I don't think there is a right answer to this question.
There are also relationships that involve diminishing returns and
Tracking down a decent price on a vintage tool can be a hobby in
itself, which some folks greatly enjoy. For that enjoyment those
folks give up the opportunity to use their time actually woodworking.
Spending more money for a new, high-quality tool gives up the
opportunity cost on the money, but returns it in time available to
actually use the thing.
For instance, if I were to spend weekends or time off traveling around
looking at used machines, the money available to me would dry up. If
I continue to make useful things and improvements to my home that my
wife finds beautiful, I keep the harmony when I drop $$$ on a good
tool. She's seen what her friends pay for such improvements, and
understands the value. In fact, some of her acquaintances have
provided an extra income stream. <G>
If I were retired, I would probably have much more time available to
find and restore used machinery, and likely have less money, which
would make finding them more worthwhile.
The key is for each individual to create a balance between the two
extremes that works the best for them, based on the amount of time an
money available. Also, some localities are better for finding used
tools than others.
Marketing. The DIY crowd prefers bench top, light duty stuff - cute
less intimidating than a BIG HEAVY SCARY Monster (the latter being the
thing that appeals to many of us here). So for their biggest market
make the "petite" model and make the conversion to "a real bandsaw" an
option for those who are inclined to want MORE POWER, Bigger, Beefier
Regarding ridgidity - use to be thick walled cast iron = rigidity.
again, the Europeans closely examined that assumption and found that
were other ways of getting rigidity without adding a lot of wieght in
cast iron. The box and box plus triangle bandsaws we see today can be
just as rigid, if not more rigid, than all cast iron models- AND weigh
A GOOD rack and pinion "blade guide" means not having to tweek your
blade guides every time you raise or lower the blade guide + guard.
If it doesn't move up and down while remaining square to the table
you start cutting trapezoids and not rectangles. Tapered veneer is
The 2.5 HP TEFC on the LT 16SEC has got to be 75 or more pounds, with
cast iron table and fence coming to another 40-50 pounds. But the
weighs about 375 so it'd be a bit of a challenge to get to a second
DO NOT remove the wheels. That's asking for a ticket to Set Up Hell.
While on the subject - you want dynamically balanced wheels - and cast
iron at that. Wheel weight = inertia = more continuous cutting power
when the teeth hit harder areas. Dynamically balanced wheels mean
smoother cutting and that's a really good thing.
The less the blade can move left/right or twist the better. Cool
and the other direct contact guides have been found to work well for
a long time now. But they wear and that means they need more frequent
adjusting. The ceramic guides are direct contact, they don't wear
very quickly AND they dissipate heat well - heat being an enemy of
I picked up a set at a WWing show and eventually got around to
them. Required hacksawing a little thick sheet metal but they work
pretty well. Unlike the bearing guides, the ceramic guides will work
with narrow blades as well as wider blades and you can set the front
the side guides just behind the teeth, behind their set. Of course if
you have a blade with a less than smooth joint they can be a problem.
Detensioning the blade is actually doing several things. First, and
it takes the tension off the blade and blades like that. But it also
decompresses the tension spring which is the shock absorber on your
That spring, when kept compressed too long will loose some of its
springyness. That means less shock absorption and that's not good.
Finally, detensioning the blade also takes pressure off the bearings
on the upper and lower wheels. Bearings last longer that way.
As for quick release blade tension feature - is the time savings by
turning a knob three or four revolutions really significant? If you
change blades often - 1/4" for tight turns and delicate stuff, 1/2'
normal things and maybe some resawing, 3/4" for beefier big cuts and
maybe once in a while a 1 inch blade for slicing up a mini-log. If
you have to adjust the tension after each blade change a "one size
fits all" quick release could be a problem since the proper tension
for a 1 inch blade is quite different from that of a 1/4 inch blade.
Over time the spring's strength will lessen so if you rely on a
set of initial tension points for each blade width you could have
a problem with undertensioning down the road
I've got the LT 16SEC - 2.5 HP TEFC motor, 12+ inch resaw, rack and
pinion guides - though plastic rack and pinion, and stamped steel
trunion. Works well though I'd prefer a cast iron trunion.
Torben is a bandsaw nut - loves doing laminated pieces using stuff
he bandsawed himself. If LT carries a bandsaw Torben probably
has used that model. If it doesn't work for him they probably
won't be selling it.
NOTE: if you can get a model with a table that'll tilt BOTH WAYS
you can cut dovetail pins without having to make an angled support
jig. The LT16SEC only tilts one way - dammit.
ALSO - mobility kit - you will move this thing several times at
least. Shoving/rocking/walking a 6+ foot tall 250-400 pound
beast around is not fun.
AH - the age old "buy more than I need and never use the extra
capability/power" vs "buy what I think I NEED now and then have to
buy another one sooner or later". To that I say "Buy Once, Cry Once"
(if you can afford it)
You WILL have a really nice piece of wood that's wider than 8.5 inches
and the thought of ripping it down to 8.5 inches in order to get that
bookmatched pair you want will haunt you. AND, if you have a bandsaw,
you will find mini-logs of nice stuff that you can saw into boards,
sticker and stack and wait a year to dry so you can use it. The
wider you can cut the more options you'll have a year later when it
comes to picking what you want out of each board.
Don't envy you the consumer research but you're going at it in the
right way. I'm sure you'll be happy with whatever you eventually
They make an _absolute_ improvement, but don't let the teeth touch 'em, or
it's hone for dull. For that, cool blocks or such.
If you have a badly ground join on your blade, touch it up or find another
On Fri, 23 Jan 2004 09:10:52 -0500, "Stephen M"
|Nice reponse. Thanks for taking the time.
I second that.
|> DO NOT remove the wheels. That's asking for a ticket to Set Up Hell.
|> While on the subject - you want dynamically balanced wheels - and cast|> iron at that. Wheel weight = inertia = more continuous cutting power|> when the teeth hit harder areas. Dynamically balanced wheels mean|> smoother cutting and that's a really good thing.
|What does dynamically balanced mean? Is it like balancing a a car tire?
|(spin it and add/remove material until it's even?)
In my youth I ran an automotive machine shop where we did engine
balancing so maybe I can explain. There are two types of out of
balance forces that can be generated in rotating objects:
Stewart-Warner, the maker of my balancing equipment called these
"force" and "couple", although they are commonly called "static" and
"dynamic" respectively. Usually the term "dynamic balancing" is used
to indicate that the balancing was done while the object was rotating,
but depending on the object, this may or may not be anything more than
To explain this, I will use a pair of wheels from a bandsaw. Let's say
that our wheels are cast iron and 1" thick at the rim and hub. When
the manufacturer machined the castings, he bored the hole in the hub
slightly off-center and then machined the rim concentric with the
hole. If we measure the runout at the rim with a dial indicator,
everything looks fine; perfectly round and concentric. (From what
I've seen of woodworking machinery, this is not a hypothetical)
First let's use just one wheel and assume that it has a set screw for
locking it on the shaft We place the wheel on the middle of a
perfectly ground shaft of say 2 feet long and lock it down. We then
suspend this shaft horizontally on a set of totally frictionless
bearings located at the ends of the shaft. Since the "meat" of the
wheel is off-center, there is a spot on the wheel that is "heavier"
than anywhere else and that spot causes the shaft to rotate until the
heavy spot rests at the location closest to the center of the Earth.
There is a "force" proportional to the mass and its distance from the
center of the shaft that causes this rotation.
This is pretty intuitive and should be clear to all. We all should
have a feel for what happens when we try to spin this shaft up. At
low enough speed nothing much happens but as the rpm increases, this
weight flying around starts trying to turn our perfect bearings into
If we go back to our "static" case where the only rotation is due to
the off-center mass we can, by trial and error, drill holes in the
spokes or along the rim of the wheel until we remove the heavy spot so
that when turned to any position and released, the wheel remains
motionless. We have removed the force and the wheel is statically
balanced. Alternatively, we could add an equal weight opposite the
heavy spot and accomplish the same thing. (I used to use modeling
clay to achieve balance and then weigh the clay and knowing the
density of the metal, know how much to drill out.)
If we now bring this shaft/wheel assembly up to operating speed, it
should run very smoothly, thus it is also "dynamically" balanced,
although we didn't spin it up to achieve this. So what's the big deal
about dynamically balanced bandsaw wheels you ask. In a word (or
two), not much, other than it indicates that they *were* balanced.
Where is does matter can be explained by another example: Let's mount
two wheels on our shaft and space them 12" apart. Let's assume that
the manufacturer has implement process controls that have reduced
variability to zero (six sigma). (We won't ask about the off-center
hole bore) So, both wheels are identically flawed. We also assume
that the wheels can be indexed with respect to each other anywhere we
Unless we routinely win the Powerball, there will be some angular
separation between the heavy spots other than 180 degrees. In any
other case the shaft will rotate so that it stops with the heavy spots
equally spaced about a downward pointing line bisecting the smaller
included angle between them. We now have too little information to
know exactly where the heavy spots are. All we know is that they are
equally spaced with respect to the virtual "heavy spot" and they
aren't 180 degrees apart.
By trial and error, we can rotate one wheel with respect to the other
until we position the two heavy spots 180 degrees apart, where they
exactly counteract each other. Our assembly is now statically
balanced. Are we done? No, let's see what happens when we spin it
Because the two heavy spots are separated 12" from each other along
the length of the shaft, they try to "do their own thing." At any
instant in time one mass is trying to move the end of the shaft in one
direction while the other mass is trying to move the other end of the
shaft in the opposite direction. Unrestrained, the shaft would wobble
around the point midway between the wheels. So when our shaft is at
rest, i.e. static, it is in balance but when it is rotating, the two
forces "couple" to each other and the assembly is "dynamically" out of
The only way to correct this is to spin it up and measure, and
correct, the forces independently. Note that with a given amount of
off center mass, the effect is worse the farther apart the two wheels
are along the shaft. Conversely, if we slide the two wheels together,
since they are relatively thin, the effect is negligible and our
static balancing method is probably good enough.
Lest anyone think that the static method I describe isn't used, we had
a couple of industrial strength crankshaft grinders that used grinding
wheels 36" in diameter and two or more inches wide. The wheels had a
center hole about eight inches in diameter and were mounted on a hub
that captured the wheel between two flanges. Since the wheels were
molded, the holes weren't terribly accurate and the wheel was never
concentric when mounted. The hub contained a set of sliding weights
and we did mount it to a shaft and put it on a set of bearings and
tweaked the weights just as I described earlier.
When we figured it was close enough to not self-destruct (it happened
once...you think a table saw kick back is something....) we would
diamond dress it round and rebalance.
Since tire balancing was mentioned, if you're old enough to remember
the old skinny tires, you might remember "bubble balancers." These
balanced the tire/wheel assembly statically by suspending the assembly
horizontally on a point and using a bubble level to see which
direction the tire moved. Weights were added on the high side until
the tire was level.
With today's wider tires (the wheels on my Camaro SS are 9" wide) it
matters on which side of the wheel the balance weights are fixed,
especially at 130 mph.
I know this doesn't have anything to do with woodworking but I don't
know much about woodworking so I've gotta write about something else
You got most of it right but they don't add weight but drill out
some of the cast iron to get the balance.
The euro guides that came with the LT16SEC had bearings on either side
of the blade which parallel the blade. They've got a relatively large
diameter so the thrust bearing behind the blade can't be directly
behind them. Go here to see the upper and lower guides - second set
of images on the page
I added images of the ceramic guides just for you.
"They" = Laguna Tools. Torben is the founder and president
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