View Full Version : General Metalworking Looking for metal bandsaw

Mike Heidrick
12-21-2013, 1:23 AM
I am in the market for a metal band saw. Want to cut blocks of aluminum before I mill them. Have any horror stories of saws to avoid? Considering the 7X12 Horiz/Vert band saw from my friends at Jet. Any scary stories about those? Would love a DoAll but really don't want another huge 1000lb+ vertical saw. Any advice, recommendations, or avoidance advisory?

Todd Burch
12-21-2013, 6:38 AM
I have a circa 1967/1968 Johnson Model J horizontal bandsaw. And get this... I love it. But better yet... I've never even turned it on. See here: http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?209008-Horizontal-Bandsaw-rebuild

I also have a Carolina Tools horizontal bandsaw, but I'll be selling it - don't need two.

I also recently bid on this sweet little deal, an almost new Jet vertical (a huge 1000lb+ saw, as you call it) and I know I could have got it, had I 1) played my auction card properly and 2) would have been willing to accept the wrath of SWMBO after continuing to bid on tools I don't necessarily need after receiving very clear orders to "cease and desist".


With that bit of trivia history... the Johnsons are amazingly well built, very tunable, a piece of cake to rebuild, and the only parts that aren't available for these older saws from Dake today are the side covers and electrical components. The saws can be readily had in the $700 range and up. Sometime $400's. Much less at auction. If running and cutting and complete, I would jump quickly on anything (wet or dry) for $600 or less. Wet versions, as I have read, are often times ran dry, as the mess involved with running wet isn't made up by a better cut or longer blade life when used occasionally.

The Carolinas... not so much. They are not near as well built - mostly bent sheet metal. I see them in the $300-$400 range used. They'll cut, but are not as precision as the cast iron Johnsons.

Then you got your Kalamazoo and Wellsaw - both good units.

I see some variety of horizontal bandsaw on my local CL all the time for sale. Even the smaller portable ones.

The Jet combo you mention sounds handy to be able to flip to either configuration. My Carolina will do that too, but alas, I haven't turned it on yet either.

Rick Lizek
12-21-2013, 7:25 AM
I use a table saw or chop saw with triple chip negative hook blade designed to cut non-ferrous. Actually leaves a mill finish. Brought that technique when I worked for a Metalsmith 20 years ago. Have ripped and crosscut sheet and blocks of aluminum, brass, zinc. I have a Carolina horizontal/vertical bandsaw but only use it on steel. Works well for the money.

Keith Outten
12-21-2013, 9:46 AM

This is the metal cutting band saw I purchased from Baileigh last year.


It was a stretch for my small shop but I'm glad I decided to purchase this one. It exceeds my expectations in every way, at 540 pounds it is not a lightweight saw. Its accurate and I mean accurate cutting miters and perfectly straight cuts.

Contact Shane Henderson via Private Message (http://www.sawmillcreek.org/member.php?103496-Baileigh-Inc)

Shane Henderson
Baileigh Industrial Woodworking

Scott T Smith
12-23-2013, 12:32 AM
I used to have a Jet 7" x 12" metal saw, and was pleased with it. I replaced with with an Ellis 1800 series, which had greater capacity and was an industrial production saw. The Jet was very good and the Ellis has been an outstanding saw.

Brian W Smith
12-23-2013, 9:17 AM
Our 7x12 has been a real workhorse.It was a very hard decision on the size.The realestate one takes up vs capacity,and how this fits into our shop profile.Any structural stock that won't fit on it gets the gas axe.And in general,larger size material never makes it to the area where saw is.So footprint is first big question.

Second is the mess.Ours is by far the dirtiest pce in our shop.Heck,we grind metal and wood(big sanders)cleaner than the mess around the 7x12.Not poo-pooing....just cautioning to choose your location in an,easy to clean up spot.

Would love to have a bigger saw,but just can't justify the space in our shop.

Gus Dundon
01-14-2014, 4:28 PM
I've checked out on Trajan 7x12 band saw , it's kind of jet band saw style. For me, Jet saws' strengths are price, angle cutting , cast iron made, light weight saw.

Kevin Nathanson
01-14-2014, 6:39 PM
My answer to the wood/metal conundrum:


I have a big Agazzani for resaw work with a 1" wide blade, but everything else gets cut on the Grizzly.

Scott's Ellis is much better, but it is also much more of an investment.


John Leake
01-16-2014, 4:01 PM
I use my trusty Rockwell Delta 14" wood band saw for aluminium. Works great. A horizontal band saw is great, more money.

Chris Fournier
01-18-2014, 8:09 PM
I have a King Industrial 7X12 BS, likely to be the same as the machine that you are thinking of. It is fantastic, I have no regrets whatsoever. I use decent bi-metal blades and it knocks out square cuts to capacity all day long (feed rate needs ot be right). This machine paid for itself, literally in two jobs that I took on in my shop.

Buy it!

Ed Weiser
01-20-2014, 3:06 PM
Tell us more about your Baileigh 712MS. I notice the speeds only go up to 270 FPM. Is this fast enough in your experience to cut aluminum reasonably quickly? Noisy?
Any photos of the saw in the vertical position? Does it come with a table for vertical use? Thanks.

Keith Outten
01-20-2014, 7:03 PM

The 3 speed gear box on my Baileigh metal band saw seems to have the right range. About 95% of the cutting I have done so far has been mild steel heavy wall square tube. I did cut an aluminum Incra track to length for my Felder band saw slider I built, it cut perfectly straight without a catch or leaving a rough edge. When Ken Fitzgerald visited my shop he asked me how I cut the aluminum because the fit was perfect. He was surprised when I told him I cut the track on the Baileigh saw.

The saw cuts everything quickly. I was used to having to wait awhile when I was cutting square tubing using my old saw, the new one does straight or miter cuts in a couple minutes or less. The hydraulic cylinder lets me set the down feed to tune the cut to the job and material type, the end result is a perfectly straight cut you can check with a square....dead on every time. I've never had a saw like this one.

The saw is quiet, even on long cuts in heavy steel square tubing and pipe. The saw came with a 9.75" by 10" table for vertical work but I haven't used it yet, thus no pictures to share other than the one below.

I have plans to build I heavy steel table for welding and plasma torch work late this Winter. The table will be left outside the shop for hot work and have 2" receivers on each corner so I can install and remove a vise and metal benders easily. Cutting 6" by 1/2" thick flat bar will give the new band saw a serious workout and I have 2" by 4" square tubing for the legs.

Ed Weiser
01-20-2014, 7:32 PM
Thanks for the information. I just ordered the same saw from Enco, made in Taiwan, etc. They're having a sale right now and were $600+ less (with shipping) than the Baileigh saw. I did this on the strength of your comments. Much appreciated.

Keith Outten
01-20-2014, 8:57 PM

Your welcome and congratulations on your new band saw.

Brian W Smith
01-24-2014, 5:49 AM
Congrats on the new saw...you're going to really like it.A cpl things..........just be thinking about.

Infeed and outfeed systems.A shorty roller stand works nice on infeed to hold up longer stock,find a nice little parking place for it when not in use.The outfeed can be a little more sophisticated(well,so can infeed)....you already have a short outfeed "stop" with your saw.This can be expanded both,in length and/or design.

You'll need some sort of system approach to cutting short pcs.We have a smallish vise that fits into the saws larger vise.Gets used enough to warrent it...but there's other approaches that work well.

I know you just bought a saw and aren't really looking to get another,haha.......but gotta say,a "porta-band" makes sense,as an augment to a larger saw.It's amazing how much we use ours.It's a cheaper blade on mystery metal.Ours has a welded fixture on it,making it easy-peasy to throw it in a the fabrication areas vise.If we're just snipping pcs off....it's nice not to have to walk over to big saw from a laziness POV.But they do make sense where theres a bunch of small,fitting pcs to cut.It's basically,"saving" the big saw.Good luck,and look into "breaking in" blades.

Keith Outten
01-24-2014, 11:33 AM
I agree with Brian about the Port-A-Band. I have an old Rockwell Port-A-Band saw built in 1975 that is worth its weight on occasion. Its a heavy machine when you have to hold it in your hands for a long time. Unlike Brian I leave the Port-A-Band hanging on the hook unless there is no way I can use my stationary band saw to make the necessary cut. When I was young I would grab the Port-A-Band in a heartbeat, these days my hands ache just thinking about having to hold that saw.

Brian, how about posting a picture of the welded fixture you made for your Port-a-Band. Maybe I can do the same for mine.

I own a Milwaukee abrasive saw but I rarely use it anymore. I keep it around just in case I need to go somewhere and cut a few pieces on a remote job. One of the things I do use a lot is a very large bolt cutter. I cut flat and round bar to length for scroll projects with the bolt cutters. Now that I have a good metal band saw I can stack pieces precut with the bolt cutter and cut them to length the easy way. For rough cuts the bolt cutters are cheap and fast.

Ed Weiser
01-24-2014, 2:46 PM
Thanks, Brian. That's a great idea for the roller stand. Makes one-person cutoffs from long stock doable. I've been looking for a used Milwaukee "porta-band"--no hurry. I can use a Sawzall in a pinch for now. How do you fit a secondary vise into the main vise and have the stock face the right way--a toolmaker's vise?

Brian W Smith
01-26-2014, 6:17 AM
Yes,it's a toolmaker's vise.The saw's vise is a little too far away from blade.....maybe an 1-1/2?The little vise just pops right in,and gets within an 1/8 or so of blade....the "trick" is,we have a simple block of wood that is cut the same length as little vise.It gets put in big vise at the other end when using the small one,it prevents the saw's vise from twisting or binding.

There is quite a few things that can be done on these saws,well any pce of machinery actually,if you want to really get into it.Ours could really benefit from having a threaded hole in saw's "bed"....just on the outboard side of blade.A nice 3/8(or metric equiv,haha)or so SHC going through some sort of right angle "stop".Think an electric chop bx.....with no fence on the right side of blade?What happens with the cutoffs?Well,the same happens with our metal saw.The cut pcs have to be looked for.I may just do that today.

Keith,it's a pce of steel angle...maybe 1x1x1/8 and a cpl inches long.It's been on our B&D saw I know for 15 years.It's welded to the little,flat OEM pce.The whole thing pops right in a vise.I use a Jorgy spring camp on trigger.The blade thing is real,I won't cut anything on the big saw that dosen't have some sort of material pedigree.......just say NO,to scrap "bed rails".Stainless will also put a hurtin on a bandsaw blade.So,if there's any question....we just use the little saw.

I know some folks don't want to subscribe to the whole "breakin" notion,and that's their perogotive.But I have ruined brand new blades just rushing in on cuts.Most recommend a few cuts through some aluminum on new blades.It smooths and "joints" the blade apparently?We don't think about it too much,just do it.It happens with porta band blades as well.......anyone want to make an argument on wood BS blades?We cut right much exotics in the cabinet shop......resaw some Purple Heart on a freshly sharpened blade and you can watch it peel those sparkly new teeth off.

Richard Moran
09-25-2014, 3:26 PM
I bought a HF horz band saw for most heavy duty metal cutting and it works great. I converted it to hydraulic feed and modified the clamp so it stays in one place instead of swiveling around.

I also converted my Taiwan vertical band saw to cut metal, mostly for shaping efficiently by reducing the speed with a double reducer jack shaft modification. It works great. I also modified it with a 6" riser block on the throat so I can cut 12" logs for bowls or re-sawing planks.