I'm looking to buy a bandsaw and am puzzled by the depth of cut issue. For instance, I can get a used 10 inch or 12 inch model, but they both have a 6" depth of cut. If I wanted to saw logs into boards, it seems to me that the bigger model wouldn't add much, because I'd still be limited by the depth of cut.

When would the larger depth actually be useful?

1 Answer 1


Choose a band saw on two main criteria: throat depth and cut depth. You are comparing two models with the same depth of cut, but one has a larger throat depth.

A larger throat depth gives you the ability for wider cuts. i.e., you could cut to a width of (nominally) 12 inches on the larger one.

It is up to you to decide if 10in. is large enough or not. I mean, if the question is "why would you ever need to cut 12in. widths" then I suppose you already know the answer. Other than the obvious answer of "because you want to cut to 12in. wide boards", maybe:

  • You make tables from slabs you saw yourself, and you like joining 12in. segments instead of some other even-valued maximum.
  • You make plywood panels for home studios, and standard 12in. panels are easier to work with. (There's a reason for a 16in. throat I guess.)
  • You have the space right now, and maybe one day you might want to saw to 12in. widths. Future-proofing is a reasonable buyer's criterion.
  • Sometimes you need that space for other reasons than linear space, like cutting wide radiuses with thinner blades.

I think, in general, when it comes to larger free-standing tools like this, someone will have an idea of the minimum size they need in one or more directions. The purchase will then be more driven by price, size, availability, service and repairability. I mean, why not get a 24-inch saw, just in case? Probably because it won't fit in the shop, or is too pricey. The difference between 10- and 12-inch saws will probably come down to these other criteria if you already know 10-inch throat is good enough for you right now.

Check the specs of each. Some models allow you to double the cut depth for resawing larger pieces with an attachment. Basically, you can move the guide up 6 inches or so and run a wider, thicker blade.

  • 1
    Would you ever need a 12 throat depth for anything other than plywood, which is wide but thin? I'm mostly interested in working with regular wood, including logs, and in that case, I'm having trouble imagining a scenario where a lot of width but not depth would be useful. Commented May 26, 2020 at 14:12
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    @JoshuaFrank I think only you can answer this. If you were doing a lot of slab work and wanted 12in. wide boards, then obviously. Or if you needed to make plywood panels 12in. wide. Also, don't forget that a 12in. saw will have a bigger footprint and "shoulder-print" -- it'll take up more room in the shop. So make sure that extra size is needed. But, yeah. You don't need those extra 2 inches until you need them.
    – user5572
    Commented May 26, 2020 at 14:28
  • @JoshuaFrank it sounds like you want to look at models with an option to resaw peices taller than 6 inches, and a larger throat is less useful for you.
    – user5572
    Commented May 26, 2020 at 14:30
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    It is really useful to have a wider throat if you are cutting curves in boards. Even on a narrower board, the extra width gives you more room to turn a board into a curved cut. Granted an extra 2" isn't usually enough to make a difference. Often I have to flip the board to finish a long curve.
    – JohnFx
    Commented May 26, 2020 at 18:29
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    @FreeMan, oh, I'm no "Elmer" when it comes to woodworking. We all bring something we know to the table.
    – user5572
    Commented May 27, 2020 at 16:00

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