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post #1 of 51 Old 01-02-2016, 05:00 PM Thread Starter
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Bandsaw versus table saw AND planer?

Some of you know I am trying to get back into woodworking after a number of years off, and both machine size and portability are important because of my living circumstances.

I have been thinking of getting just 5 machines:

- Sawstop Jobsite table saw (because I like to design and make children's wooden toys with lots of compound angle cuts)

- DeWalt 734 planer (because it is both smaller and lighter than the 735, and because I use exotic woods that come only unplaned)

- A benchtop drill press (because I use a lot of dowels as both joining devices and as wheels and axles)

- A combination belt / disc sander (because I need to smooth surfaces and soften angles)

- A 1 ton arbor press (because I need to press dowel wheels onto dowel axles, and dowels into mating parts, and a rubber hammer is too crude for precise depth control )

But, the more I read about bandsaws, the more I like about them:

- Much safer to use, especially when cutting very small hardwood component pieces, since no kickback and you can safely hand-hold parts being cut much closer to a bandsaw blade than to a table saw blade

- Much less need for jigs, clamping setups, and slide tables

- The obvious ability to add curves to my designs

- The ability to do tapered components very easily

- The ability to rip and crosscut much thicker pieces than a table saw can

- The ability to do resawing, and to do it safely

- Much less electrical supply power needed - because of the dramatically thinner blade, a 15 amp circuit gives more than sufficient power

- It's WAY quieter than a tablesaw, allowing me far more flexibility in where I place it and when I operate it

But a few questions and issues:

1. Is there anything that the table saw does notably better than the bandsaw, other than being more practically portable? (Assuming each are set up with the correct blade and the operator has acquired the necessary skills)

2. Can the combination of a bandsaw plus belt sander, potentially eliminate the need for the planer? Note that I NEVER need to do glued up joints - each component of my toys is cut as one solid wood piece, and control of thickness never has to be better than about a 32nd of an inch. The elimination of the planer would give me several benefits:

- The bandsaw might be lighter and smaller than the COMBINATION of SawStop plus DeWalt planer, making the entire "shop" smaller and lighter to move

- The bandsaw would be far quieter, and therefore more often usable, than the combination of SawStop plus DeWalt planer

- The bandsaw would generate a lot less sawdust than the combination of table saw and planer

- I could cut, versus plane, oversize pieces to desired thickness, saving some material, which on exotic woods could save appreciable money in some cases

3. GOOD bandsaws apparently need to have blade wheels that are at least 14 inches in diameter and a strong frame, in order to tension blades enough to ensure no deflection under heavy cutting loads, while avoiding damaging the blades or the bandsaw with the necessary psi loads. This makes good bandsaws both (a) large and (b) heavy (MUCH heavier and overall larger than the SawStop Jobsite saw). Even the modest Delta 14" weighs about 165 lb and is about 5-2/3 feet high. The few "benchtop" bandsaws I have found online all get lots of very critical commentary from experienced serious users. I can't seem to find a really high quality but compact bandsaw. I figured surely the Germans, or Austrians, or Italians make at least SOME lighter and more compact bandsaws (maybe with aluminum but ribbed and boxed frames and wheels, etc), but so far, it doesn't look like it. Making any of the individual machines in my portable shop too heavy or too unwieldingly tall makes the shop that much less portable.

Comments and advice?

Jim G
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post #2 of 51 Old 01-02-2016, 05:24 PM
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bandsaws are very much under rated

Just like other machines size does matter. Mine range from a 10" Craftsman, 2 - 14" Craftsmans and one 18" MinMax. Why so many? I've always have at least one starting with a 12 " Craftsman about 30 years ago.. When I sold that one, I got the 18" Min Max and with the proper blade it will do it all. BUT I don't like changing blades so when I saw the 14" on sale at Sears for under $500.00 I bought it. Then there was another in like new condition on Craig's List for $250.00, so I bouhght that one. They each have a different type of blade. Then, I thought my 8 yr old son would like to get into woodworking, so I bought him the 10" BUT he didn't take to it, so now I own it.

It is the only one I would consider "portable" and it ain't that light either. The table and the motor are the heavy pieces, but the motor on the Craftsmans are not easiiy removed, so you are left with taking off the table to make it lighter.

OK, how versatile are they? Quite! They can make all the cuts you will need for smaller toys and such, but you may need to sand the surfaces to eliminate the saw marks. A precision bandsaw will have zero side flutter and that makes for a smoother surface. A blade with less "set" to the teeth will make for a smoother surface BUT will cut slower.

I can not recommend a particular saw for your specific needs as they would all be heavier than I think you would want. A 2 wheel hand cart/truck would make moving a 14" saw so much easier that it may just be the answer. Here I am unloading a new 19" Grizzly bandsaw and using the hand truck to tip it over far enough to get it under a 6' 8" door opening. It weighed 450 lbs:



The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

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post #3 of 51 Old 01-02-2016, 06:09 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks WoodnThings. I DO have a hand cart! :)

1. Given my needs, what bandsaw (blade wheel) size could meet my needs? Would a 14" work or not? I can actually spend more money than I can space and weight, to get an acceptable quality machine.

2. In your experienced opinion, is the bandsaw a good idea versus the SawStop Jobsite table saw and DeWalt planer alternative?

Jim G
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post #4 of 51 Old 01-02-2016, 06:13 PM
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I would have to disagree with a bandsaw being drastically quieter. A bandsaw can't take the place of a planer.
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post #5 of 51 Old 01-02-2016, 06:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimGnitecki View Post
Thanks WoodnThings. I DO have a hand cart! :)

1. Given my needs, what bandsaw (blade wheel) size could meet my needs? Would a 14" work or not? I can actually spend more money than I can space and weight, to get an acceptable quality machine.

2. In your experienced opinion, is the bandsaw a good idea versus the SawStop Jobsite table saw and DeWalt planer alternative?

Jim G

There's a reason that some woodworkers have several of the same machine, some in different sizes. There's a also a reason that we have at least one of each type.

Each machine has it's own specialty ... sawing, resawing, planing, jointing, routing etc. Sawing straight lines vs sawing curves vs sawing 8" thick material don't necessarily suit one machine, BUT the bandsaw will do that much where a table saw can not.. What you are trying to do it is understandable, but maybe not possible. Light weight and woodworking machines really don't go together.


Craftsman made a 12" version and possibly Rikon that would be perfect, but you may have to find a used one:

http://lumberjocks.com/topics/64635



If I were to pick a bandsaw for you I would choose this one:
http://www.grizzly.com/products/17-Bandsaw-2-HP/G0513
If and when you ever want to get into more serious woodworking like making furniture, you will be all set and not need to upgrade. This one has a welded frame and would be easier to load on a hand truck to move than a separate cast frame and stand. We are talking about 300 lbs here though. Even their lighter saws come in at 247 lbs:
http://www.grizzly.com/products/14-D...tion/G0555LANV
To see the versatility of the bandsaw check this out:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BLIHu_49tmc

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 01-02-2016 at 06:41 PM.
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post #6 of 51 Old 01-02-2016, 06:34 PM
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I don't know what size your shop is, but I have all of my tools in a one car garage which also has a washer/dryer, hot water heater and storage shelving.

Everything except the work bench is on mobile carts or bases. I move them around as needed. The 3hp Grizzly 1023RLW doesn't get moved either, even though it sits on a mobile base.

So, I have a table saw, Drill press, band saw, planer, drum sander, a 6 inch joiner, and two mobile work stations, and still have enough room to build cabinets and other projects.

I am not a professional, just retired (chemical plant operator) and enjoy building all sorts of stuff.

I can build just about anything that comes my way.
It can be done. :-)
Hope this helps.
Mike

Last edited by MT Stringer; 01-02-2016 at 06:38 PM. Reason: typos galore!
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post #7 of 51 Old 01-02-2016, 07:02 PM
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As much as I love my bandsaw, I cant see it replacing my table saw as the main fixture in my shop. The table saw is louder, sure, but its also more versatile in my opinion. A bandsaw is limited in the type of cuts it can make, in that it can only do rip cuts or cross cuts up to its throat depth. A table saw, admittedly, can't cut curves or resaw stock quite as tall, but makes up with it in being able to make non-through cuts, like a dado, as well as having no real limit on the size of stock it can cut beyond height. What I mean by that is I could take a table saw and cut a 24 foot 2x4 into 2 12 foot lengths, but couldn't do that with a bandsaw.

Again, I'm not hating on the bandsaw. I love mine and it gets used nearly as much as the table saw does, and I think any well equipped shop should have one. I do also realize that there are people out there who do manage to get on with just a bandsaw, that's just not my style.

Oh, and I wouldn't give up my planer for anything, it and the table saw are my most used tools. Beyond thicknessing, its also invaluable for surface finishing. Keeps the blades sharp and you end up with a board that comes out perfect, no sanding necessary, and working with precisely dimensioned stock is an absolute joy

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post #8 of 51 Old 01-02-2016, 07:09 PM
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Fwiw, I have a PM66 table saw with extension table, PM54a 6" jointer, Delta DJ-15 jointer, 8' Oliver lathe, SuperMax 19-38 drum sander, Delta 24" scroll saw, Boice-Crane 15" floor model drill press, DeWALT 12" miter saw, DeWALT 6x48 with 10" disc sander, DeWALT 733 planer, free standing overarm router, Laguna 14 SUV bandsaw, air compressor, separate router table, three wood racks, shop vac, two workbenches, rolling tool chest, and a very well setup and tuned 1950 King-Seeley 12" bandsaw in a two-car garage. And I have room to move around. To be accurate, though, the Delta jointer and Oliver lathe are not being used and I stack stuff on them.

I mention all that not to boast about what I've got or how it's packed in but to emphasize that the single most used tool in my shop is my 12" bandsaw - period. Now this would not work if I worked in sheet goods or cabinets or large pieces of furniture. I'm building acoustic guitars along with the occasional small items like cutting boards, exotic wood boxes, ornaments for Christmas, etc. It's just a hobby for me but it's a serious hobby!

Everybody works differently and when I go to the bandsaw someone else might go to the table saw - that's fine, too. And I would not be able to function without the table saw or jointer or the other tools, or at least I wouldn't want to try.

Obviously, ymmv

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post #9 of 51 Old 01-02-2016, 07:25 PM Thread Starter
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As much as I love my bandsaw, I cant see it replacing my table saw as the main fixture in my shop. The table saw is louder, sure, but its also more versatile in my opinion. A bandsaw is limited in the type of cuts it can make, in that it can only do rip cuts or cross cuts up to its throat depth. A table saw, admittedly, can't cut curves or resaw stock quite as tall, but makes up with it in being able to make non-through cuts, like a dado, as well as having no real limit on the size of stock it can cut beyond height. What I mean by that is I could take a table saw and cut a 24 foot 2x4 into 2 12 foot lengths, but couldn't do that with a bandsaw.

Again, I'm not hating on the bandsaw. I love mine and it gets used nearly as much as the table saw does, and I think any well equipped shop should have one. I do also realize that there are people out there who do manage to get on with just a bandsaw, that's just not my style.

Oh, and I wouldn't give up my planer for anything, it and the table saw are my most used tools. Beyond thicknessing, its also invaluable for surface finishing. Keeps the blades sharp and you end up with a board that comes out perfect, no sanding necessary, and working with precisely dimensioned stock is an absolute joy
Good points. Thanks! But remember, I am making small children's toys, so the bandsaw limitations on length of individual pieces for crosscuts and widths of stock being ripped don't apply.My LONGEST individual pieces are cut to under 12" and most are far smaller than that (often 2 or 3 inches long and a significant number at about 8" long). Whether using a bandsaw or a table saw, I'd have to rough cut long boards into 3 or 4 foot pieces to be able to handle them through a machine in my workspace, but then I also would buy a lot of my exotic wood in short lengths that the local specialty lumber dealer sells as "cutoffs" (he seems to have a semi-continuous supply of exotic wood pieces that are 5 foot or shorter, with discounted prices).

Jim G

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post #10 of 51 Old 01-02-2016, 07:37 PM Thread Starter
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All: Keep in mind that I KNOW I cannot be "efficient" with a compact and portable shop, nor can I get the absolute best results that you can in a well equipped shop that has a "specialist" machine for every individual need, but I don't NEED the efficiency (it's purely a satisfying hobby) nor the perfection (robust and mineral-oil-"finished" children's toys are not fine furniture with fine finishes that emphasize every wood surface imperfection). I am trying to see if it is feasible and worthwhile to just try to do the best I can given the space and portability constraints. Note that cost is NOT a severe limitation. I can afford to pay more for superior quality in a machine that also offers compactness and light weight!

I DO want to enjoy using whatever equipment I end up getting, which is why I am not even looking at cheap machines.

Jim G

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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimGnitecki View Post
Good points. Thanks! But remember, I am making small children's toys, so the bandsaw limitations on length of individual pieces for crosscuts and widths of stock being ripped don't apply.My LONGEST individual pieces are cut to under 12" and most are far smaller than that (often 2 or 3 inches long and a significant number at about 8" long). Whether using a bandsaw or a table saw, I'd have to rough cut long boards into 3 or 4 foot pieces to be able to handle them through a machine in my workspace, but then I also would buy a lot of my exotic wood in short lengths that the local specialty lumber dealer sells as "cutoffs" (he seems to have a semi-continuous supply of exotic wood pieces that are 5 foot or shorter, with discounted prices).

Jim G
Sounds like youd be one of the workers whod get by with just the bandsaw. Like i said, i really wasnt trying to talk down the bandsaw, not at all, just trying to bring up some possible points to consider.

One thing i didnt mention though, that youll really want to consider, is that a bandsaw wont leave near as clean a cut as a table saw would, at least not with the usual steel blades most of us use. Ive heard that carbide teeth bandsaw blades cut just as clean as a table saw blade, but i cant confirm that

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. . .

One thing i didnt mention though, that youll really want to consider, is that a bandsaw wont leave near as clean a cut as a table saw would, at least not with the usual steel blades most of us use. Ive heard that carbide teeth bandsaw blades cut just as clean as a table saw blade, but i cant confirm that
Good point to raise. A carbide blade requires far more tension than a regular steel blade to perform properly and make those nice cuts, and apparently carbide plates can't in general be used on bandsaws smaller than 20 inches because:

1. They can't be tensioned adequately on smaller bandsaws, and

2. Because of 1., bandsaw blade manufacturers don't make them in the shorter lengths required to fit the smaller bandsaws.

This is a significant limitation on not only quality of cut, but also number of cuts between sharpenings or blade replacements.

My assumptions in considering a bandsaw include using the sander a lot more than would be necessary with a 10" table saw using commonly available high quality carbide blades.

Jim G
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Quote:
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Good point to raise. A carbide blade requires far more tension than a regular steel blade to perform properly and make those nice cuts, and apparently carbide plates can't in general be used on bandsaws smaller than 20 inches because:

1. They can't be tensioned adequately on smaller bandsaws, and

2. Because of 1., bandsaw blade manufacturers don't make them in the shorter lengths required to fit the smaller bandsaws.

This is a significant limitation on not only quality of cut, but also number of cuts between sharpenings or blade replacements.

My assumptions in considering a bandsaw include using the sander a lot more than would be necessary with a 10" table saw using commonly available high quality carbide blades.

Jim G
That's not necessarily the case... I have the Laguna 14 SUV with their 1" Resaw King carbide tipped blade and it is fully tensioned, cuts just great. It is a thinner backing and only takes a 0.043" kerf but it works on the 14" saw. Granted, the Laguna is made to tension greater than most 14" bandsaws but the combination works perfectly. I've posted this before but here's a 2 minute video of what it can do (something we cut a little over a month ago) - Resawing Sinker Mahogany - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q1D8V1_M044

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post #14 of 51 Old 01-03-2016, 02:52 PM
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It's also about metal fatigue

The smaller diameter wheels need thinner blade stock and a larger wheel, say 20" to prevent premature breakage and especially at the welds. That's why when you buy a blade for your 10" Craftsman at Sears they are .025" thick not .035". The carbide tipped blades would be too thin for a smaller saw. That's an awesome blade the Woodwhisper used to make those tenons in the You Tube video!

One of my 14" Craftsman saws has a 3 TPI X 1/2" blade for ripping and resawing. The other has a 6 TPI X 3/8" blade for more general purpose cutting. I use either a 3 TPI X 1/2" or a 3 TPI X 3/4" wide blade on the 18" saw strictly for resawing.

I weld my own blades and I've saved a bunch of money since I have 4 woodworking and 2 metal cutting bandsaws. I was ripping a very thin piece from a Cypress block and I almost could not believe how thin it was, you could see through it and it was a uniform thickness/thinness.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

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post #15 of 51 Old 01-03-2016, 03:22 PM
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I'll probably catch flack for this but it almost sounds like you could possibly get away with a scroll saw Jim. The drawbacks going this route would be thickness of material and speed, but it would meet your 'lighter and easier to move around' requirement.

I am in no way saying it would be better than a BS for your small toys, but it might work. If you'll be cutting pieces any thicker than about 2" than you'll have to go with a BS.


GL, Jon
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A good scroll saw is still pretty dang heavy.
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Very true.

But it's not even in the same ballpark weight/size wise as a good BS.
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If you could find a used Shopsmith, it might fit your needs for toy making perfectly.
Check it out.
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That's not necessarily the case... I have the Laguna 14 SUV with their 1" Resaw King carbide tipped blade and it is fully tensioned, cuts just great. It is a thinner backing and only takes a 0.043" kerf but it works on the 14" saw. Granted, the Laguna is made to tension greater than most 14" bandsaws but the combination works perfectly. I've posted this before but here's a 2 minute video of what it can do (something we cut a little over a month ago) -
Yes, I have examined the Laguna 14|12 specs, and although it and the Powermatic 14" 120v bandsaw both weigh about the same (250 Powermatic, 258 Laguna), the overall "cubic space" consumed by the Laguna is surprisingly much larger than the Powermatic. It is significantly larger in both width and height, particularly with the mobile base attached to each machine (which adds 17 lb to the Powermatic and ? to the Laguna).

I actually prefer everything on the Powermatic except the styling, which looks old compared to the Laguna look, and the tension adjustor knob, which is on top on the Powermatic versus convenient height on the Laguna. The tables are almost identically sized.

Tilting the table to 45 degrees on the Laguna does not reduce its footprint much if at all because of the "3rd wheel" on the mobiule base protruding out anyway. On the Powermatic, the base is much slimmer, so when you tilt the table to 45 degrees, the fence guide bar loses 29% of its length when measured horizontally, so the machine footprint becomes notably smaller.

Both mobile bases are very disappointing in their quality given the cost (the Powermatic one costs $180 and I forget the cost for the Laguna one). But the Powermatic one is more robust than the Laguna one.

Interestingly, Laguna says the 14|12 will run just fine on a 15 amp 120 volt breaker, but Powermatic's actual OWNER MANUAL says it needs a 30 amp breaker! (It pulls 11 amps in 120 volt mode, and the spec sheet simply says a 120 volt supply). So, I don't know if the Powermatic could even be a contender, since I have only 15 amp or 20 outlet outlets available to me in the spaces that could be used.

Jim G

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post #20 of 51 Old 01-03-2016, 04:44 PM Thread Starter
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I'll probably catch flack for this but it almost sounds like you could possibly get away with a scroll saw Jim. The drawbacks going this route would be thickness of material and speed, but it would meet your 'lighter and easier to move around' requirement.

I am in no way saying it would be better than a BS for your small toys, but it might work. If you'll be cutting pieces any thicker than about 2" than you'll have to go with a BS.


GL, Jon
My raw exotic woods would typically start at no more than 2" unplaned, so the height limitation on a scroll saw is not an issue.

However, I need to cut MOSTLY STRAIGHT cuts, of 3" to 8" and sometimes 12" length, with curves being a nice add-on feature, although not essential. The scroll saw solution would be weak on straight cuts because a scroll saw blade is naturally both narrow and flexible to work well on tight curves. I think the cuts off a quality bandsaw and quality band saw blade, perfected via modest sanding, would likely be more than adequate for my toys, but I suspect scroll saw cuts might not be "flat" enough.

And, remember I am cutting some very hard exotic woods with lots of grain that would just love to deflect that scroll saw blade.

Jim G

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