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AWSX1686 SuperDork
3/1/19 11:52 a.m.

Anyone used one of these before? I'm seriously considering one. 



I've also heard good things about this one, but if the above is actually decent I think I'd like the extra precision.


RevRico PowerDork
3/1/19 11:55 a.m.

I have the preBauer version of the portable one. With every penny, but get the extended warranty. From what I've seen they haven't fixed the guides, so the blade will cut the frame in half eventually. berkeleying spectacular tool though, and extremely useful. I made a 2x4 frame to hold mine vertically.

The big red one on top is pretty well regarded, I don't personally have one but a bunch of guys here do.

jimbbski Dork
3/1/19 12:00 p.m.

The one advantage of the HF one is that you can put an item in it, set the saw, and walk away while it gets cut.  This  applies to cut off use and not for the vertical part.    I have used a vertical band saw and I wish I had one to made the various shapes in metal & wood I need. The portable band saw is very useful but only if you need something that can do cut offs and is portable, otherwise I don't see why I would get one, ever!

rdcyclist Reader
3/1/19 1:36 p.m.

I've had a version of the top one for about 30 years. A friend of mine calls it The Wonder Saw (title caps his). If you use good blades it'll cut about anything with remarkable precision considering the cost of it (for me it was changing a clutch in a friend's Mitsu truck and he thru in a Lincoln stick welder too). I've considered getting the next level up which gets you the ability to use coolant but I don't use it enough to justify that.

For quick cutoff duty, I picked up a cheap Ryobi 7 inch miter saw and some composite blades based upon suggestions in this very forum. Best 60 bucks I've ever spent. Looks like this one: https://www.ebay.com/itm/Ryobi-9-A-7-1-4-in-Miter-Saw-with-EXACTLINE-Laser-TS1143L-Recon/282013611469?epid=1534341655&hash=item41a95235cd:g:N1AAAOSwzDFb4KFq:rk:11:pf:0  They're not 60 bucks anymore apparently.


D2W HalfDork
3/1/19 1:37 p.m.

In my work shop I have a big Horizontal and Vertical, and I also have a Milwaukee portable. 

The horizontal is the main saw we cut all structural lengths on. Its big and fast

The vertical is good for smaller specialty cuts.

The portable is really only good where you need to bring the saw to the job. It doesn't cut extremely straight, and frankly a lot of times its too big to get into tight areas anyway. Most of the time my guys would rather use a razor wheel on a 4-1/2" grinder.

I would buy the combo saw for home use.

mke Reader
3/1/19 1:44 p.m.

I've had the larger version for. like.....25 years now?  they changed the color but it looks like the same saw:


if you've never used you, cutoff saws don't actually cut very straight, especially if you've used the blade in bandsaw more to cut curves.....then you cut-offs are also curves it turns out.

AWSX1686 SuperDork
3/1/19 1:53 p.m.
mke said:

if you've never used you, cutoff saws don't actually cut very straight, especially if you've used the blade in bandsaw more to cut curves.....then you cut-offs are also curves it turns out.

So if I only ever use it for straight chops, it should be fine?

mke Reader
3/1/19 2:17 p.m.

In reply to AWSX1686 :

finer.  by design these types of saws twist the blade 45 degrees coming off the wheels.  When everything is tight its pretty close to 45 degrees and they cut pretty straight....maybe 1/16th over 2" cut depth straight (they cut very straight in the blade running direction wheel to wheel).  This is ALL saws of this design, at least every one I've ever used....but the wider the blade the straighter they cut.  but use the blade in bandsaw mode and all better are off on how much the cut will run out but over 1/4" in 2" depth is pretty common.

Dr. Hess
Dr. Hess MegaDork
3/1/19 2:23 p.m.

I have the top one too, which I also bought 30 years ago.  I only buy the bimetal blades for it.  I've cut a lot of stainless with it.  Works well.  One of my uses is to decommission hard drives.  Put them in the vice, turn it on, walk away.  Come back and put the pieces in the trash can.

mainlandboy Reader
3/1/19 2:54 p.m.

I've had the top one for several years and am quite happy with it, especially given the price. It takes a few minutes to set up the blade guides accurately, but once you do, it makes very accurate and clean cuts. Being able to start the cutting and walk away for a few minutes is a big plus because while it is accurate, it can be a bit slow. Also, they come with junk blades, but HF sells much better blades for it that I picked up. The work table that it comes with to use in vertical mode is a bit flimsy, but I typically only use it in horizontal mode. A made a mobile base for it, which I highly recommend, as tilting it far back enough to roll on the wheels that it comes with is pretty sketchy!

RacetruckRon Reader
3/1/19 3:26 p.m.

As much as I like my portaband setup, if you have space for the bigger saw get the bigger saw.  I still want to get a dedicated horizontal saw because the wider throat helps a lot with the squareness of your cuts and the extra blade length keep heats out of the blade.  Also the clamp sucks on the Trick-Tools setup.

SVreX MegaDork
3/1/19 3:44 p.m.

I’ve had a similar one to the top one (horizontal band saw). I sold it recently, and will be buying a portable bandsaw  

Its footprint is too big for its output. 

If I had a large shop and didn’t care, it wouldn’t matter. Does anyone have a shop that big??

I have 2 vertical band saws. One is a nice 14” Rockwell, the other is a giant 20” resaw. The horizontal saw took up more floor space than both of those other 2 saws combined, and was significantly less powerful. 

A combination vertical/ horizontal saw would be to low to use comfortably as a vertical saw. 

Keep in mind the feed area. The material clamps 90* to the footprint of the saw. If you are cutting 20’ sticks of material, you need a lot of approach space. 

If you have a production shop, a horizontal saw is perfect. It’s just not worth the floorspace in a shop that is gonna have occasional use. 

A portable bandsaw will do everything I need, and take zero floorspace. 

Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
3/1/19 3:45 p.m.

We bought the bottom one this time last year. It has built my entire challenge car, a plumbing truck, and a bunch of other things. I would buy one again and a damn heartbeat.

RevRico PowerDork
3/1/19 3:46 p.m.

In reply to RacetruckRon :

do you have a link or some details about that stand? I made a vertical mount for mine out of 2x4 to use as more a vertical band saw, but that chop saw setup looks sweet.

SVreX MegaDork
3/1/19 3:49 p.m.

Regarding precision... I can cut cleaner with a portable. 

The horizontal when tuned well is awesome.  The problem is, after a few cuts  it’s easy to wear the kerf on the blade a little, and it will then cut curves. It will “walk” through cuts and cut very crooked. This can be fixed, but it takes effort. 


RacetruckRon Reader
3/1/19 3:52 p.m.

In reply to RevRico :

It's not cheap but it's a nice, compact package. 


frenchyd UltraDork
3/1/19 3:56 p.m.

In reply to AWSX1686 :

I have that same saw, probably a different brand but virtually the same.

Precision isn’t a word I’d use  but it works. Blades aren’t extremely durable or sharp but they are affordable.  

I used the heck out of it and it would break but be very easy to fix.  A little patience is called for because it’s not real fast. 

Streetwiseguy MegaDork
3/1/19 3:58 p.m.

That top one looks very much like mine, and its fine as long as you use a good Lennox blade and don't really care if it cuts a straight line.

If you have ever used a proper bandsaw, you will probably hate it.

AWSX1686 SuperDork
3/4/19 7:50 a.m.

Well, I've mostly decided that I can put of purchasing one for a while, but I am leaning more towards the portaband since I do have very limited shop space. 

buzzboy HalfDork
3/4/19 7:59 a.m.

My friend has the HF one. It's been reliable and useful for a few years now. I want to say it's a direct copy of a Delta(?) saw.

bigdaddylee82 UltraDork
3/4/19 8:25 a.m.

I've had the HF 4x6" bandsaw for about 5 years.  I hate abrasive saw's noise, mess, and heat, so the bandsaw is head and shoulders above any abrasive chop saw in my opinion.

As with a lot of HF stuff, it needs a little tweaking to be "good."  The stock blade is garbage, I went with an Irwin variable pitch bi-metal blade, 10-14 TPI I think.  I stocked up back when Enco was a thing and had a sale, I still have two left.  I think this is the blade I use, link.

The oil in the gear box was nasty, super thin, super black, think used diesel oil, and full of sand.  They didn't bother to blow the casting sand out ouf any crevasses before slathering it with paint.  I cleaned the gear box out, and replaced the oil with some AMSOIL stuff that's safe for bronze, the worm and pinion are bronze (maybe brass).

Spend a little time tightening, and straightening things, and it's a great horizontal saw.  The vertical function leaves some to be desired, table is small, and flimsy.

At the time I bought, it was one of the few large items that their 25% coupons worked on.  They'll likely be having another 25% coupon around Easter, they usually do. 

Don't buy it online, though, FedEx destroyed the first two that were shipped to me, of course they were shipped in their retail packaging, no extra boxing, no pallet, the thing's like 150 lbs.  I went through the effort and headache to ship the first one back, then when the second showed up broke as well, I convinced HF's customer service to let me swap it for one in the store.  Some wires got crossed, and they later mailed me collections threats for not RMAing the second saw.  That required a month of back and forth, and several calls to India, to get them to understand I didn't steal a saw from them.  Such a headache.


SkinnyG UltraDork
3/4/19 9:38 a.m.

I fabricated a wee table (the Death Table, because the blade is unguarded like this) to go on my horizontal bandsaw to turn into a vertical bandsaw. 

It's slow enough to do decent cuts on steel, unlike my vertical wood bandsaw.


JBasham HalfDork
3/4/19 10:13 a.m.

WEN bench-top band saw

I've had this WEN bench-top unit for maybe a year now?  I do a lot of custom fabrication and I wanted easy clean cuts for tubing (thin and thick).

I couldn't find a place for a free-standing model in my garage.  I tried a friend's portable, and it wasn't much better than using an angle grinder, in my book.  An abrasive chop saw would have worked better probably, but they are very messy.

I'm really happy with it.  It clamps up the work nice and tight.  It's not the last word in precision.  But it cuts thin gauge steel exhaust tube clean and square enough to let me do butt weld fabrication, which is good enough. 

If I try to rush the cut, it will undercut a bit as it goes down through the work piece. I use Lennox blades and it chews through tubing fast enough for DIY work, including roll cage tube and even 1" carbon steel bar stock.

Robbie UltimaDork
3/4/19 10:20 a.m.

Why the portable band saw over a sawzall with a metal blade? I love my sawzall, and even prefer it to using the abrasive chop saw most of the time. Since I'm not out for breaking speed records, it does just fine. 

And as long as I mark the part well, I can cut quite accurately with a sawzall.  

AWSX1686 SuperDork
3/4/19 10:35 a.m.
Robbie said:

Why the portable band saw over a sawzall with a metal blade? I love my sawzall, and even prefer it to using the abrasive chop saw most of the time. Since I'm not out for breaking speed records, it does just fine. 

And as long as I mark the part well, I can cut quite accurately with a sawzall.  

Good point... With some nicer quality blades and some practice I could probably make good use of my sawzall. 

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