Professionals and Amateurs Together

Bandsaw Column Position


I noticed at David Lamb’s shop all the old bandsaws have the column on the right as do the old European ones (Inca). Is there a good reason why most new models have the column on the left?­—Allen Everett


David Lamb replies: Good observation of my collection of left handed machines. It is interesting that the Inca saw is also left handed. The fact most bandsaws are right handed is interesting as well. This is a fact for both new and old saws. There were very few manufacturers that produced left handed saws. I have seen offerings by Northfield and Oliver that were left handed, but these were options. There is no particular advantage, from my understanding, to have a left vs. right hand saw. I believe that it is purely a marketing thing. I can imagine that in certain factory shop settings that the position of the machine in the work space might indeed dictate a preference of “handedness˝ for flow of work and efficiencies of space. Bandsaws from John White, Dover MachineWorks and National Machines were made available on request as right handed machines though I’ve never seen one.

Jon Siegel replies: There is no advantage either way. It’s just the style. Some bandsaw manufacturers offered their saws both ways because it is useful to have one of each. When cutting complex shapes from large panels, the column may obstruct the movement of the work. This can usually be solved by turning it over and retracing the pattern on the opposite side of the panel—but it is easier to simply move over to the left-hand bandsaw to complete the cut.

Tags: Bandsaw, Tools