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Thread: 14in Bandsaw Questions

  1. #1
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    14in Bandsaw Questions

    I am currently researching 14in bandsaws. I have a few questions.

    -Which is better, a steel frame or a cast iron frame? I know that with many cast iron models you can get a riser block to increase resaw capacity. Are there any other pluses or minus to each?

    -Which is better, guide blocks or bearings? I would think bearings, but I have nothing to really base that on.

    -What would be a good size motor (in Hp)? I would be looking to do a little resawing, but that wouldn't be the main use of the saw.

    -Finally what model do you have and what do you like or dislike about it?

    thanks!
    We create with our hands in wood what our mind sees in thought.
    Disclosure: Formerly was a part-time sales person & instructor at WoodCraft in Buffalo, NY.
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  2. #2
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    I can't answer most of your questions with any expertise.
    But I will say that my Grizzly G0555 http://www.grizzly.com/products/G0555
    meets all of my needs at a price much lower than the comptitors
    I do resaw with it, but only up to 6". A riser unit is available but I haven't gotten because I believe that the saw was designed for 6" and pushing to 12" might shorten it's life. This is the biggest selling bandsaw in the world. It is the same as a Jet but includes many features that are optional (at more money) on the Jet. e.g. tension release handle. It is currently on sale. Unless you need much bigger and heavy (heavier)-duty, this is a winner.
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

  3. #3
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    Hey Sean,
    Here's my 2 cents worth....

    Unless you are really stressing the saw, the steel vs. cast iron shouldn't matter.

    If you get a riser block, do it right away before you buy blades that fit the shorter configuration. But you only need a riser block if you plan to resaw wide boards, something most 14 inchers don't excel at anyhow.

    I have used both guideblocks and bearings. Using bearings now, don't see a huge difference. When these wear out, I'll replace them with shop made maple guide blocks.

    I have a one horsepower motor, wish it was bigger, mostly for resawing.

    I have the Delta 14 incher. Its very basic but well understood and there are lots of sources for parts, supplies, etc. The main dislike is lousy dust collection, but I think that's pretty widespread among bandsaws.

    Some unasked for advice... learn how to tune your saw (adjust tracking, keep the wheels coplanar, keep the tires clean) buy or borrow one of the excellent books. buy an aftermarket tension spring. Get some blade lube and use it often. Buy good blades and change them often.
    Don't believe everything you think!

  4. #4
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    I am currently researching 14in bandsaws. I have a few questions.

    -Which is better, a steel frame or a cast iron frame? I know that with many cast iron models you can get a riser block to increase resaw capacity. Are there any other pluses or minus to each?
    I think that for a 14" Saw, that cast iron is good, but there needs to be "Qualifier" there. I think that a well made, well designed cast iron saw, using good quality cast iron. Too often I see cheap quality cast iron saws, that have been "tweaked" by someone along the way, reducing the amount of steel used, and even changing things such as removing ribs etc that are supposed to be for strength. Not all of them are like that, but enough of them are to tarnish the image to some extent of cast iron as a saw making material, but I bet that Jeff would tell you that cast iron works good

    A good steel framed saw will be lighter and take up less of a foot print than most cast iron saws, usually. A poorly designed steel framed saw will be just that

    This is one reason, IMHO, why some of the companies that build the good steel framed saws have been doing so for a long time, they have the R&D into their saws, and they know what works and what does not.

    It seems to me that the Johnny come lately guys are not nearly as deep into the R&D, but they can make some decent saws.

    Which is better? Neither, a good Cast iron saw will be good, and good Steel framed saw will be good.

    -Which is better, guide blocks or bearings? I would think bearings, but I have nothing to really base that on.
    Again, both are very capable of doing the job well, but a poorly adjusted set of either will not work well.


    -What would be a good size motor (in Hp)? I would be looking to do a little resawing, but that wouldn't be the main use of the saw.
    I'd want at least one Hp, I put a 1.5 Hp on the Phoenix and have yet to make it even sort of slow down.

    -Finally what model do you have and what do you like or dislike about it?

    thanks!
    I have the a Dungeon Tooling Phoenix Mk I

    I like it, I like the price


    Sean, I looked into the 14" bandsaw thing for a LONG time and did a lot of comparing and reading etc.

    First, I'm going to give you some suggestions, and ask you some questions.

    If you want to do a lot of resawing, making your own lumber, and doing such, forget the 14" and go for a larger 18" or so, the 14" is not going to do the job, I think you will hear from a number of guys that went the 14" route, and added a bunch of bits to it, to try to do it up, and by they time they were done, the have a SUPER 14" bandsaw, but they will have spent near the price of a good 18" bandsaw.

    In a perfect world, you would have one 14" bandsaw, without the riser block, and tuned up for your scrolling needs, and a larger saw, for the resawing, but we don't live in a perfect world most of the time, do we

    How about finding a good used older 14" Delta or something, it might need a bit of TLC, but, you could certainly get a good solid saw, for a lot less than a NEW well made saw.

    All of that being said, the Rikon Deluxe 14" bandsaw seems to get good marks.

    I'll look forward to a good thread here, should be lots of input!
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  5. #5
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    I've got nothing but time when it comes to watching the BS market. I haven't even upgraded my jointer yet and the BS will come after that. So, I've been watching and reading for about a year. If I was to get a 14" today I would go with the Rikon 10-325.

    I would move the light to where it belongs, run it at 220v and pick up some good blades for it. I have not seen a 14" yet that has the combined assets that Rikon put together.

    I don't foresee (but things change) myself picking up 500bf of rough cut and re-sawing my brains out. I do resaw on my 12" C-man and do little else with it. It re-saws poorly as that is more than I believe it was designed for. Any tool can seem poor if pushed beyond its design parameters. This is an older "hobby-shop" bandsaw; no offense to any of the current saws being badged by Sears.

    There is good argument to go with a larger saw. I think I would use a BS for much more than just poor re-sawing if I had a good one. I could see it becoming the go-to saw in the shop. If my needs change before I have to make the decision, my opinion could change as well. Right now a 14" that would do a good job of some re-sawing and run smooth for curves, etc. would serve me best. My .02.
    Last edited by glenn bradley; 07-24-2007 at 02:18 PM.
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
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  6. #6
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    Good thread!!
    At least for me.

    Three months ago I got a brand new Metabo bandsaw,(together with a jointer/thicknesser) obtained as a payment in spices for a project I made, not a woodworking one though, (too cheap payment I must say for what is usually paid for such a project); and I'm eager to see all postings related to this thread. While I'm getting acquainted with them I have another question on top of the ones that have been posted.

    My band saw has the capability of sawing at different speeds. Is that really an advantage?? What is the most common speed to work dayly?
    I guess it depends on the thickness and hardness of the wood but what would be an "allpurpose speed"??

    Any input will be greatly appreciated.
    Best regards,
    Toni

    __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ _________________
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  7. #7
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    You have gotten (IMO) some good advice. Best advice I can give is buy used. More bang for the buck if you have any mechanical abilities to fix things. Buy bigger than you think you will need if you serious about wood working.

    I have bearing guide blocks but I am not overly impressed. Big industrial saws often use hardened steel. I don't think there is any real difference.

    I would want at least 1hp and preferable 1.5 or more. More doesn't hurt anything.

    As for model, I don't watch the new tools much so I can't really say. I have a Grizz .... I don't know the number. Their 14" ultimate saw. G0055? I am well pleased with it. Not impressed by the fence but it does work, just not a high quality fence but it does the job.

    I have a riser and my only real complaint with the saw is that with the riser the throat is about 12.5". I find that limits me all the time. Of course once I get the 30" going it won't matter. It resaws fine with a Timberwolf blade. It's slow on wide boards but I expect that.

    I know nothing about Rikon brand so can't comment on it.
    I would buy another Grizzly if I needed a 14"
    My first choice would be an older used Delta. They are hard to beat.
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  8. #8
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    Toni, Jeff posted this up on my "Making a new bandsaw" thread, it is a speed calculator for bandsaw blade speeds

    Bandsaw SFM Calculator <- Link

    You can input your motor speed, your wheel sizes, and the pulley sizes to get your actual blade speed, then you can look at the "Suggested" speeds.

    If you saw has a really slow speed setting, this would be useful for cutting steel, with a different blade of course

    Cheers!
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Toni Ciuraneta View Post
    I guess it depends on the thickness and hardness of the wood but what would be an "allpurpose speed"??
    Here's some examples of some 14" saws:

    Rikon - 2950 fpm (feet per minute)
    Delta - 3000 fpm
    Laguna - 3350 fpm
    General - 3250 fpm
    Grizzly - 3000 fpm
    Yorkcraft - 3177 fpm
    Craftsman - 3340 fpm
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  10. #10
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    Lesseee....

    - I've never noticed much difference between cast iron or steel frame, BUT all the cast iron ones I've used are small - 14" or less - and all the steel frame ones I've used are big -18" or more - so I can't really give a direct comparison.

    - Mine came with bearing guides, and they are nice, but I don't think I'd pay extra for them. Even sealed bearings get sawdust in them eventually and start sticking. Mine are a breeze to adjust though, so when they get gummy I'll probably replace the bearings rather than retrofitting blocks.

    - If you can get 1 1/2 hp within your budget, you probably won't be sorry, but you don't have to have a huge motor to resaw. Unless you get a really good dedicated resaw blade, I've found that blade tracking tends to be what limits your feed - as in push too fast and the blade starts to wander. My saw has a 1 1/2 hp and I've never made it grunt that I know off, even sawing tenons on a 12" piece of lyptus.

    - I've got a General 690, and the only thing I didn't like is the price, and I bought it when they just came out and were under $2k. It was worth it to me, since there are no old machines like it, and I've never had space for a big old bandsaw, so this is the closest I could come to all my requirements. I still consider the ideal condition to be a dedicated large resaw and a dedicated 14" for general work, but most of us don't have the space or funding to work that way.

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