View Full Version : What size band saw?
10-21-2009, 06:57 AM
I am looking for purchase a band saw for my shop. The biggest boat I can see myself building would be along the lines of a Haven 12 1/2.
How big a band saw should I be looking at both in terms of depth and thickness capacity?
10-21-2009, 07:40 AM
A standard 14" saw will do just fine if you choose your wood stock carefully. Just keep your resawing to a minimum and purchase good quality blades. I'm happy with my Delta X-5 without the risor block because my lumber supplier will resaw wood as I order it. If I had the risor block I could resaw to 12" but think it would be a very slow process. Be sure to get a saw with the lever operated tension release.
Bigger is most always better in bandsaws but not if it takes away from boatbuilding funds.
10-21-2009, 08:11 AM
Bigger is most always better in bandsaws ...
10-21-2009, 10:01 AM
Bigger is most always better
I'm afraid i have to disagree with that. Bigger is always better. What you want at bare minimum is a 36" shipsaw bandsaw.
But if reality must intrude, a 17" is better than a 16" is better than a 14" is better than a 12". . . . .anything less than 12 is essentially useless for the size work you're talking about.
10-21-2009, 10:22 AM
Are you buying new... or used? What's your budget? How much rewawing do you envision yourself doing? Do you like tinkering with machinery, or do you prefer something more plug-and-play? As is common with such inquiries, the more info we have about your particular situation, the better able we are to offer advice relevant to you. I'll take a stab, however, at the most common circumstance - just to keep the ball rolling until you fill us in a bit more.
If you're buying a used saw, the most likely thing you'll find is a Delta 14", or perhaps one of its many clones (Jet, Grizzly, Steel City, Powermatic, etc.) The 14" will probably be adequate for what you intend. I'm assuming, however, that in a town the size of Marietta, you can find someone to do any large volumes of resawing (or that your lumber supplier can cut to your dimensions). The 14" - even carefully tuned, with the proper blades, with the riser block, and with a 1 or 1.5 hp motor - is not the machine for large volume resawing. It is a good general purpose saw for any shop.
10-21-2009, 10:45 AM
I have a twelve incher, but even just additional 2 inches would be very welcome. <snicker> You'll kick yourself later if you buy a 12" bandsaw - I am.
10-21-2009, 10:51 AM
Thanks guys. I do like to restore old machinery (I've built 2 racecars and restored 5 motorcycles). I would like to find an older 18" saw that needs restoring.
Fortunately a guy I work with has a side business restoring machine tools, both wood and metal working. He can help me find parts that I need as well as re-motoring for single phase 220. From you comments and advice I'll try to get around an 18" saw. That should more than cover what I have room to build in my shop!
10-21-2009, 10:16 PM
I think Pete Culler's shop bandsaw was a 16" Walker-Turner. Bigger is better, of course, but floor space and mobility are to be considered as well.
10-21-2009, 10:57 PM
There are two issues here, one being the throat and wheel size, and the other the motor power.
There are a few three HP motored bandsaws around, and if you dont use a bandsaw for all your ripping now, you would if you had one of those. Mines 2 hp and with the appropriate blade I can resaw 8in deep in Kwila. ( 1/2in 3 tpi extra set blade)
The old 1/4 or 1/2 hp motors just dont cut it any more ( so to speak)
Given enough power, an 18in bandsaw is wonderful, tilt table, fence, 10in under the guide and you have the most important single machine in your shop, capable of sawing the heavy timbers in the keel of that Haven 12 1/2 without a problem. you'll spile planks onto heavy stock and split them to get pairs, and all sorts of things, think small sawmill as well as all the curve cutting.
I also have a 6in one, no joking. To save me endlessly climbing in and out it sits inside the boat and will handle up to 2in thick lumber,. Again, it has to have the right blade and the one that it came with is near useless. I now have a 3/16in x 12 tpi ( teeth per inch) custom made one that cost less than half of the genuine one.
John Welsford, who uses a bandsaw several times more often than his table saw.
10-21-2009, 11:13 PM
If I were to do it over again...and will eventually.
Think of what you would spend on a table saw and a bandsaw if you were building cabinets. Rough guess is 2/1 but usually more like 3/1.
Reverse it and you will be better off.
(This assumes buying new and not rebuilding old (better) stuff)
10-21-2009, 11:46 PM
Check out the "Bring Out Your Dead" section of the Old Woodworking Machines forum -
Looks like you just missed a nice Powermatic 14".
- Bill T.
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