What higher-end bandsaw?

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ndbrown

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I have the Hammer N4400 with ceramic guides and have had it for 2 years having changed from a SCM Minimax S45, which I had for 8 plus years. Overall I think the S45 is the best value for money and a truly great bandsaw. In my case I changed to the Hammer N4400 to be able to use the same table extensions that I use with my A3-26 Planer Thicknesser. The N4400 I have is very well constructed but I would not go for ceramic guides as I have not really found them to have any benefits. I don't think you would be disappointed with either machine but for me the S45 is a classic Italian made bandsaw, a real workhorse of a machine. Both use a lot of European made components including very good quality motors. The Hammer cast iron table uses thicker cast iron sections than the S45 and the bandwheels are also slightly heavier made but the S45 frame feels like it is much stiffer, probably down to its unique design. The N4400 has a more powerful braked motor than the one on my S45 although SCM might have changed it as my machine was 18 years old when I sold it. I never felt that either is underpowered. Both have been in stable production for many years and evolved over time and fully spares supported and not always changing models every few years like some other makes. The N4400 has tyres that can be user changed and the S45 are bonded on but my tyres on the S45 were still perfect after 18 years. My vote is for the S45 but both are excellent machines.
Nigel
 

mr rusty

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I have a BS350 retrofitted with rikon guides NEW RIKON Tool-less Bandsaw Blade Guide Retrofit System - RIKON Power Tools (which do take a bit of adaption to fit as @MikeK thread). Makes blade changing setup easy and I also regularly use (in fact most often) a 3/4 bladewhich I find rips nice and straight. I think setup is everything - particularly getting the blade running parallel to the fence.

I do get the fence moving very slightly as you nip it up - a quirk you can work around by setting the fence up to be accurate when nipped up - but yes slightly annoying. You can upgrade the fence to the sabre fence, but it's not a big enough issue for me. Record Power Bandsaw Fence Upgrade Kit - Complete Sabre350 Rip Fence (Fits BS300E,BS350S + BS400)
 

Bojam

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I’d go Italian. The new Centauro Smart 500 has good specs and is an attractive price. Bonus is that Scott & Sargeant have it in stock if you're ready to make a purchase.

Alternatively the SCM Minimax S45N or, for more money, the Formula S440P.

Edit: There is also the Centauro Smart 400 but personally I'd avoid it due to the fact it only has a 1hp motor. The Smart 500 is a 2.5hp motor which is the same as the S45N.

Talk to the guys at Scott & Sargeant and maybe go take a look if the showroom is open.
 
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Chippymint

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In addition to other advice take a look at the Startrite models like the 502e (grey ones) the Axminster professional range (blue). These are great but you will only get them secondhand but well worth the waiting.
 

JBaz

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I have a Hammer N4400 as well.

I bought it at a show and the model on display had the roller guides, which I thought were standard. However, like most German/Austrian products (especially cars!) they were an "optional extra" and it came with the adjustable pads that I've never really gotten on with. If you go for this model I'd get the rollers.

Apart from that, it's been an excellent machine, easy to use and cuts accurately.
 

johnnyb

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the rollers on mine aren't a sealed bearing. they pull out and they need regular lube. the lower guides were replaced before I brought it. so the standard guides are like mehanite blocks ala startrite
 

gog64

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I make guitars in a home workshop and currently have a Record BS350. I've got it absolutely dialled in to make nice straight cuts using all the usual advice here (Tuff saws, Snodgrass bearing placement etc.). But I hate switching blades to something that can make curved cuts and having to faff around with the setup each time. The saw also has a few quirks like an annoying fence that moves as you lock it down. So I'm thinking about setting it up with a thinner blade and dedicating it to curved cuts, and adding a beefier bandsaw just for straight cuts, resaw etc.

The current candidates are a Record Sabre BS450, a Laguna 18BX or a Hammer N4400.

The Laguna intrigues me, but it's nearer double as much money and has less rip width capacity. The Hammer was originally a prime candidate but then I saw some comments on here about people that had some issues. Record has the 5 year warranty...

Decisions decisions.

Any feedback on either of these saws or suggestions of alternatives? I will only consider brand new and it has to be single phase and not monstrously large current draw (16A is fine but I don't want to trip the 30A breakers on startup).

Thanks

Hi, I have the Sabre 450 and am very happy with it. However it’s 2x the size of my last bandsaw, so I can’t compare it to other similar sized bandsaws. I think that I use it more than my table saw now. Ask away if you have any questions. I’m in Ross on Wye & you’re welcome to come and have a play if you can’t find a showroom with one locally. Apparently we’re another Bristol suburb now since the bridge became free to use!
 

Kicked Back

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Apparently we’re another Bristol suburb now since the bridge became free to use!

:ROFLMAO:

Can the fence be easily removed without losing any alignments? And does it move out of position when locked down? Those are my two biggest gripes with the non-Sabre 350.

Thanks!
 

Bojam

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How come Italians make a particularly good bandsaw ? it seems to be a thing.

Great question! Often wondered this. Agazzani, ACM, Centauro, SCM, Laguna... How is it that many of the best European bandsaw manufacturers are based in Italy?
 
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Bristol_Rob

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I've never noticed that straight cuts rely on wider blades. I've made plenty of straight cuts with a 1/4-inch wide blade. Lately, I use a 1/2-inch M42 blade for resawing. I considered a 5/8-inch M42 blade, but Ian at Tuff Saws told me the BS350S might not be capable of providing enough tension for the wider M42 blade.
I was told the same for my 350 sabre - so I use the 1/2" M42, and it cuts lovely and straight ;)
 

Ttrees

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How come Italians make a particularly good bandsaw ? it seems to be a thing.

Ollie
I'd just reckon they were the cheapest at the time, no bells or whistles, just useful features like well thought out workability which might be missing from some of the cheaper options, upper wheel assembly, not talking about guides which are a whole lot more user friendly than anything else.
Localized foundries making interchangeable components is one plus that I can think of.



....but that is an uneducated guess.
Wonder what the equivalent Wadikn's cost in the 80's?
I've seen some SCM or SCMI machines which predate the welded sheet metal saws,
and a good part of them are cast.
Some of old Startrites were Centauro CO600's rebadged, which to me suggests it might not have been possible to compete for the money,
Maybe the Italians were some of the first to make the welded saw?
I've seen Multico's which look a bit Italain also, a rather nice 500 machine on the bay last time I looked,
Those are some of my guesses, I'd love to hear why also.
 

MikeK

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:ROFLMAO:

Can the fence be easily removed without losing any alignments? And does it move out of position when locked down? Those are my two biggest gripes with the non-Sabre 350.

Thanks!

I went through a series of fence upgrades on my BS350S before declaring victory with the Sabre 350 fence. The Sabre 350 fence upgrade moved while being locked down, but I fixed this with what I had available in my garage and it works great. I can lock and unlock the fence with a quarter turn of the knob and it doesn't budge.

Here is the thread showing my fence upgrade journey. Included at the beginning of the first post are links to my other modifications.

 

Kicked Back

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Throwing something else into the mix...

A few of you have replied that a wide blade isn't necessary for straight cuts. I then found Band saw blade for ripping

I wonder if I can leave a 1/4" blade on the BS350 90% of the time and use it for both curved and straight cuts. Basically everything except thick resaw. And just replace the blade every now and again before the set gets messed up by the curved cuts.

I've asked Ian at Tuffsaws for his opinion but meanwhile have a fresh 1/4" blade on order.
 
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