Hello all. I am putting together a small project shop. Size (and cash) is somewhat limited so I was reviewing the different choices for bench top / table top bandsaws. I’m inundated with too many conflicting opinions and reviews. That said, I trust this forum more than a google search.
Most all of my projects use simple dimensional lumber, i.e. 2X4s, 2X6s, or thinner stock.
What I don’t really know is how much HP/Amps would be needed for cutting simple stock like this. Would a 1/3 to 1/2 HP saw be capable of cutting standard 2X4s? I really can’t afford to put out $500 to $1000 for a high(er) end saw. Most things I’d use it for are not as thick as a 2X4 but I’d like the option to go to the band saw if I so choose.
I appreciate all of you and thank you in advance for any advice you can throw my way.
Stick to 2 wheel bandsaws, not the 3 wheeled ones seen on some compact saws. 3 wheeled saws are difficult to get to track properly.
The power needed would vary with the TPI on the blade. More HP is better. Don’t trust the advertised labeling for HP, check the electrical label for amps. 1/2 HP should be about 4 amps, 1/3 about 2.5. This is assuming 120 volts.
A brief look around and the only ones I found I would buy is a Grizzly or Rikon. They appeared to be steel beam construction and not cast pot metal. All the others I saw on Amazon were of dubious brands. When you need some parts a few years from now Grizzly or Rikon would probably still be in business. If you have a Woodcraft store near you, they usually have a good stock of saws.
The down side of these smaller saws is that they tend to take odd ball length blades and may not be stocked locally.
One other thing. The blades most saws come with are usually a bit dodgy. Invest in a Timber-wolf, Starrett or Laguna. Less TPI will be faster cutting, but coarser. Wider will give straighter cuts in thick wood at the expense of how tight a radius curve you can cut.
I have a Rikon 10-305 and fairly happy (though it looks like the 10-306 is a nice improvement). I’d definitely second getting a better blade. I’d had trouble cutting anything other than thin stock anywhere close straight but I recently got a 1/2″ one from sawblade.com and to test it out yesterday I was re-sawing cedar 4x4s down to 1/2″ planks with great success.