Popular Woodworking 2001-10 № 124, страница 14

Popular Woodworking 2001-10 № 124, страница 14


Usually an 'also ran' to the table saw, the band saw
is a surprisingly versatile machine that belongs in every shop.

When readers call with questions about what tools are necessary in their shops, band saws are never very high on their lists, or they seem to be an afterthought. "Oh yeah, and a band saw." If there's one thing to be said about band saws, it's that they're frequently underrated. They rip, they crosscut, they bevel, they miter, they cut simple and compound curves, they resaw and they make a pretty cool cold cut slicer. But seriously, don't underestimate the band saw — every shop should have one.

They come in a variety of sizes and prices to fit just about every wallet and shop. It's a tool that's best set up and left in place, so take a look at your space requirements, then decide how much machine your wallet can afford.

Benchtop Models

On the inexpensive end of the scale (mostly) are the benchtop band saws. Ranging in price from $100 to $800, with the majority ending up around $175. They come in both two- and three-wheel configurations in 8" to 12" sizes (determined by the di

ameter of the wheel). The throat depth (the distance between the blade and the neck of the saw) is usually an inch or so less than the wheel diameter. And the resaw capacity ranges from 3" to 61/2", though actually resawing on some of these machines would be challenging.

In deciding between a two- or three-wheel design, the largest difference is the increased throat depth with the addition of the third wheel. The downside to that deceptively simple decision is that in the three-wheel design the sharper turns in the blade reduce blade life, and it can be harder to get the blade to track properly.

In general, unless you're strapped for cash or space, you'll get better performance from a floor-model band saw. If benchtop is your only option, look for the best motor output and largest throat and resaw capacities.

Floor-Model Band Saws

Floor-model band saws cost more (averaging in the $500 to $800 range, with a number of commercial models running into the thousands), and they are the best choice for home


for band saws

• Buy the largest motor you can afford in any size band saw.

• Check for the best capacity, both height and width.

• Look for the option to increase height capacity with a riser block.

• If possible, buy a model with a worthwhile rip fence.

• Check the guide system for easy adjustability and smooth movement.

• If you can afford an enclosed stand, good, but don't sweat it if the other features are available.

• A 14" saw is practical for most home (and many commercial) workshops. Larger saws are generally prized for their resawing capacity.

shops. Ranging from 10" up to 24", the most common floor model saws are the 14" designs.

Offered in either open- or en-closed-stand designs (open stands are frequently less expensive, but the enclosed-stand design decreases vibration and makes a more stable tool), most 14" saws offer 6" of resaw capacity as standard, but also offer the option of a riser kit to increase that capacity to 12". These kits cost from $60 to $100 and include a cast chunk of metal to extend the neck of the saw, extended blade guards and usually a longer blade (required). If you want to occasionally resaw a board wider than 6", make sure the riser block option is available on your saw.

As with the benchtop models, motor performance will affect the quality of the machine's cut. A larger motor (check the amps or watts, not horsepower) will make the cut easier to make.

Other features to consider in any band saw include: blade guides, fences, wheel brushes, rack-and-pinion blade guards and brakes on larger models.


Blade guides can make or break a band saw. They keep the blade in alignment and stop it from wandering during a cut. Good guides provide straighter, smoother cuts. The standard guide parts on most band saws include a rear thrust bearing (to support the blade from the back) and a set of metal blocks to keep the blade from moving side-to-side during a cut. This guide arrangement appears above the table and below.

Though the stock guides are ad

10 Popular Woodworking October 2001

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