View Full Version : Bought a Bandsaw today...
05-19-2004, 06:53 PM
Well, I finally took the advice most people on this site gave me and went out and bought myself a bandsaw instead of a chopsaw. I was looking into the price of new ones when the guy at my local tool store remembered he had a used one in the consignment area. It's an older one, made in 1985 in Taiwan, pretty much the same as the current Chinese imports, except it's got a 12amp - 3/4Hp motor and all the blade guides and stuff are cast iron. Checked out the gearbox and the pivot point for wear and all seems well - although I'll change the gear oil as per recommendations. Cost me $170CDN (or about $120US...), so it ended up being cheaper than a middle of the road chop saw! Can't wait to get my hands on it and get it all set up nice with a new blade and all, as I've got a bunch of cutting to do shortly!
Now for the questions! As I said, I want to put a decent blade on it. I've searched for and read the posts about blades, and I'd like to try a 14tpi. However, as far as tpi goes, all my local supplier has in stock in 0.25 is 10-14tpi. The only 14tpi they do have is 0.20. Does the width make a difference in a 4 x 6 saw with a 64 1/2" x 1/2" blade? I'll be mainly be cutting angle, tube & such with a thickness of about 22 ga to 5/16 (mild steel for the most part, although I may cut a little aluminum from time to time).
I know Fla Jim recommends Starrett Flexback blades, however I could only find Starrett Powerband Matrix II where I am. Are these higher grade or lower grade than Flexbacks?? (It doesen't explain this on Starrett's website...) They run around $23 to $28CDN or so.
What about "rake" & "wavy"? I got the following from the Starrett website:
P = Positive Rake; S = Straight (Zero) Rake; W = Wavy Set, Zero Rake
I see 0.25 14tpi from Starrett is available in both Straight and Wavy Set, Zero rake. What exactly does that mean, and how does it affect my choice in blades?
So there you have it, as usual I'm looking for any advice you could pass on to a newbie - it'd be much appreciated!:)
05-19-2004, 07:03 PM
I just bought a bandsaw from Busy Bee Tools . I got a bi-metal blade frome them for $19.95 It works great. Cut some 3 inch Al round stalk, just like butter. You can order online.
05-19-2004, 07:08 PM
You need a .025" thick blade to set the blade guide bearings easily to ensure a straight cut. A Wavy blade has a wider kerf which=more horsepower. Positive rake=more agressive cut=more horsepower
The Matrix blade is higher quality/price. The 10-14 variable pitch is probably a exellent blade, unless your cutting thin stock.
If your doing much metal work get a copy of machinery's Handbook. Real pricy, but maybe you can find a used edition upthere somewhere. I couldn't get by without mine.
I use the powerband II bimetal blades on my little bandsaw, and I really like em. We usually use a 10-14 tpi variable pitch, and they last a long time. I cut stainless steel all day with those blades. They cost me about 22 bucks us from MSC. So 23 canadian sounds like a pretty good deal.
05-19-2004, 10:11 PM
msc has the machinery hand book on sale for under 50.00
05-19-2004, 11:20 PM
Luc, post a pic of it when you get it set up. It's probably better built than the newer ones.
05-19-2004, 11:27 PM
Congrats! Good buy, I definitely want to see pics of it. Better saw, cheaper price, good job.
I reccommend you read this, in fact the whole Machinery Manual is good if you can't afford to buy a book yet, so check out the table of contents as well:
05-19-2004, 11:32 PM
05-19-2004, 11:33 PM
Another useful diagram. The text is full of info.
Shade Tree Welder
05-19-2004, 11:34 PM
I use Lenox (American Saw & Mfg.) Rx+ it is designed for cutting structural steels including tube and shapes. I highly recommend it. I use a 5/8 vari pitch. The vari pitch minimized harmonic and will extend blade life a 6/10 or 10/14 should work well for you. As far as rake If you are going to primarily cut steel a 0 degree rake is what you should run, if it is aluminum or other non-ferrous material 3-5 degree positive rake is what you should look at.
05-20-2004, 09:08 AM
Thanks for all the great info guys!!:) Especially the tpi selection chart rusted, I'll save that one to my hard drive for future reference. Thanks also for that link, looks like there's a ton of info regarding blades. I'll be sure to read it before I buy a blade and go through my saw to set it all up properly.
I'd be glad to post a few pics tonight when I get it home.
I did have a look at a few lower end saws before I bought this one and I think you're right Jim314, it does seem to be better built.
05-21-2004, 03:43 AM
Hello again all!
Well, I picked up my saw today at lunch. Came home after work and played with it all night!:D :D
Bought a Lenox Diemaster II blade for it (10-14tpi), cuts like a charm. Lined up the pulleys on the motor and gearbox input shaft, were quite out of whack. Cleaned the "lube" out of the gearbox (black & tarry, but fairly free of metal bits, other than a little mettalic sludge...) and replaced it with synthetic gearlube. Had to play around a bit with the blade support brackets to get things cutting straight, but after a bit of fiddling, it's cutting straight and true! That Lenox blade sure works good, couldn't get a Starrett flexback, or Matrix II, or a Lenox Rx+ for that matter, but the guy assured me this is a good blade.
I checked the web and it's not as good as the Rx+, but seems to cut like a hot knife through butter anyway, hope it lasts O.K., cost me $30CDN.
Did about 12 or 15 test cuts on some 3x3x3/16 angle iron and the motor was barely warm, so that's a good sign. Anyway, here are the requested pics - let me know if you think my used buy was a good buy!!:)
05-21-2004, 03:45 AM
Under the hood...
05-21-2004, 03:46 AM
05-21-2004, 03:47 AM
05-21-2004, 03:48 AM
Beats doin' it by hand!!!:D :D
It's late - gotta hit the sack...
05-21-2004, 09:33 AM
I believe your patient research really paid off in spades for you. That looks like the saw my neighbor (Trent) down the block has had for years and he has cut the stock for a ton of projects with it. I think you got more saw for the money than you could have done any other way except possibly waiting until you got lucky & maybe stumbled across some really old iron in the used market & that might never happen for you. And even if you should find an old treasure, you can still go for it & get your money back out of that one. Good job!
Just having those good cast blade guides & bearings is worth another $50 & here's a little tip for you: Trent was able to attach a little table on the flat face of the one nearest the drive wheel to give him a larger surface area to use for cutting in the horizontal position. He just used a small piece of 1/8th inch plate & screwed it to the end of the guide. Nothing fancy at all but it sure did help. I'll try to get down there this weekend & get a picture for you.
Is there an easy way to access the bushings for the wheels and worm gear to lube them? And do they look to be fairly easy to replace? Keeping those puppies oiled and happy is really important, IMO.
I had to replace the sleeve for the idler wheel on my old Craftsman last year. Cost me about 4 bucks for a long enough bushing to do it twice - had to saw it in two - put the remainder up for future use. The job took less than two hours including buying the new part. :D
05-21-2004, 01:13 PM
I think I use my bandsaw more than my welders!! It was the best tool I have purchased, well, except for maybe my Tig welder. I know you will be happy with it and get alot of use out of it!
05-21-2004, 01:17 PM
Whenever practical, I would suggest putting stock in as much of a vertical cross-seciton as you can for cutting. The blade will like it much better, and you will get a faster, cooler cut.
For that piece of angle, for example, turn it so that it is an inverted V, with both legs down and a peak at the top, so the blade cuts into the peak first. The way you had it, it will love cutting the top vertical piece and then take forever to cut that other part in the horizontal position.
Edit: On second look, you may have had to do it that way on purpose, given the size of the stock; might have been too wide for the inverted-V position. But it's good advice for others just starting out in bandsawing, or almost any kind of sawing.
05-21-2004, 04:08 PM
MAC702 brings up a good point about the way a piece is cut. If for example you are cutting a piece if 1/8" thick by 2" wide flat stock it is much better to cut the piece across its width with a coarser TPI blade than down its width. I learned the hard way about a rule of thumb when cutting is 3 teeth in the thickness which for 1/8" material for example is about 18 TPI. You can cut down a piece's width along as you have a 18 TPI or finer blade, but I don't think the cut is as accurate as cutting across the width.
05-21-2004, 06:23 PM
Thanks for the advice & encouragment guys!
I have a few more questions for you::)
Cutter, when you talk about the "bushings for the wheels" I assume you're talking about the large wheels the blade rides on (one driven, the other tensioning)? I noticed a hex screw holds them on. Are the bushings you refer to between the wheels and the the cast upper piece? When I had the blade & the belt off I checked the wheels for play and they seemed good & solid, not sure if this indicates anything useful though...
As for the "worm gear" do you mean inside the gearbox? If so I replaced the existing lube with some synthetic gear lube. (Unless there is another worm gear somewhere, I'm not sure...).
I think I know what you are talking about with the small plate for the end of the guide. My saw has one, I haven't given it a try yet - I'll post a pic of it when I get a chance and you can tell me if that's what you meant!
MAC702, I know what you mean about putting the stock in to cross section the piece, I noticed the saw was really cutting hard on the vertical section of the angle. Actually, it cuts hard enough to slightly flex the blade and throw the cut off square, unless I take a little pressure off the cut by hand. I was doing it that way to see if it was cutting square or not, (the first time it didn't - because it flexed the blade a bit, when I was more carefull with it though it was dead on...:) ).
That brings me to another question though. When you talk about having 3 teeth in contact with the cut how do you figure it out if you're cutting two edges at once? For example, in cutting light (12 or 14 ga) square tubing, after the saw cuts through the top of the tube, and is cutting the sidewalls, do I take both cuts into account when deciding which tpi rating I need to use? I was doing that type of cut last night and the saw seemed to be biting pretty hard through the sidewalls, I took a little pressure off of it so as not to damage the blade. According to rusted's chart, 10 - 14 is too coarse, I think...
Actually I was thinking that I might invest in a second blade (figured on getting a backup anyway...) and this time get a 14 - 18. I noticed on the chart rusted posted that tubing under 1/8 inch wall was actually rated as 24 - 32 tpi, that seems kind of high doesn't it? Would 14 - 18 be alright for cuts in lighter material? I( realise that when I'm cutting thin flat stock 10 - 14 would work fine if I stick to cutting it the way TiggerAaron suggested...)
05-21-2004, 08:47 PM
You know Luc,
That saw of yours may have ball bearings instead of bushings. I was just trying to find some info about it on the internet & did find an exploded view & parts list for the Jet model 56M bandsaw. It shows ball bearings. My very old Craftsman has bushings that only last about 25 years (with proper care). ;)
So until someone else chimes in & says differently, lets assume yours is like the Jet. The drawings sure look similar. Here is a link to the .pdf file I found, if you want to take a look:
The exploded view is at the bottom, pages 13, 14 & on down.
05-22-2004, 06:36 PM
When figuring a cut in square tubing use only one cut as the guide to figuring TPI needed. I would cut anything 1/8" and under with a 24 TPI and anything over 1/8" with a 14 TPI.
05-22-2004, 08:06 PM
I have never regarded it as being any sort of sin to control the speed of the cut by supporting the weight of the bow with my hand while cutting thin stock. That can allow you to get by with taking a coarser bite once in a while without damaging the teeth on a 10 - 14 blade. Same thing for soft material that cuts too fast; I've cut a lot of thin aluminum window screen stock by hand because it was the cleanest way I had to do it. Finally bought one of those little Harbor Freight throwaway 6 inch chopsaws for that prupose & that's probably just about the only job it is fit for.
05-22-2004, 10:03 PM
That thing looks really nice. Good as brand-new IMO, for our uses.
I was going to ask about cutting angle, I ended up doing it inverted V anyway so that's good.
I too use my hand on the bow, in fact it's how I found out just how much pressure the saw could take, which was surprisingly heavy. The novelty of it hasn't worn off yet that I don't like to watch it too :D
05-22-2004, 10:15 PM
Nice saw Luc. Your going to soon realize it's one of the best investments you've ever made.
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