Is there any difference in band saw frame construction?

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Forum topic by WhoMe posted 03-28-2013 04:46 AM 1666 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1564 posts in 3208 days

03-28-2013 04:46 AM

I am getting to a point where I am looking at projects where a bandsaw would be really useful.
In looking at what I consider as the traditional style like the 14” Delta’s, powermatic’s, Jets and so on that are more rounded with a cast frame versus a square style bandsaw like a Rikon, Laguna.

Anyone know the best way to compare/contrast the two styles. Like advantages and so on. I can look at specs on HP, sizing, resaw capacity and so on . I am wondering more from a user point of view.


-- I'm not clumsy.. It's just the floor hates me, the tables and chairs are bullies, the wall gets in the way AAANNNDDD table saws BITE my fingers!!!.. - Mike -

6 replies so far

View chrisstef's profile


17306 posts in 2971 days

#1 posted 03-28-2013 12:49 PM

Matt – as you know im far from an expert and have only used one bandsaw in my life, my grizzly 1099 (or whatever discontinued models it is). The things that will set saws apart are the wheels (cast iron, aluminum, or pot metal), the guide bearings, HP, and IMO the most important, tensioning adjustements. Im happy with my Grizzly but then again i dont ask too much out of it. Cut a curve once in a while, resaw some stuff here and there, etc.

In terms of the round vs square style, i think, i think, that its just the housing covers but could be very wrong in my limited experience and quite possibly talking out of my a$$. So heed my words at your own discresion.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View Rex B's profile

Rex B

320 posts in 2215 days

#2 posted 03-28-2013 12:55 PM

The newer squared ones are welded steel frames, a more modern design, whereas the older rounded ones are cast iron. The steel style is cheaper to manufacture these days, especially for bandsaws larger than 14”. Neither design is necessarily better as long as the frame is stiff enough to support the necessary blade tension.

-- Rex

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3123 days

#3 posted 03-28-2013 02:25 PM

I bought Matthias Wandel’s plans to built my own bandsaw. While I have yet to do that, one thing that Matthias showed in one of his videos really struck home with me. He took a dial caliper and hooked it up on both his homemade wooden table saw and his 14” Delta. He measured the amount of flex between the table and the guides by hanging his weight off both tools. The wooden bandsaw was MUCH stiffer.

What that meant to me was that just because its metal doesn’t mean it’s good. What matters is how MUCH metal is used. So I think when measuring the stiffness of a metal bandsaw, weight is a really telling factor…sans a dial caliper.

-- jay,

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4902 posts in 3925 days

#4 posted 03-28-2013 02:53 PM

My old (and now sold) Shopsmith 11” BS was made with a cast aluminum frame, alloy wheels, etc. Not a beast by ANY stretch, but it sure did a good job within the size confines.
My new BS is the Grizz 0555LX cast iron, no riser, and will do all I ask from it.
“It ain’t the arrow, it’s the indian”.
I’m of the opinion that all equipment needs proper setup, tuning, blades, etc. Then, the operator must understand the capabilities and limitations of any machine.


View WhoMe's profile


1564 posts in 3208 days

#5 posted 03-28-2013 03:32 PM

Thanks for the input. Looks like there is no real advantage other than astheticcs in the “round vs square” design. I need to look more into the construction for what really matters.

Rick, “The biggest difference on most tools is the operator.” , well that means I am in a world of trouble…..

I think for my first bandsaw, I will most likely look on Criagslist and get one that is more affordable until I figure out how much I will use one and what I would be looking for in a bandsaw. Of course it will not happen soon.

-- I'm not clumsy.. It's just the floor hates me, the tables and chairs are bullies, the wall gets in the way AAANNNDDD table saws BITE my fingers!!!.. - Mike -

View Loren's profile


10260 posts in 3612 days

#6 posted 03-28-2013 06:56 PM

Unless you’re going for a very large vintage style cast iron
saw, welded steel frame saws offer capacity and performance.
Most welded frame saws are more rigid than the common 14”
cast iron saws with the 2 or 3 piece (with riser block) bolt
together frame.

When getting into very large industrial saws, cast iron runs
with less vibration… but this is a matter of saws generally
weighing half a ton or more.

My point of view on resaw blades is that wider is better.
Resawing with 1/2” blades puts the operator in a position
where he or she needs to be highly vigilant about blade
sharpness, fence setup, feed rate and other factors. It
can be real fussy and you can ruin wood if you push the
limits of what 1/2” blades can to. A 1” wide (or wider)
resaw blade is more forgiving in my experience… even
as it dulls it still cuts straight.

Saws which can run wider blades have wider wheels,
appropriate guides, and more robust tensioning

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