What characteristics should I look for in a band saw?
Ellis Walentine: Since you didn’t specify what you plan to cut with this saw, I’ll assume you want a medium sized floor model saw for a home workshop. The main features I look for are:
1. guides that are accurately aligned with each other;
2. a sturdy frame that doesn’t deflect under maximum blade tension;
3. easy blade changing;
4. adequate power for the heaviest work I intend to do; and
5. enough resaw capacity.
In all the bandsaw tests I’ve been involved with, I personally liked saws by Delta and Jet. The Delta has the edge in my book because the lower guides are easier to adjust and are located closer to the underside of the table. If you want to improve your saw, consider getting a heavy-duty compression spring from Iturra design to replace the blade-tensioning spring that comes with the saw.
Other things to consider as options would be Cool Blocks (R) especially for very narrow blades, and a riser block to increase the resaw capacity to 12″. You might also consider ball-bearing guides or Iturra’s roller guides. Personally, I’ve never cared for Carter guides, although many people I know seem to like them a lot.
Rob Johnstone: My recommendation is to go and use a couple of band saws and find out what is important to you. Also, decide what you will be using it for. (Large resawing jobs require a larger saw.) One other area that I always mention when asked about which tool to by is to think about warrantee and service availability. They can make a big difference down the road.