Buying a Band Saw
Buying a Band Saw
Buying a band is often the first major purchase made for a workshop. Knowing your long-terms needs, and exactly what requirements you will have, increases the likelihood you will purchase the correct saw.
Band Saw Bench-Top saws can be mounted directly on a workbench or on their own stands. Their relatively compact size makes it the perfect choice for small shops and light scroll cutting. Floor-Model saws are usually more stable and more powerful than bench top saws. The combination of increased stability and power make these saws excellent for heavy rip sawing and decorative work on thick stock, at the expense of floorspace. Band Saws
Band saws range in throat capacity from 8" to 36", with either two or three wheels for the blade. Blades for the home shop range from 1/8" to 1" wide, the narrow blades are used to cut small radius curves, the wide blades are used for straight cuts such as re-sawing.
The band saw can be used for straight cuts of course, but it’s also handy for cutting cabriole legs, dovetails, mortise and tenons and much more.I once toured a very large custom cabinetmaking shop and noticed that they had no band saws. When I asked the owner what his reason was for not having one of these saws, he responded by saying, “Band saws are for curves, and when we need to cut a curved line we use either a scroll saw or a saber saw.”
With band saws, bigger might be desirable but is not always better. Aside from initial expense, bulk, power (220vac), weight, more awkward band changes, and, let's be honest, for many people, intimidation, are factors to consider.For most hobby shop requirements, a 14" band saw will do 95% of whatever is required, and there are ways around the other 5%. A cast iron model with a riser block is a great combination.
There are basically two types of of band saws, 2 and 3 wheel. When buying a saw for the first time, the three wheel saw appears to be the best bet. I gives heaps of throat (distance of cut between the down traveling cutting side and the upward return side of the blade) for cutting larger widths of wood.
The JET JWBS-14DXPRO Band Saw is equipped with a 1.25HP, 1PH 115/230V TEFC motor and easily handles any common woodworking tasks, and its cutting capacities in both flat and re-saw modes allows it be a good choice for any size shop. Physically the size and foot print of the JET Band Saw (even with rear steel feet extended for addition re-saw stability) is only marginally larger than a standard 14” band saw.
These comments are directed toward the 14” band saw in general, but are specific to the 14” Delta saw and its clones (Jet, etc.) because these are the most used by woodturners in their shops and studios. Instructions for tune-up and adjustments of the saw are presented in Part-1 of this series.
In most cases there is no better tool than a band saw to cut precise curves in wood, although a quality saw does more than just cut curves. It also cuts tenons and smaller rabbets; can be used for re-sawing thin strips of wood from larger pieces, and for ripping small pieces of stock.
For a long time, I owned a scroll saw. I bought it shortly before building my first violin, thinking that for two hundred bucks I could get a precise, well built piece of equipment that would suit my purposes. And it wasn't bad. It had an amazing ability to cut intricate shapes.