The band saw is one of the most versatile tools available to a woodworker which is why it is so important that you pick the perfect addition to your workshop. Unfortunately, getting the most bang for your buck isn’t always as easy as it sounds. There are a lot of tools on the market and while they are more or less look the same, they definitely won’t all perform the same.
You work too hard for your money to spend it on a product that isn’t perfect for your needs. That is precisely why we have created a guide that identifies everything that you’ll need to look for in a band saw so that you may end up with a tool that is perfect for you
Why You Need a Band Saw
If you take your woodworking seriously, there really are few tools more valuable than a good band saw. They are great for working around curves and other less than common cuts, which is what makes them an excellent tool for the serious craftsman. Truly, for the job that would benefit from the touch of a band saw, there really is no substitution.
Now, on the other hand, if you’re still in the freshmen stages of your woodworking you may want to wait a little while before you commit to picking up this tool. I know that might sound like strange advice to find in an article of this nature, but bandsaws are expensive. If you can’t be positive that you will be using yours often enough to get your money’s worth, you probably shouldn’t be buying it in the first place.
For those of you who are sure that the time for buying a band saw is now, read on for a guide on everything that you need to know about one of the most versatile tools around.
Different Types of Band Saws
There are two different types of band saws that you will encounter in your quest to find the perfect new addition to your shop. We will now examine both of them so that you can find out which is better for your needs.
Vertical Band Saws
The word “vertical” in this case, denotes the placement of the blade. By this, I mean that the saw blade cuts into the side of the stock in a vertical band saw.
You’ll recall that the band saw is a finesse tool. While all of its iterations are going to be great for making precise cuts, the vertical saw is definitely going to give you the most uninhibited freedom to do so, which is certainly another big plus.
It’s great for working on furniture, or other pieces that require cuts with curves. For most woodworkers, the vertical band saw is considered the most preferential option, so if you can manage to put one in your shop you will probably be glad that you did.
Best Vertical Band Saw
Our pick for the best band saw you can buy is the Jet JWBS-14DXPRO. Featuring a 2-speed poly-v belt drive system and ball bearing guides for excellent cutting performance.
- Precision & Safety
High quality blade guides and a feature rich safety system gets you excellent cutting performance and safety.
- Solid Construction
Sturdy cast iron frame and a 15″ x 15″ work table makes this band saw a true heavyweight.
- Powerful Motor
Easily cuts curves into stock up to 2″ thick thanks to the 1.25HP motor.
Read our full review of the Jet JWBS-14DXPRO.
Horizontal Band Saws
In the case of the horizontal band saw, you will find, naturally enough, that the blade is placed at a horizontal angle. The teeth of the blade then face downwards in a fashion that is actually somewhat reminiscent of a chainsaw. The pro of a horizontal saw is that it is usually fairly easy to feed your work materials, especially compared to its vertical counterpart.
Unfortunately, this position doesn’t make it so good for working furniture, which is precisely why many woodworkers prefer vertical units.
Another significant con is that the horizontal band saw is also usually going to be larger than its horizontal counterpart, meaning if you don’t have a big workshop you probably aren’t going to have the space required to accommodate it.
The horizontal band saw is best for heavy-duty materials. If you are working with exceptionally hard woods, or even metals, this might be a good tool for you. This isn’t your most versatile option, but it is a very reliable piece of equipment for what it does.
Best Horizontal Band Saw
Jet 414560 HVBS-712D
When it comes to selecting a great horizontal band saw, the Jet 414560 HVBS-712D checks a lot of the right boxes. Featuring a large infeed table, multi-position blade guides, and tool-less controls, this saw is hard not to love.
- Large Infeed Table
The large 10″ x 12″ infeed table feels massive
- Multi-Position Blade Guides
Easily adjustable blade guides allow you to find the perfect position for your cut.
- Tool-less Controls
Plenty of tool-less adjustability ranging from the lock vise to the material stop.
The choice between buying a vertical or horizontal bandsaw is probably the biggest decision that you will encounter throughout the course of this process, but in order to get the most out of your new tool there are a few other things to consider.
Naturally, since the blade is the part of the tool that will be interacting with your work material it is a very important aspect of the selection process.There are nearly endless variables when it comes to blade selection and it would be almost impossible to illustrate all of them here, but nevertheless, there are a few tips that we can succinctly share.
For example, blades with a smaller width will be better at cutting curves. The degree to which you will be able to circle cut is going to vary depending on that width, and while there are too many variations to list here, you probably could find a chart online detailing your options.
Tooth pattern is another consideration. A regular toothed blade will be great for making finesse cuts, but if you really want to rip through materials you’re going to need to invest in a hook toothed blade.Whatever the cut you are trying to achieve, there is most likely a blade that is optimized to make it, so be sure you are using the right equipment when you fire up your saw.
You actually don’t need all that much in way of horsepower for this particular tool. To do touch up work and make precise finesse cuts you are really only going to need something in the area of .5 to .75 HP. On the other hand, if you plan to work with harder materials, such as hardwoods or metals, something in the area of 1.0 horsepower will probably be more appropriate.
As you can see, the band saw is an excellent way to diversify your shop and attain a new range of intricate cuts. While there are a lot of considerations to make before buying a band saw, they, fortunately, all add up to a relatively simple equation.
If you buy the band saw that meets your spacing, financial, and woodworking needs, there really is no going wrong. With all the options that are out there, you certainly will find something that is right for you, even if it takes some digging. In the meantime, I hope that you will be able to reference this guide as needed to help ensure that you pick the perfect tool.
Making big purchases can be stressful but you will definitely be glad that you picked up your band saw when it changes the way that you do your woodwork.
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