Band saw buying guide 2017

A band saw is a very versatile tool and is therefore part of the tool step of every woodworker. However, these days there are a ton of manufacturers who have come out with a variety of models with different features and this huge variance in features and models has made buying a band saw a difficult decision for many. In addition to the wide variance in models, there are a lot of websites which provide reviews on band saws in addition to other tools but there is not a single website which is dedicated to discuss only band saw.

We have therefore started this website to help you decide on the model to fit your needs. We discuss the advantages and disadvantages of different models, provide you with tips on choosing the right bandsaw for you, reviews on top rated band saws and comparison chart on all of the top models.

Most of the woodworkers use band saw for re-sawing and cutting curves. Most of the models available today in the market look the same but have a great difference in price. Some of the models have the same components but the upgrades are different. Choosing the right band saw depends on the budget and the type of use you expect.

Top Rated Benchtop Bandsaw

Rikon 10-305

Rikon 10-305 Reviews* Full-size 10” benchtop saw
* Dedicated for wood cutting
* Large cast iron table
Has 4-5/8” resaw capacity

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Rikon 10-305

 

Featured Bandsaw

Rikon 10-325

Rikon 10-325 Reviews* Balanced 14 inch deluxe saw
* Built-in 13 inch resaw capacity
* Smoothly, quietly, quality cuts
* Great for cutting larger pieces

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Rikon 10-325

 

As the name suggests, band saw machines are saws that comprise of a metallic band saw blade that is driven by two rotating wheels. A band saw machine contains a round and serrated cutting blade and can be utilized in the cutting of wood, metal and numerous other different materials.  It uses a blade made up of a metal band with teeth along one edge to cut different work pieces.  A typical band rides on two wheels pivoting in the same plane, although a few band saws may have three or four wheels. Due to the evenly distribution of the tooth load during band sawing the result is often results in a uniform cutting.  Band saws are used in carpentry, metal cutting, or for cutting a number of other different materials. They are especially helpful for cutting curves and irregular shapes, yet can make straight cuts too. The base radius of a curve that can be cut by a specific saw is dictated by the width of the band and its kerf.  Contingent on the parallel adaptability and the width of the band, a bandsaw machine can be applied  for straight cutting, curved shape cutting and irregular shape cuttings, although bandsaws are mostly used to cut curved and irregular shapes. Band saws get their power from numerous sources such as electric power, wind and steam.

When working on a bandsaw, you feed work pieces into the cutting edge of the saw.  The bandsaw machine cuts by drawing a constant metal band over the work piece. The band saw cutting edge is upheld and determined by a drive wheel and an idler wheel. Since every tooth is an accuracy cutting apparatus, exactness can be held to close tolerance. This disposes minimizes the need for auxiliary machining operations. During the process you need not worry about chips being cut off as the process of removing them is fast. When you turn on the bandsaw for cutting a clamped material, all you have to do is raise the saw and ensure that blade descends on cutting material and cuts along the marked lines. To cut metals, a steady stream of a coolant must flow over the bandsaw blade to lubricate and cool the blade. The coolants also help increase the lifespan of the machine and the accuracy of cutting. Some of the time, brushes or brush wheels are utilized to get rid of the cut chips. Band speeds usually range from 40 ft p.m. to 5000 ft p.m. In a vertical bandsaw, the edge is brought down onto the work piece while a horizontal one the work piece is fed onto the cutting blade.

Types of Bandsaws

You can buy a portable bench-top band saw as well as huge band saws fit for use in large industries. However, all the different band saws fit into one of the three basic styles. These three styles are bench-top band saw, stand mounted band saw and floor-standing band saw. There are also differences in terms of number of wheels, size of wheels and throat size.

We discuss below the defining characteristic and various pros and cons of these different styles.

1. Benchtop Bandsaws

Benchtop Bandsaw

As defined by the name, this style is a portable band saw which can be mounted on a stand or a work table. These do not weigh much and there wheel size ranges from 8 to 12 inches in diameter. One differentiating character of this type of band saw is is that the motor does not connect to the unit with the help of a belt and instead is connected directly.

  • Best for – home handyman, light scroll cutting, cut stationary objects (such as conduit)
  • Pros – cheapest, small, lightweight, easy to move around, lightly built
  • Cons – less sawing capacity, limited cut capacity, limit work bench space, can not be used for internal cutting

2. Stand-mounted Band Saws

Stand-mounted Band Saw

 

The distinctive characteristic of this style is that it has a 14 inch wheel diameter and usually comes with a cast-iron frame. The stand can be either open frame or an enclosed cabinet. The motor is usually located under the saw in the stand and is connected to the wheel using a belt.

  • Best for – small workshops, most woodworking tasks, curve cutting
  • Pros – relatively inexpensive, versatile, need small workshop space
  • Cons – under powered for re-sawing and making boards from small logs, limited cut capacity

3. Floor-standing Band Saws

Floor-standing Band Saw

This particular style of band saw is characterized by large sized wheel which ranges from 17 inches to 24 inches. These band saws are used by professional woodworkers for professional workshops. These come with bigger motor and stronger frame. Professional woodworkers prefer these to the other styles as these provide a very consistent cutting.

  • Best for professional use, heavy duty, need large throat depths, curve work, excellent for heavy rip sawing, decorative work on thick stock
  • Pros more powerful, more stable, more consistent cutting
  • Cons – expensive, require a specialized storage space

Advantage of Using Band Saws

Using bandsaws has a number of advantages over other forms of cutting machines. The following are some of these advantages.

  1. Bandsaws guarantees you a perfect straight and curved cut
  2. Programmable bandsaws ensures an accurate repeat cutting
  3. Bandsaw cutting does not suffer from have a heat-affected zone as with other kinds of cutting machines
  4. It is fast and accurate and thus saves time
  5. The machine can cut accurately narrow bars

8 Important Factors to Look at When Buying a Bandsaw

We have discussed above various types of band saw is available in the market. Now we take a look at some of the important factors which one should look at when deciding on a band saw.

1. Throat Size

Throat size refers to the cutting width offered by a band saw. Therefore, a 17 inch band saw will allow you to cut up to a width of 17 inches. Some of the smaller band saws make use of up to three small sized cutting wheels for increasing the cutting depth but it should be noted that the smaller the diameter, the shorter the life of the blade.

2. Motor power

Motor power decides the maximum load a band saw can handle. It is recommended to go for a motor with greater than 2 HP size. At the very minimum, you should choose a 1 HP motor. Another rule of thumb is that you will get more life out of a large motor running at a lower capacity than a smaller motor running at higher capacity. A smaller motor running at higher capacity will burn out much sooner as compared to a larger motor.

3. Wheel Size

Wheel size is one of the more important parameters when selecting a band saw. A rule of thumb while selecting the wheel size is that bigger is better. Also, two wheels perform better than three wheels. Since, the blades with smaller diameters bend a lot more as compared to the bigger diameter wheels, smaller wheels perform worse when compared to larger wheels.

4. Blade Width

Most of the band saws use the narrow 1/8 inches wide blades for creating some of the most detailed designs as well as some tight curves. Wider blades have an advantage over thinner blades as they are able to make straight cuts in much thicker wood stock.

5. Table

The sign of a good quality table is that it does not flex, bend and there is absolutely no movement when cutting. Most of the good quality tables are made of cast iron or heavy duty aluminum.

You should never buy the sheet metal tables as they bend while working. These will not last long and you will end up losing money in the long run.

6. Capacity for Expansion through Accessories

It is important to buy a band saw that you can easily expand by adding accessories. If there is a band saw with such capabilities then it is better than those without such capabilities.

7. Type of Use

If you are going to use the band saw on a daily basis, it is advisable to buy from an established manufacturer which also provides good warranty and excellent customer service.

8. The Price

The price of a band saw is important. By considering the price against all the above features will help you settle on the best band saw within your budget.

Conclusion

Band saws are important cutting materials that you should have in your workshop. They come in various types and shapes which each type designed to do a specific job. In vesting in a high quality band saw will help make your cutting easier and faster. Bands saw are used to cut varius kinds of materials such as metals, plastics and wood among others. If you job involves handling this kind of materials then it is important to consider investing in a high quality band saw.

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