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What to consider when buying a bandsaw for the first time

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wabbitpoo

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Have decided to get a BS as an aid in wood prep for turning on the lathe. I am wonder what to look for when making up my mind. I guess max depth of cut is one thing, but then, a tool is never big enough in my experience! I am thinking 5" depth would be enough for my turning needs, and with the best will in the world I cant see myself having the time or space to take up other aspects of woodwork. That said, I have some spare cash so would like to get something as future-proof as I can (ie a saw which I could use for a variety of tasks).

Any makes to avoid altogether?

Where on earth do I start looking!?
 

JakeS

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wabbitpoo":26l4b388 said:
I am wonder what to look for when making up my mind. I guess max depth of cut is one thing, but then, a tool is never big enough in my experience!
I would suggest two motor-related things to look for; firstly induction motors are more pleasantly quieter (and as I understand it wear out much less quickly) than brush motors, and secondly you want to make sure that you get one with sufficient power for the task at hand. IIRC mine is 350-400W induction, and I wouldn't expect to be able to cut through its theoretical maximum cut height of 100mm if I were cutting most hardwoods with it.

Also, depending on how you plan to use it, consider the maximum width as well as height of cut - if you're planning on making wide parallel cuts you'll need one with a larger wheel size to accommodate wider cuts.


Lastly, stock advice: whatever saw you get, forget the blade it comes with and replace it with one from Tuffsaws, and consider a DVD like Steve Maskery's if you need help setting it up; I'm pretty sure that the blade and the setup can make more difference to the quality and precision of cut than another £300 on the asking price of the saw, and will cost you a fraction of that.
 

Gerard Scanlan

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Try and pick up a second hand INCA bandsaw. I looked at everything up to 1500 pounds, felder, startrite etc and then stumbled across one of these cast aluminum left hand bandsaws by chance. They really are superb. Even though they are light in weight I can resaw hardwood veneers with this bandsaw from 6 inch thick stock without a problem! I only have a 350 watt induction motor running it so everything I read about 1 to 1.5 horse power motors being essential seems to be unfounded by this particular machine. Perhaps the Tuff Saws bimetal bandsaw is part of the deal :D. I would not have believed this was possible had I not done it many times over the last few months.
Every book about bandsaws tells you about how to set up for drift. Well with a Tuff Saws blade installed I just tightened up the fence and started sawing and it cuts dead straight. You just have to let the saw do the work if you push too hard the blade will wander in deep cuts. They sell for between 50 and a 150 pounds secondhand and the odd company here and there still has old stock (they haven't been made for at least 10 years) at about 400 euro new. Unless you have the money and space for a giant thing and anyway it is better to start with something fail safe and inexpensive and then you will see if you use it enough to justify getting a more powerful machine.

You will need a good dust extractor and have to rig up a dust collector under the table and in the bottom half of the door. There is a big American following for these machines and the user groups help each other out getting spares (which you are unlikely to need as they were built by Swiss engineers).
Hope this helps.
 

loz

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Already said above but width of cut is just as ( if not more ) important than height.

I know you will use it for converting stock into blanks, i do with mine, but i also collect up old kitchen doors etc ( for stacked platters ) and having the throat width really helps.
 

JakeS

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Gerard Scanlan":gacrns6x said:
Even though they are light in weight I can resaw hardwood veneers with this bandsaw from 6 inch thick stock without a problem! I only have a 350 watt induction motor running it so everything I read about 1 to 1.5 horse power motors being essential seems to be unfounded by this particular machine.
I could be wrong - and certainly a decent blade goes a long way to helping this - but I suspect that you wouldn't necessarily see the same performance resawing 1- or 2-inch slabs of your 6-inch hardwood. I find veneers are generally easier to cut (at least in terms of motor power - still need precision!) than thicker slabs, probably because there's much less chance that tension in the wood is going to bind the blade, and if you're cutting with the veneer on 'outside' of your blade, the thin veneer can bend outwards a bit without affecting it, lessening the pressure on the cut even more. Obviously wood choice plays a part too - some hardwoods are 'harder' than others.

The saw itself will have an effect, of course, as I gather that some will have adjustable gearing making it more plausible to saw through thicker stock after moving the belt, some will have different gearing in the first place, and I wouldn't be surprised if some machines have so much less friction in their systems that it makes a difference!
 

Gerard Scanlan

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I would not suggest buying any bandsaw with a low power motor but I know that the INCA can manage 15 centimetres through the following woods (not all just veneer thickness) I have sawn 12mm thick slices off 15 inch thick oak, elm, ash, walnut, purple heart, padouk and mahogony in the last couple of weeks. As long as the wood is fed at a steady rate and you allow the saw to do its work the INCA machine cuts brilliantly with a Tuff Saw bi-metal 12mm 3 tpi blade. I have noticed that when I encounter a knot in a softer area of wood the saw can falter slightly but the difference in hardness between a knot and the bulk of the wood can be very great indeed. The saw does get through it but you are alerted to the fact that it has encountered something very hard. I believe that the standard motor that came/comes with the INCA is actually a 550 motor so that should be more than capable of tackling thick hardwoods. Of course if you want to cut bowl blanks it might not have enough clearance (25 centimetres) to the left. And because the pieces of wood for bowl blanks can sometime be irregular in shape you may find that the 12.5 centimetres clearance that you originally thought you needed might be a bit optomistic, especially if you tip the table. The reason I suggested this machine is because I had read lots of horror stories about setting up bandsaws etc and I was ready for anything. However none of it happened. I expected to have to get a bigger motor but I have no reason to now and thing just does what you woould expect it to do.
 
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