Share your experience with bandsaws

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Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 34 total)
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  • #658367
    kjo
    Participant

    Hi everyone,

    For those who started with all hand tools by following Paul and have now adopted a bandsaw, I am curious to hear your thoughts or experiences with it so far. Have you found the noise and dust to be an intrusion in your shop and woodworking time? Have you found that the added productivity is helping you develop your skills faster? Specifically for those using small (9″ or 10″) bandsaws – is it worth it?

    Thanks,
    Keith

    #658387
    dejfson
    Participant

    +1 to this topic. I’m just about to look for one as well … into … garage workshop. Could you please accentuate what are the important things?

    #658389
    Mike Goodwin
    Participant

    I have 14″ very basic (all I could afford at the time) unit. Not a game changer, but, useful when dealing with larger projects that require curves or aches. The labor saving involved with re-sawing has also been helpful, although i’m limited to 6″. I feel that the $400 I spent wasn’t wasted, but, may have been better served to have saved up for a unit with better re-saw capacity. Noise and dust haven’t been an issue, both are fairly minimal with a band saw as compared with other shop machines.

    #658474
    Andrew Sinclair
    Participant

    I’ve also been looking into getting a first bandsaw. My takeaway from extensive reading is that the minimum size is 14” for it to be approaching a lifetime, or even longterm, tool. Assuming the intention is resawing, I hasten to add.

    My impression is that below 14” I will be so put off it that I’ll either give up bandsawing, or immediately start shopping for a larger machine.

    The real good thing seems to be to go above the *basic* 14” ones and get cast iron wheels (inertia!) and a reasonably powerful (2hp or so) motor. I think with that spec it’ll truly be a buy once thing. I’ve seen them for sale 30 or 40 years old, so it can be a good investment I reckon.

    On the other hand for small resawing in pine etc for boxes and sub-furniture-sized stuff, I’m sure a basic 14” model is a heck of a lot better than nothing, especially with a good blade carefully set up. I’m still on the fence 🙂

    Just my tuppence worth, hopefully others with actual experience will be along soon!!

    #658512
    Matthew Newman
    Participant

    I have a 10″ bandsaw and I’ve been very happy with it, it has a resaw capacity up to I think 4 and 5/8 inches. The trick is you have to find a good blade for it. Mine supports a maximum blade width of 1/2″, if you can get a high quality one it resaws really well though you can’t go as fast as a really big machine.

    I think it depends on what you find yourself needing for it. The largest I’ve ever resawed is 3.5 inches, anything larger than that and I’m going to try and buy the stock milled closer to size I need especially when the price jump in my area going from 9-10″ to 14″ is 4-5 times more expensive. As to the lifetime tool part, my 10″ probably could end up doing that but a lot of the 9″ bandsaws I looked at are likely not high enough quality.

    For me a clue is when you can find multiple brands with identical specifications and if you ignore the paint are identical. That’s usually an indication that they are all coming from the same source and in my experience that’s not an indication of high quality. As an example I’ll list off 3 brands I looked at in person for 9″ bandsaws (Performax, Ryobi, a Central Machinery). I’d bet all the parts are interchangeable, and having seen all 3 in person I wouldn’t recommend any of them.

    All that said, I only really use mine for batch resawing, everything else I end up doing by hand

    #658525
    kjo
    Participant

    Thanks to everyone who has replied so far, I appreciate hearing your thoughts and experiences. I have a few follow-up questions:

    1. My biggest concern with getting a bandsaw is the dust. So far with hand tools I have avoided needing any dust collection, but I feel this would be a necessity with a bandsaw – especially since my workshop is in a closed room in my basement that doesn’t get any fresh air flow. Any thoughts here?

    2. For those who went for the 14″ bandsaw, how did you get them into your workshop and set them up? They can be quite heavy, and I imagine that would be difficult to maneuver. Did it take a few people to do this?

    3. The biggest reason I am considering to get a bandsaw is to reduce the time it takes me to prepare stock. However, besides ripping and resawing, it also takes long time for me to get my pieces down to a uniform thickness with parallel surfaces. Have you found that the bandsaw is accurate enough to help with this as well?

    Thanks!

    #658527
    Matthew Newman
    Participant

    I operate mine in the garage without dust collection and just cleanup after (and wear a mask if I’m doing a lot)

    For #3 with a good blade, goes as wide as you can to minimize blade wandering I can get very consistent sizing but I do have to run over things with a hand saw to clean it up.

    #658610
    Andrew Sinclair
    Participant

    My plan is to use my cheapy Ryobi shop vac and attach it to the bandsaw dust extraction port, plus wear a mask.

    I have recently bought a record AC400 air cleaner (briefly discussed on here under the general woodworking discussion section), so I may vacate the workshop after extensive resawing and leave that to improve the air quality. Measure this up before buying remotely as I did: it’s a LOT bigger than the photos make it look!

    #658631
    Mike Goodwin
    Participant

    1. I hook my shop vac up to the dust extraction port. It seems to pull most of the fine dust. Then clean up with a broom and the vac. My shop is in my garage, so I can be a little more dust tolerant. 2. The unit was heavy, but, manageable solo. Again this went into a garage. Probably should be a two man operation getting one into a basement. 3. I get about the same level of accuracy as I get with hand sawing, with about the same amount of planeing needed for clean up. For me the bandsaw has been more about saving labor than anything else.

    #658706
    Matthew Newman
    Participant

    I used to use a cheap craftsman shop vac with my bandsaw and it worked fairly well, got a good amount of dust but it didn’t have a conventional air filter so it it blew some dust out of the back of it. I upgraded to a more powerful vacuum with a good filter and found with big projects it ends up clogging the filter and causing problems.

    I’m considering picking up a cyclone dust separator thing, my understanding is you put it between your machine and shop vac and it forces the dust to settle out in a container and not go through the shop vac but I haven’t tried that yet. Might be something to consider

    #658711
    Bob Dehnhardt
    Participant

    I’ve been using a cyclone separator that sits on a 5-gallon bucket with my band saw and shop vac, and it’s great. I’ve had to empty the bucket a couple times now, haven’t emptied the shop vac once, and I’m not seeing dust blowing back into the air with a standard shop vac filter. Strongly recommend.

    #658714
    Bob Dehnhardt
    Participant

    My wife allowed me to splurge a little over a year ago and get a 14″ Laguna, and I absolutely love it. My hand resawing was pretty sketchy – I’d lose a lot of width from the wood because I didn’t cut right to the line. I’d allow a good 1/8-1/16″ because I didn’t have confidence in my ability to saw straight, so a lot of waste and a lot of planing, and I’d avoid projects that I couldn’t do with 3/4″ lumber.

    The bandsaw has been awesome, for both ripping and resawing. It’s been easy to set up and tune, and straightforward to use. I’ve got and small cyclone dust separator and a basic shop vac hooked up to the dust ports, and haven’t had a dust problem at all. I’ve been able to work on a lot more projects now that I don’t have to spend so much time and effort on prepping the stock – if comes off the bandsaw a lot more square and true than I could get with my old Disstons. I’ve got no desire to get any other power tools, but this one has been a Godsend.

    #659035
    kjo
    Participant

    Thanks for sharing everyone!

    #659058
    Matt Sims
    Participant

    I’m new to it…

    I got mine, a Record Power BS300E in January (2020)… mostly funded with money for a big birthday in December, and selling some of the surplus tools I’d bought since becoming a “sellerite”! (Who needs 20 saws?)

    I wanted it primarily for dimensioning, mostly resawing/ripping.

    I have to say that I’ve been disappointed somewhat, overall…

    Changing the blade takes ages…. Well actually swapping the blade out doesn’t take too long, but the subsequent tweaking does.

    There is no “quick release” for the tension, and the tension knob is/was really stiff. (dismantle and grease cured that)
    The upper wheel tracking adjustment was really stiff as well. I’ve now dismantled and greased that which has helped a lot… but it was so stiff that the plastic knob on the adjuster broke. I’ve cured that also!
    The supplied bearing gubbins is a real faff to adjust; The top ones aren’t parallel to each other, and the lower ones are almost impossible to see to adjust back/forward properly.
    The scale for width isn’t accurate, easy to read, or adjustable.
    The mitre fence isn’t “snug” in it’s guide track, so can’t be relied upon.
    The fence can’t be easily removed once set up… you have to set the table to 45 degrees to get enough clearance to do so

    Allen keys are supplied, but you need different sizes for difference tasks… easy to get in a muddle.

    Also, I had a major problem last week… Key holding the pulley wheel on the motor shaft had come off. According to the specs it should have been 35mm long… it was only 20 mm.

    Record Power support sent parts to me… and I was able to fix it.

    But what is really disappointing is that even if we weren’t in the current “lockdown” Record Power wouldn’t have fixed it for me anyway. Although there is a “5 year guarantee” if it goes wrong “we don’t fix it… we’ll send you the parts but you have to fix it yourself”

    That can’t be right can it!

    Having said all that, with a good quality blade, and care taken in setting up, good results can be achieved.

    For extraction I bought a Record Power extractor, at the same time. It’s the cheapest one they do, and it works well… but boy it’s noisy!!
    The extracting seems to be better when the sawing is better… with the poorer quality blades the sawdust particles are bigger and don’t get down to where the extraction is. This is not a major problem however.

    I’ve never had one before, so I can’t compare with anything else. I don’t think, for over £700 altogether, I’ve been expecting too much!

    Regards,

    Matt

    #659341
    Farris purviance
    Participant

    I started with power tools and have a small shop behind my home with a table saw, 2 bandsaws, jointer, drill press, power tool jigs for mortise, tenons and evening a power hand planer among other tools. I only recently started the more fulfilling use of hand tools and for a time ignored the power solution in favor of developing hand tool skills. However, I now integrate the two to get the best of both worlds. I use my band saw to cut certain cuts like the back support for a chair (but only after I’d done it a few times by hand methods. It’s a useful tool for a predominately hand tool oriented workshop. A 14” that can take up to 1/2” blade is really all you need. I love the pleasure I get from hand crafting my projects. Too many machine solutions take the personality out of your finished product.

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