Danjmath

Horizontal/Vert or Porta Bandsaw

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Wasn't sure if this belonged in shop or tools, so I stuck it here.

I am sick of cutting everything with my angle grinder, and got wife approval for a band saw (mostly because it also has non-blacksmith purposes).

 

Anyways, do you find the portable band saws or the stationary ones more useful (if you could only have one.)

I also take into consideration that porta is cheaper, but I got permission for "A band saw" so I could do either.

Thanks.

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I don't have either But I'm thinking of getting a portable band saw since I saw a thread on here where they made tables for them. I'd like the versatility and it would work for what I need. Interested to see others replies as well tho. 

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Depends what you're planning to cut and how accurate you need it to be. 

Perfect straight or mitred cuts for structural work, you'd want a proper band saw so you can adjust and fix the tracking of the blade to get precision. 

Just wanting a faster, neater way of cutting(compared to a grinder), with the flexibility of moving the blade to your work, even at awkward angles, go for the porta band. 

Another factor is how much will you be using it? Stationary tools tend to be harder wearing and can take more daily abuse than scaled down portable versions. 

Personally I'd go for a proper band saw, preferably one that can be operated in a horizontal and vertical position. Not the cheapest bit of kit though. 

Blade availability, pricing and longevity should also be a factor in your decision. 

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I jumped on the Porta-Bandwagon after trying one out on one of my visits to Lou L's forge, and I was pretty lucky to get a used one for quite cheap. 

Like Daswulf says, there are a number of designs for add-on tables to convert it to upright use, but one of the big advantages of the hand-held version is that you can take it to the work much more easily. I used mine to trim the feet on my anvil stand a little while back, and I don't even want to think what it would have been like trying to wrestle ~300 lbs of steel up onto a regular bandsaw table. You could piece up a 20' stick of 1/2" round on your shop floor, trim the end of a fabbed-up workbench frame, cut off a piece held in the vise, and so on. 

Also, think of this in terms of your overall budget, keeping in mind that your blades are going to be a consumable. You can get a new PortaBand (or the equivalent), an add-on table, and a good supply of blades and still have lots of money left over for other tools and materials.

Edited by jeremy k

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Greetings all,

        By all means a portable band saw.  ( a good one with variable speed) .  I have several . The best thing I ever done was to rig a trolly system on the ceiling with a industrial tool balancer hooked to one of my portable band saws. It makes it readily available and takes the weight off the blade for more accurate cuts. I also have other band saws , much bigger Roll In style but they are quite pricy. Another addition is a reasonably priced horizontal saw .A great addition and you won’t need a table for your porta-band. Just this’ll boys 2c 

Forge on and make beautiful things 

Jim

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I use a 16" DoAll vertical band saw EVERY DAY.

Don't know how I got along all those years without it.

Next most useful is the horizontal cut-off saw.

Portable band saws have their uses, but are a distant 3rd in my estimation.

 

.

 

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I thought about trying to find one of those fancy ones you set the blade down and let it cut off while you did something else but decided on a portable instead. I then decided to build a table so I can build jobs for repeatability for projects such as a split cross. I show pictures and made a description of what went into the build in the following thread. Maybe that’ll help a little with your decision.

https://www.iforgeiron.com/topic/53269-portaband-table/

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A buddy of mine has this one Grizzly G0622 - 4" x 6" Metal-Cutting Bandsaw and he can use it as a 90 degree Vertical Cutting or for Horizontal Cutting and he seems to like it. I have a HF portaband and I don't like some of the changes that they have made since adopting the Bauer name but it works well enough.

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I'm about to buy a band saw and have decided on HF $259 Horizontal  one.  It's that or nothing I know the stories of HF etc. but it's what I can afford.  I have yrs of experience using this type in shops but have to admit we also had verticals ones available to us.  I like the horizontal one for repeat cuts when building or working on a project and they are set and cut while you are doing other things and a lot easier on old shoulders and arms than a portable model. 

I  have a older Multi Delta vertical band saw that I bought at auctions a few yrs. ago that is suppose to be a wood or metal depending on blade that I will set up as well and see how it works out.  I've tried the cut off/chop type ones and not impressed except for making Hyd. Hoses which I no longer do so will sell it. 

Everyone has their own needs, desires and expectation of equipment hence that different designs, models and prices.  

 

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I have the HF saw of which you speak.  Like most tools from HF it is not perfect.  The table for vertical position is a bit flimsy, but if you're not working really heavy stock in that position it shouldn't matter.   I've replaced the stock blade with a higher quality blade and have had no trouble at all cutting non-annealed leaf springs.

Originally I was going to go the portable route and buy a table.  What I found is a portable saw plus a table (retail) would cost more than the horizontal/vertical saw.  It really doesn't take up that much room and it does have cheap wheels on it so you can roll it out of the way when not in use.

If you can find a used portable saw cheap and build your own table you'll be ahead.  If you are going to pay retail which ever way you go, you'll probably be slightly better with the horizontal/vertical saw as far as economics.  

Only you can decide what will be better for your intended uses though.

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19 hours ago, Danjmath said:

(if you could only have one.)

So clearly, it is a matter of what scale, geometry, and volume you will be working with - for instance, cutting unrestrained cylindrical stock can be quite hazardous on a vertical band saw. There are workarounds.

My Smithy is currently a tent next to an awning (under construction).  So for the moment, the brand new Milwaukee Portaband  that I found for half price at a pawn shop has been serving me well.  Very nice with a bit of Boelube when cutting on 10' & 20' lengths of Strut Channel.

17 hours ago, SmoothBore said:

I use a 16" DoAll vertical band saw EVERY DAY.

you are making me drool.

Robert Taylor

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My wife gave me a Duracraft vertical/horizontal band saw for my birthday some 40 years ago. It is still working like new and is used a lot. This Christmas she gave me a HF Bauer porta band. I have yet to use it but think it will be a good addition to the shop. If I had to chose one or the other, I would stick with the Duracraft floor model.

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If you're planning if just cutting metal into lengths and not doing cutout work, think about a dry cut saw.  I've got the Makita model and did thousands of cuts before I needed to replace the blade.

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I have both the HF portable and the generic 4x6 saw.  I use the portable to reduce the size of stock to get it ready for the 4x6 and to sometimes cut off a piece that wont quite fit  the 4x6.  The 4x6 may need some tweaking to perform to its potential (there is a lot of info on the web, including a 4x6 specific group.), but once set up and then equipped with a quality blade (I use variable pitch Olsen blades,  Starretts  have a good reputation too.)  you will be able to clamp in thick, heavy, and bulky sections that would test your stamina with the portable. Then there is the issue of grinding time.  I think I have reasonably good hand-eye control, but I can't get straight enough cuts to suit me with the portable and so I then often get to spend some quality time with one of my grinders. I'd rather spend that time drilling, tapping, filing, welding, etc. while the 4x6 purs away in the background (best to not leave the 4x6 unattended as a jam can lead to a burnt out Chinese motor at best.  I've only had one jam when I was too lazy to change to a coarser blade when cutting some 1/4" thick copper plate.).

Also, consider the order of things.  You have approval to get a band saw.  Spend the money for the 4x6 now, enjoy its use, put away a little now and the for the portable.  If you get the portable first it will be a harder sell to get the 4x6.  

If you get the 4x6 go investigate the information online.  There is a lot out there on performance tweaks, and on the construction of various attachments and jigs to solve cutting problems. As you can probably tell I love my 4x6.  It has saved more time and physical effort that any other tool I own with the exception of my woodworking table saw.

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If you have the room and the funds get the best band saw you can for sure.  The portability of a porta band is irreplaceable in certain situations, as others have already pointed out.  If you own a chop saw you may be able to wheel and deal with the wife to get two ways to cut metal.  You can sell your chopsaw and buy an Evolution miter saw that cuts wood and metal.  That will satisfy the multi-purpose aesthetic.  Then you will be close enough to even to justify getting the bandsaw of your choice.  Search for the video of someone cutting an I-beam with the evolution saw to be convinced.  My nephew bought one for the shop he works in and it has become a crew favorite.

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