So, you are considering a bandsaw? Maybe you have come into a little money and you are looking to increase the tools that you have at your option in the garage. That’s great! In this article we will discuss bandsaws, specifically the Startrite bandsaw models (one of our favorite brands) in order to give you an idea of the kind of use you will get out of it as well as to inform you of the options available if you would like to add a trusty Startrite to your roster of useful tools. Let’s get started with a quick discussion on whether you will actually need one.
Why would you want a bandsaw?
Whether or not a bandsaw would be of use depends on the amount that you like to work. A bandsaw is chiefly for ripping cuts and what you are paying for is endurance. They are a little inaccurate and they take up a bit of space but if you consider the alternative of investing all that extra time utilizing a handsaw then a bandsaw starts to make sense. They are durable and if you have a lot of wood to cut then you can rely on the bandsaw. It is relentless.
Why select a Startrite bandsaw?
For over 50 years Startrite has been the leading sawing specialists and manufacturers of quality bandsaws in the United Kingdom. They emphasize a model of heavy-duty machinery that is designed for light industrial or busy home-project use. If you want a good reason to get one for yourself then here is a fun little exercise. Google ‘used Startrite bandsaws’ and see what comes up. These units just keep on working and practically last forever and the lesson is that when you buy a Startrite bandsaw then it will be the only one that you ever need.
How do I select a good bandsaw?
Now that you have evaluated your needs and decided that a bandsaw would be a welcome addition to your tools then the next part is selecting the one you need. With a proper bandsaw there are a lot of possibilities including the option to take raw lumber and cut it to your own specifications (if you’ve picked a good saw). For those who like to work the WHOLE project without having to rely on the local supply depot a bandsaw is a must-have. So, what features do you need to look for? These are the important ones:
- Cutting capabilities – The distance between the blade and the column is referred to as the Throat capacity. Basically, if the throat capacity is listed as 15” then you should have 15” of cutting at your disposal.
- Overall Power – Power is one of the determining factors in the kind of wood that you will be able to cut. If you are are only looking to cut light portions of wood then a 1 ½ horsepower should be fine, but if you will be using raw lumber then you will want at least 2 ½ horsepower (although 3 is better). It should be noted that this is going to require 220 volt AC so you will want to plan accordingly.
- Frame – Cast iron or steel? Cast iron is durable. These machines have been around for ages but you need to keep in mind that there will likely be less cutting capacity due to older tech. This won’t always make a difference but be sure to check the horsepower, the throat capacity, and the quality of the blade guides. Steel frames, by contrast, have grown quite popular and allow for a lighter, durable unit that incorporates the latest and greatest when it comes to motors and blade assemblies.
- Quality of the blade guides –Your blade guides are what keep the blade stable and their importance cannot be stressed enough. Some older models suffer from cheaply designed blade guides and this can affect the accuracy and impact the safety of the bandsaw. Ceramic and bearing blade guides are generally pretty solid but be sure to check the state of the blade guide if you are purchasing a used bandsaw.
Startrite ACM LT16
The Startrite ACM LT16 is a powerful bandsaw with a 16” (410 mm) deep x 15.35 inches (310 mm) wide throat capacity. It’s powerful, you can tension the blade for up to 20,000 PSI for quick and efficient cutting and it is twice as fast as some of the generic knockoffs out there. It is also quite durable, fitted with roller guides on the top and bottom and it also features electronic braking. This is a good, accurate bandsaw for light to medium endeavors.
Startrite Star 600
For smaller projects, the Startrite Star 600 is an excellent choice. With a throat capacity of about 14.5 inches (370 mm) x 15.35 inches (310 mm) wide this unit also features the rolling guide, electronic braking, and also includes a tilting table and a cleaning brush on the lower
“The Startrite 941S stands out as the largest of the Startrite line ever produced.”
wheel to help to minimize any potential clogging. If you are looking to work with raw lumber, however, our best choice for this is to follow!
Startrite 941S Wood-cutting bandsaw
The Startrite 941S stands out as the largest of the Startrite line ever produced, with a throat capacity of 22 inches (560mm) deep x 35.82 inches (910mm) wide. It’s a quality tool, bearing ceramic guides and a cast-iron rip fence so you know it is both accurate and solid. The motor power on these can be adjusted from 7.5 HP to 12.5 as well and if you want the machine customized then be sure to talk to your vendor. If you want the most powerful Startrite then this is your bandsaw!
In today’s article we have discussed Startrite bandsaws, what to look for, best uses, and provided some examples of the machines and their capabilities. If you do a lot of woodwork then why not put away that handsaw? It will save you some time to focus on those projects!