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  1. #1

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    I want to upgrade the bench bandsaw I used to have to a larger floor standing bandsaw. I want to get into guitar making--not into 'commercial' making but as a hobbyist---making 'one off' guitars. I have a small workshop.
    My question is : What size of bandsaw should I be looking for:
    a) Maximum depth of cut on the bandsaw
    b) Maximum depth of throat
    c) Motor (hp) power
    d) A two speed motor

    Anything else to look for? Your expertise welcome.


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  3. #2

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    I've got a 14" Rigid from Home Depot with the optional riser block which lets me resaw close to 11" in thickness. You can save a lot of money on wood if you can process it yourself. It also takes a 3/4" blade which is, again, great for resawing. I mostly use 3/4", 1/4". and 3/16" blades. Great saw - I can't recommend it highly enough. I've probably had mine for 20+ years with no problems although I did have to replace the motor about 4 years ago.

  4. #3

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    What construction/type guitars do you plan to make?
    My limited research says unless you aren't planning on making tops out of a single piece, a re-saw height equal to the widest body would be necessary. Even if you are only making 2+ piece tops, a max re-saw to body width ratio wouldn't hurt. I'm sure there are ways of getting around the latter...
    Best of luck.

  5. #4
    Thanks for the replies so far.

    Skip Ellis--You mention 14"--does that refer to the throat / blade cutting height or table size?

    I intend to make acoustic guitars.

  6. #5

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    I asked the same questions recently on the Woodenboat forum.

    Basically the standard and correct answer I think is you want some form of a well built Delta or Delta style 14" bandsaw. The nicer Grizzlies seem like the best bet new.

    I hunted on Craigslist for a few weeks and there were quite a few Deltas. I ended up with a Delta with a Riser and I think a 1hp motor with the enclosed base (aka a pretty nice saw) for $375.

    It was missing a few parts and needed a bit of tinkering but really was a quite nice saw. All the Delta type saws are more or less interchangeable parts wise (apparently Delta brand parts are difficult to get ahold of). I put a Kreg fence on it the other day which is pretty great. And I got the orange replacement tires on ebay. I put a 1/2" blade on it and it's pretty amazing.

    So I'd hold out on a craigslist find if you can.

    The older the Delta saw, probably the better, as long as the motor is good.

    I also have a really crappy Sears 3 wheel tabletop saw. It's really handy, I have the Delta in my dustroom and the little sears can sit on my bench when I need it, with the little blade it's very good for cutting curves. You could get something like the Ryobi 10" or something, two saws makes a lot of sense, the big one with a 1/2" blade perfectly adjusted and a little one with a thin blade for cutting curves.

  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by swingtoneman View Post
    Thanks for the replies so far. Skip Ellis--You mention 14"--does that refer to the throat / blade cutting height or table size? I intend to make acoustic guitars.
    14" refers to the wheel diameter on a 2 wheel saw. The throat depth will be around an inch less. This is the horizontal distance between the cutting part of blade and the other side. The height of the throat varies, and can be increased with the addition of the riser that Sully talks about on some saws. Height without riser is around 6" and 12 with. So you'll need the riser if you intend to resaw for 2 piece tops or backs.

    Note that I'm an old guy that doesn't have much experience with new saws. The old Delta 14 is a great all-round small shop saw. As is Powermatic and General. These may cost a bit more, but they're worth it and will retain more re-sale value if you wish to upgrade in future. Kinda like guitars in fact.

    Also like guitars: if you're buying used you need to read up on how to set one up. Woodworking machinery can be basically useless and even dangerous if not set up right. Bandsaw performance will benefit greatly by someone who knows how. The 'vintage' name brands are true work-horses, but it's helpful to know what you're looking at.

    Just noticed your other questions. I don't think I've ever changed the speed on a bandsaw. More power is better than less. Most of the better ones will have the right power for the saw. 1HP works well on a 14. It's not like you'll be resawing oak all day long.

  8. #7

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    I have a Grizzly G0555LANV (30th Anniversary Edition) 14" band saw with a riser block, and it works great for archtop guitar making. I've resawn billets of spruce, cedar and douglas fir for tops, and many kinds of wood for backs, sides, necks, fretboards and veneers. I wouldn't think about anything smaller than a 14" saw, and you probably don't need anything bigger. The wheels on mine are actually closer to 13.5" wide, and the riser block takes off about 1" of throat depth, leaving about 12.5" of usable throat depth (horizontal reach). Maximum vertical depth of cut with the riser block is about 12", which is plenty for me. I've never had a problem with the 1 HP motor, and you don't need more than one speed. Cast iron wheels (rather than aluminum) probably help to maintain a steady speed.

    High quality blades and proper alignment are critical. It really pays to take the time to set the saw up properly, making sure the wheels are perfectly coplanar, etc.

    I put off getting the riser block for a few years, for no good reason. I would recommend getting one along with the saw. In addition to the greater resaw height, it really improves visibility for any kind of cut.

  9. #8
    All good advice above. If your budget will handle it look at the Laguna 1412. I got one a year or so ago and it’s an amazing improvement over the old junker I had prior.

    Anything much bigger and you begin to run into limits on 110v motors.

    It handles 12” resaw with about 12” throat width. I built a 17” archtop with no issues.

    Rikon makes a couple of 14” models that were “runners up” when I was shopping.

  10. #9
    Thank you guys for all your useful info.