A band saw is known to be a very versatile tool making it an essential for any woodworker. There are many manufacturers coming up with different models and features every day to entice buyers so choosing can be quite a task in itself.
With a few useful tips in hand and the right knowledge, it shouldn’t be so hard anymore. When purchasing a band saw there are several factors to have in mind to ensure value for money and that time isn’t wasted.
1. Wheel size of the band saw
This is a very important parameter in selection and the main rule states that a bigger wheel size is better. And again two wheels give a better performance than three. This is because blades that have smaller diameters tend to bend more unlike wheels with bigger diameters.
2. Solid table, with positive lock perpendicular to the saw blade
A table of good quality should not flex or bend. It shouldn’t make any movement whatsoever during cutting. Tables made of heavy duty aluminum or cast iron are very reliable and they provide the much needed stability. Tables made of metal sheet bend really fast and they don’t last long. One will be required to make replacements every often and this is financially draining.
3. Good fence
A good fence is greatly helpful for accurate resawing and ripping. Most band saws don’t come with fences though and they can be acquired separately. Low cost models that don’t have fences aren’t so efficient. One must check with the manufacturer of the fence prior to buying to see if the fence works well with their band saw.
4. Maximum cutting height
For most band saws this happens to be 12” but again it could vary with manufacturers. This height is reasonably large and can handle cutting chores comfortably
5. Ball bearing blade guides
These are very useful but a buyer has to be keen when buying to avoid going for diameters that aren’t of the right size. They provide support to ball bearings thus reducing blade vibration. They help give cuts that are accurate and cleaner.\
6. Wheel bearings
Wheel bearings should be tested and checked often to determine that they still are in proper working condition. Roughness or grinding sounds show contamination and continuous noises mean that the bearings need replacement.
7. Easy blade tensioning
Setting the tension right ensures cuts are even and straight and there are various methods for doing this. Correct and consistent tensioning is needed to produce uniform cuts. All band saw blades require a lot of tension to give more beam strength. The blade must be tightly stretched for more rigidity and less deflection cases. Using a tension meter is the most accurate way of gauging tension.
What to buy will mainly depend on its use and one’s budget. A band saw is an essential for getting proper cuts and every component must be in good working condition to achieve better results. There are many useful guides online on specific websites that can offer a lot of guidance to users who are not so familiar or who might be having various problems.