[SML] Scene Shop Band Saw

Dougherty, Jim jdougher at middlebury.edu
Mon Feb 25 23:39:35 UTC 2019

 A decent 14” band saw will handle most of your needs; to go with that, a ¼” blade will do most cutting you need to, though you can change that as you need to. My big recommendation is keep your eye on the local Craigslist (though buying from Craigslist at an academic institution can be tricky).  Older, well-made tools occasionally go on sale for far less than the cost of a new one, and the older ones used sheet steel or cast aluminum in places where current models sometimes use plastic or thinner sheet goods.  You can purchase riser blocks for the 14” models that get you some additional throat height, for which you need additional blades.  Companies like Carter make upgraded guides for many brands of saws.  Some are two speed models, and you can put metal-cutting blades on those when using the slower speed (though that’s not a regular use or even a capability in our shops).  If I were buying new, I’d look at Delta, General, Grizzly, Jet or Powermatic then go from there.  You didn’t mention budget – if the sky’s the limit, go bigger (20” or more) and stick with better brands or Euro like Laguna.  Ideally, see the actual tool rather than buy from a picture in a catalog.  I bought a sander once thinking the picture looked great and the price was right; what I thought was cast aluminum turned out to be plastic.  Tool’s been fine, but not what I was expecting.

Long enough, post up more questions if you have them.  For the record, our shops have a 14” Delta and a Powermatic 20” and my home shop has a Darra James 9”.  Go bigger than that last one, it’s too weensy and replacement tires and blades are a bear to find.

- Jim Dougherty
Middlebury College Theatre Dept.

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