Most people that know me, know that for most of last year I went on and on about wanting a bandsaw. Pretty much everything I was doing in the workshop seemed like it would be much easier 'if only I had a bandsaw' Now I'm no stranger to the idea that the next tool or the next gadget always seems like it's going to solve all your project problems. And often it turns out that the skill of the operator is still the blocking factor ;-)
Despite knowing that I have a tool addiction, and that I probably already spent way too much time in the garage, and not nearly enough time paying attention to her, Kat bought me a bandsaw for Christmas. Lets face it, I have the best girlfriend in the world.
The bandsaw she bought me was the one I pointed out: the Record BS-350s. This is basically the top of the 'on a stand' range that Record do, before they become full height ones. There is every chancce that this is massively overkill for my needs. However I justify this as it will keep me going forever.
I've now had it for a month and a bit,
And I love it... LOVE IT.
It is everything I hoped it would be, it fulfils an extremely important role, which is to ensure I spend more time doing fun constructive things, and less time just trying to get things to size.
Despite it being very cold in my workshop, since Christmas I have made: A small rough shelving unit to store my Tormek jigs on, from some of the pallet that my bandsaw came on.
A cup and ball game for my HWA wood turning project (I probably ought to post pictures of that).
An oak tread-board to divide the carpet between my living room and dining room.
A letter opener
A Lazy Susan made from American white oak. (The bearing was also a Christmas present).
An apple paper weight
and I'm part way through making a side table (will post a blog entry and more pics when it's done)
These projects have varied in size and complexity, but they have all been *much* faster to get done because I could cut wood to size quickly. Some projects I simply would not have attempted without the bandsaw since there is no way I'd have been able to hand saw straight enough to make even a half decent job of it.
From resawing 4x2 oak into a 15mm tread-board, to shaving tenons down to size, the band saw effortlessly handles every job I need it to do.
So far I've only used two blades, the biggest one, for the serious long straight re-sawing. And a mid size one for basically everything else. I have a couple of other sizes which I suspect will come in handy for doing more detailed curved shapes in the future.
Probably my favorite thing though is being able to cut stock down to suitable size to turn projects on the lathe. Being able to skip a lot of slow roughing down from square on bowl blanks, or even just being able to do things like turn table legs because I can make up the right size square lengths. The combination of time saving and giving access to new projects is fantastic.
So is this it? Is this the last tool I'll ever need....
Erm, no... I still have a huge list of tools I'd like, mostly for the lathe. And now I have a new one on the list... A bench planer, or maybe a planer thicknesser. You see no sooner have I resawn some large wood stock down on the bandsaw, than I realised the combination potential of being able to go from rough timber or large stock, down to squared planed pieces in my own workshop. Now maybe I should just get better with a hand plane... Or even my hand held electric plane, but I can't help feeling that the job will be easier and better done with a serious bench tool ;-) Maybe next year...