaac Lord, it's just round the corner. Boy does that place scare me! Whenever I go in there it feels like the other customers look at me just knowing I'm clueless.

You'd think High Wycombe would be a great place for woodworking but could I find a college or other adult learning centre doing beginers courses within 20 miles? Could I flip. I'll keep an eye on the classifieds though.

My interest in wood came up as no matter how hard we looked we could not find a TV/video/hi-fi unit for the front room we liked. Having Sky I have been fascinated and inspired by Norm to the extent of saying I'd have a go. To start with I'll be attempting a garden lounger, patio table, perhaps a bench... I know my limitations (and lack of machinery compared to Norm!!) Then it's on to the indoor stuff.

I'm less likely to be cutting sheets but ripping down stock with a band/table saw, to save getting the shop to do it for me. I can buy boards that way and size them myself for a lot less money. If the opinion is that the Ferm/Clarke/Record bandsaw clones for 90 quid are not really up to this then I'll save up more or go for the table option.
 

Drew

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Hi Trevor

can I suggest you look at this site for both bandsaw and table saw. I haven't purchased mine yet (firstly need to build my workshop) but I fully intend getting the W615 and the W720. I'm nothing to do with this company but I haven't seen anything as good for the price.

Drew


http://www.charnwood.net
 

Newbie_Neil

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Hi Trevor

I would agree with Jester. If you only want to spend about 100 pound then I would get a good circular saw.

The budget tablesaws and bandsaws will not give you any real accuracy.

You could achieve that with a circular saw and a couple of good blades. I have the Makita 5704RK which is still available for 89 pounds. Buy a fine toothed blade to go with the blade provided and you are up and running.

If you go down the cheapo bandsaw route the first thing that everyone tells you to do is to throw away the blade.

Cheers
Neil
 
A

Anonymous

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I plucked up the courage and went into Isaac Lord last night on the way to pick up the munchkin from school. It was devoid of other customers so I felt a bit more at ease. Great range of equipment in there, mostly WAY out of my budget.

One thing I did notice is that the bandsaws all have a very small work area compared to a low end saw with extension tables. And explaining my likely use to the salesman who started to walk towards the expensive end of the room he grudgingly said that I would probably be able to make do with the £170 Draper table saw they had in stock. I did not take to this guy however and he dismissed my questions about an insert for the router table I want to make from a nice piece of kitchen worktop gathering dust in the garage. He began trying to persuade me that I needed to buy a Trend Craftsman instead. He again grudgingly said that yes, they can order anything from the Trend catalogue for me, and yes the fine height adjuster would fit my Ferm 8F, and walked away before I could ask him much about circular saws. I then realised it was one minute to five and they wanted to lock the doors. It didn't make me want to spend any money with them....

I've decided to buy the Ferm table saw from Screwfix at about the same price as the Draper above (and the Charnwood, which I have also contemplated). The Ferm has a three year warranty and will be accurate enough for what I want. For sheet work I'll probably get a small circular saw at some point once I've saved up again.

Thanks all.
 

Newbie_Neil

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Hi Trevor

This was posted on the UK.DIY site. I assume it's the same one you're talking about.

"I was contemplating purchasing the big Screwfix tablesaw as a replacement. Well, I did, and I used it lots over the weekend, and I can
confirm, it's a beast.

It has several weak points:

First off, it's no precision instrument. The fence is very poor,
wanders all over the place, and will shortly be replaced by a
homemade version. The riving knife just won't line up with the
blade, and there's no adjustment which can make it do so. I'll
need to pack it out on washers.

But, it's powerful (at 2kW), and is of quite sturdy construction
(although they don't give you enough washers to use one on bolt
side and one on nut side; you have to supply your own).

At £150, I really can't complain. It will do the jobs I want it
for just fine."

Hope this helps.

Cheers
Neil
 
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Anonymous

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I was afriad this might be the case. As the saying goes you get what you pay for and I have no wish to mess about setting something up that is going to jam and muck me about a lot. So, I'll go the extra fifty quid and go for the Axminster BTS10PP (just don't tell the wife!!!).
 

gidon

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So, I'll go the extra fifty quid and go for the Axminster BTS10PP (just don't tell the wife!!!).
Good decision I reckon - and you'll at least get some support from Axminster if any probs.
Cheers
Gidon
 

Steve

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Hi peeps,
Having read the above with interest - I just thought I'd throw in my ten bob's worth - about Japanese saws.
I bought one on the recommendation of a mate, and LOVED it. It cost the princely sum of £12 from Axminster, and it is so incredibly accurate and such a pleasure to use, my table saw weent on part time.
I now have a complete range of Japanese saws, and I'm not exagerrating when I say that my table and circular saws are only pushed into action when I'm doing a lot of repeat cuts for a big project.
I'm not a 'purist' who thinks that biscuit jointers are the work of the Devil - I have a whole range of power tools - but I must say that there's an incredible satisfaction to be found when getting the results you want with hand tools. These saws are definitely superior to power tools.
Let me go through the saws and what they can do..
1/ Dozuki
This is a panel saw that leaves a superb finish and doesn't rip the outer facings of ply. The kerf is pencil-line thick. Costs about £17.
2/ Dozuki-me
This is a Dozuki saw with a spine, and if you get a buzz out of achieving a real precise joint - you'll LOVE this saw. The kerf is incredibly narrow, and the sawn surface it leaves has to be seen to be believed. Cost about £12!My dovetailing entered another league the day I bought this saw.
3/ Hasunme
This is a bigger pipper, but still only half the size of a European panel saw.
Words that spring to mind are 'magic', ' wonderful', 'amazing', 'simple, ' 'effortless' .... you get the point. About £20.
4/ Anahiki.
I just love it. The design is brilliant - the tooth edge is curved so that all teeth get to cut on each stroke. Because you pull, you are using only about a quarter of the effort you would with a British saw, but with a much finer kerf and a sawn finish that looks as though it's been sanded. Honest!
Also, because you're not 'fighting' with the timber, accuracy goes up, frustration goes down. Man, timber and tool in perfect harmony - and not a 13amp plug in sight.
This is great for large pieces, framework etc. I used it today on some beech, and it was a real pleasure. Cost about £18.
5 Ikedame
Small, super-fine, ideal for dovetails and fine joinery. Accurate beyond compare. The best £11 you'll ever spend.

Sorry to bang on people - but having discovered these saws, I don't have to use power tools so often, and the lot didn't come to £80. Above and beyond that - my woodwork has improved. I'd go so far as to say that I've left carpentry behind, and I'm now in the early realms of 'fine' woodwork - and that is a direct result of the use of these saws, I promise you.

Go get just one and try it - the little Ikedame is only £12 inc vat.
You'll thank me!

Stevie-San
 
A

Anonymous

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Steve

I admit that in one of my more reflective moments I did consider buying a set of these instead of a new bandsaw, saving about £300 in the process, but although I'd heard good things about them I didn't believe they could be as good as people said. Is the Hassunme really as fast at rip cutting as they say? Have you tried the Ryoba saw?

BTW are all the saws you mention Axminster's versions?

Thanks

Chris
 

Steve

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Hi Chris,

The hassunme really is fast - and it's accurate and so incredibly easy. If you're anything like me, you'll find that because you're not putting so much muscle into the job, there's less chance of straying off the line and losing square. I find that these days, I'm far more inclined to reach for one of me nippons than go to the table or band saw, set it up, try a scraptest - etc etc. When you add all that time together - the Japanese saws are faster, especially for single cuts. They're definitely quieter! When it comes to 'production' runs - then the machines come into their own, of course.
I did get all my saws from Axminster - they seem to have a complete range.
Funny you should ask about the Ryoba - thats the one I didn't get! I had an American double bladed saw (Shark, I think it was) a few years ago, and didn't get on with it at all. The blade flexed too easily and I found it very difficult to keep a line. I'd be dead on front and top, but the blade would flex in the wood and the buttocks end of the cut would always seem to go for a walk - especially in softwoods. Wasn't quite so bad in oak or beech, but bad enough. That put me off the Ryoba design-wise, but I haven't tried a proper Japanese one yet.

Hope that helps,

Steve
 

frank

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trevor get a 60 tooth blade to go with the saw ,i have a clarke table saw and it do's what i want it to do if you get 8x4 sheets get them cut down ,so you can handle them . i can never get a straight cut on my band saw but then i only have a 9"draper :(
 

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