Tool Test: 14-in. Bandsaws
Great for curves and for resawing, these saws are the perfect fit for a home shop
Synopsis: A 14-in. bandsaw is the perfect size for woodworking, fitting in most shops without trouble. Tool guru Roland Johnson tested the latest batch of 14-in. saws, using them to rip, cut curves, and the most important test—resawing wide boards. Resawing requires a lot of cutting height, a strong motor, and a guide post that doesn’t flex. So for this test, we limited the field to saws with a 1-1/2 hp motor or larger that can resaw 10-in.-wide boards without a riser block. Johnson used the saws to cut curves, make ripcuts, and resaw wide boards. He changed the blade, and adjusted the guides. He also checked features such as dust collection and the fence, which have a direct impact on the saw’s performance.
Models tested include: General International 90-170B, Grizzly G0457, Hammer N3800, Jet JWBS-14SF, Laguna 14 SUV, Laguna 14/Twelve, Oliver 4620, Powermatic PM1500, Rikon 10-325, Rikon 10-351, Steel City 50114, and Steel City 50155G.
The bandsaw may be the most versatile machine in the shop. You can use it to cut curves and joinery, to rip boards (rough and milled), and to resaw. Bandsaws come in a range of sizes, from benchtop models to industrial giants. But the perfect size for many woodworkers is 14 in. It’s the first bandsaw most of us should get, and could be the only one you’ll ever need. A 14-in. bandsaw’s small footprint fits easily in most home shops.
I’ve tested a lot of bandsaws, and I’ve never found one that couldn’t rip or cut curves. The real test is resawing wide boards, because it requires a lot of cutting height, a strong motor, and a guide post that doesn’t flex. so I tested only saws that can resaw boards at least 10 in. wide without the…