FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions):
Q: What are the pros and cons of Cast Aluminum versus Cast Iron Wheels?
A:The heavier mass and weight of cast-iron wheels reduces vibrations and creates a flywheel-effect, which helps the blade maintain a consistent speed during heavy cuts and when resawing. The drawbacks to this added weight and mass are that it requires more energy from the motor to get the wheels and blade up to speed; and unless the saw is equipped with a brake, it also takes longer for the wheels to come to a stop after the saw is turned off. Aluminum wheels, on the other hand, are much lighter and require less time and energy to get up to speed and bring to a stop, which is why they are ideal for many hobby saws and those that will mainly be used for general-purpose rip cuts and crosscuts, such as with 4/4 (1") or thinner stock.
Q: What are the differences between ball bearing, block, and disc (a.k.a. "Euro style") guide blocks?
A:The main differences between blade guide types can be boiled down to four factors: (1) amount/quality of support, (2) amount of blade friction created from that support, (3) ease of set-up and adjustment, and (4) durability and maintenance frequency. Ball-bearing guides offer the best all-around balance of these four factors. Although they don't provide as much contact area for support as block or disc guides, they do maintain constant contact with the blade without greatly increasing friction. They are also the easiest to set up and tend to be the most durable. Disc guides provide the highest amount of contact area for support, but as with guide blocks, they must be positioned 0.004" away from the blade, which requires some type of gauge to be used for proper set up. Whereas some disc guides are fixed, similar to block guides, our Euro-Style disc guides spin with blade contact, which greatly reduces friction and the need for regular resurfacing. Block guides offer excellent support, but unless they're made from specialized materials to reduce wear or friction, they tend to fall behind the other guide types in all other categories.
Q: Can a wood bandsaw cut metal or vice versa?
A:The proper cutting speed for the majority of ferrous metals is under 300 FPM. The proper cutting speed for the majority of wood cuts is over 3000 FPM. Trying to cut metals on a wood bandsaw--at speeds 10 times faster than they should be--is dangerous and will likely result in a broken blade, damage to the bandsaw, and a really horrible cut. Cutting wood on a metal bandsaw is possible, but it would be tedious and slow, and likely would not produce a decent quality of cut. In addition, bandsaw blades for cutting wood are designed much differently than bandsaw blades for cutting metal. With that said, there are some soft, non-ferrous metals (such as aluminum) that can be cut at around 1500 FPM (if using the correct blade type). Although some of our wood bandsaws operate at approximately this same speed, the other components of these saws weren't designed to handle the metal chips and swarf that would be produced by the cut, which would likely result in minor damage to the machine and void the warranty. The bottom line is this: Always buy the right machine for the job!
Q: How do I know what type of blade I should buy?
A:Blade choice is typically determined by the type and purpose of cut, the hardness and thickness of wood, and the desired trade-offs between cutting speed vs. cutting quality. In general, a wider blade is preferred for cutting straight lines because the blade tends to wander less, and a narrower blade is preferred for cutting curves because it has a much tighter minimum cutting radius. The two main types of blade teeth are "Hook" and "Raker". Hook teeth tend to cut faster and leave rougher results, while Raker teeth tend to cut slower and leave smoother results. There are additional types of teeth, such as Skip, Positive Claw, or AS-S, that are essentially modified versions of the Hook or Raker tooth shapes, but with slight changes to the cutting angle, gullet-to-tooth ratio, tooth set, etc. to provide unique advantages for special types of cuts.
Q: What type of blade do I need for resawing?
A:Generally speaking, you'll want to use a wide blade (1/2" or larger) with "Hook" style teeth (or "Positive Claw" on Timberwolf blades) and a low number of teeth per inch (TPI). A wide blade helps ensure cuts are straight and the Hook style teeth have large gullets for removing material as the blade passes through the workpiece.
Q: Which saw is best for resawing?
A:The key specs for resawing are the maximum cutting height and a larger motor size. Due to the amount of material being cut at one time, resawing puts a lot more strain on the motor than other types of cuts, so generally speaking, the more power the better. If you're using the proper blade type (a hook-type blade with few TPI) and a modest feed speed, you can get by making the occasional rip cut using a 1 HP-2 HP motor. Otherwise, if you plan on making regular resawing cuts, you'll get the best results with a 3 HP or larger motor.
Q: My bandsaw blade came with a tag on it that said "Recommended for cutting wood or soft non-ferrous metal." Does this mean I can cut metal with my wood bandsaw?
A:Just because the blade is recommended for both wood and soft, non-ferrous metal (e.g. aluminum, copper, etc.), it doesn't mean your wood bandsaw is suitable for cutting both types of material. It is important to keep in mind that the blade you bought may also be used on other types of bandsaws, such as our G0640X or G0621X, which are specially designed to cut both wood and metal.
Q: Can I still use my bandsaw without connecting it to a dust collector?
A:Yes, this is possible, but we don't recommend it. Without using a dust collector, the dust will quickly pile up in and around your machine, resulting in additional cleaning time later. Besides making a mess, fine dust can be harmful to your respiratory system. It is a better choice to connect your bandsaw to a properly designed dust collection system that at least pulls the recommended minimum CFM from each dust port on the machine.
Q: What is the purpose of the pin that fits in the blade slot opening at the end of the table?
A:All bandsaw tables are inherently weaker on the outside half of the table. This is due to the slotted opening that allows the blade to pass through the table during blade changes. The table pin helps reinforce the two sides of the table around this slot, so they remain aligned with each other and keep the table flat. For this reason, it is extremely important to always keep the table pin firmly installed, unless you're changing blades.