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Thread: band saw size requirement

  1. #1
    Registered User jim simpson's Avatar
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    Default band saw size requirement

    In reading earlier threads regarding bandsaw size required for mandolin building, it seems that 14" is the minumum size required. Is this because of resawing? I would want one primarily for scroll work and headstock shape cutting. If I eliminated the need to resaw, could I achieve what I want with a 12" saw? Is a riser kit needed to get the proper cut for a headstock (using a jig)?
    Cabin Fever String Band, Bill Gorby and the Musical Mercenaries, Black Slaney

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    Registered User David Houchens's Avatar
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    Default Re: band saw size requirement

    I'd not recommend any smaller than 14".

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    Default Re: band saw size requirement

    The numbers are a little deceptive. The throat clearance on a standard 14" saw (e.g. Jet, Delta, etc.) is actually right at 5.5". In my experience, that's as small as you'd want to go for cutting headstocks on a (Siminoff-style) jig, for example. An extra hundred bucks will get you a riser block that adds 6" to the throat capacity.

    There are a lot of older, name-brand 14" bandsaws available out there for $250 or less.
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    Registered User jim simpson's Avatar
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    Default Re: band saw size requirement

    Jonathan,
    That's the info I needed, thank you!
    Cabin Fever String Band, Bill Gorby and the Musical Mercenaries, Black Slaney

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    Default Re: band saw size requirement

    I've worked with a craftsman 12in for 15 years now and it does 90% of everything I need.. I've had my eye on a 16in for a long time, but can't justify spending $2000 when what I've got does okay.. with the right blade, I have no problem resawing ribs and fretboards and peghead vieners .. but o'man would a 16in be sweet..........
    kterry

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    Default Re: band saw size requirement

    There is no required bandsaw size required, I'm sure they have been successfully built using all available sizes, and surely without one at all. I have built 3 using a cheap 10 inch Sears model, which lacks power and stiffness for fast/and/or precise resawing but I have roughed out necks from 3.5 inch thick hard maple with it. That said, I really wish I had a bigger, cast iron wheeled, and more powerful 14 incher.
    -Newtonamic

  9. #7

    Default Re: band saw size requirement

    One of the things about having a bigger bandsaw is that it makes it possible to do things like furniture projects and guitar or bass projects which you may want to do in the future.
    I'd say the best size per buck is 17". The usual 17" saws from Grizzly, Laguna, etc. are very nice these days and can be had for very reasonable prices. A $1000 bandsaw is 20x more useful to a luthier than a $1000 table saw.
    James Condino will be here in 5 minutes to show off his Yates snowflake monster... wait for it...
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  10. #8
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    Default Re: band saw size requirement

    I have been building for 53 years. Always had a 14".
    I spent 20 of those years also building furniture, never required anything larger than a 14".

    Thought I needed an 18" so I bought a new Jet 5 years ago. Lots of HP and capacity. I have used it less than 30 minutes.

    I would recommend the best 14" you can buy that can be fitted with a riser block and an after market high quality fence specifically for re-saw. Get a variety of blades from 1/4 inch up to blades capable for re-saw. . I have a Powermatic. It takes a bit of set up to get one right (factory doesn't seem to be able to do this) but when you do, they work great.

    I have been offered, at no charge, a beautiful 36" monster. I am not in the milling business.

  11. #9

    Default Re: band saw size requirement

    I'm happy with my 14" + riser block, too. But I have a dedicated resaw since I do a lot of bent laminations, so that takes care of most of the extreme requirements. If I were buying again, though, I'd get a 17" since it's not much more and the one I have at another shop really is a nice size.
    martinjacobson.com - Jacobson mandolins

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    Default Re: band saw size requirement

    Marty, well James has not weighed in yet but...

    I've spent most of my furniture and instrument building time with 14" saws. Riser block is preferred. Then about 5 years ago I got a chance to get this. 20" Snowflake.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    A nice thing about the larger wheels is that the throat clearance sideways can be a big deal when cutting certain shapes.

  13. #11
    Registered User Inklings's Avatar
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    Default Re: band saw size requirement

    I have a 14" Porter-Cable from Lowe's. Have used it for three years or so. I called Porter-Cable for the riser block, and the nice lady took my order over the phone. It showed up with clear instructions within a couple weeks. Pain to install if you don't have very large sockets, but otherwise I have been very pleased with it over the last few years. I use a Wood Slicer blade from Highland Woodworking, and it will slice through 8" of hard maple, walnut, cherry, mahogany, etc.

    I read a few books and watched a lot of videos on setting it up and using it safely - very glad I did, I think it's saved me some hassles.
    Kirby Francis

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