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The Best Bandsaw in America

Introduction to the bandsaw

A bandsaw is an important tool in woodwork. The main purpose of this power-tool is cutting irregular shapes. Secondly, a bandsaw is used for resawing or ripping lumber into thinner slabs.  Thirdly a bandsaw comes in handy when one needs to make very smooth cuts. Lastly, with a bandsaw, you can cut materials other than wood, including metal. All this makes a band saw essential for a workshop. I use it often in my furniture making shops and academy. My daughter who is an artist also uses a bandsaw to create her artefacts. Though not as crucial as a router. If you consider yourself to be a fairly regular craftsman you need to have a bandsaw in your workshop. This article is going to help you choose the right bandsaw for your needs. I am also going to give a review of some of the best brands in the US market. I hope you will get enough information.

Let me start by showing you things to look for when buying a bandsaw. A bandsaw is basically a set of two or three wheels holding a thin rotating blade, a table to support the work and a motor to run it. In the past craftsmen would build their own custom bandsaws. One would get wheels and other parts from suppliers like Gilliom Mfg Company. The table would have to be constructed by you and the motor purchased separately. However, these days I recommend buying a complete bandsaw.


Bandsaw size

In the market, they range in size from small benchtop models to huge floor models. For the jobsite or when working-space is limited portable benchtop models are recommended. Benchtop models also economical. However, size determines the stock size a bandsaw will handle. Floor models are larger so they have the bigger capacity needed in a professional workshop. Stock size is determined by two dimensions. Number one is the distance between the inner edge of the blade and the throat of the saw. This measurement ranges from 9 inches to 24inch. So, an 11-inch bandsaw has a 10-inch measurement between the two. The second measurement is the depth of cut. The depth of cut is the distance between the table and the underside of the blade guard. If a saw is 6-inch depth of cut one can cut up to 5-7/8” due to the clearance needed for the guide to assure easy movement of the work.

Table size and type are important as well. I have noticed that larger tables make it easier to hold and guide stock through the saw. A good table saw should have the capability to be set at an angle up to 45 degrees. This feature comes in handy when removing the corners of a large turning block to speed up stock removal when turning on a lathe.

Motor size ranges from 1/3hp to 1-1/2hp. If one works with thin stock a 1/3hp motor should be enough. On the other hand, if you plan to do any resawing, a larger motor is recommended.

Blade size and tooth style vary a lot. Size ranges from 1/8” width to more than 1”. It’s important to choose the proper blade for the task. Sharp curves in thin stock require narrower blades. Resawing requires thicker blades. The pitch or number of teeth per inch(TPI) is determined by the hardness of wood being cut. (TPI ranges from 4 to 15). The coarser the teeth the faster the blade cutting speed. More TPI produces a smoother cut. Hardwood requires a blade with more teeth. Blades also come with different tooth patterns for various tasks. Hook tooth blades with wide and closely spaced teeth are for hardwood, plastics and non-ferrous metals. Skip tooth blades have widely spaced teeth and are used for cutting soft materials like aluminium. Wavy and raker-set blades are primarily used for cutting ferrous metals.


Some good practical TIPS

Experience has shown me that one can use a bandsaw as it comes from the factory. No alterations are necessary. To increase the depth of cut, aftermarket riser kits are available as well as more accurate blade guides.

For safety, one needs to make sure that all the guides are adjusted properly. Another safety tip is to make sure that there is proper tension between the blade wheels to match blade width. This is done using the tension guide. Blade guides are adjustable up and down to match the thickness of stock being cut.

A bandsaw is a safe tool. This is because of the downward cutting action which eliminates “kickback”. However, I strongly recommend that beginners practice with softwood stock. More so do not cut smaller size than the blade capacity. If you do that the blade will bind and can jump off the wheel. When doing resawing wide blades must be used.

I believe I have given you an adequate introduction to this power tool.  Let us get into the market to review the top Six bandsaws. It is worth noting that the guide is made of tools I have personally encountered.


TOP 3 portable band saws

 

1. Dewalt DW715 10 Amp 5-inch Deep Cut Portable Band Saw Kit

 Description

This is the best portable table saw in the market.  The DW715 has a durable and adjustable material guide. It also has a convenient LED sight light for operating even in poorly lit areas. The motor has variable speed control for material and application-specific cuts. I bought it for my daughter’s studio. I like the carrying case which makes it convenient for her to transport it.

 

Specifications

  • Blade is included
  • Cutting capacity 5 inch.
  • Rating: 120V can work on domestic power sockets
  • Blade: 44-7/8 inch by ½ inch by 0.020inch inches.
  • Carry case
  • Hex wrench

Things I liked

Variable speed makes this band saw more effective. Blades are easy to change out making it ideal for novices.

Things I did not like

The factory blade is not good quality. One needs to replace it.

Overall score 9/10 (Because of the factory blade)

 

2. Dewalt DCS374B

Description

This is the second best portable table saw in the market. I encountered it while looking to buy a bandsaw for my daughter. The DCS374B has a durable and adjustable material guide. It also has a convenient LED sight light for operating even in poorly lit areas. The 10 Amp motor has variable speed control for material and application-specific cuts. What sets it apart from the DW715 is that it doesn’t come with a storage case. For storage, the DCS374B has a hanging hook. That could be the reason it is cheaper than the Number 1 portable bandsaw. This is a battery powered tool.

Specifications

  • TIP: 14tip blade is included from the factory.
  • Tool-less blade change
  • Cutting capacity:5inch
  • Rating: 120V can work on domestic power sockets
  • Blade: 44-7/8 inch by ½ inch by 0.020inch inches.
  • Carry case
  • Hex wrench

Things I liked

Variable speed makes this band saw more effective. Blades are easy to change out making it ideal for novices.

Rockwell makes great power-tools. One thing I like is that its economical and value for money.

Things I did not like

I don’t like the fact that one is required to buy a battery separately. The charger is also sold separately. Lastly, the cost is high.

Overall score 7/10 (Because of the cost)

 

3. Bosch GCB10-5 Deep Cut Band Saw, Blue

Description

This is a very good light weight bandsaw

Specifications

  • Cutting capacity: 4,8 Inch
  • Voltage 120V
  • Variable speed setting
  • Spark free operation

Things I liked

It’s very handy and powerful. The covered blades are safe.

Things I did not like

It’s very small.

Overall score 8/10


THE TOP THREE Floor Models

1. Skil 3386-01 2.5AMP 9-inch Bandsaw – the best lightweight portable bandsaw

Description

I strongly believe that this is the best light weight portable bandsaw in America as of now. The Skil 3386-01 2.5Amp 9-inch Bandsaw is ideal for hobbyists and professionals who require a jobsite bandsaw or have space problems. It comes with a medium sized 6TPI blade. The table is adjustable. Extra features include dust collection ports and an adjustable LED work light.

Specifications 

  • Factory blade TPI:6TPI
  • Throat Capacity:9 inch making it lightweight
  • Rating: 120V can work on domestic power sockets
  • Blade type:1/8 inch-3/8 inch by 1/4inches to 59-1/2 inches
  • Motor size….

Things I liked

The skil 9” is robust I purchased it for my class in 2013. We uses it almost daily and has not given us major  problems. I personally love that it doesn’t make so much noise for a power tool. (I can comfortably give audible instructions to my students while the machine is running). Thirdly the quality is great for the price.

 Things I did not like

The bottom blade adjustment is a bit tricky. Fortunately for my daughter, her Oldman has experience with these tools. However, for a complete novice, it can be tricky.

 

Overall score 9/10 (Because of the difficulty in adjustment, otherwise it is a perfect bandsaw).

2. WEN 3962 Two=Speed Band Saw with Stand and Working light 10” 

 

Description

This is the second-best floor model band saw. I have it in one of my workshops. I personally love the spacious work table which is 14 x12-1/2 inches. The table can be swiveled up to 45 degrees. Another great feature is the two-speed operation. You have options of 1520 0r 2620 FMP. The WEN has very effective dust collection too. Lastly, it has a full 6 Inch resaw capacity which is adequate for many tasks.

 Specifications 

  • Comes with:6TPI blade.
  • Tool less blade change
  • Cutting capacity:9 -3/4 inches deep
  • Rating: 120V can work on domestic power sockets
  • Blade: 72 inches from 1/8 to 1/2inches.

 

Things I liked

This band saw has become a best seller recently. It has great support as well. I like that its heavy and robust giving it great accuracy in a professional setting. 

Things I did not like

The WEN can be difficult to adjust. Making it less ideal for complete beginners.

Overall score 8/10 (Because of the adjustment issues.)

 

3. Delta 28-400 14inch 1hp Steel

Description

This is a high end powerful saw. It was bought during our recent workshop upgrading and retooling. The reason it’s not number 1 is that it is expensive. However, if you are a serious woodworker this is the best bandsaw. I have many good things to say about the Delta 28-400.

Firstly, is the oversized working table. This provides ample space to work on. Secondly is sss 14 inch capacity. This means I can comfortably work with very large stock. Lastly there is a dust brush on lower blades to keep the blades clean.

Specifications 

  • 1hp motor
  • Cutting capacity:14 inch
  • Heavy duty steel frame.
  • Rating: 230V can’t work on domestic power sockets.
  • 5-year warranty.

 Things I liked

  

Things I did not like

My biggest disappointment was the lack of a fence and miter tool. I had to buy and install my own. Raising and lowering the blade guide is done without a rack and pinion system.

Overall score 7/10 (Because of the cost)


 

I hope I have given you enough information on Bandsaws. Till next time. Adios.