My 14 year old son has some projects in mind which absolutely do NOT require
a band saw, but he's got his heart set on one anyway, because they were fun
to use in shop class. Smart boy! He's figured out that tools are to men like
shoes are to women. Where does the word "need" fit in? I brung him up good,
as they say (somewhere).
Anyway, he was at Sears today with a $50 gift card he got from grandpa for
Christmas, ready to put in some of his own cash for a band saw that was on
sale for 70-something bucks. Luckily, he didn't do it, figuring he should
talk to me first. I have no idea what characteristics would make a band saw
one you'd want to keep, or one you'd want to unload a gun into. I'm ready to
help him with the purchase of something more expensive, but I'd appreciate
some input about features to look for.
This, of course, is in lieu of advice from knowledgable salespeople, who are
"> Anyway, he was at Sears today with a $50 gift card he got from grandpafor
I'd look at the 14" bandsaws for a start. Some of the smaller ones are not
terribly good, or underpowered for any serious cutting.
You are looking for solid construction, a nice cast iron table, solid
looking trunnions and locking mechanisms that wont move during use.
Check the bandsaw wheels for strength. The more wheel spokes, the better
(usually), but open it up and spin the wheels a bit and look from the side
to see they run true (well as good as can be seen by the eye).
Ease of access to the wheels is also a consideration.
You would want at least a 3/4HP motor as minimum, but 1HP or even 1.5Hp is
better, particualrly if you want to do some resawing.
A fence is an added bonus but not essential. You can always clamp a bit of
timber to the table.
Factor in the cost of a better blade, because the one that comes with the
machine will most likely be less than adequate, dull and cause frustration.
Timberwolf blades seem to be the bees knees in blades.
Dust ports are handy if built into the machine. If not, expect to do some
modifications to include one/some.
Thats about it off the top of my head. i'm sure other woodworkers here will
fill in the gaps :)
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tilt. Most will tilt from 45 degrees to the right to anywhere from 5 to 10
degrees to the left. The more solidly built the trunion is, the more
accurately the table will return to square and not move around at whatever
angle it's put at.
Think I would wander on over to the school to see exactly what they used and
what he learned on. I'm betting its a 14" Delta or Grizzly. I doubt a
small Sears $70 bandsaw will satisfy his needs if he's really interested in
woodworking. A decent bandsaw is going to cost $400+ but you could probably
pick up a used one in good shape for half that.
Delta, Jet, and Grizzly make decent bandsaws in that price range. If you
can find a vintage Delta and get him involved in rebuilding it, he would
probably keep it for life and enjoy it more than a new one since he and ole
Dad, restored his bandsaw...
We have plenty of people here that can help you in that department.
Check out the garage and estate sales in your area. Where I live, the "Want
Ads" in the Friday paper have a list of all the estate sales and auctions in
the area. Usually they list what types of tools are being sold.
I picked up a pretty nice Bridgewood 15" bandsaw "BW15 BS" for $200. It
was 2 years old and had not been used very much. It came with two blades.
The new list price at Wilke Machinery was $360. I went to Wilke (you can
order parts on line from dealers for most manufacturers), and bought a fence
system for it for $40.
I'm also just starting out in ww, so it will be a good begining saw for me
to learn on. I've used it on a couple of small projects, and it has been
great. The best advice I've seen (for any type of saw) from the wiser WW's
here on the rec has been to trash the blade it came with, and get a high
quality blade like a Timberwolf blade ( put a new Frued (sp?) on my
Craftsman TS, and it made all the difference). I have the catalogue from
Suffolk Machinery, and will do that as soon as $ permits.
Bottom line - look for a used one at a garage or estate sale or auction.
You'll get it fairly cheap, and you both can put some good father/son time
into refurbishing it. After raising 5 boys, I can tell you any time you can
put in with your son doing something like this will have a huge payoff in
your relationship with your son. "Priceless..." as that saying goes.
Just my $.02......
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