Give Me the Straight Dope on Band Saws

Sigh…Mr. K wants a band saw to work on the car. He says he doesn’t want a little piss ant band saw from Sears. He wants an industrial strength band saw. I looked around on Ebay and they all look like shit, look WAY too big, and look like way more band saw than a guy will ever need to work on his fucking car.

I found this one at Sears:

Will this do the job? What would an industrial strength band saw do for his purposes that this one can’t do? Help! I’m so annoyed with him on this issue that I just want to get it over with. Any dopers out there with band saw experience? Expertise? Thanks!

Giving this a little bump. I’m really at a loss on this one.

What kind of car is he working on that requires a band saw? Seriously, I’m at a loss as to what sort of repairs require a bandsaw. My father was in the car repair business, and did complete restorations on numerous cars, his shop didn’t have a band saw.

That’s a fine bandsaw. The question is what he wants to use it for. A larger, more expensive bandsaw will handle larger stock and stand up to more use.

I don’t do metal working, but I am a carpenter and that saw would work fine for me. Craftsman is a good product. Unless it is simply too small (doubtful) or he will be running it several hours a day (also doubtful) that saw should be just fine.

I always buy the best tool I can afford, but my tools are essential to my job. Having said that, I suffer from the stereotypical male desire for MORE POWER. It’s a hard nut to crack.
Put a shout out to Tuckerfan. He’s then metalworking guy.

P.S. His e-mail is in his profile. I’m sure he would be glad to help. He also has experience restoring cars, and is quite a sharp fellow.

Well, I just called my dad, who is a hot-rodder from way back. He’s restoring a '32 Plymouth right now and has done all the work on it himself. Plus 60 years of experience with general car care, as well as wood working and general handy-man, repair stuff. He has an amazingly well equipped workshop with all kinds of tools including at least 10 different kinds of power saw.

He says that that Craftsman would be way more band saw than he can ever imagine anyone with a home shop ever needing. He also wondered what your husband was doing to a car that he was planning on using a band saw for? Dad (who was a professional welder in addition to the amateur stuff I mentioned above) said that, if he was buying something to cut metal, he’d skip the bandsaw and buy a plasma arc instead. Of course, that’d cost you about a grand (which is why Dad hasn’t got one – yet). Then he could buy a smaller band saw too, for around $350 or so, if he still wanted one.

But if your husband has a particular need for a metal cutting band saw specifically then, yes, Dad thinks that Craftsman ought to do him fine.

Ok, I’m not sure exactly what he’s going to use it for. Are they primarily for sheet metal? Maybe he’s cutting up the floor or the hood or the trunk to pack additional hod-roddy things into it.

It’s a '67 Mustang Fastback. He bought it new back in the day and he loves it more than life itself. He wants everything to be perfect, show quality, top drawer, and magnificent.

Could this saw you speak of be used to fabricate things other than bodywork? I know he’s always rigging up something to accommodate the souposity he installs. I’m sorry I don’t have much more information than that, but I’m jealous of The Hot Rod and I tend to tune him out when he tells me stuff. I just like to buy him stuff for Christmas and he really, really wants a band saw.

A band saw would be used primarily for woodworking, I would think. DH has one and all he cuts with his is wood, though of course you can use it to cut metal or plastic too.

I just took a look at those plasma arc cutters that Jess mentioned (video here). Sweet, but definitely not cheap.

OK. :smack: Video here!

Some are designed for wood and some are designed for metal and wood. At least that’s what I gathered in my quest for toolage.

I’m fairly much at a loss to say why you’d want a bandsaw to work on a car. They’re very useful tools, but mostly for woodworking and carpentry. However, I’m wondering if he has something like this in mind. The horizontal metal-cutting bandsaw is great for cutting pipes and metal stock which sounds like something a hotrodder would be doing a lot.

Unless you’re going to be doing a lot of metal cutting, the band saw is overkill and the metal cutting blades for it are not cheap. I’ve been pretty happy using a hacksaw blade in a sawzall for a few things. I’ve also installed a 10" abrasive chop saw blade on my tablesaw for some more accurate sawing that I did on a homemade exhaust system last month. It worked pretty well, if you ignore the small fires that kept starting when the sparks landed in the sawdust on the underside of the saw. Minor detail.

Regardless of whether you are going to get him a bandsaw, you should look at They have wood and metal working tools at reasonable prices.


I have worked on cars for over 30 years. I don’t own a band saw, and have never worked in a repair shop that had one.
I did work for a professional racing team that did have access to a band saw, but even then we did not use it much.
Fabricating sheet metal for the race car? Either air shears or aircraft shears for small cuts
Tubing? A chop saw a die grinder with a straight cut off blade or of course the lowly hacksaw.
With all that said, band saws are way cool. I would love to have one even though I have no use what so ever for it.

When doing metal work with a bandsaw bigger can be better. It is more do to blade size then anything else. It takes longer for a 90 inch blade to heat up then say a 50 inch blade. I have no idea what your husband hopes to accomplish with a bandsaw however. That would be on the bottom of my list of autoshop tools. I do mostly woodworking as a hobby. If I decided I needed a band saw for the purpose of cutting metal regularly I’d get a cheap one. Metal dust and filings is hell on equipment I wouldn’t want to put an expensive piece at risk.

I’m beginning to wonder whether this may just be a More Power Penile Extension. Nyah! Nyah! Mr. K wears a strap-on! Mr. K wears a strap-on!**

I’m going to have to investigate what he’s going to do with it. The garage is pretty well packed with stuff already. It’s very neat…just not a lot of free space left. I know he’s not going to use it for woodworking; that’s just not his bag. Knowing him, he wants it for three 10-second cuts. Then it will sit idle for a decade or two. This is how his mind works.

A fortnight ago I went down to visit a friend of mines new gaff

  • basically a large stone converted barn with another stone barn behind it

The second stone barn is big - two storeys of power tools.

Oddly, the band saw bit came up, it seems that there are plenty around, but what one really needs is something with a totally solid base.

Mr K might not yet know it, but he could be yearning for an old cast iron work bench, on which he can fit, improvise or bodge an assortment of tools.

Unless you are trying to surprise him, I wouldn’t buy anything he hadn’t specifically pointed out in a catalogue. Before I buy tools I spend some time looking at the different models and judging, based upon that, whether it would fit my needs. Best thing to do is have him decide what he wants and then get that.

Recommendations that ‘this is way to much for a home shop’, should be avoided. Buying something that is cheap may be the way to go if you plan on using it only once, but some tools don’t get used because it takes a long time to set them up for correct use and even then they may still do a lousy job. Yeah, a good craftsman shouldn’t blame his tools, but good tools can make it easier to produce good results.