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Thread: Buy or Not-to-Buy, Bandsaw

  1. #1

    Buy or Not-to-Buy, Bandsaw

    I have the opportunity to buy a Powermatic PWBS-14, 1 1/2HP bandsaw with two piece base, for $800.
    It is practically new. It doesnít even look as if itís been used. They gentleman who owns it was recently diagnosed with Parkinsonís, and is selling off his shop.

    I know I need a Bandsaw for my shop, but on the list of things I need in the shop, a Jointer/Planer is #1, then a band saw and then a drill-press.
    Is this too much a good deal to pass up? Rockler has the PWBS-14CS on sale for $1170. I donít know the difference, if any between the PWBS-14 and the PWBS-14CS. I donít know a lot about bandsaws yet, so Iím not educated enough to know itís a good saw or will leave me wanting. If Iím still wanting, at least I got a good deal and wonít waste +1200 on a saw.
    The saw comes with the mobile base (totally necessary for my shop) and several blades.
    He also has an older Rikon 30-140 Drill Press. Itís a 34Ē bench top, but has a stand, is also on a mobile base, and has some jigs for the pressís table (those alone Iíd think are worth a couple hundred dollars.) Heíll throw it in for $300.
    Or, should I just hold out and get my Jointer/Planer as planned, then purchase the rest as time goes buy?
    It sounds like a good deal, and I hate to miss a good deal.
    Good Deal or Pass? Thoughts?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Alberta
    Posts
    961
    James what do you already have for machines ? There is no perfect way to buy machines/tools. Only you can determine if you want to buy this before a jointer/planer. How much cash you have and how long it takes to replace once you spend it is a factor as well. The bandsaw,what do you intend to use it for ? A 14'' machine is a versatile small saw that can do quite a bit. If you intend to cut up trees for lumber and resaw larger long pieces a bigger saw is in your future. I would learn as much as possible about what you want ,(all machines)save my money and when you see a machine you have already decided is what you are looking for pounce. If you work from a list (all machines) and buy the deals as you find them things will happen quicker. YMMV ,good luck and enjoy the process.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Modesto, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,815
    No idea what a two piece base is. looks like most any other 14" bs. I would say $200 max $400. Unless this has. transmission for metal and wood.
    Bil lD.

  4. #4
    Assuming your goal in building up your shop is to start to make furniture of some kind, a workbench and shop furniture as you need it, stuff for the house, small things as gifts, etc., my suggestion is stick with your current plan and put your next dollars toward a planer and a jointer, or a planer/jointer combo. A bandsaw is an incredibly useful tool and a foundational machine: something most all-around woodworkers are going to want/need to have. But a planer and a jointer are transformational, almost magical. The ability to reliably create a square edge and flat face, then efficiently thickness that material to whatever the application, or the aesthetic, calls for, is absolutely 100% essential in a material -- solid wood - that generally comes to us less than flat or straight and in the wrong thickness. Yes, there are alternatives or work-arounds for a lack of any machine, and as someone who got into woodworking at a time in life when I had almost no money to spend on tools, I made use of some for years, including edge jointing with a not-exactly-Krenov-quality homemade hand plane and thicknessing boards with a router jig. Based on that experience of going without a complete shop for a long time, I'd prioritize the planer and jointer, then get a bandsaw (and drill press and all the rest) as needs and finances dictate.
    Last edited by David Stone (CT); 06-24-2019 at 9:42 PM.

  5. #5
    James - I second the sound advice above. If buying the bandsaw now will delay the purchase of the jointer/planer, then pass and focus on the jointer/planer and drill press first. If you have enough cash for everything, I would recommend taking a hard look at the PM bandsaw - It sounds like a great deal.

    For what it's worth, I started with a used contractor's table saw, a drill press, and some portable tools. I later got a Unisaw, 6" jointer and 15" planer. I wish I had bought an 8" jointer, but otherwise these purchases served me well. After 25 years of woodworking I still don't have a bandsaw - While I still want one and hope to add one, it hasn't hindered me that much.

    In the end, the type of projects you build and how you approach them drives the tool decisions. But I think David makes a great point - the jointer/planer are normally a priority.
    Last edited by Mark Hockenberg; 06-25-2019 at 9:43 AM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Cambridge Vermont
    Posts
    405
    This would be a toss up for me. If you like the color of the saw/ the Powermatic brand then you'll save several hundred dollars and would be a good deal. If not then it's not as clear cut. I suspect you could sell the Powermatic down the road for about what you will pay for it if you find it's not large enough so there's not a lot of risk buying it.

    Does it include the 6" riser block? Without knowing what your needs for a bandsaw will be are it's hard to give accurate advice. If you ever plan on doing any resawing then you'll want the 6" riser block so if it's not included it'll cost you $100 and any blades you buy to fit the saw without the block will be useless. If you're not sold on the Powermatic brand there are other options for around $1000 for a welded steel framed saw (Laguna, Jet, Grizzly, and Rikon for example). Grizzly (and some others) sell a clone of the cast 14" bandsaw but it'll cost you about the same once you figure in shipping an tax charges as the used Powermatic.

    My personal opinion is I would want the extra 6" of height and (again personal opinion) I would prefer a welded steel frame saw. The 14" cast iron Delta clone saws (which is what this Powermatic is) are really pushed to the limits of what they can tension blade wise once you add the riser block.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Doylestown, PA
    Posts
    5,843
    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Zeller View Post
    This would be a toss up for me. If you like the color of the saw/ the Powermatic brand then you'll save several hundred dollars and would be a good deal. If not then it's not as clear cut. I suspect you could sell the Powermatic down the road for about what you will pay for it if you find it's not large enough so there's not a lot of risk buying it.

    Does it include the 6" riser block? Without knowing what your needs for a bandsaw will be are it's hard to give accurate advice. If you ever plan on doing any resawing then you'll want the 6" riser block so if it's not included it'll cost you $100 and any blades you buy to fit the saw without the block will be useless. If you're not sold on the Powermatic brand there are other options for around $1000 for a welded steel framed saw (Laguna, Jet, Grizzly, and Rikon for example). Grizzly (and some others) sell a clone of the cast 14" bandsaw but it'll cost you about the same once you figure in shipping an tax charges as the used Powermatic.

    My personal opinion is I would want the extra 6" of height and (again personal opinion) I would prefer a welded steel frame saw. The 14" cast iron Delta clone saws (which is what this Powermatic is) are really pushed to the limits of what they can tension blade wise once you add the riser block.
    I too prefer steel frame saws for 12" resaw height. I know tons of people use riser blocks with good success but if I want a saw that will saw 12", I'll buy (and did) a saw that came from the factory designed and built to cut 12".

  8. #8
    A bandsaw is an essential shop tool. And that PM unit is a good one. Good deals come up and you have to pounce on them when they do.
    "Anything seems possible when you don't know what you're doing."

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    14
    James, that 34" drill press sounds like it is a radial drill press, and my personal opinion is avoid it. Based on my starting out with a Craftsman radial drill press, having the ability to drill that far from the edge of something sounds like it would be pretty handy to have, should you ever need to drill that far into the center of something. But the truth of the matter is that there is an awful lot of flex and play in the radial design. As a result drilling perpendicular holes becomes more hit and miss than anything. Radial drill presses tend to knock themselves out of alignment when drilling a large number of holes in succession. Plus every time that you unclamp the head to move it you have to remember to square it to the table again. As I recall the radial drill presses are pretty easy to knock the head out alignment, and after reading up some reviews online the Rikon has this same issue. The 1/3HP motor will limit you in the ability to drill bigger holes, you will be limited to around 1/2" diameter drill bits at best. Trust me, you will want something like a good 3/4HP or 1 HP motor for your drill press. Save your money and get a proper floor drill press for your shop.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
    Location
    Phoenix AZ
    Posts
    104
    I too would get the jointer/planer first. I have a Grizzly 14” G0555 bandsaw I got 15 years ago and it does everything I need it to. I have a 6” riser block for it but have never used it as I never re-saw wood wider than 6”.
    The updated model, the G0555LX is currently on sale for $550.

    Hope this helps
    ďLearn what you can control and what you cannot..Ē Epictetus, 100 A.D.
    It costs nothing to be kind to others

  11. #11
    I like radial drills, but they are the 5k pound and larger variety

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