I’ve been thinking and reading about building a workshop for some time now, trying to figure out the best and simplest setup for my single garage.
For financial and space reasons I’m trying to keep the quantity and size of machinery to a minimum, but I’ve also settled on a 8in/200mm maximum timber size and have tried to choose machinery capable of handling at least that.
I’ve come to believe that the 3 machines I simply can’t do without would be:
- Pillar drill
(I’ve always thought I’d like to get into wood turning too, but a lathe is optional)
The planer-thicknesser I chose is the SIP 01552 and this was the trigger for the 8 inch “rule” due to its ability to both plane and thickness up to 8″ timber (other similar machines can only thickness 5″) .
The pillar drill I chose is the Axminster AWBRD550 which is probably the most capacity and flexibility I could get in a bench drill format, with a max 250mm chuck to table distance and a 220-420mm throat capacity.
I’ve been advised to buy a size bigger than I think I need, but I think as long as I comply with my minimum 8 inch capacity requirement (in this case 8″ depth of cut) I should end up with something fairly futureproof.
Most bandsaws with this capacity are rated as 14″ and the list I’m considering is:
- Record Power BS350 (230mm DoC, 1.5hp, £640)
- Axminster AWHBS400N (250mm DoC, 1.5kw, £623)
- Scheppach Basato 3H (205mm DoC, 800W/1.1hp, £489)
- SIP 01548 (230mm DoC, 1.5kw/2hp, £623)
- Charnwood W730 (230mm DoC, 1.1kw/1.5hp, £459)
- Fox F28-194B (230mm DoC, 1.5kw/2hp, £503)
(Update 01/08/2012: Added Fox option after feedback)
At various points I’ve favoured them all, apart from the Charnwood, which I only just realised is available!
As the Charnwood is relatively new I’ve been unable to find any reviews of it, but it certainly looks pretty compelling …
Update 04/08/2012: I’ve been looking at the options above a lot today and kept looking at the photos of the Charnwood’s table, which looked like you could see daylight through the mitre slot. I now realise it’s probably just the bar of the mitre gauge reflecting light!
The fact that it looks like it’s at least the same body as the Fox and some of the other saws I’ve seen made me think perhaps I’d be silly to spend £600 when I can get “the same one” for £400, but I still can’t decide …
I think I’d prefer bearing blade guides, which would mean options like the Scheppach and the Record wouldn’t fit the bill but I also think they’re probably the best machines in my original list …
Both are capable of handling a 3mm blade (most of the others in the list above claim 6mm) but their max depth of cut is 200mm, so not quite 8 inches. They also seem to have lower rated motors than some of the options but I think at least part of this is due to them being rated differently.
Both are also around the £800 mark, but it’s obvious from their photos that they are considerably better made than any of the rest of my list (just look at the blade guide adjustment photos for the SBW350B!).
Having just spent a similar amount on a grinder and really seen and felt the quality, I’m wondering whether I’m about to “buy cheap, buy twice” (I have a nasty suspicion my planer-thicknesser choice may come back to haunt me – I’m already lusting after the Axminster AW106PT2!)
The options now look like this:
- Record Power BS350 – looks one of the best made from my original list but I don’t like the blade guides
- Axminster AWHBS400N – I don’t think I’d go far wrong with this – I think this is back in first place and I’m regretting not buying it when it was on special offer a few weeks back
- Scheppach Basato 3H – variable speed and one of the better brands in the list but I don’t like the blade guides or the shape!
- SIP 01548 – SIP never have enough photos to judge their products properly. I think if I’m going to spend this much I’d just get the Axminster
- Charnwood W730 – I still can’t make up my mind about this one – it just seems too cheap!
- Fox F28-194B – looks very similar to Charnwood but maybe a better table?
- Jet JWBS-14Q – on special offer at almost twice the price of the Charnwood but would it be twice as good?
- Axminster SBW3501B – very similar spec to the Jet but £34 cheaper and smaller max blade width
I know I’ve asked this before, but …
Update 08/09/2012: I’ve now ordered and taken delivery of the Charnwood. Once I’ve used it a bit I’ll post a review