Band saws are used whenever an accurately curved cut needs to be made through a piece of wood. Band saws come in two main varieties, with the heavier duty models usually coming in the stand up cabinet form, with home renovators using the lighter weight bench model. Professional results can be obtained with both types, but the cabinet models usually have a more powerful motor as well as a higher output.
There are a couple of very important features to keep in mind while shopping for a band saw. The depth of cut is determined by the height from the base to the upper blade guides of the band saw. The depth of cut is an important feature that will restrict how much you can cut at once. Similarly, the throat of a band saw is the distance from the blade to the vertical frame of the saw. With a cabinet model band saw you are likely to see a much wider throat, offering a significant advantage over their bench counterparts.
If you intend on cutting anything harder than wood, you will most likely want to purchase a cabinet model. Be sure to find a cabinet model with enough horsepower to handle the materials you intend to use. A 3/4 to 1 horsepower motor should perform adequately for woodworking, but a stronger motor would be required for any metal cutting activities. In addition to the strength of the motor, also be aware of the table’s construction. The table of any decent band saw should be capable of rotating as much as 45-angles to do angled cuts. A good band saw should also come with a dust collection port that you can connect to a shop vacuum. Other nice features to have include a miter gauge and rip fence.
Before beginning use of your band saw, ensure that it is properly set up. A band saw has numerous fine adjustments that should be made to ensure maximum operating efficiency. Read the instructions that come with the band saw for the most accurate information on what adjustments need to be made.
Delta offers a 14″ cabinet band saw for $614.00 that has received positive reviews. Delta also offers a more comprehensive 2 HP 18″ model for $1,399.00. Craftsman has received several negative reviews for its tools in this area.