Band saw question

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Mkorish

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Aug 23, 2021
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I'm looking at getting a band saw to make it easier to cut pen blanks but don't want to spend a fortune. I was look at the performax from Menards, any insight or ideas would be a great help... Thanks
 
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NJturner

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Cutting pen blanks from large stock - or trimming down the blanks? What you are going to cut and the space you have available will be key to your decision. Can you be more specific? A small table top cutoff saw versus a larger 14 in bandsaw to rip down stock is a big difference.
 

Mkorish

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Looking for cutting blanks to size and for being able to make blanks from different woods. I don't like to use My table saw for squaring up blanks and making small cuts or trimming wood pieces to 1x1 blanks.
 

Penultimate

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I’ve looked at that Performax saw. IMO you will outgrow it. Unfortunately, tool prices have skyrocketed. A 10” Grizzly saw almost costs what a 14” did a few years ago. I recommend saving your pennies and at least get a nice 10” like the Rikon.
Good luck
 

penicillin

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I looked at the 9 inch Performax bandsaw at Menards online, currently selling for $160. What caught my eye was the 2.5 amp motor, which is not much power. That bandsaw will trim pen blanks and cut curves in thin flat stock, but not much more. It will yield a thin kerf cut compared with your table saw. I agree with @Penultimate, you will likely outgrow it quickly. The value here is price, convenience, and small size. What you give up with this bandsaw over better bandsaws is versatility (forget about re-sawing boards), plus power, quality, the ability to use 1/2 inch and wider blades, and perhaps reliability.

ALTERNATIVES:

You could save money and space if you build or buy small parts jigs to trim your blanks safely on your table saw. I have friends who have made jigs for safely sizing pen blanks on table saws (and miter saws). A small parts sled is a versatile gadget for your table saw.

Have you considered a hand saw? A Japanese hand saw can make short work of pen blanks, and they leave a very thin kerf. Cutting with a handsaw takes a little practice to learn straight cuts. Not very much practice, to be honest. Before you blink twice, you could be cutting your pen blanks with a handsaw faster than setting up and using a power tool. (For many simple cuts, I reach for a hand saw. It is way better than moving the table saw into position, uncovering it, and moving and attaching the dust collection.)

ABOUT BANDSAWS

A bandsaw is arguably one of the most versatile tools you can have in your woodshop. If you are thinking about doing general woodworking projects other than pens and simple cuts on flat stock, then the Performax bandsaw at Menards won't take you very far. Comparing that Performax 9 inch bandsaw to a general purpose 14 inch bandsaw would be like comparing a Dremel tool to a mid-size router.

The Performax bandsaw should be sufficient for pen blanks, small flat projects, and small home DYI work. It would be small convenience tool, but not much more.
 

greenacres2

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My 14" Laguna (old Bulgarian made!!) lives in the garage, and i use it a LOT. But, a few years ago i traded a curly maple board (3/4" x 6" x 23") for an old Craftsman miter box (cast iron). Built a jig for that, and for cutting blanks to length i just use the back saw on the miter box--i can cut 3 or 4 in less time than it takes to get out to garage & back. Probably less energy too!!
earl
 

jttheclockman

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Looking for cutting blanks to size and for being able to make blanks from different woods. I don't like to use My table saw for squaring up blanks and making small cuts or trimming wood pieces to 1x1 blanks.
I too agree why not just up the game on the tablesaw. There are many examples of tablesaw sleds for cutting small pieces using hold down clamps and other devices that make it safe to do this. a tablesaw is more accurate than a bandsaw and you can do so much more with a tablesaw than a bandsaw. If you go the route of these small tabletop bandsaws you lack power and accuracy because of the size of the wheels and the guides. yes they will cut blanks to length but if room is a concern and a full sized bandsaw is not possible then try making a sled for tablesaw. Just an opinion.
 
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