Complete Buyer's Guide of the Best Bandsaws for resawing
For woodworkers that are looking to increase the quality of their work and the speed at which they can complete projects, purchasing one of the best bandsaws for resawing from a quality brand will prove to be a good decision. Quality band saws are a tool that will provide service for generations.
I only recommend saws made by top tier woodworking equipment manufacturers and brands that I know stand behind their products. This means that there are no cheap options. If you are new to woodworking, a band saw purchase probably doesn’t make sense for you yet.
Are band saws necessary for hobbyist woodworkers?
While they are not a “must have” for the hobbyist or the “at home woodworker” getting a quality band saw is a necessity if you are a commercial woodworker. If you have had any experience in woodworking whatsoever, you have no doubt run into the situation of needing to make several trips to your supplier in order to get the right size stock.
While the bandsaw won’t be the most used saw in your shop, it will make your life much easier by allowing you to buy much larger pieces of lumber and resawing them to the right size for your project instead of having to keep several sizes on hand.
No other tool in your shop can resaw thick stock, logs or hard woods the way a quality band saw can.
Resawing allows you to:
- Better utilization. No need to stock your shop with a thousand cuts of wood. Once you have a bandsaw for resawing, you can just resaw large stock down to size.
- Bookmatch. Bookmatching is a technique of laying two or more resawed pieces of wood next to each other so that their grain mirrors each other. If you make tables or any other large pieces in your wood shop, the bandsaw is a must have, make sure to get one with a high throat to resaw and bookmatch wide boards.
Image of a bookmatched dinner table.
What you should look for to find the best band saw to resaw in your wood shop
Knowing what specs you’ll need in a hybrid saw will help make an informed decision. Here is a list of specs that you should look into before purchasing.
- Horsepower. Most band saw lines start at around 2HP. While this is fine for a number of cuts, you’ll need a more powerful machine to resaw thick stock. Saws such as Laguna’s Italian bandsaw line run all the way up to 7.5 HP.
- Resaw capacity. If you are looking to resaw large pieces of lumber, make sure your bandsaw has enough clearance. Being as though resawing is one of the most common uses of bandsaws, they will have their “resaw cutting capacity” in their machine specs.
- Large table. Make sure there is plenty room on the table to fit your project. Of course, the trade off with this is the saw is less compact and moveable.
- Steel frames. While there are some cast-iron frames that hold up just fine, the larger bandsaws that will lend themselves more to resawing tend to have steel frames.
Cast iron frame
- Brand name. There are a few brands to avoid. If you buy any of the products that we feature, you’ll be doing just fine.
- Tilting table. Most modern band saws are equipped with a tilting table. This is a professional feature that you likely won’t need as an amateur woodworker.
- Resaw fence. Since you’re looking to resaw large pieces, make sure you are either prepared to make your own jig (my favorite) Or, make sure you get a saw with an easily movable, tall fence to help stabilize your lumber.
Best bandsaw for resawing:
Powermatic - 24" Bandsaw 5HP, 3PH Review
Winner for: Best bandsaw for resawing
Winner for: Best industrial bandsaw
With 5HP and a 24″ throat this bandsaw is suitable for any millworking job. While this is more power than you likely need, I have a hard time not putting this behemoth at the top of my list.
If you are a professional woodworker, this or the Laguna Italian series are the two saws that you should consider.
If you are resawing large stock, hard wood and timber, it is worth investing in a saw that has the power and clearance to take it on.
- Very sturdy with low vibration, even with all that power
- 5 HP is enough power for any job
- 24″ of resaw capacity is unbeatable.
- Fence could be a bit taller
- Higher priced than competitors
- Not easily moved around your shop
Laguna - LT14 SUV, 3hp Bandsaw Review
Runner-up for: Best bandsaw for resawing
Winner for: Best bandsaw for the money
Laguna’s lineup in both band saws and table saws is just unbeatable. I put them in the top 1 or 2 products in almost every one of my reviews.
They’ve managed to create a line of saws from 1.75 – 7.5 HP that all perform exceptionally well. I really have nothing negative to say about what they do.
- Very low vibration (due to single belt drive)
- Competitively priced
- Unbeatable brand with a 5 yr. manufacturer warranty
- Table could be larger
Jet - 18" 3HP Bandsaw Review
2’nd runner-up for: Best bandsaw for resawing
Jet makes great products and stands behind them. While I typically favor Jet products, I just like Laguna’s lineup of bandsaws a bit more and it is hard to surpass the resaw cutting capacity of the industrial powermatic.
Jet’s lineup of band saws rivals that of any other brand. All of the parts are easy to adjust, change and clean. In addition, JPW (Jet’s parent company) stands behind all of their products with a solid 5 year warranty. You won’t go wrong purchasing a Jet.
- Excellent brand name
- Manufacturers warranty
- Large lineup to find the right size and power saw for you
- Large table on most models
- Does not come with casters for mobility
- Blade tension gauge has been reported to fail on occasion
Rikon - 10" Deluxe Bench Top Bandsaw Review
Runner-up for: Best bandsaw for the money
Rikon provides a quality line of bandsaws and more importantly, they provide them at a price point that entry level woodworkers and those on a tight budget can more easily afford.
There is nothing wrong with this bandsaw and you could just as easily make the argument that this is the top bandsaw.
- Ease of setup and use
- Great dust port
- Priced competitively
- Not on casters which would be ideal
Can I resaw on a table saw?
Quite simply….no. While you’ll have no problem resawing a 2X4 on your table saw or even your contractors saw, you won’t be able to resaw anything larger than that. At least not safely.
If you are a hobbyist and getting a large, powerful bandsaw isn’t in your budget at this time, just hold off on purchasing all together. It is better to wait until you can afford a powerful machine than to try to use a table saw or small band saw.
Develop resawing skills on the band saw
Have a look at some of the many online tutorials on how to properly resaw with a bandsaw.
Resawing can be a tricky skill to get started on and like most tasks in woodworking, the stakes are high, so make sure you start with small pieces of stock and take as many precautions as possible.
Once you master the skill of resawing, you’ll have no problem repurposing the off-cuts that would have previously been scrap.
Should you get a vertical or horizontal bandsaw?
Bandsaws are divided into two major categories based on their saw configuration of either vertical or horizontal. Let’s take a look at some of the major differences between horizontal and vertical bandsaws.
For at home woodwork and resawing, the answer is almost always “get a powerful vertical bandsaw.”
- Horizontal bandsaws – These machines are commonly utilized to cut larger pieces of metal, plastic as well as sometimes being used to cut wood. They are less common than vertical bandsaws, but they still have their place in a woodshop. A benefit of the horizontal bandsaw is that it can cut a straight line through virtually any material, regardless of how hard that material is. When used for resawing, the bandsaw blade of a horizontal resaw bandsaw moves during the cutting process while the object that is being cut remains stationary. These machines are designed to be used in industrial facilities and they are not a great fit for a home-based workshops or small time woodworkers.
- Vertical bandsaws – A vertical bandsaw may have just as much power as the horizontal bansaw, however it can’t cut through a hard material such as metal and it utilizes much less power than a horizontal bandsaw. The machine stays stagnant and the blade doesn’t move during the cutting process, which means that you have to move the piece of wood carefully to avoid making a mistake. The greatest difference between these two types of machines is the fact that vertical bandsaws can cut almost any shape regardless of how complex that shape is. However, industrial cuts and cuts into very large pieces of stock are typically better suited for horizontal bandsaws.
Frequent bandsaw questions
Should I have multiple bandsaw blades for different cuts?
You are certainly going to need different blades that you can use when working with a variety of different materials. For example, If you have a multi-purpose woodshop and cut metal, make sure that you have a blade that is meant to cut metal. For resawing, you should use a 3/4″ blade. These can be found at legitimate woodworking supply stores.
Which is the best width bandsaw blade for resawing?
I used to tell woodworkers “the wider the better.” Now I just tell them to use the 3/4″ inch blade. Laguna makes a great one. To be able to achieve the ultimate results, use a wide 3 Teeth Per Inch (TPI) blade designed specifically for resawing. This blade can produce a perfect mix of smooth and aggressive cut that you need for resawing.
What is bandsaw resaw capacity?
The resaw cutting capacity is the maximum thickness that can be cut. For example, a bandsaw with an 18″ throat be able to resaw around 17.5″ inches of wood.
Is a bandsaw worth spending money on? or should I opt for a cheap one?
I always tell my fellow woodworkers to “buy once and cry once.” It makes no sense for you to buy a cheap saw and get a new one every 6 months once you blow the motor up.
This is especially true if you plan on resawing thick stock. Only a saw with a large throat capacity is able to resaw and bookmatch beautiful wood for tables and other projects.
Bandsaw mechanics and operations
Familiarizing yourself with all the parts of a resaw bandsaw is crucial for both your safety and your success in resawing wood. Like most other pieces of equipment, knowing the saw inside and out will better equip you to fix it and know how to tune it for optimal performance.
You can select blades for vertical bandsaws that have long-toothed and sharp blades that are specially designed to cut through wood, plastic or metal and they are frequently used in home-based workshops. while horizontal bandsaws that are more powerful are often utilized by the industry professionals.
This is why you will find skilled woodworkers often relying on vertical bandsaws to create curved or irregular shapes from wood in small or medium sized workshops, while sawmills use horizontal bandsaws to cut large logs into lumber.
Most workshops are equipped with medium-sized saws that have general-purpose blades, although quality machines will allow for a blade to be changed to fit the material you’re cutting. The blades are stretched between two wheels that ensure consistent cutting through even distribution of the blade’s teeth throughout the surface of the material that is being processed.
It is important to not over tighten your blade on these wheels. If you are seeing smoke as you are cutting, there’s a strong chance that the blade is dull and needs replacing. Do not just tighten the blade further and keep pushing.
18 Inch Saw Throat or 24 Inch Saw Throat?
Since this is an article specifically about resawing, they answer is YES, the throat capacity matters. The throat of the band saw is the area where you can put your wood stock to be cut. The larger the throat, the larger your resawing capacity is.
Coinciding with the size of the throat is the necessity of horsepower in a bandsaw. Understand that the larger the amount of wood that you are resawing in your saw, the slower you will need to go, the more you will need a resawing blade and the more power your motor will need.
What Features Should You Look For?
Much like your table saw, your bandsaw will come with a variety of options. The more reputable companies such as Powermatic and Jet will give you a full variety of horsepower, size and resawing capacity that you can choose from.
Just like your table saw has a fence, you’ll find that it is much easier to use your band saw when it has a strong, stable fence on it. While you won’t use the fence for ripping down wide stock like you would with your cabinet saw or hybrid saw, you’ll need a sturdy, tall fence in order to resaw thick stock.
Between practice and a quality fence, you will be able to stop your wood stock from the slight drift that rookies experience which gives them crooked band saw cuts.
Power and Cutting Speed
If you are resawing anything, especially thick, dense stock. It is important for you to have a sharp quality blade and to make sure your bandsaw is equipped with a strong motor. You can certainly resaw with only 1.5 horsepower. However, you’ll find the 3 HP machines worth their weight in gold if you ever go into production bookmatching or making tables on a regular basis.
When resawing, one of the many important things to remember is that you don’t press the band saw’s motor beyond it’s capacity. Sawing slowly, especially when you are sawing a thick piece of stock will prolong your saws life and the saw blade’s life. If you do a lot of resaw work, make sure that you change blades frequently and consider using blades that were specifically designed for resawing.
How Do Bandsaws Work?
Familiarizing yourself with all the parts of your bandsaw is crucial for both your safety and your success in resawing wood and thick stock.
Most vertical bandsaws have long-toothed and sharp blades that can cut through wood, plastic or metal and they are frequently used in home-based workshops. There are specialty blades that you can buy that are specifically for resawing. This is highly suggested if you are doing bookmatching or resawing large stock.
Most workshops are equipped with medium-sized saws that have general-purpose blades. If you plan on resawing however, you should upgrade to a saw with at least 3HP and always use a bandsaw blade that is engineered specifically for resawing.
Bandsaw blades are stretched between two wheels that will spin and drive the blade through the wood stock.
Using a Resaw Blade? How Tight Should They Be?
A common mistake that novice woodworkers make is that they don’t get a blade that is specifically designed for resawing. In my opinion this cost is justified by the much better performance and less stress that it puts on the saw motor.
In lieu of buying a resaw blade, many woodworkers just tighten their current blade. The downside of this is that it will put unnecessary wear and tear on your wheels and bandsaw motor.
As a rule of thumb, if you push with one finger against the blade, you should be able to move the blade over 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch. While you may have to measure this with a ruler for your initial install. After time, you’ll get a feel for how tight it should be and you’ll be able to get the blade dialed in to your liking.
If you are looking to be even more informed on the commercial bandsaws that we are recommending, we put together another article on selecting the best band saw for your wood shop. Since most of the people reading this article are either cabinet makers or other furniture makers, we think you may also benefit from the write-up we did on the best cabinet table saw for your shop.