getting started with bandsaws, but where to begin?


Recommended Posts

I've used bandsaws here and there growing up, but it's been several years.  I typically work with a tablesaw, track saw, jigsaw, circular saw, and compound miter saw.  Because I have experience with those saws, I know which ones are good and which ones to avoid.  Now I find myself in need of a bandsaw.  My current project needs demand the features that only a bandsaw can provide.  I need to cut curved lines in wood with greater accuracy than my jigsaw can accomplish with its coping blade.  I've seen the amazing things a band saw can do and I think this Christmas it should become a new addition to my workshop.

 

I've tried doing some homework first, but online reviews for band saws seem to be terribly biased.  Looking around I see offerings on amazon and other sites featuring low level offerings, mid-grade saws for between five and six hundred dollars (that's my price point), top grade for between 1 and 2 thousand, and then ridiculously amazing saws in excess of 6 grand.

 

I see the mid-level Jet saws and they have a lot of positive feedback, but one fellow says the tensioner is terrible and turns your saw into a finger eater.  Well, scratch that one off the list.  Then I see grizzly, which gets good ratings as well while at the same time showing lots of complaints about horrible customer service.  I like rigid brand tools so I took a look at their online offering and it's hard to gauge the quality there because there are three reviews and it's only offered by one store.  Not too much chatter about it online either in the way of reviews.

 

I see others such as a used Rikon going for around 800, usually over 1k.  I see a WEN saw; I have a WEN nail gun that I really like.  There are the Laguna saws that feature the ceramic contacts and frames that look like something from the future.

 

What saw should I choose?  My target is a mid-level saw below 600 dollars that won't eat my fingers?

Link to post
Share on other sites

What size are you looking at?

 

Frankly, in the 14" market, the Grizzly (G0555) is a diamond in the rough.  As for their customer service, well, I've had nothing but awesome dealings with them when I needed them.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

For bandsaws in your price range, you cannot find a better unit than the Grizzly. I have had the GO555 with a riser for several years, and I have never had a problem with it.

 

Can't speak on their customer service, never needed it. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

What size are you looking at?

 

Frankly, in the 14" market, the Grizzly (G0555) is a diamond in the rough.  As for their customer service, well, I've had nothing but awesome dealings with them when I needed them.

 

14" is just what I'm looking for, but it's about $200 above my price range.  I know you get what you pay for, nobody knows that better than me, so if this saw is the one to get, I'll have to save up a couple more months.  I'm buying it off discretionary income so it's not so much an all out purchase like some of my other major buys.  I also recently purchased a few very nice japanese katana before knowing this project was going to present itself, and therefore the immediate need for the bandsaw.

Link to post
Share on other sites

You said your price point was 5 to 6 hundred.  It's 525 and if you get the anniversary edition, I think it's 445

 

http://www.grizzly.com/products/The-Ultimate-14-Bandsaw/G0555

 

http://www.grizzly.com/products/14-Deluxe-Bandsaw-Anniversary-Edition/G0555LANV

 

Ah, yes you apparently need to know where to buy.  I was looking here (big difference) http://www.amazon.com/Grizzly-G0555LX-Deluxe-Bandsaw-14-Inch/dp/B000KOXXQE/ref=sr_1_2?s=hi&ie=UTF8&qid=1417386076&sr=1-2&keywords=G0555

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have the G0555P from Grizzly, and it has proven itself in my shop.  I did have to call Grizzly's customer service once for an issue with the jointer, and the service they provided was stellar.  

 

Well thank you MikeM for dispelling that myth.  Makes me feel that much better about it.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I found a deal on a Jet 18" saw.  It's nice except it doesn't have the tension reliever bar thingy and it ONLY has a 1.5HP motor.  In trucks, instead of the 5.7 or 5.3 V8, it has the 4.8 V8.  I've done some resawing and some milling of logs and I am not satisfied with the HP at all.  I'm using new blades that are specifically designed for each application - resawing dried boards and milling green wood.  I haven't read all the posts and have not looked up the Grizzly that many were satisfied with but if it's 1.5HP or less.....I'd save my nickels and buy one with more HP.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

What are your thoughts on these grizzly models?  The pages have a comparison page at the bottom and I see some minor differences.  The one big difference I see is in price.  The anniversary edition is significantly less money ($80 dollars less)

 

G0555 - https://www.grizzly.com/products/G0555

 

G0555LANV - https://www.grizzly.com/products/14-Deluxe-Bandsaw-Anniversary-Edition/G0555LANV

Link to post
Share on other sites

If memory serves me, the main difference is the fence on the anniversary one isn't as good as the regular.  Now, with that said, I don't think either of them are very good.  They do work but, you can add a good fence later if you can't get the factory one adjusted to your satisfaction. 

 

To Tim's point, it's a 14" bandsaw and it depends on what you want out of it.  I don't do a lot of resawing and if I did, I'd add a bigger bandsaw to my shop.  I would not use or expect a 14" bandsaw to resaw logs but, to each his own.

 

There are more expensive and more powerful saws on the market but, your original question had to do with bang for the buck for a small bandsaw.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

If memory serves me, the main difference is the fence on the anniversary one isn't as good as the regular.  Now, with that said, I don't think either of them are very good.  They do work but, you can add a good fence later if you can't get the factory one adjusted to your satisfaction. 

 

To Tim's point, it's a 14" bandsaw and it depends on what you want out of it.  I don't do a lot of resawing and if I did, I'd add a bigger bandsaw to my shop.  I would not use or expect a 14" bandsaw to resaw logs but, to each his own.

 

There are more expensive and more powerful saws on the market but, your original question had to do with bang for the buck for a small bandsaw.

 

Indeed and exactly.  I need to cut curved lines in wood no thicker than one or two inches max at the moment.  New projects down the road may demand more, and resawing is an attractive option to get a useful board out of a rough, twisty one, but that's not what I need right now.  Even for resawing I would be working with smaller dimensions of lumber.  Nothing huge at the moment.  I look at this like a starter saw.  If/when I need to upgrade, I'll do that.  Until that time I need a solid tool I can depend on for a good price.

 

The biggest difference I noticed was the wheels on the anniversary are cast iron and the wheels on the rest of the saws all the way up to the extreme heavy hitters are using cast aluminum.  I don't really know what that buys you and if it's worth $80.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I just got done researching all of these saws. The cast iron wheels are a plus, help to build momentum to power through cuts. They're just clearing out the Anniversary branded saws, but other than that they're no different from the G0555LX, the Anv/LX are actually better than the "Ultimate" for some reason. I actually call them for explanation, they don't have one. I think it's just an older marketing scheme verse a new one. If you have ShopFox dealer in your area you can see what they look like basically by looking at a  W1706. 

 

I ended up spending more and getting a Rikon, but resawing was up there on my list. I have had Grizzly table saw for 2 years now and have been very happy with it. If all things were equal I would have gotten a Grizzly bandsaw, but the Rikon was on sale and beat it on price. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

 I specifically bought the riser kit so I can resaw. I have been happy with the results using a 5/8" laguna bade. (not the super expensive one)

 

If I did a lot of resawing, I would get a  bigger machine. But for the occasional piece, this unit is fine.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I've always heard that good deals can be had on Craigslist on bandsaws, but never experienced any. Most of what I've seen has been pretty much junk. Perhaps I just have bad timing.

 

I think a quality bandsaw is a smart purchase. It is a very versatile and statistically very safe machine. I use my old POS craftsman a ton.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

There are other ways to cut curves. Yes a bandsaw is the most efficient but alternatively, a jigsaw, template and router will get the job done.

 

The jigsaw just isn't doing it for me.  I can't count on a perfectly 90 degree straight cut--especially where it counts: the curves.  You raise a good point with the router, but I'd need to go buy the right bits.  That's an excellent suggestion I can't believe I hadn't thought of.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I've always heard that good deals can be had on Craigslist on bandsaws, but never experienced any. Most of what I've seen has been pretty much junk. Perhaps I just have bad timing.

 

I think a quality bandsaw is a smart purchase. It is a very versatile and statistically very safe machine. I use my old POS craftsman a ton.

 

 

I don't mind picking up certain things off craigslist, but for the things that really count, I want to know I have some warrantee coverage for a couple years.  On craigslist you don't know what you're getting.  They could have dropped the tool and caused damage that isn't immediately visible.  There are just some things you don't buy on craigslist, like mattresses ;-)  A table and chairs, sure, but never a mattress or (at least for me) a saw that could kill me if there's hidden damage.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Who's Online   4 Members, 0 Anonymous, 429 Guests (See full list)

  • Forum Statistics

    29540
    Total Topics
    400353
    Total Posts
  • Member Statistics

    22267
    Total Members
    3644
    Most Online
    Jstan
    Newest Member
    Jstan
    Joined