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The Best Bandsaw

Discussion in 'Woodturning Discussion Forum' started by Wyatt Holm, Oct 17, 2008.

  1. Wyatt Holm

    Wyatt Holm

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2008
    Messages:
    212
    Location:
    Southern Utah
    Hello,
    I have been looking at a few bandsaws. However, every company I have asked says that they are the best. I would like to know what people have experienced
    with Jet, Laguna, RICON, Powermatic, Meber, and whatever other bandsaws there are out there.
    Thanks
    Wyatt
     
  2. Gil Jones

    Gil Jones

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2005
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    194
    Location:
    Lake Seminole, Georgia
  3. Ken Cawley

    Ken Cawley

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2006
    Messages:
    9
    Best Bandsaw

    Hi Wyatt. I have a Minimax MM16 which is an incredible machine. It will resaw 12" and cuts anything I ask it to with amazing accuracy.

    Ken Cawley
     
  4. squirrel

    squirrel

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2007
    Messages:
    132
    Location:
    Belgium
    The best bandsaw is a saw who has one wheel that can be directed vorwards and afterwards: so the saw itself runs always correct and can be corrected.
    Very few bandsaws can do that but if you find such one, an older one, second hand - it is worth buying it.

    Squirrel
     
  5. Paul M. Kaplowitz

    Paul M. Kaplowitz

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2008
    Messages:
    168
    Bandsaw

    I have a 20" Grizzly bandsaw that I bought 5 years ago. It works just fine and the price was right. Check it out.
     
  6. waltben

    waltben

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    Don't know about Grizzly. I've a MiniMax MM20 that is just about perfect (it'd need to have an automatic log loader to be perfect!). 20" resaw, 20" depth, and a huge table. I looked at both MiniMax and Laguna, but it eventually came down to shipping costs (I'm on the east coast) and Laguna didn't quite have the capacity for overall size as the MM20.
     
  7. george morris

    george morris

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2007
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    76
    Location:
    Tioga Co. PA
    go514x2

    I have a Grizzly GO514x2 works well also us it for resawing flat boards works great on cherry and black walnut.
     
  8. john lucas

    john lucas

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2004
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    5,963
    Location:
    Cookeville TN USA
    One of my best friends just went through that. He chose the Mini max. He and I looked at all sorts of bandsaws from Jet, Rikon, Steel city, Laguna, Powermatic, Mini max, and Delta. The new powermatic may be one of the best but was a little beyond his price range. I think it ran about $4000 if I remember correctly.
     
  9. Dave Roller

    Dave Roller

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2006
    Messages:
    192
    I have a PM 143 which should not be confused with the current offering of 14" bandsaw from PM. Although I don't have the height of the curent BS, the weight and the transmission case which allows metal cutting is a real boon. The times I wish for a larger BS are only when I'm cutting turning blanks. I can do this reasonalby well with my chain saw. Well enough, that is, to not give serious consideration to a larger saw.

    For general woodworking, if you can find a used PM 143, grab it.

    If I were to buy a larger saw, it would be a PM.
     
  10. Gil Jones

    Gil Jones

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2005
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    194
    Location:
    Lake Seminole, Georgia
    At least for my part, thanks to everyone who took the time to share their thoughts and experiences on bandsaws.:)
     
  11. GeorgeH

    GeorgeH

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2006
    Messages:
    328
    Location:
    Sierra Foothills
    A friend of mine has this one:

    http://www.lagunatools.com/bandsaw.lt14se.aspx

    I have this one:

    http://www.cpowoodworking.com/band_saws/28-276.html

    Just by comparing the features you can see why I think his band saw is better than mine. But my wallet is thicker than his. I guess it depends on how much you're willing to spend.
    Mine works well, hasn't given me any problems, cuts straight when I need to and cuts arcs when I need to and I take my wife out for dinner a couple of times a month. That's a win/win in my house.
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2008
  12. robo hippy

    robo hippy

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Eugene, OR
    It depends on how big you want to cut. For just rounding out blanks, then any of the 1 hp by 14 throat by 12 inch high (which includes a riser block) will do. They are designed to cut 6 inches high, but can work with the riser block, but are not built for production cutting at that height. The bigger, built for 12 inch cutting saws ), Jet, I think Rikon and a few others are better than the riser blocks, and have more horse power. If you want to cut bowl blanks, then bigger is better. The 24 inch Laguna is one such saw, but with almost 10 hp, and 3 phase, and almost $10,000, it is a bit much for me. I do have a 16HD Laguna, and I use it for prepping bowl blanks. It cuts an honest 16 high, and bowls bigger than that are a specialty market. I thought I could do a good job on bowl blanks with my chainsaw, but this saw paid for itself a couple of times within the first year I had it. I start with half log sections. The saw cuts faster, and more accuratly than the chainsaw. I am guessing it cut my prep time almost in half, and my turning time by 1/4. I also end up with a much rounder and more balanced bowl blank, so my turning time savings are big as well. I do prefer the ceramic blade guides to the roller guides. Much cleaner. The only thing I don't like about the saw is that there is no real way to fine tune the riser post (the one that raises and lowers the blade guides). Mine was bent on arrival. I have a smaller industrial PM, and the post is square with gibs (jibs?) that allow you to fine tune it. I don't know about the Mini Max in this matter. A sled of some sort would be really helpful. From all I have read, the saws are comparable. Aggazini is another bandsaw I have heard of that those who own one start drooling when they talk about it.
    robo hippy
     
  13. Wyatt Holm

    Wyatt Holm

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2008
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    Location:
    Southern Utah
    Thanks Reed,
    I have a Jet 18" but have been considering selling it and getting a nice big Laguna like you have. Could you give me more information on the price and how your Laguna saw functions?
    Thanks
    Wyatt
     
  14. robo hippy

    robo hippy

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    I think I have had it for 3 plus years. Price was in the $2500 range. I had to wait for a container load to come in before they shipped it. They used to ship the saw on a pallet, not in a container or wood frame. When it got here, 2 of the bolts used to secure it to the pallet were gone, one was almost out, and the other was loose. There was some damage to the upper blade guide. I bent it back onto shape. It works great. I use Lennox bimetal blades, 1 1/4 with about 3/4 inch spacing. I have a Lennox dealer here in town, and he will make whatever blade I need. You only need a carbide blade if you are cutting veneers. I think the dust port has been changed. There is a cross hair in the middle of the port, and I removed that first. I later removed the plastic insert that is 4 inch diameter, and then put in a 5 inch port. I have an Oneida 3 hp system, and 5 inch lines to all machines. I cut both ends of the blank off square to the flat chainsawn side, then stand it on end to cut the bottom off, and trim up the top if I didn't do a good enough of a job with the chainsaw. Standing the blank on end results in long fibers, and the inside of the saw reminds me of the Star Trek adventure 'The Trouble With Tribbles'. It was worse before I cut out the cross hairs (which are there to prevent any one from sticking their hand into a moving saw). You will need a 30 amp fuse for it to run on. I did have a little trouble with belt slippage, but it is easy to adjust. The wheels were in line with each other when it got here, but the table was not square to the blade. Some times I have thought about putting some sort of panel, like formica behind the upper wheel to keep all the saw dust and shavings away from the post that holds the upper blade guide. There is a lot of stuff up there for the shavings to get tangled up in. Have also thought about a tube of some sort around the post as well because dust and shavings can get in the gear teath on the post. After reading this, please remember the engineers motto: if it aint broke, take it apart and fix it anyway. I don't think I have gotten a maching yet that I wouldn't modify in some way. The Mini Max is comparable.
    robo hippy
     
  15. robo hippy

    robo hippy

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    Oh yes, I don't use it for cutting circles. The 1 1/4 inch blade doesn't cut too tight of a radius, but I do round off blanks that are over 6 inches. My small PM has a cast iron body, and a riser block won't fit on it. Blade changing is simple.
    robo hippy
     
  16. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    There is no such thing as a "best" bandsaw because everybody has different ideas about what they like in a bandsaw. Like several others, I also have the MiniMax MM16 and it is a fantastic machine -- extremely well built, heavy duty, and powerful. It is what I wanted, so it was the "best" for me, but not necessarily the best for someone else. I would definitely steer clear of benchtop bandsaws or three wheelers. Also, I would avoid no-name or store brand saws. Multiple speeds is just a gimmick -- you only need one in the range of 2700 to 3400 feet per minute. Finally, while a 1/2 HP motor will usually suffice, it is much better to have one that is at least 3/4 HP with an AC induction motor ... definitely no universal motors, which is what you find on routers and drills.
     
  17. Steve Worcester

    Steve Worcester Admin Emeritus

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    And how much you want to spend

    I have a 24" Laguna, with greater than 24" resaw, but with a 5HP motor, single phase 220V. Have cut 24" thick logs. Takes greater than an 8' ceiling though.
     
  18. C Edward Moore

    C Edward Moore

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    Location:
    Burnt Chimney, SW Virginia
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    LeNeave

    I have recommended the 21" LeNeave Northstate bandsaw to people and everyone who bought one is satisfied. An experienced turner who has a Laguna has used this one and prefers it to the Laguna. The LeNeave is also a LOT CHEAPER than a Laguna. LeNeave is in Charlotte, North Carolina, and is an excellent group to deal with. If you call, ask for the "Ed Moore Special" and NO, I don't get a penny, but LeNeave gets a kick out of it. :D

    This saw looks like a Grizzly, but it is better made and finished and I think it uses thicker steel. It has a three horsepower motor and it doesn't stall.

    Check out:
    http://www.leneavesupply.com/Machinery/NorthState/P04049.aspx
     
  19. robo hippy

    robo hippy

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    Ed,
    Looks nice, but only cuts 12 inches high. Not enough saw for me.
    robo hippy
     
  20. Marc Ruby

    Marc Ruby

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2007
    Messages:
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    Location:
    Michigan
    I'd go with one of the big MiniMaxes = all the quality of a Laguna with out the irritating customer support...
     

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