View Full Version : First bandsaw, am I overthinking this?

Matt Lau
03-01-2011, 3:43 AM
I've been looking into buying my first bandsaw.

Am I overthinking this?

I'm a hobbyist. I only got into woodworking, when I started guitarbuilding during dental school. I found that accurately dimensioning curly maple on a tv table doesn't work very well. Since then, I've been slowly trying to plan out my ideal shop (one with actual dust collection, lighting, etc).

At it's heart will probably be a bandsaw and my recently acquired Walker Turner press.

I've had the chance to buy a 24" cast iron monster band saw with a 3 hp, single phase motor a couple weeks ago (it was about 120 miles away). Now I have the chance to buy a disassembled 20" Crescent bandsaw (in the same city) with a 1hp, three-phase motor.

The thing is, I'm an amatuer woodworker. I'll probably never be more than a hobbiest.
My friend Ervin told me that he doesn't see the need for more than an old Delta 14" with a riser...and he's the best luthier that I know.

I'm honestly somewhat confused.
I drive a Corolla. I'm a dentist. My garage is wired for 220 V, single phase.
I want to build guitars, and I really don't want to risk injuring myself, particularly my hands.
This would be for making jigs, resawing, and cutting wood to shape.

I'm also considering moving on, once I get this guitar-building bug out of mys system.
There's an opportunity for me to help my community in a very exciting way, and it's drawing me from woodworking.

Should I buy and restore the Crescent or hold off for an old Delta?


ps. This isn't the most pressing matter in the world.

pps. My mentor has never owned a bandsaw. He only uses a cabinetsaw for his cabinetwork.

Dave MacArthur
03-01-2011, 4:34 AM
From your post, I would say do NOT buy an old bandsaw that has to be worked on and re-furbished. That is a labor of love that is best reserved for those who love and appreciate old iron... not someone who is looking to do a few cuts as a luthier, may move on, and has other things calling him away from woodworking. Cut and dried, those are the wrong saws for you in my opinion. I love bandsaws, I look at Craigslist every night for 8 years or more to see what bandsaws are for sale in my city, and I would not buy one of those.

For what you describe, a 14" Delta clone would be fine, and there are many good ones on sale every day used on CL. I don't even know if you'd need a riser block, I don't think you'd need to resaw anything above 6" for most guitar-building. You can certainly purchase good materials for sides/top/bottom pre-sawn, so no actual need to resaw, and that's what most folks do, particularly considering it's hard to get your hands on the right kinds of wood for guitar-building in larger chunks. Actually getting logs yourself and resawing them up for the materials is another whole endeavor. Sides and fretboard and inlays certainly less than 6".

However, if you did decide you needed to be able to resaw above 6", I would not purchase a delta clone. If you can swing it, I would purchase a G0513 in your situation, 12" resaw I think, a great all-around saw, for about $795.

I'm not sure of your budget, but... if I was a dentist and thought I might want to move on later (thus resell the bandsaw), then I might look for an Agazzani, MiniMax, Laguna, Felder. They hold resale well. OTOH, a $400 used Delta or Jet isn't much commitment, nor a $800 Grizzly you can sell.

Here's a thread someone just posted, and I put some links in it to several recent threads on buying a "first bandsaw", but basically from folks like yourself in similar situations. Click the links and read those threads. You can also read the "which bandsaw to buy" link in my signature for a list of 50 or so other threads on the topic.
Any G0513 owners?? (http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?160838-Any-G0513-owners)

Van Huskey
03-01-2011, 5:00 AM
First, I agree with Dave that you shouldn't bother with a saw that needs restoring especially not as your first bandsaw. I might even suggest not really looking too hard in the used category at all UNLESS you know a little about bandsaws, more than most that have never owned one. I don't think bandsaws are a difficult machine to set up BUT they are more difficult than a table saw as there are more variables. You may want to start with new since they are less likely to have major issues that make setup more difficult. One of the 14" Delta cast clones made by Delta and any number of other brands may be just the ticket for you.

I will contradict myself a little because the 24" saw interests me. If it is ready to cut and isn't a lot of money you may lose less on it (maybe nothing or make money) when you decide to resell it IF you move on. Some info about it (make/model/condition) and the price might help us evaluate it. Plus, do you feel like you can evaluate a used saw or know someone that can and is able to go with you to look at it?

Cary Falk
03-01-2011, 6:11 AM
I would agree with the others that rehabbing old bandsaws is probably not the best thing for you. It is a world unto itself. I rehabbed a old Unisaw a few years ago. I just don't have the time for it. I have too many other projects to do. I had a 2005 Delta 1hp Delta bandsaw with a riser block when I made a guitar. I resawed everything and was not happy with it's performance. I ended up with a Grizzly G0513X2 and am much happier. I am not saying that is what you should get. Many people are happy with their 14" bandsaws. I could have just bought a bad one. If you are thinking about moving onto other stuff later you might want to find a used 14" in great condition. That way you won't loose so much when you sell it. Good luck.

Steve Schoene
03-01-2011, 7:56 AM
Bandsaws are relatively safe but are somewhat limited in their ability to do some woodworking projects. You would be a ideal candidate for a SawStop for protection of hands. Incidentally, I've cut myself much more often on hand tools than powertools.

glenn bradley
03-01-2011, 9:11 AM
I am not sure how you would resaw top and back parts for a guitar on a Saw Stop. Your friend's 14" with a riser would work if adequate in quality and power. You do sound like a good candidate for a Grizzly 513 of some flavor. The entry level would probably suit you if you modified the original fence (or made your own) for better resaw capability. A good resaw fence will be required whatever saw you go with if you resaw your own material. I have the G0513X (made before the X2 was available) and have been nothing but happy with it. Bear in mind that we all (to some degree) recommend those things that we have, have worked with and were happy with. That means many suggestions carry equal weight although they involve different brands, sizes and configurations . . . helpful, huh?

Myk Rian
03-01-2011, 12:38 PM
An old Crescent would take time to restore. Hunting down parts is what takes the time.
An old Delta is much easier to do. Parts are readily available.
This saw took me 2 weeks to restore and paint.
Properly set up with a riser and a 1/2", 3 tpi blade, these will re-saw 12" easily, and cleanly. Mind you, it's all in knowing how to do the set up.

Kyle Iwamoto
03-01-2011, 1:14 PM
I also think you should invest in a new-ish band saw. I have a PM 14" with riser and it does everything I need. You can resaw backs and sides. If you want new, I was very impressed in the Rikon 14". It has 13" of resaw capability. 3 of my friends have them. The stock blades really sucks. Change that out and it a good saw for 700 bucks.
Sure I could use a 24" but I have not the room for it.....

Matt Lau
03-01-2011, 5:18 PM
I also think you should invest in a new-ish band saw. I have a PM 14" with riser and it does everything I need. You can resaw backs and sides. If you want new, I was very impressed in the Rikon 14". It has 13" of resaw capability. 3 of my friends have them. The stock blades really sucks. Change that out and it a good saw for 700 bucks.
Sure I could use a 24" but I have not the room for it.....

Thanks for the tips. I think that I'll hold off on any major refurb cases, and look for something that I can use. It *was* a bit of a coincidence that a large number of really big bandsaws have been cropping up recently. -Matthew