In the Dec 2004 issue of fine woodworking, Michael Fortune writes a
nice article on band saw tuneup. For the most part, its typical advice
with good pictures. However, he makes one statement that radically
differs from other comments and assessments I have read on bandsaws.
To summarize he states:
"For most 14 in bandsaws with a a 1/2-in wide, 3 tpi blade, a 1/3 hp
motor is fine. The same saw with riser block in the column could use a
1/2 hp motor for big resawing tasks, but ANYTHING LARGER IS OVERKILL".
Wow, after reading recent posts about 2,3 and 5 hp bandsaws, this
comment really contradicts. He says if you need more power, your
bandsaw is not set up properly.
What do you think?
The key is "for ...14 inch bandsaws with a 1/2" blade".
Obviously if you have a saw/blade larger than this then a bigger motor may
You probably won't want to use a 24" saw with a 1/2HP motor.
5HP in a 14" saw that is cutting wood is probably overkill.
I though he was right, given the circumstances. He was uysing what looked like
and old 14" General; similar to the current crop of 14" Deltas and clones.
Given the construction, there is little point in upping the motor so much
anyway. If the saw is tuned right, then I thought there would not be much
difference between a 1/2 HP motor and a 3/4 one. If it's tuned right, you can
crank a blade to about 12,000 psi, have the guides right, then I do think there
is little more a heavier motor could do.
When you get into the large steel and cast iron saws, the Lagunas and
MiniMaxes, you are dealing, IMHO, with a totally different type of saw and
blade. You can use a carbide blade, cranking the tension up to 25,000 psi. The
wheels are much heavier, allowing you to resaw lacewood, rosewood, ipe, you
name i, with heights from 12 to 20". So I think Mr. Fortune is right within the
confines of that type of tool.
I dunno. I've used about 16-20 different 14" bandsaws, set up by a variety of
people including myself, and fewer than half of them had riser blocks. But
every single one of them had 3/4 HP or 1 HP or 1-1/2 HP motors. And I don't
recall ever seeing a 14" bandsaw with anything under a 3/4 HP motor, so I have
to wonder where he's buying his.
"Man is the only animal that blushes. Or needs to." Mark Twain
I'm pretty sure my Jet WBS-14 Open Stand model (1993 vintage) has
1/2 hp motor. I also have the riser block and typically resaw 6-8"
stock in domestic and some import hardwoods. Take it slow and
even and it works just fine. Maybe someday I'll get the Delta 18"
(or splurge on a Powermatic 20"), but for now, the 1/2hp jet is what
I got. I use a 1/2" 3tpi skip tooth tensioned by eye and adjusted
for zero lead.
firstname.lastname@example.org (Scott Lurndal) wrote in
Do you mean adjusting the blade for zero lead? (or adjusting the work to
match the blade's lead?) ....
My understanding (being a bandsaw newbie ... likely wrong) -- was that
there really isn't a way to adjust the blade, per se (for lead). Am I
Interesting how there have been serveral BS articles lately; or maybe
I'm just noticing them now that I have one!
I read this with great relief! I had read Duginski's book/video and
Lonnie Bird's book. They made a lot out of various blade alignment
schemes, chosing from many blades, adjusting for drift, and so on.
Fortune's advice was simple. One blade, one alignment. Now, does
that account for all the issues that might come up? Dunno. But the
recommendation for the BC Saw blades did prompt me to order them. FWW
had reviewed them earliar and also recommended. They are not as
"cheap" as the article states once you factor in shipping from Canada.
My 4, 105" were $57 US.
I found the article, in general, pretty profound coming from Taunton.
For the reason you mentioned as well as the the blade selection, blade
alignment, and fence alignment statements.
I'm happy with the results.
On 10 Dec 2004 07:09:16 -0800, "Bob"
yes, that was another one.
Just earlier FWW had a review of blades and suggested using one notch
"tighter" than the typical BS. This article went the other way.
Clearly FWW has raised a debate now.
If I go with the loose approach, my blade can actually "flutter" in
the channel opposite the cutting side. I at least tighten enough to
stop the flutter. Hah! maybe that's the next "how much to tighten"
Had a 3/4 hp motor on my 14" Delta. It has the riser block and I do a
fair amount of resawing. Bogged the thing down all the time and had it
cut out on its overload. Installed a 1 1/2 hp. Chose that size because
it was available cheap. Doesn't slow down at all. Is is overkill?
Don't know, don't care. Gives me what I want for little money. 1/3 hp
would be great for anything I do except resawing.
I have a 1.5 on mine. My brother in law (a professional luthier)works
his saw with a 3/4 HP motor a lot harder than I work mine. His works
well enough, and it was what he could afford 10 years ago, but he is
clear that if he was buying today he would buy the 1.5 HP motor. Cuts
faster, never bogs down.
Robert Galloway wrote:
What people who make flat statements of motor size and capacity fail to
understand, or so it often seems to me, is that not everyone who uses a
particular tool uses in exactly the way the recommender is using it. Being
patient with a feed is a super way to go, especially if patience comes easily
to you, and you're not on a tight schedule. Most of us have to get by with the
talents we have, which usually include a dose of "let's get this out of the way
and get on to the next step so we can take the kid to dance class". A 1 HP or
1-1/2 HP bandsaw motor is a help in reducing our internal stresses in such
situations and may well aid in producing better work.
Or not. A mis-adjusted bandsaw run by a slob in a rush isn't always helped by a
"Man is the only animal that blushes. Or needs to." Mark Twain
He has a good point. Well-tuned equipment works best. Bandsaws are a
PITA to tune up, but there can be a big performance difference. I
have a 14" bandsaw with a 3/4 HP motor and I have not needed more
power since I bought the saw ten years ago with the exception of ONE
time--I was resawing a 4" piece of oak but really I needed a better
blade than a more powerful motor. Probably the larger the wheels,
the more power is needed.
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