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No doubt this is not a new topic, but for me it is...!


I would like to get a bandsaw; one that can cope with fine work as well as ‘rough’ cutting - although the emphasis for me is on accuracy, including tight curves (or as tight as possible). I’ve done extensive ‘research’, but I’m now overwhelmed by the sheer number of ‘reviews’, many of which leave so many questions unanswered, not the least about quality, etc. (I live in the UK, which may or may not restrict my choices.)


What would others recommend, and why?


With thanks in anticipation!

Edited by Torrens
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If your emphasis is on accuracy, a band saw isn't going to be a machine where you'll readily find it. On a band saw, "accuracy" is dependent more upon the operator's skill than anything else. If "tight curves" are anticipated, certainly at modeling scales, a good quality scroll saw is the tool for the job. The "tightness of curves" or "minimum radius of cut" of a given band saw blade can cut is dependent on the width of the blade. As indicated on the chart below, a 1/8" wide band saw blade will only cut minimum radius of 3/16" and, while I've never seen a 1/8" band saw blade, I expect it's a rare bird indeed. I expect it would require a band saw designed to do such fine work. On a standard 14" band saw, I expect a 1/8" blade would be quite prone to breaking. A scroll saw, on the other hand, is capable of cutting radii equal to half the width of the blade itself. 


Blade Width (Inches) Minimum Radius (Inches)
1/8 3/16
3/16 5/16
1/4 5/8
3/8 1-1/2
1/2 2-1/2
5/8 4
3/4 5-1/2
1 7



It's a matter of preference, price point, and space available, I suppose, but, in my opinion, small bench top band saws aren't really all that practical. A good scroll saw will serve much better for short radius cutting, although perhaps with slightly less throat depth, which generally isn't an issue with tight curves. A table saw will cut straight lines easier than any band saw, too. For larger work, however, a "standard"  14" or larger band saw is really required and is also capable of accurate re-sawing if properly set up. As to which one to buy, the price points are generally indicative of quality. As with many stationary power tools these days, the retail distributors all sell essentially the same models, all built at the Revolutionary People's Patriotic Machine Tool Collective somewhere in China, but there is a difference in fit and finish, depending upon the distributor's specifications. When it comes to things like band saws, the used market is also worth checking out. It's not unusual to see quality machines in decent condition selling used for a fraction of their original price. Neither is it unusual to find older machines which are of much higher quality than the models now selling new.

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If there are machinery dealers in your area where you could try out several models, then I think a visit and discussion might help you to make a decision.  I'm biased as the owner of 1940s-50s era American cast iron machines, but I do think that there are smaller modern machines in the 9-12" class that may be entirely suitable to your need.  Some scrollsaws are quite good as well, but may be limited if their depth of cut is insufficient for the work you want to do.

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I have both a 9" bench top and a 14" bandsaw.   The 9" is a model that MM sold for a short period of time. I am not sure if it was manufactured in China or Taiwan.   I use it exclusively for scroll cutting.  I use 1/8" blades and it is fortuitous that it uses a readily available size blade:  59.5" .   It also will mount a Carter Stabilizer, which greatly enhances scroll cutting control.   I would choose a more powerful motor, given the option.  I only scroll cut sorta, maybe close to the line.  I use a drum or disk sander to get to the finished shape.


The 14" has more bells and whistles.  High quality guides and a lever to release the tension.  It also has a 3 hp motor.  It is used for resawing, both planks and logs.  I would not even attempt to mount a 1/8" blade on it.  But that is below what is even listed as a choice and not available anyway. 


Factors that I consider important decision:  the more powerful motor,  a blade size that is easy to source,  a quality machine if 14"


A bandsaw is going to use up steel blades,  For resawing dense hardwood steel blades do not last all that long.  If you do a lot of cutting, the amount spent on blades will approach what you paid for the machine.  I find carbide blades to be more cost effective,  but bimetal blades are even more cost effective.  Buying an economy machine will probably leave  you with a machine that uses up blades more quickly and any supposed savings will be more than reversed in additional outlay on blades.


For the 9"  only steel is available and cutting frame timbers can use a couple per ship.  Bosch makes Vermont American and I ran into a batch that was so dull that I may as well have tried cutting using the back edge.  I now only trust Olson, they just cost more.


A bandsaw is by far the more efficient and safer way to resaw.  

I scroll cut 0.15" - 0.25" stock  for the most part and a bandsaw with a sharp blade will do the job fairly quickly and the work does not chatter.

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Interesting responses! Thank you!


It would seem I need to do more practical research, but that will probably have to wait until the coronavirus  lockdown is lifted... However, one reason for needing a bandsaw is not just for modelling, but also for small DIY projects that often require a certain degree of accuracy in cutting.


In addition to a band saw, I also need a scroll saw as the one I have no longer works (it cannot be repaired). Any recommendations?

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I've used the Proxxon 240/E bandsaw for several years for small-scale work. Like all Proxxon tools it is well made and (for a bandsaw) reasonably accurate. I've fitted a fence on mine to make straight cuts in thick stock - for thinner material I use a table saw. It will cut reasonably tight curves - I often use it to cut out rough shapes before final finishing with files and sandpaper - see here for examples. Although it's a small saw, with the right blade you can cut reasonable thicknesses of metal as well as wood. Obviously if you want to re-saw really big planks then you'll need a bigger machine.


My scroll saw is also by Proxxon. See here for an example of its use by Blue Ensign when he built a 1:64 scale pinnace (I copy a lot from him!).


You could also look at any of Marsalv's logs on this forum for more examples of what can be achieved with Proxxon tools. They aren't cheap, but you can save money by buying direct from Germany (until the EU transition period ends, that is).


Hope that helps.



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8 hours ago, Jaager said:


 I would not even attempt to mount a 1/8" blade on it.  But that is below what is even listed as a choice and not available anyway. 


(Hmm, I have and use a 1/8" x 105" on my 14" saw occasionally.  I don't find anything extraordinary about it.)


If your need is beyond modeling, then I think you'll definitely need at least a 12" saw, and a 14" saw is generally considered the happy medium for home and small shop use.  So far as blades are concerned,  understanding the configurations of width, thickness, and tooth styles can be daunting.  Generally 3-5 teeth should be engaged in the wood, with the particular tooth style suited to the nature of the material  There are very good blades available at reasonable prices (~$35US for a 105" blade), but carbide-toothed blades can be extraordinarily expensive (e.g. $2US >per inch<).  In the USA, two common brands that are well regarded are Woodslicer and Timberwolf, but there are also good blades from Lenox, Starrett, Olson, and others.  Also, where I'm located, there are local shops that will make blades to any specification.  All that said, most of the time I use a 1/4" x 6TPI or 3/8" x 4TPI with regular or hook teeth.  Finally blades that are 1/2" or wider may not be suitable for 14" or smaller saws because they require much higher tension than the saw's frame can exert.



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My Rikon 14" uses a 142" circumference blade.  The spec literature allows 1/4" to 1"  for blade width.  I did not look too hard, but I did not find any 1/8" x 142" blades for sale.

It is strong enough to tension a 1" blade, but I gave up on expecting a wider blade to improve resaw tracking and use 1/2" blades.  I think the frame is steel.  It is heavy enough that I hired it assembled, delivered, and adjusted.


I never gave much thought to what 9" / 10" / 14" /18" really referred to.  The 9"/10" are smaller bench top.  The 14" is a large free standing.  The 18" is really large free standing.   It appears that 9" - 18" is the theoretical maximum height of cut - the upper housing to table distance.  I think that the upper blade guide reduces the actual distance possible.   I don't think that I would care to try to get 12" diameter log thru - too heavy, too unwieldy, way out of scale.  I do not build full size furniture or guitars so wide, thin boards are not something that I need.  2" wide is generally enough and 4" is my upper limit.  It is the power and precision in cutting and tracking that requires a 14" saw.  If you want frustration, try using a bandsaw that will not track for resawing.

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2 hours ago, Moxis said:

I have always wondered what means 9", 12", 14", with bandsaws? Is it the diameter of the wheels, throat distance or what?

Yes, it refers to the diameter of the wheels.  The actual distance from the blade to the saw's frame is less.  On my ancient 1940s Milwaukee-Delta it's about 12", but with forethought that's not usually a problem.  A standard 14" saw has ~6 inches depth of cut, but with an optional riser block it will cut 12" thick.  The motor's power is not as important as some believe - It's a equally a matter of proper saw adjustment,  a suitable blade style,  and feed rate.

Edited by Bob Blarney
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9 hours ago, bruce d said:

Hegner. Built to last, good customer service.

For the past six months, if not longer, few Hegner scroll saws are available in the UK! Almost all are listed as 'currently unavailable'! I've registered my interest and have emailed the company and their UK distributor, but have heard nothing! Very frustrating as a Hegner scroll saw is what I would like!

Edited by Torrens
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I agree with what everyone has said here about using a scroll saw for finer curve cutting.  I have a Dewalt that I am really happy with.  I also have a 14" Delta bandsaw with a ~2 hp motor.  I bought it for multiple uses, but have ended up using it only for resawing billets. I put a 1" resaw blade on it, and have it adjusted so it cuts straight with a fence.  I don't really like swapping blades on it (big long blades with tons of teeth that have to get folded up to store - too much opportunity for cutting myself).  I have not had anything with curves that I couldn't cut on the scrollsaw, and need to resaw frequently enough that it is nice to have everything set up and adjusted on the bandsaw when needed.  14" is way more than big enough to resaw anything you would need for model ships.  I don't put anything wider than 3" through the thickness sander, and this is easy for the band saw.

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Thank you guys, now I know I have a 7,8" bandsaw (wheel diameter 200 mm), a nice old Delta which could be bigger and more accurate. But with it I have built a lot of models and it fullfills my needs satisfactorily.

I had a Delta scroll saw too, but never learned how to use it properly. Or maybe it just was not the perfect tool, so I let it free to recirculation for somebody else's frustration. A Hegner would be my dream, but too expensive for a retired person. So old school manual jeweler's saw is what I am using to produce small accurate parts. Time I have enough!



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16 hours ago, Bob Blarney said:

Perhaps you might enjoy watching this fellow rebuild a sailing yacht from the early 1900s.  He uses a 36" shipsaw to cut new frames. 

Thanks for the link to the video, Bob. The whole project is really worth a visit to see the progress from start in Dec 2017 to the present. Very impressive!



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