DMV

Drill press or a bandsaw

Recommended Posts

Hello,

I got into woodworking towards the end of last year and now have a modest little shop in my basement. Current equipment includes a job site table saw, router with fixed and plunge base, a router table similar to Patrick Sullivan's excellent design found on youtube ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2EYJdKTVeKM ), a dust collector / separator using a top hat style Thien baffle, jig saw, cordless drill and other hand tools.  I also have a Cutech jointer and planer on the way.

My goal is to get into building Craftsman style furniture. I'm especially infatuated with the Morris chair. Most plans I find online for this chair suggest using a drill press for making mortises and a bandsaw for cutting curves in the armrest.

At first I thought I could get by with a low cost drill press and bandsaw.  But as I research the topic more I'm starting to believe that a low cost benchtop bandsaw may not work at all. I think I may still be able to get away with a low cost benchtop drill press however.

Can anyone provide me with some guidance? Is a small, cheap bandsaw ($150) a workable option for at least some Craftsman style furniture? Or am I only going to be throwing that money away? Additionally, do you think I can get away with a small, cheap drill press ($150) for a while - or is that a lost cause too?

Thanks in advance for any feedback!

Dave

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think you'll have better luck with a cheap drill press than a cheap band saw. I made a pair of Morris chairs and never used a drill press so there are many ways to skin that cat. Though not having a good band saw to resaw would be limiting.

There is the rikon 10-306 it's always looked like a very capable small saw but it's $400. That's a LOT for a small saw that isn't that useful for wide resawing. To get a decent 14" you are going to be closer to the $1,000 mark if you wait and buy a saw on sale. This is my suggestion. The rikon 10-326, Laguna 14-12, or the Jet 14SFX. They are all very similar and you can't go wrong with them. They are also all about the same price. It's also worth noting that with a jointer and one of the band saws above you can basically put a tablesaw upgrade on hold for a long time. Most of my rip cuts are done at my band saw and i really only use my table saw for critical cuts and joinery.

If that's too expensive i suggest watching craig's list for a used 14" saw from your area. Don't buy the first one you see unless you know it's a good deal. This is my opinion but a saw like this https://minneapolis.craigslist.org/hnp/tls/d/minnetonka-14-band-saw/6798960199.html is less useful than the 10" guy. Stick to the delta's jets or old powermatics. At least the 10" rikon will have a warranty and customer suport and can probably resaw just as much.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not a fan of either being cheap, but I think it's more important to spend the money on a band saw. Rather than getting a little bench top band saw, consider a larger 14" model. You will likely find that the little saw is very limiting & you'll want a bigger one right away. The Rikon 10-326, or the a used 10-325 are good choices that I've had experience with. There are lots of others as well. Expect to pay north $800 to get one that's worth having. If that's way over budget, then look at the used market.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A lot of good advice above.  I would put money in the bandsaw before the drill press and look at used equipment to limit your investment now.  I am a big believer of buy onde cry once, but sometimes I don't always know what that "once" should be and buying something used or using someone else's equipment can be that education.  

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you so much everyone! I really appreciate the detailed advice - what a fantastic welcome for a new user to the forum :)

Is the Grizzly G0555LX 14" saw a reasonable option? It has a max cut height of 6" and looks to be $725 after shipping. It seems that there's a lot of love for Grizzly products on this forum and elsewhere. They seem to fill the mid-tier "not high end, but still extremely capable" niche in the market. 

The Rikon 10-306 10" saw that Chestnut mentioned appears to be pretty capable with a 5" max cut height. And it's remarkably cheaper at $350-$400.  Other than cut height, what disadvantage may I run into down the road? Lack of power?

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I love a good drill press but, I would give it up in a heartbeat to keep the bandsaw.  Size the saw to your space or your needs. If you will resaw, a riser block will get you by but, a 14" doesn't really take up much more footprint than a 17".  Oh, and WELCOME!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A 14" bands saw with a riser block or a 17" band saw.  You can pick up a used drill press through Craigslist almost daily.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, DMV said:

Thank you so much everyone! I really appreciate the detailed advice - what a fantastic welcome for a new user to the forum :)

Is the Grizzly G0555LX 14" saw a reasonable option? It has a max cut height of 6" and looks to be $725 after shipping. It seems that there's a lot of love for Grizzly products on this forum and elsewhere. They seem to fill the mid-tier "not high end, but still extremely capable" niche in the market. 

The Rikon 10-306 10" saw that Chestnut mentioned appears to be pretty capable with a 5" max cut height. And it's remarkably cheaper at $350-$400.  Other than cut height, what disadvantage may I run into down the road? Lack of power?

Grizzly is a respectable option.  It seems from posts here and other vicarious experiences that Grizzly's business model is to build equipment reasonably well, but cheaply, and then fix the problems after the fact, but they do back that business model up with good customer service.  Unfortunately every once in a while this results in some piece of equipment that just has too many problems.  That said I don't know of any manufacturer which doesn't have a customer who was unhappy with one of the products and/or the customer service.   And that includes Powermatic, and Hammer.  So if Grizzly had what I want at a price I want to pay I'd buy it.  

As to the 10 inch vs 14 inch you're looking at, it comes down to HP, capacity, features and price.  There are 14 inch saws that have more than 6 inch resaw capacity, but if you're looking at a smaller capacity 14 inch that seems a fair comparison.  Although if the G055LX will take a riser block that would leave the door open to you to "expand" later.  Conversely, if you are going to be cutting curved parts for furniture I'm just guessing those parts won't be 12 inches thick.  

Again any options for you on the used market?  

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, Mark J said:

Grizzly is a respectable option.  It seems from posts here and other vicarious experiences that Grizzly's business model is to build equipment reasonably well, but cheaply, and then fix the problems after the fact, but they do back that business model up with good customer service.  Unfortunately every once in a while this results in some piece of equipment that just has too many problems.  That said I don't know of any manufacturer which doesn't have a customer who was unhappy with one of the products and/or the customer service.   And that includes Powermatic, and Hammer.  So if Grizzly had what I want at a price I want to pay I'd buy it.  

As to the 10 inch vs 14 inch you're looking at, it comes down to HP, capacity, features and price.  There are 14 inch saws that have more than 6 inch resaw capacity, but if you're looking at a smaller capacity 14 inch that seems a fair comparison.  Although if the G055LX will take a riser block that would leave the door open to you to "expand" later.  Conversely, if you are going to be cutting curved parts for furniture I'm just guessing those parts won't be 12 inches thick.  

Again any options for you on the used market?  

What I'm seeing for sale on Craigslist right now isn't encouraging, but I also don't need to make a decision or purchase at this exact moment either. I see a fair amount of rusty antiques for next to nothing and then a few new-ish models where the seller is asking for 90% of what the saw costs new.  I'll keep my eye on craigslist though until I get closer to making a decision.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There's also the Rikon 10-305 that is $300, and can be found for around $250 on sale. It has 4-5/8" resaw capacity and has a few less features than the 10-306, but is still a decent option for the price.

Or if you come across a used Craftsman 10" on craigslist, it's the same thing as the Rikon 10-305.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Put more green on a better bandsaw --14" and definitely a riser block, as said above. Cheapish benchtop drill press is good enough for what i've done over the years and never once wished I had a floor model.

For making a morris chair--- go buy a used bench top mortiser, they were all over craigslist inexpensive when I was looking for one. Or use a router with a side guide (i think that's what they call it, I have one for my router)  and an upcut bit.  

 

-Ace-  

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, DMV said:

What I'm seeing for sale on Craigslist right now isn't encouraging, but I also don't need to make a decision or purchase at this exact moment either.

This is a tremendous advantage.  Most of the "great" buys I have made come from knowing what I want so that I am prepared to strike when the iron is hot.  I also have a 10-305 and it is a very nice bandsaw for $250 which it sells for often now that the 10-306 is out.  I picked mine up at Acme just before the end of the year.

This would let you get your feet wet for a low cost of admission.  The 10-305 could become your second saw if you upgrade to something for resawing. when I bought my larger bandsaw I foolishly sold my smaller machine.  I lasted about a month and went out and got another (used but serviceable).  When the Rikon went on sale with free shipping, I upgraded the smaller saw.

A lot of times, effective spending of your money is knowing where you want to go and what makes up logical steps toward that end ;-)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
42 minutes ago, gee-dub said:

This is a tremendous advantage.  Most of the "great" buys I have made come from knowing what I want so that I am prepared to strike when the iron is hot.  I also have a 10-305 and it is a very nice bandsaw for $250 which it sells for often now that the 10-306 is out.  I picked mine up at Acme just before the end of the year.

This would let you get your feet wet for a low cost of admission.  The 10-305 could become your second saw if you upgrade to something for resawing. when I bought my larger bandsaw I foolishly sold my smaller machine.  I lasted about a month and went out and got another (used but serviceable).  When the Rikon went on sale with free shipping, I upgraded the smaller saw.

A lot of times, effective spending of your money is knowing where you want to go and what makes up logical steps toward that end ;-)

Would the 10-305 or 10-306 be a good saw for leaving a 1/4" blade in and doing small curve stuff like reindeer? I've wanted a 2nd bandsaw for a while but getting a 2nd full size just doesn't seem like it'll fit in my shop. I've always been interested in the saw but i was always worried that I'd buy it get frustrated with it and then never use it. I have a delta 9" that i don't use because it's not a nice saw.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll echo all of the above advice on a good bandsaw.  I'd also suggest that, when it comes to a reasonable drill press, you don't forget Harbor Freight.  HF sells a lot of crap, but there are quite a few gems among them.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

With respect to all the comments above, the answer to your questions ultimately depends on your projects and work flow.

The easy answer (for me) is to say the bandsaw but, if the bulk of what you build requires more use of the drill press then, that becomes the answer for you.

This is important as you get more and more into this hobby.  You can always reach out to us and ask "what would you choose"?  It's more important to ask yourself "what would I get the most use out of".  Toss in 50 cents with all of our opinions and you still couldn't afford coffee downtown.  

Now, when it comes to particular pros and cons about a piece of equipment, then this is the place to get a lot of opinions and then you can sift through them all to get what you need.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To qualify what I'm going to say about the 10" bandsaw, I have three bandsaws.  A 24" with a large toothed resaw blade-the only thing that saw gets used for, an old 14" Delta with riser, and the same saw as the 10" 305, only it has Crafsman doors on it from when Sears sold the same saw.   The little saw gets used more than the other two for small jobs.  It  makes no pretense to be any kind of a resaw machine.

The 14" is a compromise in every respect.  It can do anything, but is Really slow at resawing, and the cast iron frame can't put the tension I'd like on even a 1/2" blade, but does get by. The riser cuts down on the amount of tension the saw can provide.  It was my only bandsaw for a long time, but if it didn't take too much time, I'd take the riser off of it now that I have the big'un.

The little saw can go anything else that the 14" can, other than resawing.

As you go up in size, the larger the bandsaw, the more it seems like some other type of woodworking machine.   The larger the saw, the wider the blade with larger teeth it can use, but also, blade speed goes up (typically) every time the size of the machine goes up.  In short, the larger the saw, the exponentially faster it will cut.  The more tension you can put on a blade, the smoother the cut.   There is a lot more to it than what's obvious.

You can do almost anything with the little saw as you can with a 14" if you don't need the throat depth.  It will just be slower.

I keep a 1" blade on the 24", a 3/8" on the 14", and a 3/16" on the 10".  It's easy to change blades if you don't change blade sizes.  One thing you pay money for on the nicer bandsaws is making it easier to change different size blades on it.  The 305 is a little bit of a pain, using allen wrenches, but not really That bad if you need to.  I just don't like fiddling around with machines when I'm in the middle of building something.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Chestnut said:

Would the 10-305 or 10-306 be a good saw for leaving a 1/4" blade in and doing small curve stuff like reindeer? I've wanted a 2nd bandsaw for a while but getting a 2nd full size just doesn't seem like it'll fit in my shop. I've always been interested in the saw but i was always worried that I'd buy it get frustrated with it and then never use it. I have a delta 9" that i don't use because it's not a nice saw.

I have a scrollsaw and still use the 10" with a 3/16" blade for things like reindeer so I would say yes. That is its primary use for me; curves, not just reindeer :).  For smaller stuff I use the scrollsaw.

reindeer-round 004.jpg

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Same with me on the scrollsaw.  A friend gave me a little used, big green Powermatic scrollsaw, but I've never even put it anywhere I could use it, much less used it.  Included in another bunch of tools given to me was some little scrollsaw that I can pick up with one hand.  I used the little one for cutting out the waste between double tenons, and it was the best tool for the job.  The inside corners, on the long cuts on the tenons were made with the little bandsaw, after being mostly cut on the tablesaw.

CIMG2057.JPG

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have the Grizz 14” bs with the riser and am completely satisfied with resawing 6-8” material. I also have the HF drill press and although have nothing to compare it to, have hade great results. To pick between the two, I would go with the bs. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had the Craftsman version of the Rikon 10-305. It was a good saw, and I used it a fair bit, but the maximum cut of less than 5" always felt like a restriction. Resawing lumber, things like bandsaw boxes or other sculpting activities always seem to need a deeper cut.

If you go with a 14" saw that does 6" or better cut depth, I'd lean toward the cast iron "C" frame style, since most all of them can be split, and a riser added. The square tube steel frame versions can not.

And to the original question - yes, go for the better bandsaw. I have a benchtop drill press, and find no need for anything larger.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wanted to reply and say thanks again for all of the feedback in this thread. Tons of valuable information here - I learned quite a bit!

I think my plan going forward is to keep an eye on craigslist and local auction sites while saving for the possibility of purchasing a new Grizzly 14".  

I have to say I'm really impressed with the quality of responses I've received in this thread. Such a wealth of information was presented, and in a friendly, helpful way.  Thank you all!

  • Like 2

Share this post


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.