Choosing which bandsaw is right for you is an important workshop choice. The bandsaw will be your most used and most versatile machine, but with so many out there, which one should you buy? As part of our Skill Centre At Home Series, Woodworking Tutor, Craig Steele takes you through the Axminster Craft bandsaw range.

The bandsaw

The bandsaw is the one machine everybody should have in their workshop. Hugely versatile, the bandsaw can make a wide range of cuts. From mitre, bevel and crosscuts to compound and rip cuts. You can also perform a wide range of shaping tasks and even cut tenons.

Craft Bandsaws Intro

Axminster Craft Bandsaws

There are many options out there, some far better than others. If you are are looking for your first bandsaw or looking to upgrade on an existing one, an Axminster Craft machine might just be for you.


Bandsaw Purchase considerations

Benchtop or freestanding?

Both have their advantages. A benchtop machine is a great option if space is tight or you are using it for smaller work. If that is the case the Axminster Craft AC1400B could be right for you. Weighing 20kg it does lend itself to being moved around the workshop and even taken to wherever you are working. A freestanding bandsaw is quite a bit heavier. Thankfully, most can be made portable by fitting them with a mobile base. These will generally have a larger capacity.

What size throat do you need?

The throat is the distance between the blade and the neck of the machine. If you are looking at cutting wide boards then a larger throat size is required. A  large throat will offer you greater support to manage the weight of the material.

Bandsaw Throat

What depth of material are you cutting?

A good rule when buying a bandsaw is to go with one that has a 20% larger throat depth capacity than you will be cutting. You don’t want to be cutting at its limits all the time as this will put stress on parts and the motor.

depth

The table

Many cheaper machines will have a plastic or a soft metal table.  When cutting with a bandsaw most of the pressure is going down on to the table. Always buy a bandsaw with a cast iron table.

table

Tilting Table

Most machines will have a table that can tilt, however, many will not have a positive stop. This means it’s not easily possible to get the table exactly flat again. All Axminster Craft bandsaws have strong cast iron tables with a 45° tilt capacity and a positive stop.

tilt

Compare the models

Model AC1400B AC1950B AC2606B
Power 250 W 550 W 1.1 kW
Voltage 230 V 230 V 230 V
Blade Speed 800 m/min 660 & 840 m/min 600 & 840 m/min
Blade Length 1,400 mm (55”) 1,950 mm (77”) 2,606 mm (102.3/4”)
Blade Blade Width Min/Max 6 mm to 13 mm 6 mm to 13 mm 6 mm to 25 mm
Max Width of Cut 200 mm 260 mm 360 mm
Max Width of Cut with Fence 102 mm 185 mm 260 mm
Max Cutting Height 80 mm 135 mm 200 mm
Table Size 300 x 300 mm 350 x 330 mm 480 x 550 mm
Table Tilt 0° – 45° 0° – 45° 0° – 45°
Table Height 290 mm 1,035 mm (on stand) 1,060 mm (on stand)
Wheel Diameter 200 mm 270 mm 370 mm
Min Extraction Airflow Required 200 m³/hr 390 m³/hr 1,000 m³/hr
Dust Extraction Outlet 40 mm 63 mm 100 mm
Overall L x W x H 450 x 430 x 700 mm 790 x 620 x 1,570 mm 980 x 630 x 1,740 mm
Weight 20 kg 39 kg 85 kg

The blade

Watch Craig’s video on choosing the right bandsaw blade.


Bandsaw Accessories

Best Buddies

This simple bit of kit is a unique blade aligning tool. It allows you to check the alignment of the blade to the face of the fence quickly and easily.

Conclusion

Always buy a bandsaw with a 20% greater capacity than you need. Make sure the table is made from strong cast iron. Use a good quality blade.

Buying GuidesBuying Guides section icon

Discover more…

If you’ve enjoyed this article, keep an eye out for our next project of our Skill Centre At Home Series.


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Paul M

A useful article for me as I have my first bandsaw on order, I chose the AC1950 craft bandsaw as it should have more than enough capacity for my purposes, added a mobile base, feather boards, a range of blades, and bandsaw buddy. Did get a faulty one at first, replacement should be ready for me to pick up next week, then Ill be watching for the series of bandsaw articles to continue while I learn my new machine.

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