I have limited amount of space at the moment, and I’m also poaching some real estate in the shared garage with my landlord for the wood working toys. It’s sort of damp, cramped, and a bit of a nightmare. I couldn’t realistically expect that things wouldn’t get stolen out of there either.
That meant that it didn’t make a lot of sense to save up a ton of money and invest in the nicest largest tools that I would never want to part with. I would like to someday have a climate controlled shop with all the bells and whistles, and I don’t want to start collecting serious quality power tools until I can give them the nice secure home they deserve.
So, I need to make some decisions when I realized that I wanted to be able to make small blanks for turning without having to bother my other wood working buddies.
At first I thought I would benefit from a portable table saw. But after some LJ forum discussions, and even after discussions with fellow turners who make similar spindles to my own, I decided that a band saw would be a better option.
Everyone recommended Delta band saws, but at $500… well, that would be something I would miss if it walked away unexpectedly or if I had to pack up my shop in quick order. So, with trepidation, I bought a $100 Skil band saw from Lowes.
This thing could not to be a powerhouse production saw by any means. The fence is ridiculous. I can see that even though I have NEVER USED a band saw before today. However, the saw cut easily through 2” tall and 12 inches deep Jatoba and sliced like butter through 1 inch of Purpleheart. Jatoba is HARD wood. HARD! And it didn’t even burp or make unhappy noises or anything.
I think that’s a good sign. I might only have about 5 inches of clearance with the saw… but it will do what I want it to do, and I don’t have any more strenuous demands than the Jatoba blanks.
I guess I am happy with the money spent. And I won’t miss it at all when I have the money and the nice place to store more durable tools.
Cheap isn’t always CRAP. Even if it is made of plastic and it would probably crash to pieces if I knocked it too hard. I’ll just be gentle on it. It’ll do.
-- Lisa Chan, custom cafts and yarn accessories, http://www.grippingyarn.com