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Thread: 20 inch Bandsaw vs 14 inch

  1. #1
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    20 inch Bandsaw vs 14 inch

    I am looking for a better bandsaw, (I have a shopsmith bandsaw shaped thing now). It seems like the standard saws that Woodcraft and Rockler sell are 14 inch. Looking around on Craigslist and other places I can find older 18 or 20 inch bandsaws for about the same price. I assume the more heavy duty solid construction of the bigger units would be beneficial. I think that I would also like to resaw hardwood logs into "free lumber" so the increased capacity would be nice.
    Are there drawbacks to the bigger saws? I know I would have to cleanup, restore the older bandsaws.

    Steve

  2. #2
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    Dec 2005
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    Get both! I have a 24” saw for bigger work and resaw, and a 14” saw for curves and small stuff.
    Big saws have a minimum blade width so can’t cut the super small curves. My 24” saw can run 3/8” at the the smallest I think. My small saw can’t hog through thick material like my bigger one. You’re also limited with resaw height and horsepower.

  3. #3
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    Biggest problem with a bigger saw is getting it home and in your shop. Then you need a bigger 220 circuit in your shop, and it takes up more floor space. Also much harder to get on a mobile base and move it if you go that route.

  4. #4
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    If your looking to resaw look for saws with large resaw capabilities. While older saws are bigger they don’t have the resaw capacity of the newer ones. The new 14 inch saws from Laguna, Rikon, etc have a 12 inch resaw capacity compared to the traditional 14 inch saws that have a 6 inch resaw.
    Don

  5. #5
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    Older big saws tend to have poor blade guides. Often stackable metal plates which are missing so you can only run one blade width. Make sure there are modern blades guides to fit your saw before purchase.. Older Rockwells need special tires with a rib, about $100 each.
    Bill D

  6. #6
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    Thank you, good things to know and take into consideration.

  7. #7
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    A bandsaw with a 14 inch wheel is so lite weight compared to a 20 inch.
    Its like comparing a job site tablesaw to a cabinet saw.
    I wouldn’t count on using it for cutting wet logs because that’s a whole different kettle of fish.
    Aj

  8. #8
    Some of the answer may depend on the work you do or aspire to do.
    I have both a 20" and a 14" and to me they are two somewhat different tools. The smaller saw excels at cutting curves and finer work including the fact that the table is much higher than the bigger saw. A higher table puts you closer to the work which is nice for fine work i.e. cutting to a curved line. OTOH, the bigger saw excels at handling larger pieces of wood, ripping, veneering, resawing, and it will tension larger blades.

    Bottom line, one is not better than the other, they each have their advantages and only you can determine how important those advantages are to you.

    Someone above mentioned the newer Laguna and Rikon saws which seem to me to be an attempt at a hybrid solution and might be worth a look.

    Edwin

  9. #9
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    When you are talking about "free lumber" what size logs are you planning on? Logs can be heavy since they are green and turning them from a round shape to square is a fair bit of work. Is your shop designed for you to bring logs into it?

    I like old iron but finding parts can get expensive fast. I had a chance to buy a Powermatic 81 with 24" of resaw capacity but it had a 1 1/2 HP motor on it. While trying to move it the seller had lost control of it and it fell over. That broke a couple of pieces like the trunion for the table. Since he couldn't buy the parts he had a welder repair them. While I love to putter on things I don't want to working on finding parts or having parts made when I could be actually woodworking. It could be very different for you.

    I ended up with a new 19" Grizzly. Even though I would call it on the lower end price wise of the 20" saws and not as heavy as the more expensive Italian saws it's a major jump up over the 14" saws (a HF cheapo, a Jet, and a Delta) that I had been using before getting it. I don't think I would go less than 3 hp in a saw of this size.

  10. #10
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    many bandsaws become scrap when they are moved with the table attached. It falls into something or is grabbed and the trunnions break. Consider metal saws not just wood saws. If the FPM is correct a metal saw is usually heavier built. Grob, clausing/startrite, rockwell, powermatic, crescent are all good brands.
    Bil lD
    Last edited by Bill Dufour; 04-06-2020 at 5:21 PM.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Zeller View Post
    When you are talking about "free lumber" what size logs are you planning on? Logs can be heavy since they are green and turning them from a round shape to square is a fair bit of work. Is your shop designed for you to bring logs into it?
    Yes, I know my limitations, small logs I guess, already halved or quartered if too large.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Zeller View Post
    When you are talking about "free lumber" what size logs are you planning on? Logs can be heavy since they are green and turning them from a round shape to square is a fair bit of work. Is your shop designed for you to bring logs into it?

    I like old iron but finding parts can get expensive fast. I had a chance to buy a Powermatic 81 with 24" of resaw capacity but
    it had a 1 1/2 HP motor on it. While trying to move it the seller had lost control of it and it fell over. That broke a couple of pieces like the trunion for the table. Since he couldn't buy the parts he had a welder repair them. While I love to putter on things I don't want to working on finding parts or having parts made when I could be actually woodworking. It could be very different for you.

    I ended up with a new 19" Grizzly. Even though I would call it on the lower end price wise of the 20" saws and not as heavy as the more expensive Italian saws it's a major jump up over the 14" saws (a HF cheapo, a Jet, and a Delta) that I had been using before getting it. I don't think I would go less than 3 hp in a saw of this size.
    Are you sure about 24” resaw capacity for that saw? Seems to be an amazing number for vertical shop band saw. If I knew the answer I would not ask.
    Too much to do...Not enough time...life is too short!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen Bandirola View Post
    Yes, I know my limitations, small logs I guess, already halved or quartered if too large.
    Without substantial material handling setups, sawing logs isn't something one normally does in their shop. Even small logs weigh hundreds of pounds, a lot of it water. The water is also a factor....it takes the correct specialty blade setup and may require lubrication that one wouldn't normally do with an in-shop stationary saw. What's more common is taking slices of a short log section that has incredible figure or spaulting, etc., often from more seasoned stuff. Some people like to mine the firewood pile after its sat for a year or tow because there can be some really interesting stuff to be found. Processing reclaimed material can be a very kewel thing and the bigger saw is great for that!

    Big saws are great for ripping, resawing and heavy reclamation work. Small saws are great for finesse work. That's why folks will say having both is ideal.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  14. #14
    Edwin brought up a good point that I also noticed. The tables on dedicated "resaw" bandsaws are much lower and this precludes doing fine work.
    I have been using an original USA made Delta 14 in. bandsaw for almost 25 yrs. now.. Have thought of upgrading to a larger bandsaw but a lower table changed my mind. Instead, I upgraded the Delta 14 in. with a 1 HP motor and resaw extension, better springs, improved fence system, much improved dust collection, etc.
    BandsawDust2.jpg

    That's my story.
    Norman

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Norman Pirollo View Post
    Edwin brought up a good point that I also noticed. The tables on dedicated "resaw" bandsaws are much lower and this precludes doing fine work.
    I have been using an original USA made Delta 14 in. bandsaw for almost 25 yrs. now.. Have thought of upgrading to a larger bandsaw but a lower table changed my mind. Instead, I upgraded the Delta 14 in. with a 1 HP motor and resaw extension, better springs, improved fence system, much improved dust collection, e

    That's my story.
    Norman
    I followed the same road as Norman with my first saw. Still have the Delta. My next saw was a Steel city 18'' saw that I really liked. I sold it when I found my current large saw, a Centauro CO 600. I really wish I had kept the Steel city as my all around smaller blade saw and sold the Delta. I also really like having two bandsaws and would not like to go back to just one. If I was forced to have just one saw it would be in the 17''-19'' size as I think these saws are the best "all around" saws.

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