Portable Bandsaw

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Pros discuss options for detail cuts on heavy timbers. May 4, 2005

I need to cut ovolo ends for a trellis out of 3"8"8' fir (I need 10-12). These things weigh 80 pounds each and the thought of using my stationary bandsaw for these seems nuts. Are the portable bandsaws out there for wood or just for metal? Any suggestions?

Forum Responses
(Architectural Woodworking Forum)
From contributor K:
I know a man who cut rafter tales on his stationary bandsaw. Mounted to his shop ceiling was a metal arm that swiveled 360 degrees with the pivot directly above the bandsaw. In the arm was a bearing assembly that would roll the length of the arm. And connected to the bearing assembly was a rope that held the rafter so that he could pivot the rafter 360 degrees, push and pull with little effort. Might be overkill for your job, but great to have around for heavy long work pieces.

From contributor D:
Last year I did the trellis for the fast pass at the tower of terror ride at California Adventure. Had to detail the ends of 8"x14"x28 ft. Bought a dolly on bearing type wheels, about 50 of them. Set the band saw on it, screwed it down. Thanks to Ralph (forklift), set the timber on benches and just moved the band saw. Worked great.

From the original questioner:
The second response seems like it has some potential, but do they make a portable bandsaw for cutting wood?

From contributor J:
Mafell makes portable bandsaws for timber framers. These are on the high end, about 4K I think. Protool and possibly Makita have ones for less. You might consider contracting out to a timber frame shop for a small quantity.

From contributor J:
Another possibility for 3" material is the Festool jigsaw. They advertise to cut 4 3/4" thick.

From contributor X:
Check with the Delta product line for a portable bandsaw. Use woodworking blades for wood use.

From contributor E:
Go to www.timberwolftools.com and click on portable bandsaws. They have two brands.

From contributor R:
We have the Oliver in our timber shop. Not to be confused with the other Oliver Co. It's around $2,000.

From contributor P:
I agree - check into the Timber Framers Guild (tfguild.org). Many timber framers have the portable bandsaws that have been mentioned here.