When I was growing up my Dad always kept scraps of wood around so that he always had something for any project we were working on. The best part about keeping wood scraps is that you always have something available when you need it. Once we found that piece of wood, we would resaw it to make it fit for our project. In this article, I’m going to pick out the best band saw for resawing wood.
What is Resawing?
Resawing is when you rip a board to make smaller or thinner pieces for other uses. One example may be ripping a large piece of wood to make 1/16″ veneer. You would then join all the pieces of veneer together displaying a beautiful wood grain pattern. Piecing together your cuts can be a work of art when you’ve got the wood correctly aligned to show the grain pattern. Resawing is a great way to re-use your existing wood for a project without having to go out and buy more.
What to Look for in a Band Saw
If you do a quick search you’ll see a lot of options in this tool category. However, when you’re resawing wood, you can immediately eliminate the smaller, portable band saws. Those won’t cut it for what we’re doing. While on the other end of the spectrum, the high end models are too expensive. We’ll be looking for a middle of the road but very capable machine with the best value for resawing.
- First off, a lot of horsepower is not necessary as you won’t be putting a lot of tension on the blade. Look for a product with at least 1/2 HP for resawing. I’ll explain why in the setup section.
- Depth of cut is very important in resawing. You want at least a 12″ neck or cutting depth so you can resaw larger boards.
- Resawing makes a lot of dust so look for a product that has a dust collector port for a vacuum. If the band saw you are eyeing doesn’t have one, don’t worry because it’s easy to add a port. Ideally, you’d add it in the lower housing on the left side. This is where you’d collect the majority of the dust and attach a hose to a vacuum.
- Price is going to play another large factor in your purchase, so look for a good value that balances price, features, benefits, and quality. Luckily, I’ll do a lot of that for you here!
Band Saw Setup and Tips for Resawing
- First off, check the upper wheel and make sure it has a crown or a small ridge along the wheel. As the blade turns it will seek out and ride the largest diameter of a pulley and stay centered. If the upper wheel is flat your blade will move around, become off centered, and cause your cuts to be less than perfect.
- Invest good money in a new blade. You’ll want to use a low tension 1/2″ blade with 3 teeth per inch (TPI). This makes a very large gullet for which you’ll want to set your upper and lower guides much closer. As I mentioned above, a 1/2 HP band saw will work fine. The reason is this: a blade with higher tension on it requires more power from the motor. If you reduce the tension, it will leave the motor with more available power and you can get a superior cut. You’ll also get a smaller kerf with these blades which also reduces needed power. That’s how you can get away with a 1/2 HP motor on your band saw. A blade with a high tension will tend to drift and mess up your cut. The benefit of a low tension blade is that it reduces that tendency to drift and results in a superior cut.
- Setup your fence so that the thicker side of the board you are cutting is on the inside and your veneer or resulting cut is on the outside. If it was the opposite with your thin cut on the inside, the board would tend to lean over into your cut and damage the work.
- Get a push pad to stay safe and push the wood along as it cuts. Your cuts can be pretty thing so you want to be careful if the blade unexpectedly exits the wood and heads for your hand or finger.
- Push the wood through the saw very slowly as to not overfeed and affect the cut quality. If you push it too quickly, the teeth won’t have as much time to cut and you’ll get a rougher cut. Remember, you’re cutting the face of the material, not the side, so your cut quality is very important.
- If the dust smells or looks like it’s a little bit burnt or toasted, that means your blade is dull and needs to be replaced.
- For longer pieces, use an outboard roller and set it 1/16″ an inch above your table. That way the roller will support the weight of the board and you don’t have to exert a lot of energy pushing it across the roller.
Which one is the Best?
The Grizzly G0555 is one of the best values you can get in a band saw especially for resawing. When I look at the features, quality, ease of use and price, this one stands out from the rest.
- 1HP motor, 110V/220V single phase, so no need to wire a circuit (If you do want to connect it to a 220V circuit, you do need to open it up and rewire connections in the motor junction box)
- 14″ x 14″ table size
- 13-1/2″ cutting capacity or throat size
- Incorporates ball bearings throughout
- The frame is made out of cast iron
- 4″ dust port is standard
- Includes a 3/8″ blade
- Includes an aluminum fence
- Made in Taiwan
- 1 year warranty
The Grizzly is a very sturdy and solid product that cuts any type of wood with ease. It will stay quiet little vibration allowing you to cut thin sheets of veneer with superior cuts when resawing. Setup and assembly is fairly easy and shouldn’t require much tuning out of the box. The one thing I recommend is to immediately replace the included blade. While the band saw is of good quality, the blade needs a good upgrade. If you’re going to be resawing, get a low-tension 3 TPI blade like I mentioned in the setup section.
The Great Value Option
If the Grizzly doesn’t suit you another option is the WEN 3966 Two-Speed Bandsaw. It’s also 14″ bandsaw with a 13-3/8″ throat to allow resawing of larger pieces of wood. It has a larger work table that’s 21.45 x 15.75″ and a 2 year warranty. It’ll take a bit of time to setup out of the box, but you’ll enjoy it’s price pretty quickly once you start using it. I recommend replacing the factory blade especially if you’re going to be resawing.
- 9.5A, 1100W, 120V motor
- 21.45″ x 15.758 table size
- 13-3/8″ throat capacity, 8.85″ depth
- Utilizes Ball bearings
- 2 year warranty
One More Option
The Rikon Power Tools 10-324 14″ Bandsaw is a new-comer in relation to how long the others have been on the market. It’s in the same class, a 14″ saw, 115V, with an open stand. Price, performance, and quality also make the Rikon a very high contender when considering overall value.
- 1 1/2 HP Motor, 115V
- 21 1/2” x 15 3/4” table size
- 13″ cutting height capacity, 13 5/8 width capacity
- Steel stand
- Dust port
- Made in China
- 5 year warranty
Video About the Usefulness of a Bandsaw
Check out this old video from Mark Duginske. It’s very old but he’s a 4th generation wood worker in Wisconsin and he has a great way of explaining how useful the band saw is.