which bandsaw?

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Blog entry by jat posted 11-08-2010 02:25 PM 3750 reads 0 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I am very new to woodworking (and this site) but I really enjoy the new hobby. Gave up my competitive golfing after rotator cuff surgery. At the moment, I am trying to decide on a bandsaw and have sort of narrowed things to 3 grizzly models: g0555x, g0513 or g0457. My shop is in the basement so whatever I order, I have to get downstairs.

I don’t know what kind of resaw capacity I will really need. I wouldn’t imagine I’d have a frequent need for more than 6” but then, for about the same cost, wouldn’t it be better to at least have that feature? Anyway, I’m just not sure about the overall feature differences among these 3 machines. Your thoughts would be appreciated.

Once I figure out the system, I may post a few pics of some end grain cutting boards I’ve made, even though I’m still learning.

17 comments so far

View DonH's profile


495 posts in 2813 days

#1 posted 11-08-2010 02:41 PM


I have two bandsaws, a 14 inch and a 16 inch. The 14 inch was my first saw and I found it too light in the long run and I added a larger table, a shop made fence and a riser block along with improved guides. I would have been better off with the larger saw to begin with as none of these extra expenses would have been required. I now use the large band saw with a 1 inch blade as my main shop power saw and use it for all ripping, resaw and smaller crosscuts. The 14 inch saw is used solely for curved cuts.

I recommend the GO513 for all the reasons above – particularly as it has been well rated and their is little price differential relative to the other saws. It has more rugged construction as well.

-- DonH Orleans Ontario

View Howie's profile


2656 posts in 2919 days

#2 posted 11-08-2010 02:44 PM

I have a GO555X and it performs superbly. It came in two pieces and I put it together myself. (was a struggle)
I set it up exactly like the book stated,step by step and have never had any trouble with it. Whatever you buy,spend the time to read the book and follow the set up directions. It’s time well spent.
Buy a good blade to start with because the blades that come with the saw isn’t much.
I would buy another one in an instant.

-- Life is good.

View DonH's profile


495 posts in 2813 days

#3 posted 11-08-2010 02:50 PM

Yes the blade is very important – try the woodslicer from Highland Woodworking – it cuts smooth and clean. Most cuts can go straight to glue up and are comparagle to a table saw in my experience.

-- DonH Orleans Ontario

View Steve's profile


119 posts in 3126 days

#4 posted 11-08-2010 02:56 PM

I have a GO555X and like it very much. I bought the riser for it from the git go. The only thing I would like to have seen was a bit longer handle on the tensioner. It’s a bit close to the top cover for my liking. I have arthritic hands and it’s a little close to grip it easily. Not a big deal but it would have been nice if it was an inch or two taller. I slid mine down the basement stairs in it’s box with no problems. Assembled it right inside the door on a mobile stand and rolled it into place across the shop. The one thing I found is once you have a good bandsaw, a good dust collector is a must.

View blackcherry's profile


3338 posts in 3819 days

#5 posted 11-08-2010 02:58 PM

I’m a owner of the G0457, which comes delivered in two boxes…the solid beam const. offer a solid frame for re-saw with min. flexing during operation, re-saw cap. is a full 10”. I like the 3tps 1/2 inch blade for re saw which perform wonderfully. I just received the new x-mas addition Grizzly mag. and this unit was make down for around 825.00 with drop gate service to the house. Good luck on you decision…BC

View bunkie's profile


412 posts in 3143 days

#6 posted 11-08-2010 03:09 PM

Grizzley has the new Polar Bear series on sale for introductory prices right now. I was planning to get the GO555P 14” saw with the riser block. However the annual Tools and Shops issue of Fine Woodworking arrived today with an article on larger bandsaws in which they rated the GO513X2B a best buy. That’s a bit out of my price range. If I’m willing to give up a few features (resaw fence, cast-iron trunions, cast—iron wheels, better guides), I can get the GO513P Polar Bear version for an incredible price ($698). I’m planning a trip out to the Grizzley showroom in Pennsylvania to have a look.

Last year at the this time I got my first Grizzley machine (a 1023SL 10” cabinet saw) and I’m very happy with it, so I have a good feeling about their bandsaws. I may even do this this week. I’ll post an update once I’ve done so.

-- Altruism is, ultimately, self-serving

View MedicKen's profile


1615 posts in 3458 days

#7 posted 11-08-2010 03:41 PM

This article and comparison may have come at just the right time for you. If you are not a member at FWW let me know, provide me an email address and I email the pdf copy to you

-- My job is to give my kids things to discuss with their

View Bluepine38's profile


3379 posts in 3081 days

#8 posted 11-08-2010 05:26 PM

I got a smaller bandsaw and put a riser kit in and it was adequate for hardwood up to 8” when resawing, but
when I tried it with wet wood as a small sawmill, I found that the 3/4” blade width limit was a bummer. For
this reason I would recommend the G0513 that could take a 1” blade. I noticed that Norm Abram had a
resaw bandsaw on his show that had a blade that looked like it was over3” wide. I do not know anything
about that type, but in a bandsaw I would recommend getting the biggest you can imagine you would
need and can afford. It is expensive to try to upgrade a smaller bandsaw, but there is a local woodworker
who had a 1/4” blade on his 5hp monster and was having no problems making fairly small curves on his
project, He also had no problems resawing a 14” board with a 2” blade.

-- As ever, Gus-the 79 yr young apprentice carpenter

View Tubmanslim's profile


13 posts in 2863 days

#9 posted 11-08-2010 08:42 PM

Don’t forget to look at the Shop Fox line. It’s owned by Grizzly and produced in the same factories (so I understand). It also has some significant upgrades compared to the Grizzly counterparts. And the best part is there are many local dealers. So I didn’t have to pay shipping (but paid sales tax tho). I got a great saw for only a little more than the price of the Grizzly and got to support my local retailer and get great service/support.
Good Luck.

View KentB's profile


25 posts in 3042 days

#10 posted 11-08-2010 11:16 PM

I’m in the market for a new bansdaw as well. I have narrowed it down to two, the Grizzly 0555X or the Rikon 14” Deluxe. I would like to resaw more than 6” if I have the need. I’m leaning toward the Grizzly with a riser kit because it’s got a cast frame and the Rikon is formed metal. Rikon has great customer service and I’ve read Grizzly has terrible customer service if you buy from a store but it’s better by mail order. I have a Grizzly hybrid table saw and I haven’t had any major issues with it.

-- Kent B

View twokidsnosleep's profile


1106 posts in 2970 days

#11 posted 11-09-2010 03:59 AM

My $.02 is get the Grizzly you can afford, but most importantly buy a good aftermarket blade (Timberwolf or Woodslicer) and BUY THE RISER KIT FOR THE BANDSAW!!The riser makes life easier and the saw way more versatile. You can make a better resaw fence in the shop so don’t waste your $there.
I got a G0555P this summer and love it, have had no probs with Grizzly company that even ships to Canada now.

-- Scott "Some days you are the big dog, some days you are the fire hydrant"

View bunkie's profile


412 posts in 3143 days

#12 posted 11-11-2010 06:07 AM

I just got back from my day-long expedition to Grizzley’s Pennsylvania store. I did about 500 miles of driving. I wanted to see both the 555P 14” and 513P 17” saws in person. I also wanted to see with my own eyes if there were truly no differences between the Polar Bear series and the regular series.

Here are my impressions. First, the 513P is a very impressive machine. Fit and finish are quite good. It’s huge. So huge, in fact, that I decided against buying it. I’m space challenged and I had serious doubts about finding room for it. Compared to the 513 series, the 14” saws look petite. I can verify that there are no real differences between the Polar Bear series and the regular models. It was explained to me that Grizzley had simply negotiated a lower price based upon a large volume of units.

I bought the 555P with the riser block and mobile base. I chose it because i was impressed by teh combination of price and apparent quality of the saw. As with the 513, fit and finish are very good (easily the match of Jet and Delta saws Ive seen). I also bought a few other small items such as some edge banding, ratchet tie downs and a granite block (for sharpening and flattening planes). With tax I got out the door for just over $600. I had the use of a friend’s pickup truck and Grizzley dropped the saw in the bed using a forklift. When I got back to the house, I unloaded the saw by myself using a dolly I bought last year to unload the Grizzley cabinet saw. I just had time to inbox the saw before I had to head back to NYC (my shop is at my weekend place as there’s just no room in our studio apartment) , so I’ll have to do a writeup on the assembly and setup of the saw sometime after the weekend.

-- Altruism is, ultimately, self-serving

View twokidsnosleep's profile


1106 posts in 2970 days

#13 posted 11-13-2010 08:27 AM

Good show man, I hope you like your polar bear as much as I like mine!
Did you get another blade???The OEM one is barely passable

-- Scott "Some days you are the big dog, some days you are the fire hydrant"

View bunkie's profile


412 posts in 3143 days

#14 posted 11-13-2010 04:38 PM

Well I was up late last night assembling the new saw. Here are my first impressions.

I started by installing the riser block. This turned out to be a very good move as part of the process involves lifting the top casting off the saw to insert the riser block casting. I don’t know how I would have done this by myself if the saw body was not sitting on the floor. One important note, is that you need to have two 24mm wrenches to handle the bolt that holds the top and bottom castings together. I have a metric socket set with only one 24mm socket, so I used a vise grip to lock the top nut. The 24mm socket is the largest socket I have, had I not had one, I would have been out of luck. Other than that, the riser was easy to install, although I recommend that you spend some time in the gym beforehand if you plan two do this solo.

I then started assembling the stand, then the Shop Fox mobile base. Somehow, I had forgotten the biggest pain with these bases which is that there is almost no room to get the nuts and washers on the back bolts for the fixed casters. You insert the bolts from the top, and then, somehow position the washer and nuts to get the nuts started. I came up with a great trick for this. Rather than balance the nut on the tip of a finger, I used a long allen
wrench. I slipped the nut and the washer on the long handle of the Allen wrench and inserted it into the cavity holding the end against the end of the bolt. I then tilted the wrench so that the washer and nut slid down and onto the bolt. There is just enough room to get an open end wrench on the nuts (held at an extreme angle), a socket or adjustable wrench will not fit.

the rest of the assembly went fine. There were no issues whatsoever with misaligned holes or nasty edges on sheet metal and castings. The table was the only part of the saw covered in cosmoline. I used a razor blade to scrape most of it off and a citrus cleaner to remove the rest. I fitted the blade (the one that came with the saw as I have not yet gotten my Timberwolf blades) did a quick check of tracking and adjustment of the guides and did a test cut. My first impression is that this saw is incredibly quiet. I can see that the stock blade isn’t up to snuff. Also, there is quite a bit of blade drift, but, again, I haven’t done a proper alignment of the saw as it was getting close to 2 in the morning and one has to sleep sometime.

Today, I’ll complete the alignment, take a few photos to post and report back later.

-- Altruism is, ultimately, self-serving

View bunkie's profile


412 posts in 3143 days

#15 posted 11-14-2010 06:22 AM

Well, something isn’t right. I ran through the remaining setup procedures to set the blade guides, tracking and to check that the wheels are co-planar.

I have no problem cutting 3/4” stock, but my first test of resawing a relatively narrow (5”) board went horribly wrong. I did a drift cut test, aligned my shop-made resawing fence along the line indicated by the drift test and proceeded to stall the saw. It was as if the blade was completely dull. The cherry burned and I had to use a remendous amount of pressure, so I quIckly gave up. This is a task that my Shopsmith bandsaw has no problem with at all using an Olson 5/8” blade.

Is the stock blade really that bad? I sure hope so. Alternately, I hope that I’ve missed something in my setup procedure. Twokids, did you try resawing with the stock blade?

-- Altruism is, ultimately, self-serving

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