Band saw purchase questions

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 sometimes nonexistent.
Thanks! Doug
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"> 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 :)
-- Regards,
Dean Bielanowski Editor, Online Tool Reviews http://www.onlinetoolreviews.com ------------------------------------------------------------ Latest 5 Reviews: - Workshop Essentials Under $30 - Festool PS 300 Jigsaws - Delta Universal Tenoning Jig - Ryobi Reciprocating Saw - Infinity Router Bits ------------------------------------------------------------
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What's a trunion?
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On Sun, 04 Jan 2004 00:15:01 GMT, "Doug Kanter"

it's a little fish that comes to shore to breed in the full moon....
no wait, that's a grunion.
never mind.
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Bridger said:

LMAO! Locked up at home again?
Greg G.
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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.
Mike
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OK, but I don't understand wher the fish tank is mounted. You can't just plop a bunch of grunions onto the table. They'll be dead in no time.
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Doug,
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.
Bob S.

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Doug - 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......
Nick B

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