Power tools and horsepower

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Ozzel, Jan 17, 2005.

  1. I'm going to begin my first bass building project very soon. Presently I'm shopping for power tools. Got my router. All I need is a band saw and drill press, and I'll probably get a spindle sander, too. My question is specifically about band saws. As this will be my very first project, I really don't know what to expect. I'm not sure if I'll enjoy it, or get totally frustrated and give up. That said, I don't want to spend a lot on a band saw because I may never use it again. I see the smaller table-top saws going for around $100, or even less used. The horsepower on these models is usually 1/3 or so. Is that going to be enough power to cut hard woods? Will I have to go reeeeeal slow?

    Please advise. Thanks.
  2. JSPguitars


    Jan 12, 2004
    Grass Valley
    I bought one of the craftsman 9" or whatever pieces of poop for my first, and I hate it. It will cut out a body, but I've gone through quite a few blades already. It's hard to find good blades local. I recommend against these cheap bandsaws if you're thinkin' of doing this for a while. But then again, if you're just gettin' your feet wet, it's a good way to learn the diff. between a good tool and a bad tool.

    I'd search the local classifieds (I've used Craigslist.com online) and try and find a nice, big, used one for cheap(er). If yur gonna spend $100 on a piece of poop, search for something much better used first.
  3. schuyler


    Aug 5, 2003
    Atlanta, GA
    i haven't run across a bandsaw that will handle hardwoods more than 3/4" thick for less than around $300. if that's more than you want to spend, you might try to rent some time at a local cabinet shop. for me, about the smallest bandsaw i could see being useful is a 12" model, which typically has at least 3/4 or 1 hp. i have a 3/4hp craftsman which is fine for cutting curves, but will not resaw wood at all. i really need to trade it up to a 14" delta or jet, but i'm going to make do a little longer.
  4. What do you mean, resaw wood?
  5. I have a Ridgid 14" and it's OK. I think it went for $349 with a lifetime warranty. It's a cast frame - that's important. I have resawn 4" thick ebony with decent results (but I prefer my table saw) and I regularly cut maples up to 2" thick. I usually keep a 1/8" blade on it for scroll work and danged if it isn't the better blade for most of the other cutting I do. I have a 3/8" for larger work but only need it when I do something really thick.
  6. budman

    budman Commercial User

    Oct 7, 2004
    Houston, TX
    Formerly the owner/builder of LeCompte Electric Bass
    I have three band saws, a Ryobi 9", a Harbour Freight (Central Machinery) 12" and a Grizzly 15". The Ryobi is not good for much except for trimming small stuff. The Harbour Freight gets used a lot. It's a good size and will slice through almost anything. I inherited mine but they sell for $109. It's variable speed too. I use it mostly for roughing out router templates. I use the Grizzly to resaw lumber for bookmatched tops. It'll cut up to 7 1/2" thick material. I made a bookmatched walnut top night before last. The Grizzly is a recent aquisition and I've got a few things to learn about resawing, but I've been lucky with my tops so far.
  7. Resawing is slicing a board (like slicing a slice of bread a 2nd time) like for bookmatched tops & like that. For this a large cutting capacity is neccesary, & the more HP, the better. And always, heavy=steady=smooth cuts, etc.
  8. schuyler


    Aug 5, 2003
    Atlanta, GA

    say you have a board which is 6" x 2" -- and you need two boards 6" x 1" (minus the blade kerf). the cut you need to make to get this is resawing -- cutting a thicker board than a tablesaw will handle (in this example the thickness is 6"). this is most of what i use a bandsaw for. most other tasks usually performed on a bandsaw can be done with a jigsaw and a little skill. to get a bookmatched top, you pretty much have to have a large bandsaw to resaw the pieces.