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I'm currently thinking about buying a band-saw. While searching in my price range, I found that some models offer a single speed, others 2 and some even 3 speeds. I'm fairly new to band-saws and I wonder what's the purpose of multiple speed. Is it a useful feature? When should I change speed?

I'm planning on doing mostly re-sawing and a bit of curves. I currently have no plans for metalworking.

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The primary reason for speed adjustment on bandsaws is to accommodate different materials (mainly metal). That said, dropping the speed down for some operations can stretch the capabilities of an underpowered machine further. For example, if you're resawing particularly thick or dense wood with a 1.5 hp machine (or high-TPI blade), reducing the blade speed will reduce the power needed for the motor to keep the blade moving, allowing you to make the cut.

In reality, it's not something that gets used very often, especially since most bandsaws require changing the belt to a separate gear to change the speed, and that's a bit of a chore.

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    My bandsaw manual suggests that the different speeds can be used for hardwood vs softwood.. – Steven Jul 7 '15 at 19:08
  • @ Steven... your manual, while written with good intention, is full of BS on that point. All wood likes to be cut at high speeds, period. With... I suppose... one exception: certain woods with high sugar content (cherry, maple, apple, etc) may possibly scorch if the speed is too high and the blade is too smooth (too high a tpi), and may scorch less at a lower speed. High-sugar woods are famous for scorching (it's actually caramelizeing the sugars) on table saws and under a router bit if the cut isn't continuous, fast, shallow, and done with a very sharp, clean cutter/blade. – TDHofstetter Sep 7 '15 at 3:17
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Lowering the blade speed (by changing pulleys) will increase the force keeping the blade moving. This means you are less likely to stall the engine when you demand more power or the blade binds.

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