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Horizontal vs. Vertical Bandsaws: Pro's and Con's

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Nogoingback

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#1
I'm starting to give some thought to purchasing a metal cutting bandsaw so the first question I need to answer whether to buy a vertical or a horizontal machine.
My shop space is limited, so the smaller footprint of the vertical would be helpful, and with the vertical I can cut lengthwise (splitting a tube, for example) as
well as cross cut. I already own a cold saw, which is limited to cutting tube and light stuff, so mostly I'll use it to cut heavier sections or bar stock for the lathe.

What else should I be thinking about before I made a decision? Any other wisdom on the subject of bandsaws is welcome.
 

francist

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#2
This will really depend on what type of work you do, and how you do your work.

I love vertical bandsaws and at one time had two in operation as well as the horizontal. The verticals are great for slitting and cutting sheet, but the horizontal wins for cutting stock to length. Yes you can cut stock to length on a vertical saw, but the length is limited to the throat clearance. ie: if you have a 60" length of stock and you want to cut it into two 30" pieces you can't do it on the vertical without making an sacrificial angle cut. On the horizontal, it's no problem. And the cut from the horizontal will likely be square as well.

Another consideration might be weight. Verticals tend to be higher to the table than the horizontals, so bear that in mind for handling as well as cutting materials. I guess I would also ask, how big of a vertical would you be thinking? Something like a DoAll obviously has a bunch more capacity than a 14" Rockwell.

I no longer have my one vertical for metal cutting in operation, and I miss it for cutting sheet and plate (aluminum and brass). I don't think I would give up my horizontal though. Yes it does have a slightly larger machine stance, but all it all I think it's an easier machine to make mobile and tuck under a bench when not in use. Verticals can be mobile, but not as nicely in my opinion.

-frank
 

mikey

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#3
I vote for one of the ubiquitous 4 X 6 horizontal/vertical bandsaws. I own a Jet 5 X6 and it is one of the most used and useful tools in my shop. It preps almost all the rough stock for machining, debulks stuff before milling, shapes, slots, and many other tasks. It saves a great deal of work and does so with relative precision. If I didn't have room for one, I would MAKE ROOM for one.
 

jdedmon91

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#4
I have a small shop. I have the ubiquitous HF type horizontal band saw. But I found out I needed a vertical saw so I went with the portable bandsaw stand


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bss1

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#5
To the extent you don’t currently have a band saw, there is no question that, at least for my use (your use may vary), a small horizontal saw like the jet Mikey mentioned is the way to go. It has a small footprint. You can also make a table and convert it rather quickly into a small vertical saw.

I have a horizontal and now a vertical saw as well. However, I consider the vertical a non-necessity luxury item. A simple 5x6 horizontal saw will serve you well till you have room for both. Been there, done that!
 
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Nogoingback

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Excellent advice from all of you gents. Your comments have helped me think about what I really need. For both budget and space reasons, I'm thinking about a relatively small saw.
I've been thinking about a vertical, since I'd like to cut sheet/plate as well as cut bar stock for the lathe. Aluminum is handled on my table saw with a non ferrous blade, and tube of reasonable size is done on the cold saw. If I need to cut anything really heavy I don't mind paying the steelyard or metals supplier do it on their saws. Most of the stuff I need to cut for the lathe isn't very long, so I think even a 14" vertical would do the job. I'll have a look at the horizontal/ vertical saws: I wasn't really aware of them as an option.
 
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mikey

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#7
A table for vertical cutting is easily made for a H/V bandsaw. I showed one here: http://www.machinistblog.com/a-table-for-vertical-cutting-on-the-jet-5x6”-band-saw/. It allows you to safely cut shapes in sheet or plate like you envision. When you're done, remove the table and you can cut long stock to length. My saw cuts straight and clean and has done so for well over 15 years. In that time, I've gone through maybe 3 bimetal Lenox blades, honest. This is, without a doubt, one of the most useful tools I own and I would not be without it.

I also made a chip brush for mine and it works well: http://www.machinistblog.com/a-chip-brush-for-the-jet-5x6-bandsaw/
 

Nogoingback

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A table for vertical cutting is easily made for a H/V bandsaw. I showed one here: http://www.machinistblog.com/a-table-for-vertical-cutting-on-the-jet-5x6”-band-saw/. It allows you to safely cut shapes in sheet or plate like you envision. When you're done, remove the table and you can cut long stock to length. My saw cuts straight and clean and has done so for well over 15 years. In that time, I've gone through maybe 3 bimetal Lenox blades, honest. This is, without a doubt, one of the most useful tools I own and I would not be without it.

I also made a chip brush for mine and it works well: http://www.machinistblog.com/a-chip-brush-for-the-jet-5x6-bandsaw/
Great info mikey: I'll have a look at Jet's website and give your design some thought. What do you think of the Jet
saw generally? I have two Jet machines and honestly neither one is all that great in my view, though they do work.
I've been leaning towards an older American made machine mainly because I like the way they're built, but I'm open to
other options.
 

mikey

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#9
That H/V bandsaw is the only Jet thing I own. Can't attest to anything else they make but I do like that machine. I swear, I tuned it on the day I got it and it has cut straight and true ever since. If you can find a good American machine, go for it. Heck, go for an Ellis for 4 times the cost and twice the size.
 

RandyM

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That H/V bandsaw is the only Jet thing I own. Can't attest to anything else they make but I do like that machine. I swear, I tuned it on the day I got it and it has cut straight and true ever since. If you can find a good American machine, go for it. Heck, go for an Ellis for 4 times the cost and twice the size.
That is simply not true. I upgraded from an Enco saw to an Ellis 1100 and it is no bigger. Their smaller models are very affordable if you want the full functionality of a vertical, horizontal, and mitering saw. I found mine on Craig's list at a very reasonable price. AND, they are American made!
 

Groundhog

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#11
I have a HF 4x6 that has become a necessity in my shop (maybe not the brand - but a horizontal saw that has the ability to quickly convert to a vertical saw).

But when I need to cut a lot of stock for emblems (aluminum sheet and aluminum plate or bar) I converted a table saw to cut metal by using a Diablo carbide toothed circular blade designed to cut non-ferrous material (I also have a ferrous blade for it). I made a "sled" to hold smaller pieces. For what I use it for it is much faster than a band saw and can cut almost any size stock under 1" or so. The drawback is that it is very messy. It flings chips everywhere. I have a catcher under it had all sorts of contraptions utilizing a shop vac (with no combustibles and a bit of water in it for cooling?) but it is still a pain in that respect.

Aside from that metal munching gizmo I think a horizontal/vertical metal cutting band saw is the way to go. And the biggest that fits your budget.
 

mikey

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#12
That is simply not true. I upgraded from an Enco saw to an Ellis 1100 and it is no bigger. Their smaller models are very affordable if you want the full functionality of a vertical, horizontal, and mitering saw. I found mine on Craig's list at a very reasonable price. AND, they are American made!
Then I stand corrected, Randy. The Ellis saw I saw at a friend's place was huge in comparison.
 

Downunder Bob

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#13
I have a small horizontal 5 x 5 bandsaw, it is hafco brand here in Australia, don't know who sells it in USA or under what brand name. It is made in Taiwan, and I'm quite happy with it, I have converted it to operate in the vertical position, and am in the process of making a table for it. I have even had a local blade maker make me a blade for cutting wood, use it for cutting fire wood, saves me a lot of time, and a lot safer, and quieter than the chain saw.
 

Nogoingback

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#14
Sounds like the horizontal/vertical is the way to go. The Ellis would be great but a new one is outside the budget and I've never seen an Ellis for sale on CL around here. (Not that it couldn't happen.). I'll start looking at Taiwanese saws.
 

petertha

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#15
This is the style of my saw. It is both 'lop off' mode usingthe vise and 'band saw' mode by erecting the saw & screwing on the table. I use both modes equally so it would be a 50% less useful tool with only one or the other IMO.
The same basic machine comes under a multitude of manufacturer labels, so check around. Some are belt drive with reduction sheaves, some are gear drive in oil bath, typically 3-speed. Mine is gear but I have not heard anything bad about belt.

https://www.jccayer.com/7-x-12-meta...MI_KL1k7zH3AIVSNbACh2wqAOEEAQYASABEgLdSPD_BwE
 

bss1

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#16
Randy, I looked for one of the small Ellis 1100’s for a long time. They are rarer than hens teeth around here. I ended up buying an Ellis 1600 which size wise is a huge step up from my old 5x6. If you can find a used Ellis 1100 or 1200 for a reasonable price by all means go for that. I had a Jet 5x6 that, while no Ellis, seemed to be a significant step up from the HF version.

To the OP, I added a small vertical table to my old 5x6 that stayed in place all the time. I just had to lock the head in the upright position and I was cutting away. That was a super handy feature that I miss with my Ellis.

IMG_4979.JPG
IMG_4978.JPG


I doubt you will use your table saw or cold saw much after getting a HV bandsaw.
 

Smithdoor

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#17
I found the 4 X 6 works great for both metal and wood. The only drawback is only uses 1/2" blades but a jigsaw will form smaller blade size

Dave
 

ezduzit

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#18
The horizontal bandsaw does most of the work in a metal shop. But there is still a need for a vertical. I have a 7" x 10" vertical/horizontal mitering bandsaw with gearhead drive; this is what I would recommend as a single machine for a small shop. But I also have an 18" vertical. Both machines are Vectrax, from Taiwan.

 

mattthemuppet2

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#19
for limited space and maximum versatility, a 4x6 is hard to beat. I have one on a wheeled stand between two of my bikes hanging on the garage wall (10t press behind that). Wheel it out and plug it in to use, wheel it back in afterwards. I made a 3/16x6x6" table for it and use it about 1/4 to 1/3 of the time in vertical mode.

One thing about the 4x6 vs. a small benchtop bandsaw is that it has much more power and far lower blade speeds than most benchtops that you'll find, so ideally suited for metal work. I had a small 3 wheel 10" bandsaw and it was largely useless.
 

Dabbler

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#20
Fo ocasional use, the horizontal/vertical bandsaw is the most versatile. I have both a vertical and a horizontal and love having them both.
 

Janderso

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#21
Fo ocasional use, the horizontal/vertical bandsaw is the most versatile. I have both a vertical and a horizontal and love having them both.
I have to agree, they both have their uses.
My old Marvel 6X12 horizontal is a mule. It is a work horse!
The Jet 14" is new. Very capable but is more for light, finesse work in my opinion.
For a small shop, I think I would go for one of the combos. You can always modify extended tables, braces and such.
 
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