matt87

Horizontal bandsaw vs. power hacksaw

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Afternoon all.

I was wondering, what are the advantages and disadvantages of a horizontal bandsaw vs. a power hacksaw for cutting stock to length in a blacksmithing shop? We can probably assume the cutting of mild steel (and possibly annealed high-carbon?) up to say 2" maximum. Are there any issues or limitations of the smaller power hacksaws that take 12" blades? How does the speed and cleanliness of cut typically differ? Is any one typically noisier than the other (aside from motor noise)? Is it safe to leave a powersaw running while you're doing something else?

The question is largely hypothetical/academic for me at the moment but it's fun to dream :D

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I have an inexpensive horizontal bandsaw that i bought years ago. It is a little tempermental about blade tension and adjustment to cut square.
On the other hand its good throat depth and narrow kerf make it very useful.
Power hacksaws seem, to me, to offer the singular advantage of a side variety of blade material choices.
On the whole, for cutting quantities of mild steel I think the band saw wins.
I don't thing either one has a special noise problem.

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Is it safe to leave a powersaw running while you're doing something else?
As a general rule of thumb, it is not safe to leave a power anything running unattended in one's shop. If you must perform additional tasks with the saw running, do so in the immediate vicinity of the saw.

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Good question.

Power hack saws are getting more rare all the time but they do a good job within their capacity. If you can get one that takes standard hacksaw blades then you'll have a tremendous range of blades to choose from and will be able to cut most anything.

The bandsaw is more modern and if the power hack needs special blades then the band saw is probably the way to go the blades are commonly available and can be made to order if it takes an odd size.

My preference is for the horizontal vertical band saw. You can stand it up and install the large platten table (two screws) and use it like a vertical band saw of limited capacity. Mine has 7" of clearance to the frame.

The bandsaw in horizontal cut off mode is the ONLY power tool I'll set, turn on and walk away from. The failure mode for one of these is pretty harmless resulting in a broken blade as a worst case scenario. However an associate of mine just lost a motor on his because a small sliver jammed the blade without breaking it and the motor burned out. In it's defense (if you want to call it that) it was an el-cheapo with a 1/3 HP motor and no over heat protection.

I have a 12" x 7" Jet HV with a 1 HP motor that will snap a jammed blade faster than you can shut it off if you have your hand on the swith and are expecting it. It also has overheat protection.

Don't get me wrong, I do NOT recommend leaving any piece of machinery operating unattended except maybe things like generators, pumps and the like intended for unattended operation. When I "walk away from it" I'm still in the shop within a few seconds of addressing any problem that may occur. The ONLY reason I'll do that with this piece of equipment is the worst that can happen is the loss of an inexpensive blade, there is NO safety issue. It can't hurt anyone if something goes wrong.

A power hack is a little different in this regards occasionally a blade can jam in such a way as to eject the work or more likely fling a piece of broken blade quite a distance. It's not a huge threat but any flying metal is dangerous to people and where I draw the line.

Frosty

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I wouldn't want to be without my horizontal bandsaw,even though it is an inexpensive model I wouldn't call it cheap.I would recommend King Canada tools,I have had good luck with them.

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I rather wish I'd gone to the trouble of bringing my horizontal / vedrtical bandsaw with me now. The reason I like the powered saws is that they are relatively very quiet - I don't need to wear ear defenders when they're in use, which I certainly do with a chop off saw!

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A band saw is more eficent in cutting as it is continuos & dosnt pull the swarf back into the cut it also uses "all of the blade".
Power hacksaw cut less then 50% of the running time & usaly only uses half of the blade.
But like most things it comes down to what you can afford. And if either 1 is set up with the right blade for the work can run well.
IMHO

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We have found a power hacksaw to be the most useful for general shop work. We use packer pieces to position material in different positions as the blade wears to make use of the whole blade. We have found that when cutting virgin steel a band saw will usually cut quicker however if you are using the saw to trim ends of jobs which we often do, it only takes one revolution of the band through a hard spot in the steel to blunten a bandsaw blade, where as a hacksaw will only stuff up a few teeth, then you use your packer pieces. Our saws are not considered light duty either, our smallest one has a 400mm capacity our large one has 800mm capacity, blade costs are approx $55.00 and $510.00 aus each respectively. Hacksaws are also more tolarent to tensioning misadjustment and run off, I have found.

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Thankyou everyone for your input. I think the conclusion is: 'whatever floats your boat' -- though a convertable horizontal/vertical bandsaw is useful if you can't justify, afford or fit a dedicated vertical bandsaw. Again thankyou all.

Next week: Coke vs. Pepsi!

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Sorry, I'm late. Pepsi. Oh and I'd vote for a Milwauki hand held bandsaw. Great tool!

Excelsior,
Ted

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Hi Guys,
I use both a horizontal and a power hack saw, and can not talk them both up enough, my horizontal has an auto-shut-off switch so I can hook a peice up, start the saw and walk away and do something else! never had a burn out motor, but the blade will jump track once in awhile, so have to keep an eye on it!

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A few weeks ago, I got lucky and found a power hacksaw locally. Real basic, a Jefferson 601, capacity is 4" x 4" I think. Not especially fast, but does a nice job. Plenty for anything I'm likely to need, although I may still buy a vertical bandsaw for shape-cutting.

I also found out that they still make these things. Company called Keller Saws, in Alabama. The photos on the website look just like mine, except mine doesn't have the safety guard over the bull gear. No surprise - the paperwork that came with it is pre-Zipcode ! (Which probably makes it pre-OSHA, too.)

Pete

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Sorry, I'm late. Pepsi. Oh and I'd vote for a Milwauki hand held bandsaw. Great tool!

Excelsior,
Ted


I have to go with Coke. I have a cordless 28 Volt Milwaukee hand held band saw and I love it.

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