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Forum topic by Zbowe88 posted 10-13-2018 02:15 PM 417 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Zbowe88

5 posts in 38 days


10-13-2018 02:15 PM

Topic tags/keywords: powermatic pm1500 bandsaw

Hey all,

I’m brand new to Lumberjocks and really looking forward to learning from the cumulative experiences/wisdom of the tribal community of woodworkers here. Though I’m not completely new to woodworking, I’ve got a lot to learn and would relish everyone’s advice. I just recently sold my grizzly bandsaw (G0513ANV) as even after using it for almost 3 years I couldn’t get consistent results with my cuts. Even after manipulating the variables of blade tension, blade type, feed rate, blade guides, etc. I’m currently looking at buying a Powermatic PM1500 and was hoping on getting any/all advice on this saw? Is it worth the money? Is it good for general resawing (not shooting to resaw massive hardwoods), when do they typically go on sale? Any drawback with it?
Thanks in advance for the feedback.


16 replies so far

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msinc

560 posts in 680 days


#1 posted 10-13-2018 03:39 PM

I have had mine for about two years or so. I like it and I cant find any “drawbacks” or anything that would cause me to not buy another one if I lost this one. The biggest thing with any bandsaw is a really good quality blade and a really good proper set up.

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Zbowe88

5 posts in 38 days


#2 posted 10-13-2018 05:19 PM

Thanks for the reply! I’ve been buying Timberwolf blades, is this what you’d use? Or any other recommendations? Also, I’ve followed Alex Snodgrass’ work on setting up a bandsaw, any feedback on proper setup?

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Charlie H.

279 posts in 826 days


#3 posted 10-13-2018 07:45 PM

It has been a while since I have seen a Powermatic promotion but once in a while Rockler and Woodcraft will advertise a 10% discount.

-- Regards, Charlie in Rowlett, TX --------I talk to myself, because sometimes I need expert advice.---------

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AHuxley

821 posts in 3498 days


#4 posted 10-13-2018 08:16 PM

At that price point do yourself a favor and look at the SCM Formula S400P (AKA Minimax MM16). These are made by Centauro in Italy and white labeled for SCM. They are simply the best steel framed vertical saws built today.

The PM1500 is a solid saw all the way around, there isn’t much to complain about other than the price puts it too close to the Italian made saws like the previously mentioned SCMs and the ACM built Laguna HD saws.

As for blades you might want to start a thread with your questions in order to get more input.

I would suggest a carbide tipped Lenox Trimaster/Woodmaster CT or a Laguna Resaw King for resawing/veneer cutting and I prefer Lenox blades for most of the rest of your carbon or bi-metal blade needs. The high silicon steel Timberwolf blades are initially sharper than a standard carbon blade but will dull much quicker, it is simply the nature of the metal.

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msinc

560 posts in 680 days


#5 posted 10-13-2018 08:41 PM



Thanks for the reply! I’ve been buying Timberwolf blades, is this what you’d use? Or any other recommendations? Also, I’ve followed Alex Snodgrass’ work on setting up a bandsaw, any feedback on proper setup?

- Zbowe88

I have tried the Timberwolf blades and I have to say that they are truly a first rate outfit to deal with. That said, I find that they arrive extremely very sharp, but unfortunately they don’t seem to stay that way for very long. In all fairness to them it just might be that the wood I am sawing contains unusually high amounts of minerals or some type of sand or grit. You will definitely need a special purpose designed re-saw blade to re-saw lumber. I have honestly not found a long lasting bandsaw blade I would recommend to anyone at this point. The ones Rockler sell seem to be as good as I can find.
Mr. Snodgrass is about as good as it ever gets for instruction on setting up and maintaining a bandsaw. He covers everything and I have yet to have anyone else “add” to what he has to say regarding a bandsaw. Best of luck. I would not be afraid to try any Italian machine made today. I came very close to a Laguna, but the $100.00 plus replacement cost of ceramic blade guides killed it for me.

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AHuxley

821 posts in 3498 days


#6 posted 10-13-2018 09:06 PM


I have tried the Timberwolf blades and I have to say that they are truly a first rate outfit to deal with. That said, I find that they arrive extremely very sharp, but unfortunately they don t seem to stay that way for very long. In all fairness to them it just might be that the wood I am sawing contains unusually high amounts of minerals or some type of sand or grit. You will definitely need a special purpose designed re-saw blade to re-saw lumber. I have honestly not found a long lasting bandsaw blade I would recommend to anyone at this point. The ones Rockler sell seem to be as good as I can find.
Mr. Snodgrass is about as good as it ever gets for instruction on setting up and maintaining a bandsaw. He covers everything and I have yet to have anyone else “add” to what he has to say regarding a bandsaw. Best of luck. I would not be afraid to try any Italian machine made today. I came very close to a Laguna, but the $100.00 plus replacement cost of ceramic blade guides killed it for me.

- msinc

It is not your wood, as I mentioned it is their high silicon steel which has a lower Rockwell than even standard carbon blades. Resawing begs for bi-metal at a minimum or better yet carbide. If one doesn’t want to pay carbide prices for resawing but wants much more life than a carbon blade then the Lenox Woodmaster B is an excellent choice though it won’t last nearly as long or leave the surface finish of the carbide blades I listed above.

Alex’ method is solid for small crowned wheel saws but large and or flat wheeled saws take a different approach. Not everything he says is accurate BUT his method produces a well tuned small saw.

The ACM built Laguna saws are very good, the Centauro/SCM saws are just built heavier for essentially the same price. The ceramic inserts will probably last a hobbyist at least half a lifetime but if they are using the saw enough to wear out the inserts they would have already spent more than $100 replacing bearing sets.

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Zbowe88

5 posts in 38 days


#7 posted 10-13-2018 11:43 PM

msinc:
What type of woods are your typically re-sawing? Also, what saw did you end up going with. I really am leaning towards an Italian made bandsaw that can withstand the torture tests of re-sawing large oak, ash, walnut etc….especially with the price points Powermatic is charging. I can’t imagine the price of an Italian made would be much more.

AHuxley:
Great comments on metal make-up for different purposes. The purpose of this saw needs to be able to re-saw tall boards when needed and also be able to cut tight radii for toy parts, etc. With that said, thats why I liked your points about blade material type. What Italian bandsaw are you working with? I sounds like your very well verses in them. the SCM S400P (Minimax MM16) looks top notch, where can I purchase a tool like this in GA without paying out the nose for shipping? I’ve heard Eagle Tools in CA has Aggazani, I wonder if they’d carry SCM and ACM

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AHuxley

821 posts in 3498 days


#8 posted 10-14-2018 12:21 AM


AHuxley:
Great comments on metal make-up for different purposes. The purpose of this saw needs to be able to re-saw tall boards when needed and also be able to cut tight radii for toy parts, etc. With that said, thats why I liked your points about blade material type. What Italian bandsaw are you working with? I sounds like your very well verses in them. the SCM S400P (Minimax MM16) looks top notch, where can I purchase a tool like this in GA without paying out the nose for shipping? I ve heard Eagle Tools in CA has Aggazani, I wonder if they d carry SCM and ACM

- Zbowe88

I currently have 4 Minimax bandsaws which are my only current Italian saws but have owned 7 other European brand saws over the years. SCM’s NA headquarters is in Duluth. Get in touch with Sam Blasco @ 512-337-9244. He is the SCM rep for hobbyists sized woodworking machines and can take care of you.

Agazzani is dead, has been for 6 years now. Panhans bought them in liquidation and initially seemed like they would carry on production possibly under their name but at this point I don’t see it happening. They weren’t built to Centauro standards more similar to ACM but they had Jesse at Eagle going for them, he really was a great ambassador for them. There are other places to buy SCM machines but I wouldn’t suggest anything but buying directly through Sam.

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TungOil

1040 posts in 671 days


#9 posted 10-14-2018 12:41 AM

+1 on the MM16. Also look at the Hammer but they are typically a longer wait.

I upgraded my bandsaw last fall and considered the PM1500, MM16 and the Hammer N4400. In the end I selected the MM16 but any of the three are fine saws. I used the PM1500 at Marc Adams school and it performed very well. The fence is superior to the fence supplied with the MM16. You can’t go wrong with any of the three in that size range.

Good luck!

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

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msinc

560 posts in 680 days


#10 posted 10-14-2018 05:49 AM



msinc:
What type of woods are your typically re-sawing? Also, what saw did you end up going with. I really am leaning towards an Italian made bandsaw that can withstand the torture tests of re-sawing large oak, ash, walnut etc….especially with the price points Powermatic is charging. I can t imagine the price of an Italian made would be much more.
- Zbowe88

I saw a lot of black walnut, wild black cherry, both red and white oak and hickory. I have the Powermatic 1500 and I really like it. There is one drawback I can think of with this saw…for the price I really thought they could have provided a work light on the saw. This is surprising because they have a really nice light on their drill press.
Powermatic machines definitely hold their value and tend to have a higher resale value too. I am pretty sure any of the saws you are looking at will do the job and you will for certain be very happy with them. The 1500 PM has another nice feature, it has a lever that allows you to de-tension the blade when you are done working with it. Keeping tension on the blade all the time when you are not using it can cause flat spots on the tires. I don’t know how tough it is going to be to get parts for the Italian machines if you ever need to…gotta wonder if they are already here or have to be shipped over from Italy. I do know for a fact that just about everything you could ever need for a PowerMatic is in the USA right down in Tennessee. I can also say for certain that the folks at PowerMatic are first rate and very quickly handled a problem I had. Not saying the Italian companies wont, by no means, just that I have no experience with them. Again, they have always built a very high quality machine and I wouldn’t be afraid to try one if it had the features I liked. I am, however, a fan of roller ball bearings for the guides and no, it does not cost anywhere near $100 to replace roller bearings on a PM1500. Maybe if you buy them direct from PM, but they are not rare and available at AutoZone.
I don’t know that I would necessarily call re-sawing “torture” to a good size band saw like the ones you are looking at. If you have a good quality re-saw design blade and the saw is set up properly I really don’t think it is any harder on a saw than other cutting jobs. Every now and then we have somebody that gets on here and talks about using a 12” Craftsman to re-saw big hickory beams….then they come back complaining. It’s like the African hunters used to say…”always use enough gun”

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AHuxley

821 posts in 3498 days


#11 posted 10-14-2018 07:07 AM


I am, however, a fan of roller ball bearings for the guides and no, it does not cost anywhere near $100 to replace roller bearings on a PM1500. Maybe if you buy them direct from PM, but they are not rare and available at AutoZone.
I don t know that I would necessarily call re-sawing “torture” to a good size band saw like the ones you are looking at. If you have a good quality re-saw design blade and the saw is set up properly I really don t think it is any harder on a saw than other cutting jobs. Every now and then we have somebody that gets on here and talks about using a 12” Craftsman to re-saw big hickory beams….then they come back complaining. It s like the African hunters used to say…”always use enough gun”

- msinc

The problem with the “skate board bearing” guides is that they provide the poorest support of the major guide types and are horrible with green or pitchy wood because they press the pitch into the blade as opposed to scraping it off. Also if you look at what I wrote I was saying by the time you wear out a set of Laguna ceramic blocks you would have spent more than $100 in bearing setS. You should be able to replace the PM1500s 10 bearings for about $20 a set from vendors like VXB. They are certainly functional but came in vogue as an “upgrade” to standard block guides which are still in use on the best bandsaws you can buy and the best ever built. Look at the upper-level Carter guides and the guide on Tannewitz, Yates, Oliver, Northfield etc saws and you will see solid side guides and at near $40k a pop new Tannewitz G series saws aren’t using them to save money.

The other thing item that is more a hollow upsale than anything else is the tension release. A good tire won’t take a set. I have saws that have had carbide blades on them tensioned to 30K psi for years with zero issues with the tires and some of have sat for months without being used. It is convenient when you are changing a blade and replacing it with the same blade but at the level we are discussing here the tires shouldn’t be an issue.

The whole “new” line of PM saws do all have a very nice fence system. More functional out of the box than any Euro or old iron saw. Laguna adds a better fence but the SCM/MM saws have a very plain heavy iron fence that is great to build off of but unmodified is not great for hand fed resawing.

I should point out while I have used a PM1500 on two occasions I have never owned one, though I did own an 1800 for about a year when they first came out. I am also a big Powermatic fan, IMO they make the best thought out hobby level machines built in Asia. It is just in the case of the bandsaws they are actually priced over the similar sized Italian machines which have been and remain the benchmark of steel framed saws.

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msinc

560 posts in 680 days


#12 posted 10-14-2018 02:41 PM

The only way ceramic guides will not do the exact same thing with pitch or sap is if you run them with zero clearance and I don’t think that is the way to do it….my PM1500 is not the only bandsaw I own. I have one with pads and they have to have some clearance, if not they will very quickly make their own. I don’t find this a problem with sap or pitch, it can only rub so much onto the blade before you have zero clearance due to the pitch and it will then start to scrape it off. Bearings will definitely make more noise when the blade gets puked up.
If you are wearing out 5 sets of bearings to one set of pads the bearings are not adjusted properly. I believe it cannot do anything any good to leave it tensioned up for a month or so. I choose not to do that.

Edit: one thing I find good about pads…when they are new and still nice and flat they do “guide” the blade better, but they will quickly wear a taper and have more clearance closer to the cut of the blade {bearings, being round, already have way more “bell” or taper towards the cut}. This taper allows the blade to deflect, with bearings you cant do anything about it…but live with it. At least with pads I keep a fairly new unworn set just for any “special” cuts I might have to make and know I have minimal blade deflection.
One other thing worth mentioning…the PM1500 comes with a heavy chrome plated cylinder “fence” for re-sawing. It works pretty good when doing heavy cuts because you can turn the slab and keep the blade tracking straight for a better cut…the problem is accurately marking an often non-flat or straight slab so you have a good straight line to follow.

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Zbowe88

5 posts in 38 days


#13 posted 10-14-2018 04:05 PM

Guys,

First let me thank you all for the invaluable knowledge I’ve gained from this thread. I can’t imagine trying to go at finding out all this information this quickly on my own. After all, I thought Aggazani was still a viable saw company…maybe in the future. Are the Minimax MM16’s made in San Marino, Italy? I will definately be calling Sam tomorrow to discuss SCM’s products…maybe I can even get a tour of some of their machine in Duluth. AHuxley: you mentioned you own several Minimax saws, what on earth could you be using them all for?

Also, are either one of you in Atlanta, GA?

View AHuxley's profile

AHuxley

821 posts in 3498 days


#14 posted 10-15-2018 01:09 AM



The only way ceramic guides will not do the exact same thing with pitch or sap is if you run them with zero clearance and I don t think that is the way to do it….my PM1500 is not the only bandsaw I own. I have one with pads and they have to have some clearance, if not they will very quickly make their own. I don t find this a problem with sap or pitch, it can only rub so much onto the blade before you have zero clearance due to the pitch and it will then start to scrape it off. Bearings will definitely make more noise when the blade gets puked up.
If you are wearing out 5 sets of bearings to one set of pads the bearings are not adjusted properly. I believe it cannot do anything any good to leave it tensioned up for a month or so. I choose not to do that.

Edit: one thing I find good about pads…when they are new and still nice and flat they do “guide” the blade better, but they will quickly wear a taper and have more clearance closer to the cut of the blade {bearings, being round, already have way more “bell” or taper towards the cut}. This taper allows the blade to deflect, with bearings you cant do anything about it…but live with it. At least with pads I keep a fairly new unworn set just for any “special” cuts I might have to make and know I have minimal blade deflection.
One other thing worth mentioning…the PM1500 comes with a heavy chrome plated cylinder “fence” for re-sawing. It works pretty good when doing heavy cuts because you can turn the slab and keep the blade tracking straight for a better cut…the problem is accurately marking an often non-flat or straight slab so you have a good straight line to follow.

- msinc

The beauty of ceramic guides is they can indeed be run kissing the blade. The benefit from a standard rectilinear guide is the ability to quickly change them and adjust them. For my PM 141 saws I have guide blocks made from multiple materials and can quickly swap in the best one for the task. Ceramic, bearing bronze, phenolic, hardwood and steel are some of the materials I have used and each has blades and cuts they work best for.

The problem with pitch is the skateboard bearings will never scrape they will simply compress it more and more. Turners are the most likely to have issues with this as they cut lots of green blanks.

Bearing guides don’t wear out from the normal axial and radial stresses that kill the vast majority of bearings in the world they die from dust infiltration. What you have is a situation where the guide needs to be shielded instead of sealed since the rolling resistance needs to be very low for them to function correctly. If they are sealed well enough to last a long time in the environment they live in they will tend to drag and wear out the bearing surface that touches the blade which since they are an off the shelf solution is not hard enough for the task. If you want to see a proper implementation of bearing guides look at Euro guides or the thrust bearing on higher end Carter guides (as well as the other high end guides use on big old iron cast saws). The wear surfaces that touch the blade are hardened steel and designed for the task versus the very soft steel used on the outside of a standard bearing which was never designed for the task. They are simply the poorest choice of the various guide options, I am not suggesting they don’t work but there is a reason you only see them on Asian machines now and not American or European saws.

Single point resaw fences work for some people but it starts to leak over into the full fence, half fence, single point, free hand debate. The vast majority of my resawing is veneer so I tend to be very fence oriented. The rare time a fence is not the best for the job of “splitting” a board I just freehand it.

In the end don’t get me wrong I actually have a soft spot for the big PM saws they are very aesthetically pleasing to me and generally well thought out my only issue with them is their price point. At the sizes that match up (15” does not) they are price ABOVE the benchmark saws.

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AHuxley

821 posts in 3498 days


#15 posted 10-15-2018 01:09 AM

Are the Minimax MM16 s made in San Marino, Italy? I will definately be calling Sam tomorrow to discuss SCM s products…maybe I can even get a tour of some of their machine in Duluth. AHuxley: you mentioned you own several Minimax saws, what on earth could you be using them all for?

Also, are either one of you in Atlanta, GA?

- Zbowe88

The SCM bandsaws are built by Centauro in Modena not very far from the Ferrari F1 and road car facilities.

I don’t think SCM has much on display in Duluth and what they do have is likely not to be any of the classic woodworking machines.

Bandsaws have been a hobby within a hobby for me for 25 years. I keep somewhere between 5 and 8 in each of my two shops (one in LA and one in SC) because I like to use as many different ones as I can and I always have some sort of experiment going on. Normally they are all set up for different tasks. Currently I am rebuilding one of my shops specifically for more bandsaw room. The fascination grew because there is more misinformation and voodoo associated with bandsaws than any other machine, ask 10 bandsaw experts a question and you will get 11 answers. It has a lot to do with the fact we are asking flexible tooling to do the job of rigid tooling. The interesting thing is there are actually tons of peer-reviewed work on bandsaws (the real experts) because while small vertical bandsaws are almost dead in industry high-speed bandmills have seen an explosion of use with over the last couple of decades due to everyone wanting hardwood floors. Lots of this research applies to small vertical saws as well, it just has to be verified.

I suppose I didn’t specifically answer your question about what I use them for. Normally I will have 3 saws set up for resawing, one power fed and two hand fed with different blades. I will have 1 saw set up for prepping turning blanks and cutting green wood and 2 or three set up for contour cutting.

When it comes to bandsaws you have to remember the 10 experts/11 answers mantra. There are a ton of undiscussed (in the hobby) factors that make two seemingly very similar saw/blade combinations function quite differently so two people can be diametrically opposed on how to set one up and yet both be correct. It is best to pick one that makes sense and works for you and ignore the rest unless you want to go down the rabbit hole with the likes of me who seemingly took both the red and blue pill at the same time because it seemed prudent at the time.

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