This article is from the Woodworking FAQ Collection 2, by multiple authors.
From: dmb@IEDV4.acd.com ( Dave Barker )
Date: Fri, 21 Aug 1992 14:56:49 GMT
I believe bandsaws are one of those tools people have in mind
when they use the adage "you get what you pay for." Bandsaws are finely
tunable (or should be) machines when it comes to getting the most
out of them, both in terms of performance and enjoyment. A
poorly tuned bandsaw is no joy to use, and you will have a hard
time doing any accurate work with such a saw. A well-made, properly
adjusted bandsaw, on the other hand, is a real joy to use. It will be
quite, smooth running and fast cutting. A poorly made saw, one that
vibrates badly, has a blade that won't track properly (or has too
big of a blade, so that it can't be tensioned correctly), will be
a real pain-in-the-butt, and you will use the saw only when absolutely
I used to have a Delta-clone bandsaw (Jet) and IMHO, it was a
poorly made saw. It vibrated badly, was very noisy and cut poorly.
Of course, I could of had a lemon. I think with import machinery,
this is sometimes the case (sometimes you get a good buy, sometimes
you get the lemon), so if somebody else out there has had good
results with the Jet bandsaw, I offer my humblest apologies. I have
had good luck with other import machinery, for what it's worth.
I have used the Delta 14" saw before, and it seems to be a pretty
nice saw. The ones I have used didn't vibrate nearly as bad as the
Jet I had, and the blade guides are easier to adjust on the
Delta. One thing that will cause problems with the Delta is trying
to use too wide of a blade. The saw really isn't capable of tensioning
a blade wider than about 1/2", even though the saw will accept blades
up to 3/4" (I think.) You will get much better performance using a
1/2" blade, properly tensioned, even for resawing thick stock, than
with a wider blade that can't be tensioned properly.
To me, though, the Delta still has a lot of vibration.
If I were looking for a saw in the price range of the Delta, I would
look seriously at the 10" Inca saw. These machines are built like swiss
watches; very smooth running, and with a properly tensioned, sharp
blade capable of resawing most any hardwood.
If your budget and space allows, consider the MiniMax 18" bandsaw.
This is a very smooth running saw, that when properly set up is a
real joy to use. I have one and I use it for virtually every ripping
operation in my shop, from cutting tight curves, to general ripping
of boards to desired width, to resawing hardwood. I like the table
height and size on the MiniMax, too. It is lower than on the Delta
so you don't have to lift heavy pieces up as high. Some people might
see the lower table as a disadvantage to doing scroll work, but
this is personal preference, I suppose.
Well, I think I have rambled too much here. If you have any comments
or questions, please feel free to email me. Regards,