If you own a 14″ band saw, then you know that you have a conundrum on your hands when you set it up.
You could leave it stock, which would allow you to cut material up to 6″ thick. Or you could add a “riser block,” which allows you to cut stock up to 12″ thick. Many woodworkers add the riser block in case they ever want to resaw veneer material on their machine. But adding a riser block has downsides: The machine is less stable, harder to tune and the longer blades cost more.
General International has developed a new band saw that allows you to have the best of both worlds. It’s a bit of a shock to see it work the first time. In essence, the spine of the band saw is like the post on a drill press. Turn a crank and you can raise the head up so you can resaw thick material with a 102″-long blade. Or crank it the other way so you can enjoy stable cuts with a 93″-long blade.
Changeover takes about two minutes, plus changing the blade on the machine. When we first saw this new saw at the International Woodworking Fair we just shook our heads thinking it was a gimmick. But after a moment of thought, we could see that it was a bright idea. Most woodworkers rarely use their band saw for resawing and would be best served by keeping their machine set low. But when you need to resaw, it’s a simple thing to raise the head and give yourself that extra capacity.
This band saw, which should be available this year, is fully loaded. It has a 1-1/2 hp motor, ball-bearing blade guides, cast-iron wheels, a laser, a rack-and-pinion table-tilt mechanism, rack-and-pinion guide adjustments, a quick-release blade-tensioning mechanism, wheel brush, a tall aluminum fence, two speeds and a nice one-piece base. The price? About $1,400.