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Thread: 14 vs 17 inch bandsaw? Cast-iron vs aluminum Trunnions?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2022
    Location
    Seattle
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    24

    14 vs 17 inch bandsaw? Cast-iron vs aluminum Trunnions?

    I'm looking to get my first bandsaw. I haven't had luck in the used market ($900 for a 14 inch low end jet...), so looking at the new market.

    Key things I'm looking for:
    * Resaw capacity of at least 12''
    * Buy once cry once is OK--wife won't let me buy a second one or replace this one anytime soon. Still would prefer to stay in the $1-2k range (preferably the low end)
    * 110V is a must, I only have 1 220 outlet and that's for the 8'' jointer
    * I have a relatively small garage (20x20) that we park a car in, so small-ish footprint and easily moveable base is a very nice to have

    I have a few options I've narrowed it down to:

    17''

    Grizzly 2HP, 110V / pre-wired 220V (I will need to re-wire to 110V)
    Grizzly G0513 - Aluminum Trunnions | $1,250 (super sale at 16% off, most affordable 17'' bandsaw I see on the market)
    Grizzly G0513X2 - Cast-Iron Trunnions | $1525 (are cast-iron trunnions worth $300?)
    Grizzly G0513X2BF - Foot brake | $1795 (is a foot brake worth $300?)

    ---

    14''
    Grizzly G0817 - 2HP, 110V | $1649 (seems expensive compared to the 17'' line, no?)
    Rikon 10-326 - 14'', 1.75HP, 110V | $1439 (on sale right now, seems like build quality is better than Grizzly?)
    Laguna - I am not considering laguna because none of their saws are on sale right now.
    Jet - I'm convinced I would go with the 14'' Rikon over the Jet that's also on sale.

    -----

    Do any of these options jump out to any of you?
    I'm wondering if a 17'' is worth the extra space & price. As well, I'm wondering if the Aluminum Trunnions are *that* much of a dealbreaker. There's a pretty big savings over the cast iron with the sale going on.

    Lots to navigate in this space... any help is appreciated. Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    The Hartland of Michigan
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    7,604
    Cast iron has less flex. I never had a need for a foot brake.
    A 14" will get you to 12" with a 6" spacer block.
    If you can go with a 17", go for it. The footprint is not much more than a 14" saw.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Northeastern OK
    Posts
    207
    A foot brake is not 100% necessary, but spool down time can be quite long on a saw with 14" or larger drive wheels. My previous 14" bandsaw with aluminum wheels would spin down rather quick (within a few seconds), but my current saw (13" throat with 14" resaw capacity) has 15" cast iron wheels which spin for a LONG time after power is cut. I would not want such a saw without a brake. It is too easy to forget the blade is still moving long after the off switch has been hit.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Northwest Indiana
    Posts
    839
    As a 14” owner, I’d gravitate towards a 17” given a choice. The Grizzly 513 spec sheet lists the 120v at 20 amps on a suggested 30 amp circuit. The foot brake version shows 240v only. 2 hp is a hefty load at 120v. Might consider ant of the 513’s and just replacing the power cord with longer (if needed to reach), and unplug the jointer to plug in the bandsaw since you won’t use both at same time. I tend to unplug tools at end of session anyway, so that’s normal for me. My single 240v circuit is used by table saw, band saw, RAS, and lathe. Longest cord is about 16’ and only the TS cord crosses the floor when it’s plugged in.
    That 2 hp motor at 120v would not only need a bigger breaker, but likely heavier wire from box to receptacle. Staying 240v and 15’ of SJTOW and a plug will be a ton cheaper.
    good luck!!

  5. #5
    Iím all for safety. I worked in a couple of places where it was a big deal to walk away from a from a band saw without using the brake to
    stop it first. At first hearing I thought that was nutty, but It is possible for a band -blade to break while while slowing down , and send some
    blade footage flying out. Especially since many donít bother to lower a too high guard position. Some commercial shops tell new guys they will be fired
    at first infraction of safety rules.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Posts
    1,146
    I just looked on the Seattle craigslist and I see there's a Grizzly 1073 16" band saw for sale that looks in very good condition. It's $900, so not cheap.

    There's also a Central Machine (Harbor Freight) 14" for $250, also not as cheap as I'd like to pay for that saw. But it also looks in very nice clean shape, and has a multi-speed pulley setup.

    So that's about it! To me that's very low inventory, compared to what I can find on C'list down here in LA and the surrounding counties. Seems odd, metro Seattle has a big population.

    I like the Grizzly a lot. It comes with a nice fence and a mobile base. Maybe keep an eye on it and if it's up there for a few weeks offer the seller a price you feel comfortable with. $500 would work for me for that saw.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Los Angeles
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    1,146
    I see the Grizzly on C'list has 7 1/2" max resaw height. And you cannot add a riser block so that might be something to consider if you think you'll want to resaw a lot of wider boards.
    The 14" Central Machinery is a Delta clone of sorts and you can add a resaw block.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Florida
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    1,586
    Since you are only 1.5 hours from Grizzly’s Bellingham, WA location, I’d see if they have a model there and go pick it up. Would save the $239 shipping cost.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
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    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    62,595
    Since you can't use the jointer and the bandsaw at the same time unless someone else is working with you, there's no reason why you need to eschew a 240v bandsaw as long as it can run on the existing circuit's amperage rating. That means you can have a little more horsepower for things like resawing since the bigger motors are just not going to be able to run on 120v.
    --

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

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2022
    Location
    Seattle
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    24
    Thanks all for the advice. Folks seem to be pushing for the 17'' 240V. I was indeed planning to head to Bellingham to pick a Grizzly up, since they're all available there

    My second Q, is if I could get help differentiating between these Grizzly options. Are the foot brake and cast iron trunnions each worth $300? Which would you choose?

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Florida
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    1,586
    I think the big difference is stepping to the $1525 mid model. It adds these items over the $1250 base model.

    > cast iron wheels
    > better resaw fence
    > double bearing guides
    > cast iron trunion

    The next step up to $1795 adds the following:
    > mechanical/electrical brake
    > switch with key
    > true 2 hp 220v motor


    I’m going through a similar choice right now and have a thread running on 14” saws. I previously had the $1795 version of the grizzly and it is a nice saw. Fit and finish is better on the laguna saws i think, but the grizzly has a lot of bang for the buck in comparison. I’m still trying to decide if I go get a 14” laguna tomorrow or just order the grizzly and wait. I’m even considering the 15” Jet now, but it doesn’t appear to have a brake. I hate making these decisions too but if I could just go get it at the store, I’d get the $1795 grizzly and call it done (if shipping were not a factor)

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Cambridge Vermont
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    2,068
    The foot brake is more than just safety. Often I have split a board into two and both of my hands are busy holding the boards. Simply stepping on the brake shuts the saw off. I usually put a little extra pressure to slow it down but all the way to a stop. I guess it's a mentality. I don't like leaving tools running when I step away from them unless there's no other option. Also having a key is great. I have a magnet next to the blade tension lever and that's where the keys reside when not in use. When I go to use it and reach for the key I know to check to make sure the blade is tensioned. If I see the key in the switch I know I didn't remove tension the blade.

    I don't think the 17" has a much larger footprint than the 14" models. But larger diameter wheels are easier on the blade. The only bad thing I can say about my 19" Grizzly is the original urethane tires were bad. The machine vibrated like crazy. But I bought it with a 10% off discount so I purchased some Blue Max replacements (never called Grizzly to get replacements) and now it's so smooth I can start it with a dime on edge, let it get up to speed, and shut it off without it falling over.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Griswold Connecticut
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    6,756
    Personally, none of those choices is what I would recommend.
    You will not get $$$$ in performance with either the CI trunnions, or the foot brake. Spend your $$$$ on the wheels and the motor.
    If resaw is what you want, go 3Hp minimum, and cast iron wheels, and donít even consider a 14Ē open bandsaw for resaw. I have a highly tuned Jet 14Ē, and it is woefully inadequate for resawing. Itís too slow and limited.My 18Ē bandsaw is for resaw only.
    Bandsaws are like jointers. Get the biggest, heaviest, one you can fit in your shop, and afford.
    "The first thing you need to know, will likely be the last thing you learn." (Unknown)

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Cutler View Post
    Personally, none of those choices is what I would recommend.
    You will not get $$$$ in performance with either the CI trunnions, or the foot brake. Spend your $$$$ on the wheels and the motor.
    If resaw is what you want, go 3Hp minimum, and cast iron wheels, and don’t even consider a 14” open bandsaw for resaw. I have a highly tuned Jet 14”, and it is woefully inadequate for resawing. It’s too slow and limited.My 18” bandsaw is for resaw only.
    Bandsaws are like jointers. Get the biggest, heaviest, one you can fit in your shop, and afford.
    Good post. 14" limits you on blade choice and is usually underpowered. Throat is not as important as larger wheel diameter. Blades last much longer when not bent around a small wheel.

    Also shoot for better a quality used machine. My 20" Agazzani cost me ~$1700.

    And, like Jim said, get 230-volts. You are not going to run the bandsaw and jointer at the same time.


    !
    "Anything seems possible when you don't know what you're doing."

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Modesto, CA, USA
    Posts
    8,127
    I would make a short tee extension cord for the 240 outlet. That opens up a wealth of three phase options for the saw. What supply amps for the 240 outlet. I would look for 1-5 hp three phase bandsaws, used.
    Pretty much if it came factory three phase it is well designed. Three phase with a vfd gives power brakes to any motor. So one less feature to shop around for and restrict your choices.
    BilL D

    https://seattle.craigslist.org/sno/tls/7551972093.html
    Last edited by Bill Dufour; 11-25-2022 at 2:37 AM.

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