Best bandsaw under 2k?
I have extensively been researching them. The Rikon 14 inch stands above the Laguna only due to how fiddly and hard to keep aligned Laguna guides are. ( See the thread in this very forum) After that, Jet, Baileigh, Oliver. IMHO, a big step down to Grizzly and ShopFox. Of course, many love their Grizzly’s. I think it is a matter if yo happen to get a good one.
DON’T WASTE YOUR MONEY ON A BANDSAW!
The 15% sale may still be going on for Rikon. I am procrastinating, but should buy a 10-326. You can jump to the 2 HP 342 198 incher and it is still only about 1600.
What is your criteria for best? (Feels like troll request)
IMHO. Best varies by definition of criteria for being best. Best resaw? Best setup? Best blade guides? Best paint color? LOL. not all machines are best for everything!
So you want 12″ resaw, do you also want to cut curves with 1/8″ blade on same machine?
There are ton of opinions between ball bearing and Euro style guides as ‘best’. It’s almost like love/hate topic, or discussing politics/religion. Not even going to go down that rabbit hole.
Please post more information on your best criteria, and range of uses; or it’s impossible to make valid recommendation. Without more information, will get same responses here that you would get asking Google ‘best Band saw 12″ resaw’.
What size are you looking for, and what will you be using it for?
As long as it has at least 12″ of resaw, I suppose I don’t care too much about the size, but if you have some thoughts on size, I’d love to hear them. I’ll be using it for ripping, resawing, cutting curves, cutting joinery-anything I can think of. I only have room for one bandsaw in my shop, so it’s going to have to perform many different functions.
I have extensively been researching them. The Rikon 14 inch stands above the Laguna only due to how fiddly and hard to keep aligned Laguna guides are. ( See the thread in this very forum) After that, Jet, Baileigh, Oliver. IMHO, a big step down to Grizzly and ShopFox. Of course, many love their Grizzly s. I think it is a matter if yo happen to get a good one.
The 15% sale may still be going on for Rikon. I am procrastinating, but should buy a 10-326. You can jump to the 2 HP 342 198 incher and it is still only about 1600.
How about “best only-bandsaw-in-the-shop-so-it-should-be-pretty-good-at-most-common-bandsaw-tasks”? It’s going to be my only bandsaw, so perhaps strongest on the mainstream bandsaw applications (ripping, resawing, curves for furniture).
Definite yes on the 12″ resaw, unsure about the 1/8″ blade. I don’t know when I’d want an 1/8″ blade on a bandsaw. The narrowest blade I’ve ever used to cut curves on a bandsaw was 1/4″, and that seemed to go really well. I have a DeWALT scroll saw, so I don’t need a bandsaw to get into that territory if that’s the main use case for an 1/8″ blade.
Then I’d love to hear yours, or perhaps a link to your preferred source where the pros and cons of each are best discussed if that’ll help prevent a religious war…
I was about to go Laguna until all the folks complaining about the guides slipping out of position. I was even going to bump up to the fancier one with the foot brake. I run ceramic guides in my old Delta, so the sparking worries are not an issue to me. ( see thread about hating Laguna guides)
From what I gather from talking to users, the Laguna will resaw better than the Rikon, but Rikon guides are easier to adjust and keep set. One can spend 350 to fit Carter guides to the Lagunas, just as one can fit ceramic guides to the Rikon. So, kind of a coin toss I guess. I have not met someone who did not like either other than the guides and as far as I can tell, no one like any guides on any saw!
Doing more work on my 10 inch Delta, reassessing I can delay. Just too much of a pain with the small flimsy table and small aluminum wheels that just a spot of sawdust makes shake buy inches. That tells me the bigger and heavier the better.
Laguna 18 inch is 3 HP. Rikon either 2 or 4. I do not have the experience to say what is needed. I only know my 3/4 HP can resaw 8 inch oak with only a little patience. If I were going to resaw 12 inch as the primary function, I would go for the 18 incher.
I will say, I bought a Rikon last year and it’s been a real pleasure. My first bigger bandsaw (I had a cruddy little benchtop Craftsman for years and years and always cussed it… Every time I used it).
Anyway, I picked up the Rikon 10-326 on sale at Woodcraft. It took me a couple hours to set it up (and i was goofing off) and it’s been a rock solid performer ever since.
I was about to go Laguna until all the folks complaining about the guides slipping out of position. I was even going to bump up to the fancier one with the foot brake tvrgeek
I would not be worried about the guides. I have had no issues in 3 years on my 1412 and there are tons of great reviews on these saws here and on other sites and YouTube. The sparks are part of normal operation with ceramic guides. Laguna’s customer service is excellent IMO.
I have the Shop Fox W1706 and like it a lot. It plugs into a 120V circuit and is feature-comparable to the higher-priced brands: quick blade tension release, decent fence and miter gauge, enclosed storage base, decent dust collection, easy tracking adjustment. You need the 6″ riser kit to get 12″ resaw capacity, about 100. It has ball bearing blade guides, adjusted with Allen wrenches. I replace the worn guides with skateboard bearings. AFAIK these are standard bearings used in zillions of devices, and when they’re sold as skateboard bearings they cost less.
The higher-priced bandsaws have pretty much the same features. Some have bigger tables, a little nicer fit and finish. IMO not a lot of difference.
1) Best Overall Blade Guides: None IMHO. The best guide depends on type of cut.
If you want online guide reference, FWW has an article on choosing guides? It’s old now, ceramic euro guides weren’t sold back then, but it might help: https://www.finewoodworking.com/issue/2001/04/issue-148 Also a LJ discussion on guides for small blades: https://www.lumberjocks.com/topics/22167
2) Best size of saw What will you cut, and what blades will you use?
Last but not least: Have been around wood and metal Band saws for decades, still not an expert. All I can say is your cut depth. material, and radius determines your best blade. The wide variation in cut types makes universal recommendations impossible. Also finding a saw that works with large and small blades has been holy grail search of for as long I can remember. With only one Band saw in shop, suggest you have to be careful with selection, and carefully prioritize your needs. While you can MAKE most any size Band saw cut any thing: Large saws excel at resaw. Small saws excel at cutting curves. Only YOU can decide the priorities between vast number of options available. Thanks for reading to end.
The benefit of steel-frame rigidity is now extending to many smaller Band saws that run on 110 volts. How well do they work? We find out.
The downside to traditional 14″ Band saws with all cast-iron frames is that many are limited to about 6″ of resawing capacity. Today’s “next generation” of steel-framed Band saws solve the problem: their box-style spines are tremendously rigid to withstand the high tension required for a wide resawing blade, and their frames are extended for tall resawing. Lately, the category of 14″ steel-framed saws is growing. Even better, they’re equipped with 11⁄2″ to 13⁄4″HP motors that run on 110 volts! No need to rewire your shop for 220 in order to resaw the really wide stuff. But, is sub-2hp and household current really enough? I rounded up six different 14″ models and put them to work on 12″-wide hard maple to find out. And the results? Very pleasing! Here’s how they tested.
General International 90-170B
General International 90-170B Street Price: 1,594.99 Motor Size: 11⁄2hp / 12.5 Amp Table Size: 16″W x 20″D Weight: 293 lbs. Resaw Capacity / Throat Width: 12″ / 131⁄2″ Blade Length, Width Range: 112″, 1/8″ to 3/4″ Web/Phone: www.general.ca / 888-949-1161
General International’s 90-170B, along with all six of these test saws, did a fine job of general rip- and curve-cutting with a 1/4″ blade. But, a saw made for tall resawing as well as general cutting needs to satisfy three main criteria for me: the blade guides should be easy to adjust (since you’ll want to switch back and forth between wide resaw or narrow blades); the rip fence and features should aid in resawing; and the motor must be gutsy enough to keep the blade spinning through wide stock.
In most of these respects, the 90-170B has a lot to offer. It sports a generous, 16″ x 20″ cast-iron table, and a sturdy upper blade guide post moves smoothly up and down on rack-and-pinion gears to adjust its cutting height. The table sits on a pair of double- walled trunnions that enable it to tilt and lock securely, and when tipped, the table is reinforced by an extra support arm and lock knob in back.
This saw comes with an Excalibur T-square style fence that, thanks to bearings, rolls smoothly on its front rail for ripping or resawing. A curved resaw attachment bolts on to provide workpiece “steering,” for coping with any blade drift issues during resawing. I wish the accessory were taller than 31⁄2″, though: for the maple resawing test, I wanted taller backup support, so I used a shop-made resaw jig instead.
With the exception of Laguna, General and the other test saws come with ball-bearing upper and lower blade guides — a more heavy-duty solution than the “cool blocks” you’ll still find on some traditional 14″ Band saws. Dual side bearings and a face-mounted thrust helped keep the 3/4″-wide resawing blade tracking straight on the 90-170B, and they adjust pretty easily too. The side bearings turn eccentrically with a screwdriver for fine adjustment, while either an Allen screw or a smallish thumbscrew locks them.
But, getting a wide blade into position in the first place is fussy work here. Blades load through a side slit on the table, then must be turned 90° in a small throatplate opening, while threading it in through a slit in the saw’s yellow upper blade guard and between the guide bearings. Once the blade is on the wheels, the lower left guide bearing is difficult to adjust without tipping the table up first. It’s all doable, of course, but it could be easier.
A cast-metal quick-release lever on top tensions the blade by twisting it down — and that will come in handy for de-tensioning between uses, too. Once powered up, this General’s 11⁄2hp motor helped it steam through hard maple, slicing six 24″-long veneer sheets with ease. Two 4″ dust ports in the bottom flywheel case kept dust to a minimum when connected to an 1,100 CFM dust collector. I also appreciate the foot brake that stops the cutting action in only about 1.2 seconds.
At nearly 1,600, this saw is amply featured, but it’s priced high relative to most of the test group. Blade-change fuss aside, it performed solidly.
JET JWBS-14SF Street Price: 1,899.99 Motor Size: 13⁄4hp / 15 Amp Table Size: 16″W x 211⁄2″D Weight: 356 lbs. Resaw Capacity / Throat Width: 131⁄2″ / 131⁄2″ Blade Length, Width Range: 125″, 1/8″ to 3/4″ Web/Phone: www.jettools.com / 800-274-6848
For a penny under 1,900 street, JET’s saw will be a shock to the book of most hobbyists. But that’s my only criticism of the JWBS-14SF. It was in all regards a pleasure to set up and use. Here’s why. Back to my initial criteria, JET has done its homework to make both upper and lower blade guides simple to adjust. Large knurled knobs control eccentrically moving double bearings on top, so they set without tools. The lower guide bearings are also easy to adjust: there’s ample room under the table for both hands, and even the rear rim- oriented thrust bearing has a control knob in front where you can grab it.
Blades thread straight in through a front slit in the table — easier than saws with side-slit styles — and a hinged upper guard opens for wide blade access. Once a blade is threaded, the saw has a three-position quick-release lever in back for tensioning. Viewing Windows in the upper flywheel case, plus a large tensioning scale, help you keep track of blade settings at a glance with the door closed.
JET equips the 14SF with a phenomenal rip fence. The base casting is hefty and locks with a large ratchet lever, and a beefy, 6″-tall extrusion provides plenty of backing for tall resawing or flips down to a second low position when cutting thin stock. The fence’s micro-adjust control is another helpful asset here.
A large throatplate opening with milled aluminum insert, durable knurled door latches and oversized hand wheels are thoughtful, quality details. Even tilting the table is made easier, thanks to a geared crank lever and polished handle.
When I fired this machine up, I learned that it performs as well on the track as it sets up in the pit. There was plenty of power for resawing wide maple, while only about a tablespoon of dust was left inside the lower flywheel case afterward. Two long metal dust ports hook up to 4″ hoses for cleaner cutting.
While shelling out top dollar doesn’t always buy top quality,in this instance, I think JET’s JWBS-14SF will prove to be money very well spent.
Laguna 14-Twelve Street Price: 1,097 w/o task light or mobility kit Motor Size: 13⁄4hp / 14 Amp Table Size: 16″W x 211⁄2″D Weight: 258 lbs. Resaw Capacity / Throat Width: 12″ / 135⁄8″ Blade Length, Width Range: 1143⁄4″-116″, 1/8″ to 3/4″ Web/Phone: www.lagunatools.com / 800-234-1976
Laguna has created an enticing package in this recently minted 14-Twelve Band saw. Its 13⁄4hp motor and balanced, cast-iron flywheels drove the wide resawing blade through maple without bogging down under steady feed pressure. A single 4″ dust port in the bottom case kept dust to an absolute minimum. Heavy stock won’t shift the table off its tilt setting, either, thanks to two oversize trunnions that lend solid foundation below. This saw’s infrastructure seems made for heavy-duty cutting. Laguna outfits the 14- Twelve with ceramic blade guides: four strips sandwich the blade at both guide locations, and two pucks provide rear support. Their aluminum housings slide along tracks in the guide mounting blocks for easier lateral adjustment, and plastic knobs lock them without tools. One gripe: the bottom blade guide area is cramped. Despite its side-loading table, blades are still quite manageable to install, thanks to an oversized throatplate opening and a hinged top blade guard. A quick release flips up for blade tensioning, and you can check blade tracking and tension through two viewing Windows up top.
I like Laguna’s robust rip fence and the 51⁄2″-tall resaw facing for supporting wide boards. The fence can be adjusted for both parallelism and squareness if needed, although mine was spot-on from the factory. It has no micro-adjust provision like JET.
A “bare bones” 14-Twelve doesn’t include the halogen task light (99) or wheel kit (149) shown here, but they’re worth it. The light offers broad illumination of the cutting area, and Laguna provides a built-in receptacle to plug it in. That’s helpful! The three-wheel mobility system makes this saw pleasant to roll around.
All in all, the 14-Twelve is straightforward to set up, and it bests tough cutting jobs.
Oliver Machinery 4620 Street Price: 1,400 Motor Size: 11⁄2hp / 12 Amp Table Size: 16″W x 20″D Weight: 304 lbs. Resaw Capacity / Throat Width: 13″ / 135⁄8″ Blade Length, Width Range: 1133⁄4″, 1/4″ to 1″ Web/Phone: www.olivermachinery.net / 800-559-5065
Side by side, it’s hard not to see some similarities between Oliver’s 4620 and General International’s machine: Their table systems, rip fences, blade guide components and tensioning provisions are virtually carbon copies, with the exception that Oliver outfits the upper guides with single, rather than double, bearings. Oliver’s frame is taller, too, by a couple of inches. This saw includes a full-size miter gauge, which is a convenient, useful feature. It has no foot brake. The slitted upper guard, small throatplate hole and side-loading table make blade changing finicky.
Given their common traits, I expected the 4620 to perform similar to General’s machine. But, when I pitted it against a chunk of 12″-wide maple, Oliver’s 11⁄2hp, 12-amp rated motor seemed to struggle to keep the blade spinning. I backed off to only gentle feed pressure, and I was able to slowly resaw six slices of veneer, but if I applied feed pressure consistent with the other saws’ resaw tests, the blade slowed to a stall again.
Consultation with Oliver’s technical department helped me diagnose the problem: one of the lower drive belts that tensions the flywheel pulley was overly loose from the factory. It’s not an adjustment you’d expect to make on a new saw, and it wasn’t inordinately loose, but adding more tension fixed the glitch. Powered back up, the saw was able to resaw at a feed rate consistent with the others, helping Oliver finish my cutting tests with a good showing here.
RIKON 10-325 Street Price: 999.99 Motor Size: 11⁄2hp / 14 Amp Table Size: 16″W x 201⁄2″D Weight: 251 lbs. Resaw Capacity / Throat Width: 13″ / 135⁄8″ Blade Length, Width Range: 111″, 1/8″ to 3/4″ Web/Phone: www.rikontools.com / 877-884-5167
Seven years ago, RIKON’s 10-325 won our “Best Bet” honors among a group of 14″, mostly cast-iron framed Band saws. Now, after testing this tool again, I recall why. It’s sensibly designed, capable and easy to use. Its guide bearings — single side and rim-mounted thrust — move with knurled knobs and tighten down easily with Allen screws. The lower guide bearings, hiding in table shadows on some machines, are easy to see and reach here. I love that the thrust- bearing knob is forward facing on this saw. No need to tip the table to adjust these guides.
Blade installation is easy, thanks to a front-slitted table and hinged blade guard. A left-right moving quick- release lever in back provides blade tension, and viewing Windows in the top case help you see what you’re doing.
RIKON provides a fat spring for upper flywheel tensioning — a good provision for withstanding wide, stiff resaw blades. The 10-325 also has a sturdy rip fence with a fairly short fence beam and resaw bar. So, in the tall resawing test, I opted for a much taller shop-made resawing guide instead.
Other amenities include a geared lever for tilting the table, a spacious storage compartment and shelf below the saw and a flexible task light to brighten the table.
In testing, the saw’s 11⁄2hp RIKON-built motor muscled through hard maple, and most of the dust was whisked away through a lower 4″ dust port. For just shy of 1,000, RIKON continues to provide a solid value for the money here.
Steel City 50155G
Steel City 50155G Hybrid Street Price: 699.99 Motor Size: 11⁄2hp / 14 Amp Table Size: 16″W x 21″D Weight: 291 lbs. Resaw Capacity / Throat Width: 12″ / 131⁄2″ Blade Length, Width Range: 105″, 1/8″ to 3/4″ Web/Phone: steelcitytoolworks.com / 877-724-8665
Steel City calls this saw a “Hybrid,” and that’s because, in truth, it’s an evolution of sorts: the frame is elongated cast-iron, with the bottom half nestled in a steel cabinet that opens for lower flywheel access. The design allows the saw’s 11⁄2hp motor to be moved down to the rolling base for more stability. And, the wheels/caster are a helpful standard feature for moving this machine around.
Steel City has been off of our tool review “radar” for a number of years, so I was anxious to try this saw and see what it would have in store.
The 50155G’s webbed framework is designed for 12″ of resaw capacity. Blade guidance was assisted by double side bearings and face-oriented thrust bearings that can be adjusted with knurled knobs and thumbscrews. It’s a good, tool-free design. The bottom guides are tucked in close to the trunnion casting and table, where I found the left bearing’s adjuster hard to reach. But, at least the guides don’t require squeezing a wrench or screwdriver into that space while you’re at it.
Steel City equips this Hybrid with a thick, granite table that’s dead flat and rust- proof. Blades load through a slit in its side and must be turned 90° at the throat opening. When installing wide resaw blades, you’ll also want to remove the two screw- mounted blade guards.
I like the saw’s 6″-tall steel resaw bar that mounts to the saw’s rip fence. I used the fence system with good success for the resawing test. And, after tensioning the wide blade with the machine’s quick-release lever, the 50155G chomped through wide maple in good stead.
A gooseneck light up top brightened the work area. The saw also comes with a circle-cutting attachment.
One concern about cutting: when visually following a pencil line, the red blade guard partially obscured my line-of-sight to the blade. A plastic window is there to peek through, but it created a distorted view of the line.
Dust collection through a 4″ port in the bottom kept this saw running clean throughout my cutting trials. Coming in a tad under 700, Steel City’s Hybrid is quite long on features and easiest on the budget here.
“Best Bet” No Easy Pick
JET has a standout saw in the JWBS-14SF, but its pricing is steep. So, I think the “sweet spot” in this group centers on Laguna’s 14-Twelve and RIKON’s attractive 10-325. They ran a dead-even heat in terms of resawing capability, but my hat tips slightly in favor of Laguna. Its stout build quality testifies to Laguna’s long history of engineering industry-leading Band saws. The tall fence, rugged trunnion assembly and pro quality blade guides are substantial and well designed. That said, RIKON’s 10-325 has real appeal: it is nicely equipped and an excellent, budget-conscious choice too.
Best Band Saws for Woodworking in 2023
A Band saw might not look like much, but it’s one of the most important cutting tools for woodworking and metalworking.It’s one of the significant machines that will make your job or projects easier.
There are many uses for it, from resawing thick lumber, processing small logs, and making veneers to cutting shapes in wood; you’ll find it hard to do without one at your disposal.A bandsaw is very important for woodworking because there are certain cuts you can make on it that you’ll never attempt with a table saw or any other saw.
For example, it’s the best tool you can use to cut rough or warped boards. Cutting a rough warped board on a table saw can lead to a dangerous kickback because of the circular motion of the blade. On the other hand, a bandsaw will cut and rip right through that board with no fear of kickback because the blade runs only in one direction down through the table.
It’s also better for cutting curves than a jigsaw. In fact, it can cut a tighter curve than any jigsaw, because the blade of a jigsaw is held only in one direction and thus can easily flex or bend, especially in very thick material, and produce an edge that is not square.
On the other hand, a bandsaw blade is held in both directions and tensioned, and will not flex, and thus will always produce a square edge even in very thick material.Although it shouldn’t be the first, a bandsaw should be one of the first types of saws you should get as a woodworker just starting out.
Note: This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, we may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.
That’s because it’s a very versatile tool that will help you tackle or expand the range of projects you carry out in your shop.
If you’re buying a bandsaw, ensure you go for the highest quality and capacity your budget allows. If possible, hold on and save up for a higher-quality one instead of wasting your money on junk.The higher the capacity and quality of the machine, the more versatile it will be and the higher the quality of the cuts you’ll get with it.
Our Top Picks
Band saws are sized according to the diameter of their wheels. A 14-inch Band saw has wheels that are 14 inches in diameter. There are 9-inch, 10-inch, 14-inch, and 17-inch Band saws, and so on.
The larger the wheel is, the larger the machine will be, and depending on the quality of the material of the wheel, the greater the momentum it will produce, making it easier to make cuts with it.Large wheeled Band saws also make use of longer and thicker blades which are better for resawing and cutting larger stocks.
There are bandsaws for cutting metal, and there are ones for cutting wood. Here, we’re focusing on the ones for cutting wood.
How We Chose the Best Bandsaws
We understand how important having a bandsaw in the workshop is, and we also understand how important it is to choose the right model.
Choosing the right one means you don’t have to buy another one after a few months or years.
I have used a bandsaw since I was 18 while in school, and have been using it since in my own personal workshop. So, when putting together this list, my team drew knowledge from our own personal experience, and also conducted thorough research, so we don’t miss out on any of the latest offerings and tech in the power tool market.
We compared features in each of the models, their size, build quality, capacities, performance and ease of use, and created the following list of the best bandsaws you can use for your woodworking projects.
Powermatic PM1500 Band saw
Wheel Size: 15 inch, Motor: 3 HP 230V, Speed: 3100 SFPM, Resaw Capacity: 14 inch, Table Size: 21-1/2 x 16.
The Powermatic PM1500 is a true beauty every woodworker would love to have in their workshop. Once setup and switched-on, it runs so smooth with almost no vibration. All you hear is just the humming noise of the motor. Although relatively more expensive than the competition, this 15 inch Band saw comes packed with features that makes it worth the cost. When you open the top half of the bandsaw, you’ll find out how big and massive the cast iron wheels are. They really look heavy and turns smoothly when you turn it with your hand. Big heavy wheels provides momentum and power when resawing large timber pieces or carrying out any other operation with the saw. In contrast with other 15 inch Band saws, this Powermatic PM1500 features a 14-1/2 inch throat capacity and 14 inches of resaw capacity. It’s a big Band saw with lots of room to cut large materials. If you want to resaw wood, the 14 inch height capacity allows you to do that with ease. The blade it uses is 153 inches long and has a minimum and maximum width of 1/8 inches and 1 inch respectively. The PM1500 features a sturdy cast iron table with dimensions of 21-1/2 by 16 inches and a trunnion assembly provides a wide, strong and solid platform for heavy work pieces. A very important feature of the PM1500 is the blade tension and release mechanism. It’s totally toolless. You don’t need any kind of wrench to adjust, tension or release the blade. This blade tension and release mechanism also features an electrical interlock feature that prevents the saw from accidental startups when the blade is released or de-tensioned. Powermatic’s exclusive T-Square style Accu-Fence system ensures maximum accuracy and safety when making use of the Band saw machine. If you need to stop the saw for any reason, maybe your hands are full, the foot brake that comes with it provides a hands-free means to get that done.
- This is a very heavy and powerful saw. Build quality is through the roof.
- Large throat and resaw capacity for tackling big projects.
- Everything is setup right out of the box, except the fence.
- Toolless blade tension and release.
Where it can be improved
Grizzly Industrial G0555LX 14 inch Band saw
Wheel Size: 14 inch, Motor: 1 HP 110V/220V, Blade Speed: 1800 and 3100 FPM, Resaw Capacity: 6 inch, Table Size: 14×14 inch.
If you’re a looking for a pro grade 14 inch Band saw to carry out projects in your workshop, the newly upgraded Grizzly G0555LX is a very good option to go for. Formerly called Grizzly G0555, this new model comes equipped with computer-balanced cast-iron wheels so it runs better and produce more accurate cuts. It also features a rack-and-pinion post adjustment for the upper blade guides which makes it very easy to adjust the blade. The fence has also been upgraded to a T-shaped extruded aluminum fence, which is very sturdy and easy to adjust when making cuts. It’s a 14 inch bandsaw, so you know you have enough cut capacity/throat depth to cut large materials. The throat depth is 13-1/2 inches and the maximum cutting height / resawing capacity is 6 inches. This plus the large 14×14 inch work table provides a large cutting area to handle relatively large jobs with ease. Equipped with a 1 HP, 110/220V compatible single-phase motor, the 3/8 inch Band saw blade it comes with moves at a variable speed of 1800 and 3100 feets per minute. The frame and table is made of precision-ground cast iron to provide a steady work surface with minimum vibration. It comes equipped with a quick-release blade tension lever to easily remove or add tension to the blade. Overall, the Grizzly G0555LX comes equipped with all the features you’d need in a bandsaw. If you plan on doing a lot of resawing, you can always opt for the Grizzly G0555XH which is also a 14 inch Band saw but has a higher resaw capacity of 12 inches, comes with a more powerful 1-3/4 HP motor and wider fence for resawing wide lumber pieces.
- Best value for the money.
- It looks and feels well-made and durable.
- Accurate right out of the box. It doesn’t require much setup
- Quick blade tension release makes it easy to adjust and change the blade if necessary.
Where it can be improved
Delta 28-400 14 inch Band saw
Wheel Size: 14 inch, Motor: 1 HP 115V/230V, Speed: 1620 and 3340 FPM, Resaw Capacity: 6 inch, Table Size: 15-3/4 x 18-8/8 inch.
This 14 inch wheel Band saw from Delta houses a 1 HP motor that allows you to cut at speeds of 1620 FPM and 3,340 FPM. The lower speed is for cutting wood, and the later higher speed for cutting non-ferrous metals. An oversized 15 ¾ inch by 18 7/8 inch precision ground cast iron table featuring a T miter slot provides a steady work surface to handle your projects. The two aluminum rubber coated upper and lower 9 spoke wheels are precision balanced for easy tracking of the blade. There’s little to no vibration in the machine as the Delta 28-400 is designed and constructed with a heavy duty steel frame. With up to 6 inches height capacity and 13-5/8 inches width capacity, you can accommodate and work on large materials with the saw. A poly v-belt drive keeps the wheels running smoothly and a dust brush on the lower wheel keeps the blade clean and sharp as you work with the machine.
- Very quite operation.
- Efficient dust collection.
- Blade is set up accurately and tensioned properly right out of the box.
- Large table to handle materials.
- Very powerful 1HP motor.
Where it can be improved
Jet Jwbs-14SFX 14 inch bandsaw
Wheel Size: 14 inch, Motor: 1-3/4 HP 115V/230V, Speed: 3000 SFPM, Resaw Capacity: 13 inch, Table Size: 21 x 17 inch.
Talking about Band saws, some of the best ones are made by JET. Run some wood stocks through this Jet Jwbs-14SFX 14 inch bandsaw and you’d surely agree with us. Weighing over 300 lbs, this bandsaw is a heavy duty machine designed and constructed with high quality tubular steel. The 14 inch wheels provides enough leverage and power to saw through even the hardest of woods, and with over 13 inches of resaw capacity, you can be sure that it can handle large workpieces conveniently. You need no tools to adjust the upper and lower ball bearings. The saw comes equipped with JET’s easily adjustable tool-less blade guide system which makes it easier to use and ensuring there’s very little downtime. This saw has the capacity to really handle large stocks of wood as the cast iron table features up to 360 sq. in of work surface which really gives you enough space to handle large stocks on it. With all the work you can do with this machine, dust collection is very important to keep a neat work surface. That’s why the Jwbs-14SFX comes equipped with 4 inch dust ports to make collecting the dust produced very easy.
- Heavy cast iron wheels adds momentum to blade motion.
- Build quality is very good. Looks durable.
- Comes with a wide resawing fence
- It’s very powerful. Cuts both hard and softwood with ease.
Where it can be improved
Shop Fox W1706 14 Inch Band saw
Wheel Size: 14 inch, Motor: 1 HP 110V/220V, Speed: 3100 SFPM, Resaw Capacity: 6 inch, Table Size: 14 x 14 inch.
The Shop Fox W1706 comes with some features you’d only find in larger and more expensive Band saws. Some of the features include cast iron upper and lower wheels and an enclosed cabinet base with storage space for tools and accessories. Equipped with a 1 HP, TEFC single-phase motor, the Shop Fox produces enough power to slice through the hardest of wood materials. It has a 13-1/2 inch cutting or throat capacity and a maximum cutting height of 6 inches. Shop Fox produces an optional extension kit you can use to increase the cutting height to 12 inches if you want to. The saw features a powerful 1 HP single-phase motor producing up to 1725 RPM of speed to power through cuts. A deluxe miter gauge comes with it, allowing you to make precise angle cuts as well as cross cuts with ease. You can tilter the cast iron table up to 45 degrees to the right and up to 10 degrees to the left, making it easy for you to carry out even more complicated cuts with the saw. It comes with a deluxe extruded aluminum fence with a hairline scale which is very easy to read, adjust and provides a solid support for the work piece. Overall, the Shop Fox W1706 offers some of the best features that makes it one of the best 14 inch Band saws you can get your hands on today.
- Onboard tool storage.
- Easy to setup.
- Solid cast iron table.
- Accurate resaw fence.
Rikon 10 Inch Deluxe Bandsaw
Wheel Size: 10 inch, Motor: 1/2 HP 110V, Speed: 1515 and 3250 FPM, Resaw Capacity: 5 inch, Table Size: 13-3/4 x 12-1/2.
If you have a small shop and you want a bandsaw that can fit in properly to carry out small woodworking project, this Rikon 10 inch delux bandsaw is the one I’d recommend. It’s got up to 5 inch resawing capacity and has a throat depth of approximately 10 inches. It’s got everything you need in a small bandsaw. When making cuts, it runs very smoothly with very less vibrations. It has a very sturdy cast iron table that’s 13.75 by 12.5 inches, and it bevels up to 45 degrees if you want to make beveled cuts on it. The aluminum fence is a bit flimsy, but it’s adjustable and works very well. For it’s size, the 1/2 horsepower motor also works well and cuts through materials with ease. It also has 2 speed settings of 1515 ft/min and 3250 ft/min, so you match the speed to the material you’re cutting. Lower speed for metal cutting, higher speed for wood. You can use blades that are 1/8 to 1/2 inches in width and 70-1/2 inches long. The biggest quack with it is the roller guides that it has. They’re quite difficult to adjust because they shift as you tighten them. However, once adjusted, everything runs smoothly. Overall, I’d say Rikon made a high-quality tool here you can really on. It’s very versatile, easy to adjust, and it runs silky smooth.
Grizzly Industrial G0513X2 17 Inch bandsaw
Wheel Size: 17 inch, Motor: 2 HP 110V/220V, Speed: 1700 and 3500 FPM, Resaw Capacity: 12 inch, Table Size: 17-1/4 x 23-5/8 inch.
Equipped with a 2 HP motor producing up to 1725 RPM with a dual blade speed of 1700 and 3500 FPM, this Grizzly G0513X2 Band saw comes fully equipped with everything you need in a bandsaw. Apart from that, the 17 inch wheel it comes with makes it even more powerful and ideal for the most demanding projects you can carry out on a Band saw. The wheels are heavy and comes balanced with computers to ensure they run smoothly while working with it. With up to 12 inches of cutting height capacity and 16-1/4 inch throat capacity, you can use it to tackle a wide range of projects or applications without difficulty. As for the working table, it’s a large precision-ground cast iron table with dimensions of 23-5/8 inches by 17-1/4 inches, affording you enough room to tackle large projects easily. The table can be micro-adjusted to allow for even the most intricate of cuts. From top to bottom, this bandsaw is built to stand the test of time. It comes built with a heavy duty stout steel frame to keep the whole machine rigid and reduce vibration to a bare minimum especially when making resaws with it. Releasing and tensioning the blade requires no use of tools as it comes with a quick-change blade release and tensioner. Overall, this G0513X2 17 inch bandsaw from Grizzly Industrial Tools is the ideal saw for woodworkers looking for a large or high capacity Band saw to tackle their woodworking projects in the woodshop.
- Large rip and resaw capacity.
- Large table.
- Easy setup. Not many parts to assemble.
- Heavy and well-balanced.
WEN 3962T – 10 inch
Wheel Size: 10 inch, Motor: 3.5 Amp, Speed: 1520 and 2620 FPM, Resaw Capacity: 6 inch, Table Size: 14-1/8 x 12-1/2 inch.
Central Machinery 14 inch woodworking bandsaw. Review
Although it’s a 10 inch Band saw, this WEN 3962 Band saw comes with a heavy duty stand that elevates it high enough, making it easier to use. It features a 3.5 amp motor which can be operated at 2 speeds of 1520 FPM and 2620 FPM. The saw comes with a 14-1/8 inch by 12-1/2 inch work table which can be beveled up to 45 degrees for more complicated cuts. It accepts 72 inch long blades that vary in width from 1/8 inch to ½ inches. With a full 6 inch resaw capacity combined with a 9-3/4 inch throat capacity, the WEN 3962 Band saw allows you to handle impressive sizes of wood. The aluminum fence that comes with it is very sturdy and very easy to adjust as you work with the saw. A 3-n-1 inch dust port allows you to use different sizes of dust collection hoses for the Band saw. It also features a flexible work light you can switch on to illuminate your work area when it’s dark. All in all, the WEN 3962 comes with some of the best features you’ll find in any 10 inch bandsaw.
- Ideal for a small workshop.
- Easy to setup and adjust.
- Easy to adjust
- Very affordable compared with other units.
Laguna Tools 14bx
Wheel Size: 14 inch, Motor: 1.75 HP 110V, Motor Speed: 1720 RPM, Resaw Capacity: 12 inch, Table Size: 21-1/2 x 16.
This is the Laguna Tools 14bx bands saw with 14 inch wheels and a 12 inch resaw or height capacity. There are two models of this Laguna tools Band saw. One with a 1.75 HP, 110 volt motor and the other with a 2.5 HP, 220 volt motor which is more powerful and slightly more expensive than the first one. The saw makes use of blades with a minimum width of 1/8 inches, and it occupies a footprint of 17-1/2 inch by 22-1/2 inches. It’s built with heavy gauge solid steel frame which ensures durability and keeps the machine stable, minimizing vibration during operation. You can tilt the cast iron table 7 degrees left and 45 degrees right, allowing you to tackle a wide range of projects. The massive cast trunnion is 8 inches by 13 inches. Also, the wheels are also made of heavy cast iron which further adds momentum to the blades making it easier to cut through hard materials. It comes with a magnetic on and off switch and dual mounting positions you can use to mount an optional pro light system to illuminate the work surface. A quick release and tension lever makes it easy to release or add tension to the Band saw blade. All in all, this Band saw by Laguna tools is definitely one of the best Band saws you can get today because it’s powerful, made of high quality steel, and there’s no doubt it will be a very durable addition to any woodworking shop.
What To Consider When Choosing A Bandsaw
On your own, here are some important factors you must consider if you want to choose the right bandsaw for your woodworking projects.
Wheel Size – Throat Depth
One of the most important features to consider before choosing any bandsaw is its wheel size, which is also the throat depth. The wheel size or throat depth equals the distance between the blade and the column holding and separating the upper and lower wheels of the machine. There are 9-inch bandsaws, 14-inch, 17-inch, and so on.
These sizes refer to the diameter of the wheels that come with the bandsaw. A 9 inch bandsaw has 9 inch wheels while a 14 inch unit comes with 14 inch wheels.
The larger the wheels are, the greater the throat depth and the greater the cut capacity. This comes in very useful, especially when you want to make a crosscut on a large workpiece or even cut a curve on the large workpiece.
So, you should consider this when making your decision. Consider the sizes of boards you will cut on the machine, and make sure you buy a suitable bandsaw machine to accommodate those workpiece sizes.
One of the most important uses of a bandsaw is resawing. There comes a time when you have a thick timber piece that you want to cut into two or more slender pieces.
A bandsaw is the best machine to get that done. You can use a table saw for resawing, but table saws are only better for making rip cuts, not for resawing. Their blades are only tall enough to resaw lumber up to 4 inches in the vertical direction. In contrast, even a 10-inch bandsaw can resaw lumber up to 6 inches. That’s why they’re better for resawing lumber into thinner pieces.
Bandsaw blades are also thinner than that of table saws and therefore waste less wood. The thicker kerf of a table saw blade turns a lot of the wood into sawdust; thus, it’s not an economical way of resawing lumber.
If one of your main reasons for getting a bandsaw machine is to resaw lumber, you should go for at least 12 inches of resaw capacity.
Motor – Power
The type of motor and the Horsepower of the motor in bandsaw is very important. That’s going to determine how easily the saw cuts through materials.
The amount of power the motor can generate is also going to determine the types of blades you can use with the machine.
If the motor is not powerful enough, it’s not going to be able to run some types of blades. In general, the wider the blade is, the greater the power needed to run it.
It doesn’t matter whether you have a machine with a 24-inch resaw capacity. If the motor inside the machine is not powerful enough, it won’t be able to run wide blades or resaw wide boards.
Therefore, if you want your bandsaw to be able to cut wide boards or cut boards from small logs, then a 1.5 horsepower motor is the minimum you should go for.
On the other hand, if you’re just going to do some curve cutting and resawing on small boards not more than 6 inches in thickness, then a 3/4 or 1 horsepower motor should be enough.
Steel Frames vs Cast Iron Frames
Some bandsaws are built with steel frames, while others have cast iron frames. Steel frames are usually made in a single piece eliminating any seem or joint between the upper and lower wheels. That makes them more rigid and better for resawing lumber with greater capacity.
On the other hand, many cast iron frames have seams or joints in the column holding the upper and lower wheels. A bandsaw with a cast iron frame can also be used for resawing but usually does not have enough capacity for large lumber pieces.
Both frame types can be used for resawing, but if one of your main reasons for getting the machine is to resaw with it, then I’d recommend that you go with a steel-framed unit.
Blade Guides – Blade Changing
There are different types of blade guides that come with bandsaws, and it’s important that you take note of the type of guides that come with the one you’re planning to buy.
It’s very crucial that you do that because the blade guides affect how easily you can change the blades on the machine. If it takes an arm and a leg to change the blades in your bandsaw, you’re not going to do it and it’s going to bring a lot of frustration to you and hold up your work.
Some of the most common guides include:
- Steel guide blocks
- Ceramic blocks
- Cool Blocks
- DIY Oil-soaked wooden guides
- Roller bearings
Each of these guides has pros and cons. However, some guides are far better than others. The guides I’ll advise you to stay away from at all costs are steel guide blocks. They create a lot of friction and heat up the blade. If steel blocks and ceramics blocks ever come in contact with the teeth of the blade, that blade is done.
The guides I prefer and recommend are roller bearings and cool blocks. Roller bearings create almost no friction because they roll with the blade and they’re easy to adjust. Cool blocks can come in contact with the blade teeth and not damage it.
Advice on Woodworking Machines: Go Metal
We needed an additional Band saw for our bench room. We have several chair classes coming up fast, plus we use my old 1980s Rockwell Band saw so much that there are times we need to have two Band saws running simultaneously.
My first instinct was to buy a second old USA-made Delta Band saw and restore it. But I honestly do not have time to restore a machine now.
So I bought a metalworking machine instead.
One of the odd little facts about machinery is that metalworking machines are built far better than their woodworking counterparts (and have a price tag to match). A 14” Band saw for woodworking might cost 1,300, while its metalworking cousin will cost 2,300.
I first learned thiskl in the 1990s when working in the Popular Woodworking shop. We had a Wilton belt/disc sander that was built like a tank. All the controls were metal – no plastic. It ran smoothly and was insanely powerful. The machine’s trunnions were heavy cast iron. One day I looked up the machine in a catalog and discovered it was designed for metalworking.
When I looked at the equivalent belt/disc sanders for woodworking, they looked like toys. Plastic controls, sheet-metal trunnions and aluminum where I would have preferred cast iron.
From that day on, I got a taste for metalworking machines. (Manufacturing tools for Crucible also pushed me along this path.) When I bought a belt grinder for our shop, I made sure it was designed for metalworking. Sure it cost about three times as much, but it is more than three times better than its woodworking cousin.
And when I started shopping for a 14” Band saw, I went right to the metalworking section. I settled on a Jet 14” Band saw that is designed for both metalworking and woodworking. It has massive castings, heavy trunnions, metal controls and carbide blade guides. It weighs 110 pounds more than its woodworking cousin.
FYI, I am not oblivious. For years I owned the Jet 14” woodworking Band saw and was completely happy with it. It was the best 14” cast iron Band saw I could buy at the time. But its metalworking cousin is another animal entirely.
Why am I telling you this? I love old iron. Most of our machinery was made back when I wore diapers (or my parents were in middle school). But sometimes buying and restoring an old machine is just not possible because of where you live, your skills or the time required to do the restoration right.
When that’s the case, here’s another option to consider: look at the metalworking machines. There isn’t always one available, but in some cases (especially with Band saws, sanding machines, lathes and drill presses) there’s another line of machines out there that you might not be considering.
thoughts on “ Advice on Woodworking Machines: Go Metal ”
It’s true though, isn’t it? Working in a machine shop that serviced surface pumps when I was out of high school bent my mind towards metal applications to woodworking in ensuing years. Which leads me to a chicken/egg conundrum: what came first? Woodworking or metalwork? Surely woodworking but at some point as man developed metalwork and woodworking were not mutually exclusive to ancient craftsmen.
Never thought of the metal working bandsaw being heavier but makes sense, that Jet looks like it will fit your needs well. The small low cost bandsaw to be on the lookout for is a used minimax 16 (mm16) built by Centuro, thing is a beast and can tension a 1” lennox CT to 20k which is what a CT blade requires to perform well (i use the 3/4” timberwolf as well which is a lot easier to tension, works well and about 1/5 the cost) i can resaw 12” 1/16” veneer on that saw. I paid 2k for a 2003 which is a little high but the guy delivered it. The new 16” bandsaw from SCM is now made by ACM another premier bandsaw maker.
If the saw is designed only for cutting metal, then yes. However, you can convert it to woodworking with an inexpensive pulley. Many metalworking saws have a stepped pulley so you can increase the speed for woodworking.
Is the dust collection adequate? My 80’s vintage Delta has a similar but smaller dust port next to the blade. A lot of dust gets past it. I am debating adding a 4” port in lower door.
The little port helps. But it’s not enough. Most of these Band saws need a 4″ port somewhere in the lower cabinet. So your instincts are good. We don’t have a dust collector in the bench room, so I just clean up after each job….
looks like a great saw! is the motor inside the cabinet? one of the things that pushed me to the powermatic 14 over the jet woodworking model was that the jet had the motor mounted in the outside of the cabinet and used a pair of L brackets mounted upside down on the back side to keep the saw from tipping. the whole thing screamed sloppy Band aid.
Likewise; I feel like most lathes for metalworking, while certainly functional in the sense that they’ll likely readily shape wood, are less what most woodworkers would actually look for in a lathe. Unless there are metal working lathes that follow similar lines to woodworking ones, but I am not familiar with such…
I used to work at a small optics shop. The way you break something that looks like a three foot cube of ice down to slabs to hole drill into lense blanks was machinist tools with a retrofitted lubricant drip. Major difference between the glasscutting and machinist shop was what you had to clean up and the glass cutters diamond toothed cutters. And for the old ways, think about this: for every operation you do, you can NOT clamp, but you may wedge or set up a barrier (wide planning stop anyone?) That the glass would push against. The glass cutters had traditional setups and imagination.
Great idea, if your woodworking puts food on the table and keeps a roof over your head. For those of us who are lucky enough to make a gift box for a friend that maybe does or doesn’t get put into a closet for the next 20 years, this advice doesn’t make a lot of sense. But, I understand that you, Chris, fall into the category in the first sentence, and so the advice works.
Hi, thanks for the great tip. I am having trouble figuring out what type of Jet machine this is. Could you please help out?
In Michigan there are many small shops along a line south of I-94. Over the last 20 years of manufacturing moving offshore larger companies are shutting down. This is an opportunity to buy used equipment at bargain prices. A Doall 30 inch bandsaw was in every machine shop I worked in over the last 52 years. Most were old when I met them. From the WWII era. Completely rebuild able with commonly available motors, belts, switches and all the other things that wear. Manufacturing meant hard use and regular maintenance. The machines often come with a blade welder. Great for making new blades and the opportunity to cut a hole in the center without a left through from the outside. Check with a local realtor. They know who has a building sitting. It is painful to see those still usable machines peeking out of a collapsed building. Buy one and your great grandchildren will be using it in their old age.
I think there’s a lot that could be added to this post explaining the nuance of using a metal machine for wood. Reduced resaw capacity, inadequate dust collection, and wheel RPM among them. I get what you’re saying and I agree with the general concept, but I think there are a lot of things a beginner (i.e. the people seeking advice on this kind of thing) would really need to know/understand before they took this kind of leap. Also, I think this is probably generally good advice for a bandsaw when applied correctly, but which other woodworking tools would do you believe this applies to? Not a lathe, surely? I don’t really see a milling machine replacing a drill press with any level of practicality. I don’t mean to be a deliberate naysayer, just a couple of things that jumped out to me.
Actually something like a Rong Fu milling/drilling is a much better alternative to a drill press for a ww and I am not a fan of asian machines.
Thanks for the tip. I knew they were heavier. stronger and solid but I never equated them with woodworking. Makes perfect sense.
Classes at the LAP storefront
For a current list of classes, click here. If you have a question about classes, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please don’t email email@example.com about classes; it will only delay us answering you.
If you are having problems with an order, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
My Personal Site
You can see a gallery of my work at Christopher M. Schwarz, Furniture Maker
amp;t. These are cabinet doors. Cut with a CS Osborne compass groover and a timber scribe.” /