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I want to make furniture. Therefore, whether I'm cutting a roughly cut piece of plywood or cutting a "solid wood" piece made from a gluing up smaller boards, I will certainly need to make wood panels with final dimensions around:

  • Width: 12-24 inch
  • Length: 12-36 inch

I have seen two popular approaches for cutting wood panels:

  1. Table saw
  2. Hand-held saws (track saw, circular saw, jigsaw, hand saw)

These approaches have their strengths and weaknesses in regards to accuracy, repeatability, safety, and physical effort. The details are for another discussion.

However, it seems that the bandsaw has limited usefulness here due to its somewhat small cutting capacity (9-14 inch for models below $600). In fact, it seems that one would need to spend more than $4000 for a bandsaw with a 24" cutting capacity, although I suppose a large table saw would have a similar price. Still, I wonder why bandsaws with a cutting capacity of 24" and larger are not more common?

There seems to be a correlation between the cutting capacity of a bandsaw and the size of the wheels since the compact design puts the bandsaw's table spanning horizontally across the space between the upward and downward moving blades, see Figure 1 below. My question has to do with the proposed bandsaw design, shown on the right in figure 1, in which the table has been extended to the side and the fence is on the far side as well. Is there anything inadvisable about doing rip cuts on this proposed bandsaw design? enter image description here Figure 1: (Left) traditional bandsaw design, (Right) proposed bandsaw design

I have seen some YouTube videos showing bandsaw table extensions. In-flow or out-flow extension tables can support long pieces of wood, but they are not what I'm interested in. Most (but not all) of the bandsaw "side" table extensions that I have seen are somewhat small see this YouTube link. My question is whether there is anything problematic with ripping a panel on a large bandsaw side table while registering it against a fence that is also mounted on the side table? I'm primarily asking about rip cuts here, but I would also be interested in your thoughts about having mitre slots in this large bandsaw side for cross cutting.

My guess is that there must be something "wrong" with this idea or this would be a more common commercial tool. I appreciate your time and your thoughts.

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    Hi, welcome to SE. I don't believe there's an inherent problem with this on a technical front, since older bandsaws often had huge tables compared to modern models. I suspect that it's simply a matter of space. Given the requirements on both the infeed and outfeed sides of the saw and the space you envision taking up in the other axis this will make the potential footprint of the bandsaw station roughly 17-18' x 5'. And this area must completely clear of obstructions (when the saw is being used at least) that are over the height of the table. This alone may explain why you don't see this much. – Graphus Sep 23 '19 at 7:19
  • @Graphus That's a good point. However, maybe I can use free-standing infeed and outfeed roller stands so the 17-18' dimension you mentioned would be reduced considerably. I'm basically picturing a standard cabinet saw, but with a bandsaw system instead of the circular blade system coming out of the table. – kfd182 Sep 23 '19 at 15:25
  • Maintaining band saws is just generally more hassle (and expense) than table saws. Establishing and maintaining correct blade tracking is a skill similar to sharpening, where there's a lot that can go wrong even if you're following correct instructions. Band saw blades may be cheaper, but they tend to go dull faster than table saw blades. Also, they can only be resharpened once or twice whereas a tablesaw blade can be resharpened more or less indefinitely. – SaSSafraS1232 Sep 23 '19 at 16:11
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    Personally, I think if you're going to skip a table saw in favor of a band saw you should have a track saw (with the long track and parallel guides) to work with sheet goods and a router table to stand in for the dado stack. – SaSSafraS1232 Sep 23 '19 at 16:13
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I suspect it has a lot to do with the kind of work people expect to do with band saw. But the kind of cuts you are talking about, longer cuts on wide pieces, are definitely pretty easy to do on a table saw, it already has the 'table' and even a small contractors table saw can do a decent job.

if your problem is the cleanliness of the cut, I personally have trouble getting my bandsaw to come even close to my table saw cuts, the blade seems to like to wander, which I am more than willing to accept that as my poor technique.

But I have found that when I want a 'perfect' edge on a rip cut, I will leave an extra 1/16" from the table saw and then run it on the joiner.

So while I don't think there is any technical reason to not have a big table around a bandsaw to make wide long cuts, I think it is more social conventions. My personal experience, it has been harder to keep my bandsaw in perfect cutting order, even though the kerf is significantly smaller than a table saw blade.

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