update: Jul 2017
By understanding major parts that construct a bandsaw and how they are made, you will know how to choose a proper bandsaw for your cutting demand.
Any bandsaw will have a frame, where other components come together. The frame will bear the pulleys, motor, table, blade and other adding parts. On the market there are two typical bandsaw frames: one is plastic frame and the other is the rugged steel frame.
Occasionally you will see wooden frame which is mostly DIY bandsaw (can you make a bandsaw yourself? Yes, there will be a procedure that we will discuss later on).
Plastic frame bandsaw is so popular due to the fact that they will save a lot of money. A portable bandsaw 9’’ size with plastic frame will be as half price as those with rugged steel.
On the performance side, plastic frame bandsaw is mostly portable and less than 10’’ size. At this size, you can cut timber ideally at max. 9’’ x 4’’ providing that the motor is powerful and a good blade is used.
While this type of saw is cheaper, plastic frame model is not stable as steel frame model and it can be broken.
When you need a bigger bandsaw, then most of the case a solid steel frame is used because it needs more strength to support the components. A typical 14’’ bandsaw is always made with the rugged frame.
Rugged frame delivers better support for the whole system, and it is heavier and more expensive. However, whenever you need a bandsaw at 10’’ size beyond, focus on rugged frame only.
The bandsaw has 2 pulleys (sometimes 3), where one wheel is attached to a motor and another is free that you can move a bit with a lever for blade tension adjustment. You can find pulleys made with aluminum, casting iron or alloy.
Alloy wheels are lighter than those made with steel. Pulleys are better made by heavy materials because they will have more rotational momentum, which is good for the blade to cut smoothly.
Bandsaw often uses a motor which is about 2.5 amps beyond. When purchasing a bandsaw, you should check for the motor power and go higher than your need because it is better to have extra force in case you need to cut hard stuff. Besides, when you cut things at lower power than the machine can give, it will stay cool and run smoother.
When you are mostly doing DIY projects or cutting light woods, a 2.5-3.5 amps motor will be sufficient. When you need to do resawing, making table legs, cutting harder materials,…, then you need to choose a bandsaw with higher motor power.
The table is placed at the center of the bandsaw where you put on the materials and start cutting. There is a throat in the middle which will decide the size that a bandsaw can cut. When looking for the bandsaw parameters, do not forget to look for throat value.
The table is always supported on a trunion system, where the table can be swiveled up 45 degrees for cross cutting.
Hint: you can upgrade the table size with a plyboard.
There are several things that needed to mention about the blade such as blade tooth style, TPI,…which are explained in details here.