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can you use a horizontal band saw one you would buy at lowes and use it to cut a log may be 3' long and get a 1.5'' slab out of it to make a hard maple bench out of it. i know heat would be an issue and i have band saw blades for it for wood and metal and i have an air hook up on it to keep the blades some what cool.
 

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feed rate

Cutting a 1.5" slab would be an issue on a smaller bandsaw as you may not have enough power to pull the blade at any decent feed rate. The other issue you might have is whether you have enough throat to clear what you need/want to cut off.

You can probably do if you get the widest blade your saw will handle with something like 4-6 teeth/inch. The quality of the cut won't be great and you may get some waves in it but you should be able to cut it. I've cut cedar up to 4" thick with a Sears 12" bandsaw but it was really pushing it.

Treefarmer
 
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