Before I got enough information on band saws, I used to consider any brand or model that is out there for sale is right for my small workshop. This was not until I spent a lot of money on a band saw that disappointed me not only because of the poor quality of cuts but also durability.
It made me wonder which band saw to buy. I considered myself extremely busy, so I could not create enough time to research to find the best band saw for my needs.
Instead, I choose to buy another brand that was expensive and had the most reviews. In time, this new acquisition too was a terrible disappointment.
Therefore, I went out to discover some features that determine the best band saw to buy for whatever reason. Here are the most important considerations:
Which Band Saw to Buy?
The Intended Use
Different types of band saw have various applications. Band saws fall into two main categories – floor standing cabinet models, and shorter units that designed to be mounted on a dedicated stand or a bench top.
The former models are suitable for professional use while the latter models are ideal for a home-based worker. Cabinet models have stronger frames, larger motors and more features than smaller models.
Size of Motors
The latest models operate on electric motors. Most small models feature a 3/4 to 1 horsepower motor, but the industrial models have powerful motors capable of delivering variable speeds.
The variable speed feature is important to metal fabricators and plumbers who need band saws capable of performing slower than maximum speeds. Woodworkers do not have to worry about variable speed.
Most brands like to use cast iron to construct band saw frame. However, some latest models currently use welded steel frames, but these are larger saws for professional use.
I would have you go for saws with cast iron frame. It is not a good idea to go for steel frame on a single cabinet because they are not strong enough. Very durable frames feature more than two layers of metal welded into a sandwich.
The Number of Wheels
Band saws feature at least two wheels. One is motor driven while the other is an idler wheel. Such wheels are made of either cast iron or metal alloy. I would recommend to you cast iron wheels because their mass generates momentum that smoothes all things out and compensates for less than optimal power.
These wheels are also spooked which provide for smoother operation and less vibration.
The maximum or optimal cutting speed for band saws is 3500 feet per minute.
Some models feature variable cutting speed, which makes them extremely versatile. This is because some materials such as hardwood, metal and hard plastic may require band saws with slower cutting speed than the maximum. The high speeds are suitable if you are working with softwoods.
Blade Length and Width
To get straight tracking, you need three essential ingredients. These include a well-tuned saw, ideal blade tension, and blade reserved only for straight cuts.
Many changes to the set of teeth take place when you are cutting curves leaving the blade with the tendency to crack to one side. The size and strength of blade depend on the tension it can take.
Are Band Saws Dangerous?
A friend once told me that he could not buy a band saw because it is too dangerous. Is this the case? Are band saws dangerous? Well, not according to me. Band saws are some of the safest of all the power saws currently on the market. They are equipped with many safety features that prevent common accidents.
Most manufacturers provide safety information in their product guides and advise users on how to stay safe while using the band saw. Danger only comes if you, the user, get complacent and disregard the safety measures.
You need to take extra care when the blade is tensed, as this is the source of many injuries.
Do not forget the normal safety precautions such as wearing protective clothing, eyeglasses or goggles and gloves. Also, avoid changing blade without first switching the saw off and disconnection it from the power source. With careful use, band saws have excellent safety profiles.
1. Can a band saw cut curves?
Yes, I could say cutting curves is the forte of brand saws. High-quality brand saws can cut precise curves allowing woodworkers, metal fabricator, and plumbers among other workers to make beautiful pieces.
2. Can a band saw cut glass?
Again, the answer is yes. Blade saws featuring diamond blades can achieve beautiful and precise cuts on the glass. You must use lower speed when cutting glass and water must flow continuously. You need excellent skills to cut glass with a band saw.
3. Can a band saw cut stainless steel?
Yes, band saws can cut stainless steel. These bands saws need special blades referred to some as bi-metal blades.
4. Can a band saw cut tile?
Yes, band saws fitted with diamond tipped or diamond coated blades can make precision cuts into tiles of different materials.
5. Can a band saw cut meat?
Yes, the difference comes in the type of blade to being used. There are affordable meat cutting blades, which you can replace in a band saw.
You now have enough information on which band saw to buy. If you consider everything we have discussed here, then you cannot go wrong in finding the best band saw to suit your needs.
Take your time, and counter check these features before you pick to pay for the band saw of interest.