Best Bandsaws for Resawing in 2018
Most of us love our bandsaws. They are safer than table saws, simple to use, and super versatile. They are often considered the go-to saw for cuts around the shop.
Purchasing the right bandsaw can transform your woodworking experience and results.
The key to their success is versatility.
Want to cut a circle in a piece of ply?
No problem, all you need is a small jig that takes minutes to make and BINGO!
You have the perfect circle.
Want to re-dimension some 2X4 to make face frames for some new cabinets?
Again, between your jointer and bandsaw, it is only a matter of minutes.
Now you are staring at some beautifully milled pieces that are ready to go.
Want to create some beautiful bookmatched drawer fronts, then the bandsaw is your go-to tool.
A few minutes to set up and cut, and you have drawer fronts with the grain flowing from piece to piece like water.
So, which is the best bandsaw on the market today?
OUR TOP PICK
JET JWBS 14DXPRO 14-Inch Bandsaw
This is a beast of a machine. It screams quality and ticks every box. It has a host of great features including a solid cast iron table, two speeds and a powerful 1 ¼ horsepower motor that delivers plenty of power for every type of cut.
When it comes to resawing it holds its own against all the others we looked at and offers an impressive 12-inch depth of cut. Plenty of great accessories, and remarkable dust extraction performance. It’s a rockstar machine that will rock your shop.
Top Choices For The Money
Buyers’ Guide: Choosing the Right Bandsaw for you
Along with the blade, the power of your bandsaw’s motor is the key to how effective it is.
There is plenty of models on the market with motors in the one horsepower range or less. While this is sufficient for most cuts, it is found short when it comes to resawing.
When resawing you tend to be ripping a board across its widest point. That needs more power than your typical bandsaw will provide.
When it comes to bandsaw motors more is better. Look for a saw with a minimum of a 1 horsepower. There are plenty of saws on the market that feature a 1 ¼, 1 ½, or even two-horsepower motors.
Sufficient power is vital for 14-inch bandsaws. Anything less than one horsepower and the saw will struggle to drive the blade through a thick board.
2. Throat Capacity
A bandsaw’s throat capacity is the size distance between the top blade guides and the saw table. Several smaller saws have a limited throat capacity of 4 to 5 inches. Such a small throat is insufficient for resawing purposes. To create beautiful bookmatched cuts, you need a minimum capacity of 8 inches or more.
Just like horsepower the more, the merrier when it comes to throat capacity. Most of the saws featured in our review can cut a 10-inch board with ease.
3. Guide Wheels -Aluminum vs. Steel
Another factor that can affect a saw’s performance is the material of the bandsaw’s wheels that drive the blade.
The heavier the wheel driving the blade, the more inertia and momentum is behind the blade, and the easier it cuts.
Think of it like catching a tennis ball or a baseball thrown at the same speed with your bare hands. Even though both balls are traveling at the same speed, the increased weight and heft of the baseball will cause it to have a more significant impact.
Bandsaw wheels can be either aluminum or cast iron. Aluminum is much lighter, and you can find them in cheaper saws. Cast iron wheels are heavier and can be found in higher quality machines. Cast iron wheels are always the best option to go for when choosing any bandsaw.
4. Variable Speed
The ability to vary the cutting speed of your bandsaw is a great asset when resawing. Slower cutting speeds are always preferred when resawing. The reduced speed will produce a slow, steady cut.
This method of cutting prevents the saw from binding, while it is removing a lot of material with each pass. For other more intricates cuts you can then switch back to a higher speed to produce cleaner, faster and more accurate cuts.
5. Blade Guides
Blade guides are there to ensure that your blade stays true, square to the table, and prevents it from turning. The guides are rollers that sit on either side of the blade to keep its movement straight and true. There is also the thrust support which presses against the back of the bandsaw blade. The thrust support prevents the blade from moving backwards during a cut.
High-quality machines will have two sets of blade guide, one above the saw table at the bottom of the blade guide enclosure, and one underneath the table. Low-end machines are often lacking the bottom blade guide set.
There are two types of guides available on the market. You can have blade guides made from either sealed bearings, or from ceramics.
Bearing guides are an older invention while ceramics is a more modern take. One thing to note is that both do a great job, but ceramic blade guides are less durable and often harder to replace. Traditional sealed bearing guides are more durable, easily replaceable and overall are a much better proposition.
6. Bandsaw Fence System
You can make a lot of bandsaw cuts freehand, but to resaw a fence is a must. Without, a decent fence resawing will be an unsatisfying chore that yields poor results. You will end up making an auxiliary one to achieve the results you want. The ideal bandsaw fence it strong, stable, and sits square to the blade. The height of the fence is also vitally important; you want to be able to support as much of the piece as you can. Ideally, the fence should be as high as the piece of timber you are trying to resaw.
Getting a 10 or 12-inch high fence may be difficult, but there are plenty of saws with 4 to 6-inch models. Make sure to find a design that has the option of attaching some t-tracks. That way you can fix a piece of ¾ inch plywood to better support the timber you are cutting.
The ability to lock down the fence securely to the table is also important. Make sure the fence cinches down well and does not move especially at the back. Some great fences have a micro adjust feature that lets you dial in those perfect cuts.
Precision and accuracy are the difference between a bandsaw that is joyous to use, and one that is nothing but frustration. One of the most common problems you will have to deal with is blade drift. Often the blade starts to cut slightly out of square and stays that way. You then have to make minor adjustments to the feed angle to correct the drift.
Cheaper models can suffer from significant blade drift making them difficult for freehand cuts, and almost impossible to use for resaw cuts. High-quality bandsaws will drift a lot less and make life easier all around.
8. Dust Extraction
Dust extraction can be an issue with most bandsaws, even the most expensive ones.
Under the table dust extraction is improved with a large dust port. Saws equipped with a 4-inch dust port below the table are much more efficient than those supplied with a 2 ½ dust port.
Above the table, extraction is more complicated. Invariably the best option is an aftermarket posable arm that you can position just above the cut. Placing the suction directly above each cut lets you eliminate as much dust as possible.
9. Bevel Capacity
If you plan on doing more complex cuts like dovetails on your bandsaw bevel capacity is crucial. Being able to accurately and securely set the saw table to the blade adds a ton of versatility to your machine. Look for a bandsaw that can tilt at least 45 degrees for miter cuts; great bandsaws will even go a couple of degrees higher than that.
Buyers’ Guide: Choosing the Right Bandsaw for you
Having the best machine you can get is an excellent place to start resawing. However, there are some factors you need to take into account to make perfect cuts.
Choose the right blade
Forget the stock blade that came with your saw. To achieve great resaw cuts you need to use a specially designed blade.
Try and find a blade with 3 or 4 teeth per inch (TPI). Also, the teeth should have a 5 or 10 degrees positive hook configuration. This type of saw blade has large gullets between the teeth to clear the waste efficiently. The hooked teeth make an aggressive cut to get through the material quicker.
Blade width is also crucial to resawing. Sure, you can resaw with a ¼ blade, but it will produce lackluster results and will drift significantly. The wider the blade, the better it is for resawing. On a 14-inch bandsaw look for the widestblade that will fit your machine, typically a ¾ inch or 1 inch on some models.
Finally, treat your resawblade well. Don’t leave it on the saw and use it for everyday cuts. Keep it for those special cuts, make sure it is clean and rust free. It pays to keep it sharp and in excellent condition.
The right tension on your blade will make your resaw cuts go much smoother and quicker.
The perfect blade tension for a resaw cut is just a little more than is needed to eliminate blade wobble. Release the tension on your blade until it starts to wobble or flutter from side to side when you run the machine. Increase the tension in small increments and keep running the bandsaw until the wobble disappears.
Once you have found the sweet spot where the blade doesn’t wobble, increase the tension by a ¼ turn, and you are ready to go.
Adjust your fence
You will have to deal with some blade drift when resawing. Adjust you fence angle slightly to take it into account. If there is not enough play in the fence to adequately compensate for the blade drift, you will have to install a shop made fence. You can use paper shims between the fences at the front and back to dial in the perfect angle.
Finally, before cutting make sure you plane the side of the timber that will go against the fence and plane the side that goes against the table square to it.
1. JET JWBS-14DXPRO 14-Inch Bandsaw
This recently redesigned model has it all: fantastic performance from a machine that feels and looks incredibly well made. The new model has a redesigned frame that provides excellent support.
The 1 ¼ motor coupled with a V- Belt Drive and a large 15X15 inch cast iron table means the saw can handle any cut you throw at it.
With two speeds it makes short work of most cuts, slower speeds glide through thicker pieces when resawing. The higher speed produces very clean accurate cuts when working with thinner stock.
This heavyweight comes in at close to 258lbs and will set you back close to $1,300. For that, you get an excellent machine, that is well made and delivers on many fronts including a 12-inch resaw capacity.
With a modern design, it can be a little complicated to use. Although in the long run, you would learn to master all its capabilities.
2. Grizzly G0555LX Deluxe Bandsaw
This is a great saw that was a very close contender for the best bandsaw of 2018. It’s a little lighter in weight at 247lbs, and a lot lighter in price at under $700. Despite the low cost, this is still a quality machine that delivers.
The Grizzly features a rugged cast iron frame, which provides enough support to make exact cuts. Powered by a 1 hp motor and 2-speed options 1800 or 3100 fpm, it breezes through most cuts.
One of the unique features of the saw is its computer balanced wheels. The new wheels are coated in rubber and balanced via computer. The new wheels make for an incredibly quiet machine, which delivers super accurate cuts compared to other saws.
While overall this is an excellent machine, the same cannot be said for its instruction manual, which is complicated and hard to get to grips with. While a solid sturdy saw is always welcome, the Grizzly feels a little heavy to move around.
3. Laguna Tools MBAND1412-175 14 x 12 Bandsaw, Black/Grey
Another excellent model on the market today. The machine is powered by a monster 1 ¾ horsepower motor that is more than you will ever need. The power is teamed up with some great features, including 12-inch resawing capacity
The design of it had resawing in mind. The fence has two settings Low and High, so you can support those bigger boards when resawing.
The heaviest of lumber is supported by a solid cast iron table and a steel frame with a pyramid spine for extra strength.
For other types of cuts it’s versatile, with a table that tilts 7 degrees to the left, and 45 degrees to the right.
It comes with a tracking window, a safety key, a two-year warranty and will set you back just shy of $1,200.
You can use blades that range from 1/8 to ¾ of an inch which is a little disappointing. If it could take a slightly wider blade, it would have been a serious contender for our top pick.
4. RIKON Power Tools 10-324 14″ Open Stand Bandsaw
RIKON Power tools are known for their quality products and this one delivers on many fronts. Equipped with a 1 ½ motor and balanced aluminum wheels it provides plenty of power for most cuts.
The machine is dual voltage so is happy enough in a shop with 220v or 110v. Priced at around the $850 mark it has plenty of advanced features. You can adjust the depth of your cut simply with a rack and pinion system that we see in a bandsaw for the first time.
When it comes to resawing the rip fence comes into its own. The 6-inch high fence can support the most substantial pieces with no issues. The tall fence has slots milled in it so that you can fix an auxiliary fence with ease. You can resaw almost anything with the 13-inch resaw capacity.
Another innovative feature of the saw is the ball bearings at the top and bottom of the saw. These allow the blade to travel with a lot less friction. The reduction means your blades will last longer due to the reduced heat load on them.
The saw is lighter than some of the other models we looked at, weighing in at 218lbs. Despite this, the steel frame construction and cast iron saw table make it a sturdy, rugged machine.
With unique innovations, it can be a little challenging to set up. Unfortunately, it’s only available in metric. So, you will have to use aftermarket materials to alter it.
5. Powermatic PWBS-14CS
Another close contender for our top choice.
The 1 ½ horsepower motor, coupled with a poly V drive belt system, and a sturdy cast iron table create an AWESOME cutting machine.
This heavy-duty saw will set you back around $1,300 and delivers a tremendous amount of saw for the price. Both the 15X15 inch saw table and the wheels are made from cast iron. You don’t need any converters in your shop; the saw can be plugged into 110 v Ac directly.
Dust extraction is well taken care of. The lower part of the saw has a 4-inch port, which does an excellent job at eliminating dust. Above the table, a chip blower and pressurized nozzle mean you can keep the work area clean and clear of debris.
The induction motor means that it is one of the quieter machines in our selection. The motor is backed up by a welded steel frame that reduces vibration significantly.
The machine is a relative lightweight compared to other units in our selection at only 208lbs. While it’s sturdy, the lack of weight can be a little uncomfortable when dealing with larger longer stock.
Best Budget Option
WEN 3962 Two-Speed
For a budget option look no further than this little WEN!
With a host of options and under $300, it’s hard to beat in the value for money stakes. It’s available in 3 sizes: 9 inch, 10 inch, and 14 inches.
Overall it’s the perfect balance of quality vs. price. The saw table can tilt left to 45 degrees, and it can cut at two speeds– 1520 and 2620 fpm.
The 3.5 amp motor provides plenty of power for most cuts including some demanding ones, which is a surprise for a saw of this size and price. If you are looking for the perfect bandsaw for under $500, then you can’t go wrong with this model.
This is a budget band saw, and a 10-inch model at that. As a result, at times it can feel underpowered. This saw might struggle due to the lack of power if you are after some very demanding cuts.
JET JWBS 14DXPRO 14-Inch Bandsaw
You really can’t go wrong with the JET JWBS 14DXPRO 14-Inch Bandsaw. It’s one heck of a saw!
If you’re in the market for the absolute top option on the market, this should be your choice.
Remarkable cutting capability and capacity, married to great accessories, all in a sturdy solid machine that makes it the ultimate model for 2018.