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Thread: Bandsaw for small shop

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2021
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    Ottawa, Canada
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    20

    Bandsaw for small shop

    Hello everyone, I'm a hobbyist working out of a one car garage (12X19) shop. I have mostly been building up a Festool tool collection with some hand tools thrown into the mix. I've got a Sawstop JSS pro that I use for ripping but am looking to replace that with my first and hopefully last bandsaw. I would like a bandsaw for ripping, resawing and a bit of joinery work. I've got a nice Jet scrollsaw I use for small parts and templates. With the pandemic and supply issues it seems like just getting any saw is a challenge so I was hoping to get some advice.

    I went to a local supplier last week and they had the Laguna 1412 on the floor and the sales person tried to pressure me into the 14BX they had in the back. I declined as I wanted to measure out how much space it would take up in my shop. I made a spreadsheet of all the bandsaws I thought I would like and got out the painters tape to measure footprints. For a few extra inches the Laguna 18BX and Powermatic PM 1500 looked much better to me.

    My short list is the Laguna 18BX, Powermatic PM 1500, Hammer N4400 or MiniMax S440P. Looking around Canadian sites it looks like Hammer and MiniMax are out of stock everywhere. There are a few Powermatics I can get shipped (just waiting to hear back on shipping costs). I see the Laguna's in stock locally but I've read and seen some bad issues with quality control and customer service on the Laguna's.

    I looked briefly at Rikon's but am not sure how they stack up. I was talking to someone who upgraded their Rikon with the DVR motor. That also sounds interesting if it helps with resawing.

    I'm really not sure which direction to go. Cost isn't as important as buying a machine that just works out of the box. I don't want to have to spend weeks troubleshooting a new tool or waiting for replacement parts. I also don't want to go buy something smaller like the Laguna 14BX, get it to my shop and then wish I had bought something a little bigger and go through the hassle of trying to sell it to get a bigger saw.

    Any thoughts would be appreciated.
    Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    58,716
    Joel, for your stated purpose where the bandsaw will be an essential "center" of your shop, you want big and heavy. I'm in the MiniMax camp so I'll use that as an example...heavy, stiff and able to tension proper resaw blades is essential. Given you may want a more "finished" look to your cuts, being able to work with a carbide tipped band may be an important factor. Honestly, that was tough with my "small" 16" Minimax bandsaw...a larger one would have been a better choice for that, but I didn't know what I know now back in 2004.

    Supply is absolutely going to be a challenge right now. While I know that you have the urge to get the deed done, consider ordering the "right" saw for your needs, rather than settling for what you can get "faster".
    --

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

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
    Location
    Kensington, Maryland
    Posts
    222
    Joel, totally get wanting an excellent bandsaw and you will be glad you did. Just curious why you are getting rid of the portable and relatively small table saw. I am not as expert as many here, and people will disagree, but even with a very good bandsaw, set up correctly, I have found the table saw is much better for very precise ripping.

  4. #4
    I have the PM1500, and it's a tank of a small bandsaw. Great rip capacity, 3hp, etc. I got it in part because I didn't want to have to study schematics for an hour, break out 30 tools, and spend 5 hours assembling -- I wanted to roll it off the pallet, drop on the fence, make a few checks and start cutting. PM costs more, and part of the reason is because it's more assembled and QA'd when you receive it.

    Pretty much all the saws you mentioned are going to serve you well, so bottom line, I agree with Jim -- get the "right" saw, and bite the bullet with the current supply chain nightmares. Everyone wants the 18" Laguna because it's a great combo of features and price, so you're going to wait forever unless the dice roll your way. So, if you can afford a (eg) PM 1800, you can probably get it shipped in a coupla weeks, tops. Call Felder and see if they have a 510 or 610 lying around. These might not be the best value saws, but they're awesome, they'll last you forever, they'll do everything, and you might not have to wait. So it's pay to play, if you can afford it.

    For someone who wants to buy their last saw first (a good way to go, imo, again, if you can afford it), it's worth considering. Yes these machines are also slightly larger than (eg) the PM1500, but check their footprints -- you might be surprised to find they're not much bigger than (eg) the 18" Laguna.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    WNY
    Posts
    7,733
    Of your candidates - MiniMax, Laguna, Hammer, Powermatic, in that order. Why? I can't ever remember reading on here about someone complaining about their new MM. Their switches were awful for a long time, but hopefully that has finally been fixed.

    Do some searching on here if you are seriously considering the Hammer.

    Personally, I've had a Grizzly G0636X for 5 years and it is one awesome saw.

    John

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2021
    Location
    Ottawa, Canada
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    20
    Hey thanks everyone for the quick replies!

    A bit more context for my needs. Here is my latest layout for my shop:
    20211003_111847.jpg
    One the right hand side you can see some blue tape where I measured footprint sizes:
    20211002_181049.jpg
    The largest footprint would be from the 18BX. Everything else is a bit smaller. That's where my jobsite saw is/was living. I'm not going to get rid of it, just fold it up when not in use. I often times would like to do a small precise cut that a bandsaw would excel at. I've tried on my wife's scrollsaw but more often than not the blade deflects and breaks.

    I agree bigger would be better but I also like having space to move in my shop. I'd feel claustrophobic with too much real estate taken up. I'm currently sharing the shop with the family bicycles and a large cargo bike. Hopefully next summer I can build a shed out back. I think the 18BX would have pushed it, the PM1500 and MM 16 would fit a lot better. I just don't want a tiny 14" Delta like most people start with.

    After watching some youtube last night it seems like the Laguna 18BX has some design and qc issues that I'm really not interested in dealing with. https://youtu.be/tPtvdY9uErk

    My list in order would probably be MiniMax, Powermatic, Hammer and maybe Rikon? I can't seem to find Hammer in Canada. I did find a shop outside of Toronto that has MiniMax/SCM S400P - Bandsaw which comes out to $6,446.65 CAD with shipping and taxes. There is also a place in Quebec with 2 Powermatic PM 1500's for $5,084.99 but I'm waiting on shipping cost.

    Jim you are correct, the blade I'd put in and leave would be a large carbide tipped blade. Funny thing was, the other day at the store that wanted me to buy the 14BX sight unseen was they tried talking me out of a resaw king blade. They looked at me funny saying it was practically gold plated and overpriced? Weird, who tries to discourage a customer from buying a great sawblade?

    As for Grizzly, I probably would have had it on my list when I lived in Seattle but I'm in Ottawa Canada now and I can imagine importing something as large as a bandsaw being a huge extra cost and hassle. I'd rather buy from a localish shop that has already imported into Canada.

    I'll check out the PM 1800 and Felder 510 like Ed mentioned. I think PM 1800 might dwarf my shop though. We'll see

    Thanks again for the help.

  7. #7
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    Mar 2003
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    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    FYI, Felder and Hammer are the same company. They do sell in Canada...one of our SMC Contributors, I believe, is involved with them or a dealer, if I'm not mistaken.
    --

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

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2021
    Location
    Ottawa, Canada
    Posts
    20
    Thanks Jim.

    I reached out to Felder Canada and got this reply: Thanks for your inquiry on the Hammer N4400

    They are not currently available as the factory cannot get single phase motors for them

    Edit: I just asked about the Felder FB510 and got a quick reply:

    Have the same motor issues but have 4 on order


    The Laguna LT16HD would be a good choice and we have just the one in stock.

    I should add the LT16HD
    to my list I guess and do some research.
    Edited after reading Tom's response SKU: MBAND165600
    Last edited by JOEL MONGEON; 10-03-2021 at 3:40 PM.

  9. #9
    Hard to go wrong with a larger Hammer, Felder, or the LT range, for one looking for it to do the work of a tablesaw.
    Not sure if the LT range is the newer models with tapered column, or the ones with a straight column.

    Not sure how you worked your footprint out, the tables will have much to say on that.
    I think a big table is far nicer, cutting tenons, safer distance away from the blade and not a balancing act with long stuff, cleaner.
    Most of the far Eastern machines will likely have smaller tables and also a slightly lighter frame, so you could also look at up to 20" machines to have some comparison with the
    Italian or Italianish saws.
    All being equal, the difference will be in the guides, hard to beat the Euro guides, but some disagree.

    If you don't want faff, then what you mentioned is the way to go.
    If you intend to do a bit of curve cutting frequently also, then see if the Felder or Hammer has crowned tires,
    I'd sooner the flat tires for ripping, but John's super stout Griz ,(look at that spec sheet on his, weight is twice some of the same size machines)
    seems happy running CT's.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Cambridge Vermont
    Posts
    1,713
    It seems like you have a pretty nice budget for the BS. Personally I would look for a saw with 18" to 20" wheels. They typically have a footprint not much bigger than a 14" saw but the extra diameter wheels play nice with resaw blades. I have the 19" Grizzly that replaced a 14" cast iron Delta clone. It looks massive compared to the 14" saw but in reality it's not. The new saw went into the same location as the old saw and I don't notice the shop being any more crapped than before. I got the Grizzly because I set a budget of $2k (a couple years ago) and it came down to the 18BX (with more resaw capacity) and the Grizzly (with a much beefier trunnion). Since I use the saw for cutting up green blanks for turning that can be very heavy and Grizzly offered a 10% off coupon that's the direction I went.

    Unless you're positive that the extra table size of the LT18 will just be too big I think that's the one I would choose over the LT16. Not much difference in price and a larger table and throat depth is always a plus. Both are Italian saws with Lesson motors so I think quality shouldn't be an issue. As for the other Euro machines, I can't answer that question. Do you want to wait or do you want to do woodworking. The one thing I would add to your list though is a foot brake. The electronic brake is ok but the foot brake allows you to just tap it and it'll shut the saw off. Very nice when you just turned 1 piece of wood into 2 and have both hands holding a piece.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2019
    Location
    Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts
    236
    I have a Mini-max jointer/planer and the quality is top notch. I’m sure their bandsaw is the same but my budget didn’t allow for one. I purchased a Laguna BX18 a year ago and have been very happy with it. It was well packed and easy to get set up and running. I find the quality to be very good.
    Good luck with your search!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2021
    Location
    Ottawa, Canada
    Posts
    20
    Thanks for all the feedback and advice. It's much appreciated. When I talk to my wife about bandsaws, her face goes blank and she says "I don't care" before walking away. My kids are no better, the pretend to listen while drawing on the dog with sidewalk chalk.
    I dismissed Grizzly outright as I thought shipping and duties would be an issue. However, last night I found a thread on the Canadian woodworkers site about how great they are at delivering large machinery to Canada. Some of the happy posters were even from Ottawa. So maybe I'll add them to my list.
    After watching some MM16 YouTube videos last night, I have to say it looks super solid. From what I can tell it doesn't look like the MM16 has a high/low fence like most other manufacturers. Is this right? Not that it's a deal-breaker.
    David, glad to hear your Laguna 18BX is not having any problems. Hopefully they fixed what was wrong with them 3 years ago.
    I'm just waiting on a quote from SCM dealer on the MM16. Hopefully they get back to me today.
    A bigger table would be nice but I should probably draw a budgetary line somewhere. ��

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2021
    Location
    Ottawa, Canada
    Posts
    20
    I thought I'd post a small update.

    So far my list has shrunk down to 3 choices. The SCM S440P/MM 16, Laguna LT18 and Grizzly G0636X.

    I've found dealers in Canada that have stock of the Laguna and SCM and I just found out that Grizzly will ship directly to Canada and their bandsaws are in stock and ready to ship.

    My top saw is the S440P. The dealer is about 2 hours from me and is also the local Canadian service center for SCM which is a bonus. They have a few new bandsaws that are on their way from the factory but they don't actually have them yet. The salesman said they should arrive on the 10th of October then go through certification before becoming available to the dealer. So if I went with my first choice I'd most likely have it by the end of October. My only hesitation is they don't actually have any in stock. Things can happen to shipments and if I bought my saw and there was a delay, who knows when I'd see it. The other issue is that of the 3 saws it has the smallest table size at 24.5 X 17.74. It is also the most expensive of the 3 saws, with tax and delivery over $7K.

    My second choice is the Laguna LT18. I like that it is also an Italian made saw like the S440P. It has more resaw capabilites and the table is bigger at 25 X 19. The height of the table is lower which I might like but most of the research I've done has said that Laguna's customer service is pretty terrible. I know nothing should go wrong with the LT18 but good customer service is piece of mind. It is also around $500 dollars cheaper than the S440P.

    My last choice is the Grizzly G0636X. I've never owned anything Grizzly and I know they are not built in Italy or NA but from what I've read, their customer service is outstanding. The G0636X is meant to compete with Italian saws, so they have most of the same options as the other 2. The table is the largest of the bunch at 25.5 X 21 and it is the heaviest at 784lbs shipped (not acutally sure assembled weight but must be pretty heavy). It is also the cheapest of the bunch at around $1500 less than the S440P (if I did my math and currency conversion right).

    All 3 have 5hp 220v motors, resaw height is between 18.5" and 16". Throat size between 17" and 15". Seeing as I don't have a bandsaw yet, I can only guess that having a larger table is important for stability. In that case the Grizzly comes out on top. But I also want something rock solid that I can use for resawing, ripping and doing joinery cuts. I plan on putting on a 1" resaw king or similar blade and leaving it like that. Geez, decisions are hard

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Waterford, PA
    Posts
    941
    Joel,

    I purchased my SCM Sliding Table saw with the same way as you'd be purchasing the bandsaw. I placed my order for the machine (my dealer even provided me with the serial number that was "mine") with just a deposit. The machine arrived in the US on time and they shipped it directly to me just a couple of days later after I paid the balance due.

  15. #15
    I have an 18 BX, so the saws you are looking at are a level above.

    If you are going to have a carbide tipped blade on it, I'd get the largest diameter wheels you can. Those saws you are looking at should have no problem tensioning a wide carbide tipped blade to 30kpsi. The reason why I say this, is that I've noticed that some who try to use a 3/4" resaw king on a 14" saw tend to work harden and break their blades fairly quickly. I use a 1.25" resaw king on my 18BX, and have no such problems, and I primarily attribute that to the diameter of the blades (I am also very consistent with releasing tension when I am finished with my cutting for the day). A 16" saw should be better than a 14", but I would say that if you can go at least 18", that would be even better.

    For your budget, I would make sure to add the cost of at least two of your intended carbide tipped blades, and maybe also a 1/2" bimetal blade for other duties. I really like the resaw king blade, and I also have a set of narrower (1/4, 3/8, and 1/2) lenox diemaster 2 bimetals blades in .035. I primarily only use the 1/2 now for cutting cylinders for bowl blanks, and everything else is cut with the resaw king for me.

    Lenox has a couple options for carbide tipped blades too that you can compare to the resaw king. I don't know if they can be resharpened as easily as the resaw king though.

    Good luck with your decision!

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