This is quite exciting, I’ve started a real life, actual blog! Sometimes I just don’t have the time or inclination to put a video together, especially after a long day in the workshop. As much as I love making videos you do have to be in the right mood and if I’m tired and lethargic after a full-on day that really comes across on the screen! I love writing so this is a much more relaxing way for me to get my thoughts down and hopefully it’s something I can do more often.
As you may have seen on my Instagram I’ve finally bought my first proper bandsaw! Man, this has been a long time coming. I’ve used bandsaws many times but I’ve never had my own. As you might have already seen I’ve been getting by with a jigsaw table for the last year or so. Don’t get me wrong, ignoring how dangerous they are, it worked really well! The problem is though that I simply didn’t have space (or a spare jigsaw) to leave it permanently set up, and you know what it’s like – if a tool isn’t easily accessible you won’t use it. It’s been hanging there on my workshop wall… taking up valuable wall space. Don’t get me wrong I’ve used it a few of times, but only as an absolute last resort. Plus the other problem with a jigsaw table is that you’re really limited with the size of material you can run through it – anything thicker than 18mm MDF is pretty dangerous as you run the risk of the blade jamming and hurling the piece is your face. So, I saved up my pennies and had around £700 to spend. Well, OK… initially I was thinking closer to £500-600 but the purchase, which I’ve been deliberating about for 6 months now, ended up being a complete impulse buy!
I was out and about at the timber yard in the North Shields area and well, you know how it is, it would be rude not to pop in to Axminster Tools (I love that shop). So I strolled in, headed straight for the bandsaw section and saw this one for £699 – it’s still in the 600’s so I’m almost on-budget! OK perhaps not. I ended up going for the Axminster HBS350N 14″ bandsaw. Although this is marketed as a ‘hobby’ machine I really wouldn’t think of any tool costing £700 being in the hobby range, and this is no exception. This is a great saw for any small workshop and I think it’s a bad marketing move by Axminster plastering everything as ‘hobby’ as really the next machines up from this are simply too big for my little shop. I would deem this as a small professional bandsaw. Obviously you get what you pay for and I’d have loved to spend £1500+ on a bigger and better saw, but as long as it cuts accurately, has a decent fence, plenty power and proper adjustment for all the guide bearings etc. it should be absolutely fine for a small workshop – time will tell! Now, I’m well aware that Record Power make an equivalent priced saw that has slightly better spec. My father-in-law has one and it’s a lovely machine. However I purchased this from Axminster for two main reasons:
- If I didn’t buy it now I’d never buy it – I’ve been putting it off for about 6 months and I’ve lost money in terms of productiveness as a result of not having one.
- Buying from a ‘local’ shop means if there’s any problems it’s a short drive down the road to pick up parts etc.
- Axminster after-sales is excellent
- I want the Axminster shop to continue to exist – it’s an invaluable resource and guess what folks, if you don’t buy stuff from them they’ll not bother with the significant expense of having a huge showroom. Use it or lose it!
I’ll make a video about the bandsaw build we’ll see how it goes. Watch this space!