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  • Bandsaw woes - what do you think?

    Well I am giving up on my Harbor Freight 4 x 6 saw. It needs a lot of messing around to get it to cut square and it never stays that way. Too much time fixing it and not enough doing real work!

    New Jet or Turn-Pro's run about $900. The local craigslist has two Carolina 7 x 12's - a nice looking one at $650 and a dirtier but apparently decent one at $400. And then there is a 3 year old, hardly used Dayton for $350 with some extra blades. None of the models are made any more but Carolina is still around as a company and Grainger carries Dayton parts. The only thing with the Dayton is it uses blades in an unpopular length - they cost $40 vs. the Carolina $20 blades but they are only 8" longer. Go figure.

    What I really want are square (or 45 degree) cuts and no hassle. I think I am getting decent blade guides, a hydraulic downfeed, and better quality that will do the trick.

    I make metal furniture and do some light fab work; channel, tube, bar up to 1/8". Once in a great while I'll cut something 1" thick.

    What do you think?

  • #2
    There was once a guy who was building his own "Ellis" style bandsaw out of some scrap metal and old Volkswagon wheels in his parents basement. Here is a link.

    http://z6.invisionfree.com/ToolBoxTa...topic=855&st=0

    I'm not sure but I don't think it's finished yet.
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    • #3
      Get what you think will work for you. If it doesn't make adjustments. I buy two blades for our jet cost 100 bucks. Get a good saw if ya need it. No dinging round.

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      • #4
        Where are you located?

        I have a Carolina I will sell for $500. Hydraulic downfeed, mobile cart, extra blade, bullet proof.

        I also have an Ellis 1100 mitering bandsaw which I'll part with for $800.
        It has a horribly ugly mobile base which the previous owner cobbled together (and I never got around to changing out ), but that really shouldn't matter to anyone serious about the saw.
        http://www.ellissaw.com/Band-Saws/10...mitre-band-saw

        If anyone else is interested, just send me a PM.

        I have too many bandsaws as it is.

        I played that game with HF and Grizzly machinery a while back... been there...done that. It cost me too much in frustration, so I won't go down that road any more.
        Last edited by [email protected]; 10-24-2008, 02:48 AM.
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        • #5
          I feel your pain, I've owned (and still do) several harbor freight pieces and a lot of times if precision in key i spend more time tweaking and setting up the machine since it's last use just so i can get things withn a few thousandths.

          As for their bandsaws, I've had 2..bought one and one was given to me bcause "it won't cut straight)

          First got to Home Deot and get a RIgid brand blade with a 12/14 alternating tooth pattern or just get a 14 if that's all they have.

          For getting a straight cut SLOW IT DOWN...crank that spring/knob assembly all the way tight to start... Also setting up the way teh blade drags on the wheels and the angle of teh top wheel and it's tension are HUGE factors..it takes practice on angling that wheel, but on the blade tension i just turn it until my for-arms can't make it any tighter.

          And even as important as all the others combined is to take teh little flat wrench and a 10mm wrench and set the "guide wheels" I've even had to set them where the blade tilts to the "outside" to get good square cuts on thin walled larger diameter pieces...

          Point is, it can be done, it just takes patince and a lot of getting setup..other than that check it every other month and adjust as neeed.. I love mine and am thinking about adding pneumatic feed to it as well
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          • #6
            I've had one for about 8 years. I just gave it away to a friend who fell in love with it. I had mastered it before I even OWNED a computer. Bought it in '99 for $150 used. It has always been a POS but just would not die.
            I now have a old Wilton that is essentially a larger version of the same thing. I got it for $200 because the 2 previous owners said it wouldn't cut straight.
            It is the 93" blade wet cutting model that Harbor freight sells a clone of for about $800.
            Bargains are out there. There is a bunch of good band-saw info on SFT BTW

            I look at about everything out there and it amazes me how many companies sell essentially the same saws and just paint them up and add a few bells and whistles. Some of them ain't cheap either.
            If you're smart and lucky you can find a bigger saw cheap enuff and modify/adjust it to work good.
            If your smart and can justify the cost then get an Ellis now and only cry once
            I cannot justify the cost yet because I don't do enuff shop work yet and simply fell into the saw I have now by visiting a neighboring shop.

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            • #7
              I just got this swivel head 4x6 from Grizzly and so far it's great and the money wasn't bad either.

              http://www.grizzly.com/products/4-x-...vel-Head/G9742

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              • #8
                $40 buck a blade!!! You need to find a better supplier. I've gone with Baum Hyd. out of Nebraska, but there are a number of other sources. While the last purchase was for 10 bi-metal blades at 13' 6" each, the price was $32 a blade using Morse blade stock. I doubt the price would be as high for a smaller saw. Baum will custom cut and weld to your specifications...happy customer and no business relationship.

                As far as the Carolina band saw goes, I've heard a lot of negative about their saws. Never had any dealings with them so I can't say if what I've heard has any validity whatsoever. Might pay to do a search on the Internet and see what the word is about them before plunking your money down on one.

                Other than that, you won't regret spending the money on an Ellis. Found mine used for $1500 and was more than happy to pay the price.
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                • #9
                  Originally posted by WyoRoy View Post
                  As far as the Carolina band saw goes, I've heard a lot of negative about their saws. Never had any dealings with them so I can't say if what I've heard has any validity whatsoever. Might pay to do a search on the Internet and see what the word is about them before plunking your money down on one.

                  Other than that, you won't regret spending the money on an Ellis. Found mine used for $1500 and was more than happy to pay the price.


                  IMHO I'd say the Ellis is my least favorite bandsaw I've used. I know you guys go nuts for them, though... I just don't like the way it's put together.
                  I bought it for the mitering abilities, but I expected more from the name.

                  On the other hand, the Carolina has given me no problems for years and years, and IMO is a much better made piece of equipment.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by chris***@sbcglo View Post
                    IMHO I'd say the Ellis is my least favorite bandsaw I've used. I know you guys go nuts for them, though... I just don't like the way it's put together.
                    I bought it for the mitering abilities, but I expected more from the name.

                    On the other hand, the Carolina has given me no problems for years and years, and IMO is a much better made piece of equipment.

                    WOW!...that is a good referral for them for sure Do they have more than one model?? somebody on SFT hated theirs and got an ellis because of several issues but it was a newer version...I wonder if they are made the same now?

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                    • #11
                      I have learned a lot about my saw from this Yahoo Group.

                      Link:

                      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/4x6bandsaw/message/5767
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                      • #12
                        Thanks for all the replies. I was not too clear in my initial post but I was really asking about experience with the brands. I am on the 4 x 6 group and also home machinist. Very few reviews - people seem OK with Carolinas and no reviews on Daytons.

                        The Dayton seems to be an older model and I can't find parts anywhere. Grainger carries parts for lots of Dayton equipment but they do not list that model. Maybe not an issue since these kind of saws are pretty bulletproof.

                        I'd love that Ellis in San Diego but I live in the SF Bay area.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by FusionKing View Post
                          WOW!...that is a good referral for them for sure Do they have more than one model?? somebody on SFT hated theirs and got an ellis because of several issues but it was a newer version...I wonder if they are made the same now?
                          My Carolina is circa 1981.

                          My go-to horizontal bandsaw, however, is a 1982 (?) Manhattan Machinery jobber, made in Taiwan. It's dialed in and cuts very accuately, time and time again. Hydraulic downfeed, recirculating pump, auto-off.

                          I always let my bandsaws cut slowly. It's much more accurate, saves blades, and in the end saves time. Time=money.
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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by chris***@sbcglo View Post
                            My Carolina is circa 1981.

                            My go-to horizontal bandsaw, however, is a 1982 (?) Manhattan Machinery jobber, made in Taiwan. It's dialed in and cuts very accuately, time and time again. Hydraulic downfeed, recirculating pump, auto-off.

                            I always let my bandsaws cut slowly. It's much more accurate, saves blades, and in the end saves time. Time=money.
                            Well I don't know ya but it sounds like very good advise from a wise craftsman to me

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                            Miller WC-115-A
                            Miller Spectrum 300
                            Miller 225 Thunderbolt (my first machine bought new 1980)
                            Miller Digital Elite Titanium 9400

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by FusionKing View Post
                              Well I don't know ya but it sounds like very good advise from a wise craftsman to me
                              Well... let's just say I try to learn from my mistakes.

                              However.... just so y'all know I'm not just blowing smoke about my Taiwanese bandsaw...

                              1) mitering .25 x 2.5 304 stainless steel
                              2), 3), and 4) not too shappy.
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