what makes a bandsaw good?

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Forum topic by moshel posted 06-26-2008 07:40 AM 2513 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View moshel's profile


865 posts in 3859 days

06-26-2008 07:40 AM

Topic tags/keywords: bandsaw

Hi all,

I am contemplating now on buying a bandsaw. however, none of the big brands is being imported into NZ (at least not that I know of). most of the bandsaws here are either nameless or have names like “Holytec” “Somac” etc.

My question to your collective wisdom is what can I check in a bandsaw to decide if it is good, bad or ok?
which of the sizes is important? what sizes are better? I would guess that 10” is a bit small.


-- The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep...

6 replies so far

View Betsy's profile


3391 posts in 4072 days

#1 posted 06-26-2008 03:09 PM

Mosel – I would not get anything less than a 14” band saw and perferablly one that has a riser as a future possible add on. A 10” is ok if you have a very small space and are willing to baby it along through some cuts. I used a 10” Delta for a long time with good results, but it was not large enough to do some of the projects I was doing so I upgraded to the 14” Jet.

I could not begin to tell you all the technical things, like motor size, etc. to look at—- that’s more a guy thing (sexist comment I know), but I would think you want to look for one that has a good dust port, an easy tensioning mechanisim, easy to use switch, good table that tilts, one that comes with a nice fence is a good thing, but not all that common.

Hope this helps in some small measure.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

View teenagewoodworker's profile


2727 posts in 3944 days

#2 posted 06-26-2008 03:44 PM

at least 14” for most projects. smaller is okay but they don’t usually have enough hp. if you are going to be cutting veneer you want around 1.5 hp or over (the more the better). in a 14” a lot of them are 3/4hp and thats alright but if you can 1 hp will probably be better. as with any tool the more hp the better. of course theirs a common sense limit like i wouldn’t buy a bandsaw with like 7 hp or anything. most brands only go up to 3 or 3.5.

next is the table. you want a good table, cast iron is best. and if it tilts and you have the chance to see it before tilt the table and see if it has a good locking mechanism so you can lock it in at that certain angle. and a sturdy base, nothing that wobbles around. a tensioning mechanism that is good is a plus, but just the standard one is fine. and same with the switch, the bigger ones are a plus but a smaller one if fine because you can upgrade to a bigger one. hope that helps.

View moshel's profile


865 posts in 3859 days

#3 posted 06-27-2008 02:40 AM

Thanks Betsy and teenagewoodworker! Any places to look for slack? in table saw, i know to grab the fence and blade and pull and push and see what gives, run it and see wooble, etc. in bendsaws, I am helpless….

-- The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep...

View Don Niermann  's profile

Don Niermann

219 posts in 4148 days

#4 posted 06-27-2008 03:20 AM

I think the most ikmportant thing is the user of the saw.

-- WOOD/DON ( has the right to ones opinion but not the right to ones own facts...)

View Grumpy's profile


24541 posts in 4027 days

#5 posted 06-27-2008 05:13 AM

Moshel, You could contact the publishers of wood working mags like the Australian Woodworker or Australian Wood Review. They may have back copies that evaluate various brands. You could also try a local woodworking club.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View moshel's profile


865 posts in 3859 days

#6 posted 06-27-2008 06:14 AM

Don, i know the future user of the saw, and he needs any help he can get from the saw. you could say the same about table saw, but i used to own a wobbly table saw, and even a master can’t get a decent cut out of it. to give a more coherent example, ryobi has a 10” bandsaw. it is wobbly, the mitre gauge has 3 mm slack in its track, the table can be moved by hand with no effort even when locked. so, without knowing on what to look, i would not touch this saw with a pole. Grumpy, i live in NZ. there is no local woodworking club or magazines here (unless you consider me and deltxguy to be a woodworking club). none of the brands that are sold here has any representation in written literature.

-- The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep...

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