FINDING THE BEST BAND SAW AT THE CHEAPEST PRICE
Before we talk about the best band saws out there, let’s once again go over the facts that make a band saw great. First of all…
You can make straight cuts in almost any thickness of wood. With its narrow blade, you can also make outstanding curves. Also, band saw blades are mainly used for cutting wood but they can also deal with plastics or metal. Band saws are frequently used in the food processing industry to cut meat.
The band saw is named for its blade. This is a thin, narrow band of steel with teeth along one edge. It’s welded together so as to form a loop. This blade is stretched over 2 or 3 big wheels. These are driven by an electric motor. While the wheels begin to rotate, the blade will orbit them tightly. This creates an efficient, continuous cutting action.
Most cutting machines make use of a circular blade or a spinning bit. The band saw blade moves smoothly and applied constant downward pressure on the workpiece for great stability. It’s also safer to operate than a circular saw. There is not the same danger of kickback.
BAND SAW REVIEWS: What Are The Top Band Saws On The Market?
We all know that finding the right band saw is not easy. That is why today, we’ll look at 5 band saw reviews – and help you choose the best band saw for your money and needs. We’ll also show you what to look out for when searching for the best band saw.
First thing’s first, a quick look at the 3 basic types of band saws:
- Floor model
Below, we are describing each of these band saw types in detail:
Bench-top band saws are small and highly portable. You can mount them directly on the worktable. The alternative is to use a stand or cabinet. You can buy or make these. These lightweight saws usually have wheels from 8 to 12 inches in diameter. If you want a great cutting tool for a small project at home or in a little workshop, the bench-top is a smart choice.
A bench-top saw has the motor directly mounted on the unit. This means there is no belt system below the table.
2 wheels has now become the standard design. While a 3-wheeled saw offers a wide throat, it can be awkward to align the wheels and track the blades. Blades also tend to wear more quickly. For these reasons, the 2-wheel band saw is now much more common.
Stand-mounted models are characteristically 14-inch band saw with a cast-iron frame and a steel stand. The design can be open frame or feature an enclosed cabinet. The motor is generally mounted under the saw in the stand. A drive belt connects it to the lower wheel.
Stand-mounted saws are multi-purpose, compact and relatively cheap. As more manufacturers crowd the market, so prices keep falling.
You can undertake a wide range of heavy cutting duties with ease. Opt for a larger saw with a more powerful motor if you plan to take on really ambitious projects.
At the upper range of band saws come the freestanding floor models. They are very heavy and stable. Floor band saws also kick out much more power and performance.
If you are looking to start ripping or resawing thicker material, the stable and capable floor saw is just what you need.
This type of saw is not advisable for home use. Most households run on single-phase electricity. A floor band saw demands three-phase which would mean installing a phase converter. A larger 20-inch saw makes a good substitute for the home workshop.
For extended commercial projects carving up heavy material, a floor band saw remains the best option.
Who Needs Band Saws?
If you want to make curved cuts on wood, even with thicker lumber, a band saw is ideal.
You can rip or resaw lumber into smaller pieces with ease. They really come into their own for cutting irregular shapes. Smooth, precise and capable of taking many different blades, band saws are real multi-tasking tools.
Whether you want to make cross-cuts or relief cuts, to cut off square corners or make chair legs, there’s little to rival a band saw.
For home and commercial use, there’s a band saw to suit every budget and situation.
We’ll walk you through now 8 of the main features to think about when you’re on the trail of the best band saw.
If you narrow down your choice by type of saw and budget, you’ll already be most of the way there.
As well as researching the models that interest you, it’s also a good call to check out user reviews. Most people offer pretty genuine feedback when they have spent good money on a product. They will be keen to share both the positives and the drawbacks.
Here are some crucial elements to consider if you want the best band saw you can get…
The blade is made from a very thin band of steel. The teeth will be ground or punched on one edge. The two ends are welded together into a loop. Mounted on wheels, the blade moves as the wheels rotate so you get a continuous and steady cutting action. Replacement blades are easily available. More expensive blades are carbide-tipped. While these cost 10 times as much as spring steel alternatives, they’ll last 100 times as long. Getting the right blade for the job is half the battle won.
- Frame type and Weight
The frame is support system for the entire saw. Don’t be tempted to buy a band saw with a cheap, unreliable frame. A bench-top saw weighs anywhere from 75 to 200 pounds. You need to bolt them down for stability although these saws remain fairly portable. Stand-mounted saws weigh between 200 and 300 pounds. they can be disassembled. Floor saws come in anywhere from 4000 pounds to 3000 pounds and cannot really be taken apart once they are bolted to the concrete
A standard commercial band saw comes with a ¾ HP or 1 HP motor. This should be sufficient for most regular cutting requirements. You should step this up to 1 ½ HP if you plan to resaw large volumes of bulky material. Converting your band saw motor from 120V to 220V is a possibility and increases its efficiency. It’s hard to have too much power in a band saw so make sure you choose a motor suited to your cutting needs.
Many characteristics and abilities of a band saw are determined by the size of the wheels. These wheels are normally made from cast aluminum. There is a hub and thick spokes. The rim can be flat or crowned. This rim is generally covered with a strip of rubber referred to as a tire. This cushions the blade and prevents the teeth from getting damaged against the wheel. The bottom wheel is the drive wheel. This is attached directly or via a V-belt on pulleys. The top wheel is not powered. This rotates through contact with the blade which is driven from below. You can make adjustments on the top wheel for tension, tracking and centering.
- Wheel Covers
When you are using your band saw, the wheel covers protect you from both the blade and the rapidly spinning wheels. In the event of the blade breaking, these covers will contain the pieces. Some band saws have covers with hinges while others clip on with knobs. Wheel covers are made from plastic or metal. Plastic is quieter and vibrates less. You can to securely tighten a metal cover to bring down noise and vibration.
- Tension Screw
A band saw blade will operate most effectively under a degree of tension. The amount of tension required is largely dependent on the width of the blade. You make adjustments using a threaded screw to move the top wheel up and down. By rotating the tension screw, the spring inside the block is compressed. A well-tuned band saw minimizes the chance of accidents and enhances your confidence and cutting power.
- Tilt Knob
The top wheel on the band saw balances or centers the blade. This is called tracking the blade. You use an adjustable tilt mechanism. By rotating the knob counterclockwise, the top wheel will tilt forward. Clockwise rotation tilts the wheel backward. Exercise real care when tracking. Tiny tweaks can affect blade travel quite significantly.
The band saw table is attached to the frame with 2 semicircular metal pieces called trunnions. Your workpiece rests on the table as it is fed into the blade. The table completely surrounds the blade which pokes out through a large hole in the center. The table has a throat plate, a slot where the blade enters, a miter gauge slot, a tilt mechanism and a fence rail.
Usage and Maintenance Tips
Using a band saw efficiently is hinged on making correct adjustments. You need to make certain that the blade is properly tuned and the guides are neatly adjusted.
With the band saw switched off and unplugged, leave the blade guard open. By turning the wheel a few times, you should be able to check if the blade is aligned. Close the guard, turn on the saw and see how the blade is tracking.
Be sure that the back of the guide and the rear of the blade are not in contact. Teeth should be free to run clear of the guide.
Maintenance with a band saw is fuss-free. As with all power tools, make sure you keep it clean and free of sawdust or debris. That aside, there should be very little demanded of you by the way of routine maintenance.
If you have never used a band saw before, practice with some offcuts and, as you grow in confidence, so you can start off with some small woodworking projects to put it through its paces.