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Thread: Ripping with a Bandsaw

  1. #1

    Ripping with a Bandsaw

    I am considering replacing my starter (re. direct drive Craftsman) table saw with a bandsaw. I feel that I just do not have the space to have both a tablesaw and bandsaw in my shop area. I think that between a bandsaw, router/router table, miter saw and guided circular saw (GCS) I can do most of what I've used my table saw for. (I already have a decent miter saw and usable router table and GCS.)

    A concern I have is the ability of a bandsaw to cut pieces to width (rip) and have the edges be parallel. Even more, how difficult are beveled rip cuts? These might be procedures that could be performed better by a quality GSC (I have the older Penn State system), but for smaller things (e.g. rails and stiles) I'd like to use a stationary tool.

    I guess my basic question is will a ~$500 14" bandsaw perform these types of cuts on par with a tablesaw? Or do I have to move up to a ~$1000, ~$1500, ~$2000 bandsaw?


    There are three ways to get something done: Do it yourself, employ someone, or forbid your children to do it.
    -Monta Crane

  2. #2
    Bandsaw only shops are very common in Europe for similar reasons to your situation.

    With a good handplane you should have no problems ripping board to width and then cleaning up the edge with a plane. You could also do this for narrower rips with a powered planer, and with some skill on a jointer.

    The only difference is that your style of woodworking will change.

    Instead of going to the table saw to rip a borad to the exact width you measured, you will use a story stick and then add just enough to compensate for a few passes of a hand plane (or powered jointer or planer) and then you will bring the board to final width to clean it up.

    In this sense you style of woodowkring will resemble that more of handwork than "powered" work, but this isn't nesscecarily a bad thing.

    I have a good Galoot buddy who calls his bandsaw his "Apprentice". He uses a bandsaw is place of tedious handsaw ripping. Other than that his work is done entirely by hand (ok he has a powered lathe too). His bandsaw is a Grizzly G0555 and is more than enough for his needs (and most shops needs). If you have the $$ I'd get a better bandsaw, but cast iron 14" saw are very capable machines for a lot of work.
    Last edited by Brad Olson; 12-06-2006 at 1:00 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Using a 14" BS will not even come close to being able get clean smooth cuts like you can on a TS.

    If you want to rip two pieces of wood to be glued, any good TS will have no problem with the right blade and setup. Using a BS means you'll have to do a rough rip and route the edge using a straightedge. You could also buy a jointer but that takes up more space in your shop.

    Cutting a clean bevel with a 14" BS is another issue. A GSC can do the task but not as cleanly or as easily in most cases in comparison to a TS.

    Smaller bandsaws under $500 work best cutting curves. Other than that, they are quite challenging for most purposes except rough cutting. The BS blades wear much faster since the 93.5-105" blades used on 14" BSs aren't carbide. If you stepped up to a 20" BS that can run a carbide blade, then you have a completely different beast.

    repeat after me...Don't Do It, Don't Do It!!!!

    Last edited by Dick Strauss; 12-06-2006 at 1:08 PM.

  4. #4
    I wasn't really satisfied ripping material on a 14" Jet bandsaw - didn't have the capacity or the beam strength to properly tension a wide blade. I've since upgrade the bandsaw to a MiniMax MM20 and it's a great machine for ripping solid stock with a Lennox Trimaster blade. The edges will usually need a quick touch up with a jointer (or jointer plane). Some folk's will rip to rough width on the bandsaw and then gang run boards through a planer on edge to get them to final width. For sizing panels (plywood, frame/panel, etc.) I would suggest a good guide system like Festool.

  5. #5
    As a bandsaw only shop for the last 3 years, I will say I would never have attempted it with my old 14" jet that was greatly souped up. But I rarely miss my old Unisaw with the Laguna I have. The carbide blade produces a finish when ripping that is almost a good as the TS. A handplane always touches the surface afterwards in my shop, but a stationary jointer will work just as well. Good luck on the decision, but IMHO there is no way you'll be happy with a small non-euro bandsaw in place of a tablesaw. Hope this helps.
    "When we build, let us think that we build forever." - Ruskin

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Griswold Connecticut

    I don't see why it can't be done. I have Rikon 10-340, 18" bandsaw. With the guides set just over the material, and a Lennox Tri-Master blade the difference is negligible, when compared to the TS. I have a Jet 14", and I can say with a fair degree of certainty, that it is not capable of replacing a tablesaw though. Nice machine, but too high of an expectation

    Even though I have an Asian made, inexpensive saw that seems to do the job. I would look at an Aggazani, Laguna, MiniMax or a big old refurb'd Oliver If I were going to think about using a bandsaw instead of a Tablesaw exclusively. I think I would be happier with my decision 10yrs down the road.

    Personally, I think you might want to set your sights a bit higher.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    New England
    No table saw here. I rip and crosscut on the band saw all the time. If I'm doing a glue-up, I may run the boards on the jointer. I always finish with a #7 with the boards clamped face to face. For most hardwoods, I find a 4TPI silicon steel (aka "Timberwolf") band leaves a finish that only takes a couple of passes to be glass smooth. My bandsaw is an old 20" Delta. I cut tenons with it too.

    Beam strength is overrated. A 14" machine may not run a 3/4" band effectively, but I've successfully done 13" resaws with a 3/8". It's more important that you run a band that the machine can properly tension and run.

    Last edited by Pete Bradley; 12-06-2006 at 9:05 PM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Waterford, MI
    What both Steves said. I'd also add that there's another benefit. The narrower kerf of the BS blade will make grain matching even easier. You can usually get the appearance of continuous grain lines running around a beveled or mitered corner where the 1/8" TS blade leaves just enough gap to noticably not line up not as seamlessly.
    Use the fence Luke

  9. #9
    Thanks for the great input!

    I suspected that an old standby cast iron 14" would be iffy for what I imagine my needs would be. But it is very encouraging to hear that it would be reasonable to expect great results with a $1500-$2000 bandsaw (with appropriate blade).

    Now to see if I can pull the trigger on cashing in the stock I received as a bonus this year

    There are three ways to get something done: Do it yourself, employ someone, or forbid your children to do it.
    -Monta Crane

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Benbrook, TX

    I am a bandsaw-only shop, using a 14" Ridgid. I find the only issue is keeping a fresh blade on the saw and avoiding any temptation to cut curves (or changing blades before I do).

    I do have a jointer, but usually clean up edges with a hand plane. I haven't done much in the way of bevels, so can't say.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Mazon, Il
    I just purchased my first TS after many years… specifically for sheeting goods and possibly for some other tasks now that I have it. But I would never use it for ripping solid lumber as a rule. That’s what the band saw is for!

    I have a 2hp 19” Jet and it is by now means a large saw, but with a 1-1/4” blade I slice and dice at will. Stock needs to be sized/straightened anyway. Rough cut on the BS, jointed/planed... perfect.

    TS’s are way over rated for solid-lumber furniture production. They are dangerous and messy and unnecessary. Sheeting goods, another story.

    Edit: I gave my 14" BS away.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Chagrin Falls, OH
    I'm just throwing this out there, but a radial arm saw may be something to think about. It would replace your miter saw, doesn't have to take up much room, and I would guess it rips just as good as a table saw (I haven't used mine for ripping as I have a TS). There used to be (and still are) many folks who use the RAS in lieu of a TS.

    You can pick up and old Craftsman for under $200.

    Just a thought.

  13. #13

    Have you seen this video?

    This is a pretty impressive bit of ripping on a bandsaw. See the powerfeeder video.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Stuewe
    Thanks for the great input!

    I suspected that an old standby cast iron 14" would be iffy for what I imagine my needs would be. But it is very encouraging to hear that it would be reasonable to expect great results with a $1500-$2000 bandsaw (with appropriate blade).

    Now to see if I can pull the trigger on cashing in the stock I received as a bonus this year
    FWIW I run a Grizzly 20" bandsaw and had a 14" Ridgid before. There is nothing that the Grizzly does that the Ridgid couldn't do at to outcome, but the 3 hp motor on the 20" just does thing better. The equivalent to my 20" Grizzly runs around $1500-2000 from Griz, but if budget is a consideration I would look strongly at the Rikon 18". It is a very good saw at a good price.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Hudson Oaks, TX

    No Tablesaw Here

    I also am a bandsaw only shop. I have an 18" Jet and use it mainly to rip and resaw. I have a visceral fear of tablesaws and children and I already have a child.

    The only thing that I foul up on is thinking that I can cut curves or ply/MDF with the blade that I cut veneers with. As long as I take the time to put the correct blade on I have been perfectly satisified.


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