Bandsaws are, hands down, one of the most versatile tools you can have in your shop. Certainly they’re not the first tool on anyone’s purchase list. But while you might not go out of your way to pick up a bandsaw when you’re first putting together your tool shop, you’ll wind up purchasing one before long. Of course, when you realize you want to get a bandsaw, you come across the natural question. What size bandsaw do I get? That’s an important question, and one that deserves a careful amount of consideration.
There are a number of different sizes of bandsaws out there on the market. The first thing to consider is whether you want to get a bench-top bandsaw, or if you want to get a floor model. There are benefits and drawbacks to either one. Bench-top bandsaws tend to be smaller, and tend to lack the strength and capabilities of the floor models. On the other hand, they tend to be cheaper, and they don’t take up quite as much space in a workshop. How much space you have, and what you’ll need to cut, are important considerations when thinking about the size of bandsaws.
There are two dimensions considered when looking at the size of bandsaws. The first dimension is measured by the distance between the inside edge of the blade and the saw throat. This is the easiest to understand measurement, as a fourteen inch bandsaw has a measurement of fourteen inches between the two. It’s simple and straight forward. The average sizes of bandsaws are anywhere from ten inches to twenty four inches.
The second dimension considered is how deep the cut is, or the distance between the underside of the blade guard and the table itself. On a saw that has a six inch depth, you can actually only cut about five and seven eighths of an inch because of the way the guide is set up.
So when you’re wondering “what size bandsaw do I need to buy”, what you need to consider is what you’ll be using the bandsaw for. You can use a bandsaw as an all-purpose table saw, using it to rip boards and such, but that would be a poor use of the tool. Bandsaws are generally used to cut odd shapes and angles in the wood, because of the thickness of the blade.
When considering what size bandsaw to get, ultimately the two main considerations are “how much space do you have” and “what size boards will you generally be using”. Those two considerations are the most important things to think about. So when you go out to purchase your first bandsaw, make sure you’re paying attention to how much space you actually have in your workshop.
You may not want to get a floor model, even if you can get a great deal on it, if you don’t have the room. And don’t get a bench-top, even though it’s cheaper, if you’re going to be cutting larger lumber.