The Bandsaw and Me

I have put out an introduction to bandsaws video to help people who might seriously consider using a bandsaw. The reason is probably obvious but I have used one for five decades now and feel that owning will be helpful to others for a variety of reasons.

I know it’s often said that I don’t use power equipment. I am never sure where it came from but assume it’s because 99% of my work and my teaching and training others via online does come from hand tools and not power equipment. I doubt that I will ever rely on things like tablesaws and thickness planers, surface planers and mortise machines even though I have owned them and used them for the same 50 years. Developing skill means you have a clear options. I prefer to keep myself fit in training my body through self disciplines and the discipline of handwork. That way I avoid the gym, which in my case so far has only produced muscle I have not found useful in my work and I avoid the invasiveness of noise and air polluting in my workshop. It’s a total sense thing.

We have put this together and will be releasing additional bandsaw videos from time to time to help our fellow enthusiasts find the balance between the bandsaw and the hand tool world they so love. I hope that you will enjoy this complementary direction and also that you will subscribe to my YouTube channel as this has become very much a way of reaching and teaching woodworkers on the journey to better woodworking all around the world.

28 Comments

  1. Todd Corbin on 16 November 2018 at 1:59 pm

    I have contractors table saw, a decent jointer, a cheap thicknes planer and a few hand held power tools. Most of my power equipment has been either given to me or cheap stuff. But when it came to adding a band saw I bought the biggest and best I could afford. I truely believe it is the best and most used power tool in my shop. Sure you can resaw 1″ Thick boards to 3/8″ thick with a hand saw. But it sure is nice just running them throught the band saw.



  2. Richard on 16 November 2018 at 5:09 pm

    Hi Paul, First thank you for doing this series, I just purchased a new bandsaw and this will help me lot. I have done as you suggested read the manual, watched all the videos from the manufacturer. I feel you will be able to provide some more insight into using the bandsaw. Another reason I follow you, and joined MasterClass to learn.. Thanks



  3. Colin Edmondson on 16 November 2018 at 6:55 pm

    I wonder if there might be such a thing as the ‘Aldi Chisel’ of the bandsaw world? I see already that the price range is huge and no doubt that reflects a significant variation in ease of use, performance, power, capacity and reliability (amongst other things) but probably a starting point for me to decide if I could justify owning one is to know what’s the least cost (and maybe too the smallest footprint) for a bandsaw considered to be worthwhile? I realise you don’t particularly want to promote one brand over another but as is the case with Aldi Chisels, it’s good to know where to look for a viable entry level.



    • Robert Flowers on 18 November 2018 at 1:07 pm

      Take a look at Rikon i have the 10″ bench top bandsaw its well built and tracks great right out of the box. Paid around $250.00 for it a few years ago.
      want to get the 14″ new year, its around $900.00 in us dollars.



      • Paul Sellers on 18 November 2018 at 5:55 pm

        Rikon are all now made in China also.



        • David H. on 19 November 2018 at 3:07 pm

          That sucks! Any who have not sold out to China?



          • Paul Sellers on 19 November 2018 at 4:52 pm

            It’s hard to find these days. Rikon was made in Eastern Europe until fairly recently but they all ultimately chase the mighty dollar. When I think how everyone in the US used to say don’t be these or those imports but not much is truly made in the states as is the case here in the UK and indeed now Europe. Funny how all these makers expect our loyalty yet they have been mostly disingenuous and disloyal all the way through. I could go down the list but there is no point.



      • Colin Edmondson on 18 November 2018 at 7:11 pm

        Thanks for your suggestion Robert. Seems that the brand isn’t available here in UK. I guess I need to try to understand why some folks here regard anything below $1000 as rubbish whilst others seem pretty happy with $150-250 machines before I go much further – perhaps there are more pointers towards that in Paul’s video clip than I picked up.
        Probably though, I’ll stick to my ‘poor mans’ bandsaw for the time being (also known as a handsaw!) 😉



        • Jeffrey A Dustin on 19 November 2018 at 2:36 pm

          Renaissance Woodworker on YT introduced me to the Roubo Ripsaw. Basically it is a picture frame around a long ripsaw blade. It has some specialized metal hardware to peg it to the frame. It looks dandy and works like a charm. There are other devices for things like lathe work such as the belt lathe and the pole lathe. Not as powerful but again, why the rush? Woodworking is about options.



  4. Davidos on 16 November 2018 at 6:57 pm

    I have been a member of wwmc since you made the clock .over the years I have slowly but surely accumulated a set of quaintly hand tools. However I always belived that a bandsaw would give me as a hobbyist woodworker more time and more importantly more energy. I would have spent a lot of time and engery ripping stock for projects only to leave myself exhausted especially after a days graft.
    I bought a startrite 403 last Christmas .wow it made a huge difference to how I work and how I feel about it . Cut to a 1/8 off your line hand plane a flat face and square an edge use to take for ever .its hard work ripping 2″ stock by hand . It will be well worth the investment and I can now purchase thicker stock .
    I am new to bandsaws and do have issues with my set up especially the lower guide bearings the only blade I can put on it so that the bearings run just behind the teeth is a 1″ blade .any other blade and the bearings will take the set out of the blade . I know I am doing something wrong but don’t know what .the lower guide bearings are fixed in a set position and will not move back and forward only in and out (left & right )
    Hoping to find a solution to this in upcoming video
    Good man yourself Paul



    • rob davies on 16 November 2018 at 7:25 pm

      Hi Davidos
      I’m currently looking at buying a bandsaw and was torn between a record sabre 450 and the startrite 403, I’ve been trawling the net trying to find reviews on both without much luck. How have you found the 403?
      Regards, Rob



  5. Anthony on 16 November 2018 at 11:54 pm

    I need to get one. I enjoy ripping but sawing through stock that’s over 1 inch thick does get a little old. I don’ t want to spend over 600 bucks. Any suggestions? On a different topic, does Paul use a powered thickness planner?



    • Salko Safic on 17 November 2018 at 4:52 am

      If you don’t want to spend over $600 then you won’t find one that’s even close. Not even the ones that are total crap are less than $1000. I don’t know in which part of the world you live in, I can only speak for Australia. It is what it is, woodworking ain’t cheap, no craft is.



  6. Bob Leistner on 18 November 2018 at 1:14 am

    In the USA, you can find them for as little as $5o. The one I use the most(out of 4) I paid $150. I don’t know what I would do if I lived in Australia. I have friend just north of Perth and it does look like a beautiful country, just so darn expensive.



  7. Jimmy "Bo" Asher on 19 November 2018 at 10:45 am

    Thanks for the video and the blog. I own a small benchtop bandsaw and use it from time to time. It’s is good for scroll work and I have used it for ripping small parts and purchased a resaw blade that works pretty well. It is just too small to use on anything but small stock. I also own a 10 inch tablesaw but I still find myself using hand tools as much as possible. I do look forward to more videos and writings about the bandsaw and anything woodworking related. Thanks again, til next time.



  8. John Cadd on 19 November 2018 at 11:43 am

    Going in the opposite direction from using a small bandsaw , I have lately been doing any ripsawing using both hands on a standard ripsaw . So I stand facing the bench and cutting left to right which helps to keep the cutting angle correct. Using a ripsaw one handed is not probably done a lot these days . But using a fold up bench for portability in the house I needed to attach a thin plywood board to stand on and it keeps the bench still . Otherwise the bench moves around the room .
    The smaller bandsaws with narrower blades are not in fact very good for curves . The setting up is tedious compared to larger machines too. Too much flexibility in the plastic and aluminium construction Obviously the dust extraction system is also a bit improvised . But they are useful for small jobs and straight cuts mainly . Which is opposite to what I expected .
    How about a video where you solve all the drawbacks of a small bandsaw to illustrate their useful aspects and their very real limitations . I do remember fitting solid oak interlocking flooring in my daughter`s house which was done with a single bandsaw blade. But I did a similar job in my house using just handsaws . Nice without the electricity .



  9. Tom Weir on 19 November 2018 at 12:46 pm

    A Bit off topic but I would love to know do you use a Scroll saw ?? I love your Blogs, Video , your whole deal is great
    Tom Weir



  10. PETER BENNETT on 19 November 2018 at 5:27 pm

    Like you Paul I prefer to use hand tools where ever possible (or practical) Up until 2008 I had never owned more than an electric drill and several routers. But a little help from a friend going bankrupt and suddenly I had a Bandsaw, a thickness planer and a spindle moulder! Having worked with wood since I was 7 and being self employed since 1970 it took almost a year before I took the plunge to use them. I regard them strictly as what I term ‘My Grunt’ tools. particularly as buying planed hardwoods of any description in this part of France is impossible. The Bandsaw though, is without any doubt my favourite for ever machine.



  11. Michael Ballinger on 19 November 2018 at 8:24 pm

    Which bandsaw are you using Paul? I was looking at a few makes on axminister a while back but there were so many options I didn’t know where to start.



    • Paul Sellers on 19 November 2018 at 9:13 pm

      I have a 50 year old Startrite 352 which is a 14″ and it works really great still. Watch out if you do go the secondhand route to buy one as they can be either single phase or three phase. Mines a single phase and it is just fine. They should sell secondhand for around £600. They come up often as ex school or college machines. I have two new models of the Startrite 403 and I like these except for the fences which I have replaced. The old fences on the Startrites were better so I don’t know why they changed that part of the machine. Yeah! I am often dismayed looking at what people have to wade through for the simple task of choosing tools, machines and equipment. I’m just glad I know what I’m looking for. Remember, having masses of options is all part of the pluralist illusion faced in first world cultures where everyone thinks that they have choices but can’t make one. You know, which toothbrush shall I pick?



  12. Thorsten G. on 20 November 2018 at 6:45 pm

    Dear Paul,

    you wrote that you don’t know why people think you are not using powertools. Maybe it’s because you make them believe it? Have a closer look at one of your first youtube videos: “Paul Sellers | Dovetail joint with hand tools” You told the people that “this is real woodworking” “you didn’t come to push the wood into a machine” “this is my 47 year working wood and guess what: I still have all my fingers” Could that be a possible explanation?

    On the other hand it would be crazy to saw all the stock for your courses by hand. And it’s good to wrote/show the people what are the keypoints to look for on a machine. Just because you show us all how to do it by hand, if one want to do it this way.

    Thank you for all the things I could learn from you.



  13. Mike Lakowicz on 20 November 2018 at 10:19 pm

    I have owned bandsaws for over 25 years and believe as a power tool they have the most utility in the shop. Fortunately for me I own two, a 20+ year old 1 hp Delta 14″ that still works great that I paid $600 dollar new and most recently a Laguna 2HP 14bx which I paid $1300 dollars new. If you are really considering a bandsaw as the core of your power tools I recommend you get something that can accurately resaw hardwood like maple. to at least up to 10 inch wide. If it can do that well then everything else is pretty easy for it. After a lot of research the Laguna I bought had the best combination of power, features, build quality and price to do serious resawing. You can spend less on a bandsaw and struggle with wide hardwood resawing or a lot more for minimal gain in capability. I think the class of bandsaw my Laguna 14bx fits in is is a really good sweet spot for the serious woodworker.



    • Paul Sellers on 21 November 2018 at 6:51 am

      Lagunas are Taiwanese I understand and Deltas stopped US manufacture a long time ago also so American made in name only. It does seem that the Asian makers have replaced just about all domestic manufacturing throughout Europe and North America. Quite a remarkable achievement if you think about it because the quality is there too. Better than in the old countries of origin it seems.



      • Stephen Gates on 13 December 2018 at 10:15 pm

        The Laguna Italian LT 18″ HD is still made in Italy and that is a pricy piece of machinery at $4000.00. I recently purchased a Laguna 14 bx Bandsaw (US 110 V 1.75 HP) and I am very happy, though I have not yet done anything complicated or resawn anything over 6″. It truly is a time saver when doing the more menial tasks in the shop such as recently when I had to make several sets of clamping cauls.

        Paul, I very much appreciate your blog and videos as they have helped me tremendously in developing my mostly hand woodworking skills.



  14. Bill G on 21 November 2018 at 3:04 am

    I’m glad to hear you use a bandsaw. I wondered about that. I find mine very helpful. I had an inexpensive one for years and finally upgraded to a Laguna a couple of years ago. Very quickly I replaced the stock guides with Carter guides and immediately after that I replaced the factory fence assembly with my own mag lock fence that rides the edge of the table like a t-square. I also built my own base for it so the table is higher and I can saw without stooping over as well as use the base for blade storage. I love the idea of your magnetized push-sticks for the bandsaw too. That just got added to my list.

    There is one tool I wish I had learned to use 50 years ago and that is my hand plane. I may be very late to the party on that but you can be sure that my grandson will not be and your videos will be a big part of that process.



    • Joystick on 21 November 2018 at 11:49 am

      I’d hankered after a bandsaw for a number of years. I eventually bought a second hand Record Power BS350 (14”) after a long search (I was looking for nearly a year on the used equipment websites here in Ireland but they arn’t available often and you have to be quick otherwise they are sold before you can get to look at it.) Anyway after a 4 hour drive (with a borrowed trailer, just in case) it was demonstrated to me as working. It was located in a wood workshop of a forestry co-operative and had been used to convert some of the local timber. Not knowing what to look for in detail, I thought it was pretty ok and did the deal for €600. Brand new this machine was advertised at €951 plus delivery so I thought I had a reasonable deal. It came with two blades (both 1/2” skip tooth) but the blade that was fitted definitely felt dull compared to the other spare blade (presumably a new spare).
      The seller did say that the lower guide bearing needed to be replaced and said he would send it on to me as he had ordered it. I should have been a little more wary considering that this machine was used (even abused) in a commercial setting but I had seen the machine working and they had cut an impressive lump of timber pretty straight in front of my eyes.
      When I eventually got the machine home and in the “cool light of day” when I could take my time and go through it carefully, I found all sorts of other things wrong that required new parts from Record Power in the U.K. and other suppliers (belts and bearings were cheaper from Marksman Industrial Ltd in the U.K.)
      I never did receive the promised lower gude bearing from the seller, despite a polite telephone reminder – he’d got his money so wasn’t fussed any more.
      So if you buy second hand beware, it’s likely that you’ll need to replace worn, missing or broken parts, unless you are lucky and the seller has looked after the machine properly.
      Being pragmatic I suppose the good part is that in the process of replacing parts and setting the machine up I learnt a lot more about the machine functions and adjustments than if it had just come straight out of the box, factory fresh. Another good thing was that nothing that I found at fault was beyond reasonable cost of replacement and the more specialised parts were still available from Record Power. I estimate I spent another €150 on parts.
      Once all the parts were fitted/fettled I think I have it running pretty smoothly and can cut a consistent 1/8” thickness slice from a 5” block of timber. I haven’t tried anything but straight cuts, as that’s all I’ve needed to do so far but it’s cut oak, teak and pine without a problem. I do need to invest in some dust extraction though, it produces a lot of saw dust.
      Though I have seen plenty of videos and read up on bandsaw techniques I still look forward to Paul’s bandsaw tuition and look forward to more instalments, he hasn’t let me down yet.



  15. Martin on 28 January 2019 at 3:47 pm

    Hi Paul,
    I have recently purchased a startrite 403 bandsaw. I find that I have to track narrow blades with the teeth just over the front edge of the wheel to prevent the lower guided contacting the teeth. Is this correct as in most bandsaws you track the blade on the center of the wheels?
    Great site by the way.



    • Paul Sellers on 28 January 2019 at 6:42 pm

      It sounds as though your bottom wheel may need some adjustment to tilt one way or the other slightly. Perhaps a bearing is worn!!??