Steel frame versus cast iron band saws

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Forum topic by abehil posted 10-25-2015 01:11 AM 2063 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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104 posts in 1540 days

10-25-2015 01:11 AM

Topic tags/keywords: band saw help question

I see references to steel frame band saws and cast iron frame saws with what seems like a preference to the steel frame over the other. How does one identify such beasts?

4 replies so far

View Ocelot's profile


2113 posts in 2839 days

#1 posted 10-25-2015 01:17 AM

The steel frame will be formed from very thick sheet bent into a stiff profile – like a car frame is made. You can open the wheel-cover door and clearly see that. Cast iron is pretty easy to identify. It’s solid. Mostly only small bandsaws have cast frames.

I have a 17” grizzly. It’s a steel-frame saw. I just looked at their web site and see that they do sell 14” saws with cast frames.


View johnstoneb's profile


3060 posts in 2374 days

#2 posted 10-25-2015 01:43 AM

Cast iron used to be the preferred material for all band saw frames because it didn’t flex. Steel frames have been developed to the point now that they don’t flex if built correctly and they are cheaper to make so they are coming into use.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View pjones46's profile


1001 posts in 2844 days

#3 posted 10-25-2015 03:43 AM

Cast Iron is far superior due to the rigidity and lack of deformation under stress for this particular application. You see a lot of steel frame as they are far cheaper to make only and do not perform as well over time.

Also due to governmental controls in the USA, cast iron plants have been driven out of business due to extreme over regulations by EPA causing American made cast iron to skyrocket in price as well as causing a short supply due to lack of production.

-- Respectfully, Paul

View Wildwood's profile


2475 posts in 2336 days

#4 posted 10-25-2015 12:52 PM

When looking at band saw best to search by size, horse power, saw features, optional accessories needed to cut what you want.

Knowing what you want to do on the bandsaw very important as well as your budget. Whether that saw has cast iron or steel frame just one feature there are more features to consider like depth of cut, table size, and horsepower, blade size, etc.

While can make homemade fence, vairous sleds, or circle cutter nice to know if saw comes with a fence & miter gauge or if that equipment is optional. Many vendors offer after market fences, miter gauges, and circle cutters.

-- Bill

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