The Bandsaw

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Paul introduces the bandsaw as an extra device to free up time and energy to focus on hand tool woodworking. He goes over the uses of a bandsaw and the features that he looks for when acquiring one.

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77 Comments

  1. beach512 on 9 November 2018 at 10:47 am

    This looks like a very high end and expensive bandsaw. I would not be able to justify the cost of that model. I have a lower cost model. I hope you can go over bandsaw drift at some point. I have tried everything to work with it but nothing has worked for me. I would like to resaw some of my big and thick pieces of wood but can’t. I doubt you will have this problem with this high end bandsaw though so you may not cover that problem?

    • Benjamin Polidore on 9 November 2018 at 11:30 am

      Maybe a better blade?

    • allaninoz on 9 November 2018 at 11:33 am

      I had the same problem, turned out that the tooth size and pattern couldn’t get rid of the sawdust from the cut. The sawdust would start to build up on the side of the blade and push it sideways.

    • dpawson on 9 November 2018 at 1:25 pm

      Agreed. Also more than (UK) 13A feed needed?

      • Bob Blarney on 9 November 2018 at 1:52 pm

        13A @ 240VAC (~3100 W) is a more than sufficient for a bandsaw with 16″ (or less) wheels. One could probably get by easily with half that. My ancient 14″ Delta-Milwaukee (with a 6″ riser block to provide 12″ resaw capacity) is currently equipped with a 3/4HP @120VAC (~560 watts) motor. Use a sharp blade and feed the stock at a reasonable rate.

    • kevin winsor on 9 November 2018 at 2:01 pm

      Alex Snodgrass from Carter products has an excellent video on band saw setup. Hopefully Paul covers these issue in upcoming videos. Paul’s saw looks a lot like my Rikon from Highland Woodwork in the US, $800-1200.

    • Doug Finch on 9 November 2018 at 2:20 pm

      this guy is considered one of the foremost authorities on setting up bandsaws:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wGbZqWac0jU

      When I rebuilt my old Crafstman that I bought, I followed his technique and with the proper blade, I can cut sheets thin enough that I could almost veneer them.

      As for blades, I found these to be the best for resawing:
      https://www.highlandwoodworking.com/woodslicer-resaw-bandsaw-blades.aspx

      I need to replace mine – I’ve had it in service for about 1.5 years and have done a TON of hardwood resawing – since I mill and dry my own wood from logs.

      My saw is a 12″, by the way. I wish I had more depth of cut (7″ max), but it covers most needs effortlessly.

      When I rebuilt my saw, I did the following: (this is a saw from the 80’s) [$150.00 – I paid too much]
      Replaced all bearings – drive wheels and guide blocks (local bearing house) – [$30 – 8 sealed bearings]
      Replaced tires on both drive wheels – urethane tires off of (ebay) [$30/pair]
      Replaced both belts (ebay) [$30]
      Replaced faulty on/off switch (Sears parts) [$5]
      Kreg saw fence (Woodcraft – local to me) [$100]

      It sounds like a lot, but my old 12″ saw has a max cutting height capacity of 7″. When I compare that to an $800 Jet 14″ that only has a 6″ cutting height capacity – I’m ok with what I spent.

    • Howard Toon on 9 November 2018 at 3:37 pm

      I too wish that I could afford a piece of kit like this 🙁

      My benchtop cheapie isn’t up to this kind of spec.

    • Rob Young on 9 November 2018 at 3:43 pm

      Blade with no more than 3TPI and a hook-tooth pattern. Keep the blade sharp (they can be sharpened). Mine is 1/2″ wide and does just fine, buy them from Grizzly Machine Tools and sharpen them once in a while. Looks identical in tooth shape to Timberwolf branded blades but no idea who is actually making the Grizzly house brand.

      Don’t over-feed, let things cut at the rate they want to cut.

      Proper setup of the guides just behind the gullets so you don’t take out the set of the blade. Proper set up of the thrust bearing so you don’t overhead the blade because of friction (also over-feeding will bash the blade into the thrust bearing). Or manage to push the blade between the guides and, you guessed it, take out the set.

      Run the blade in the proper portion of the wheel (tire or tyre depending on your location). Multiple schools of thought as to where this is but where it ISN’T is having the teeth touching any part of the tire — removes the set on one side and guarantees drift.

      Correctly adjusted table (tilt) to the blade.

      Correctly adjusted fence to the blade. In my case, because I’ve taken the time to use the right blade, right tension (not nearly so much as you might think) and keep the blade sharp and in the right location I don’t have to faff about with setting a drift angle in the fence.

      On my “cheap” chinese copy of the Delta 14″ design with a riser block I have no problems cutting veneer that is 1/32″ average thickness in pine, poplar, ash, cherry, mahogany (and cousins), maple, or oak (don’t much get into other species).

      • jakegevorgian on 10 November 2018 at 4:09 am

        You’re a very nice man Rob 🙂 great tips! Much agreed on all you’ve set and some things were new to me! So I learned something new today.

    • Curtis Enlow on 9 November 2018 at 11:15 pm

      I found an older Delta 14″ bandsaw for a very reasonable price, mostly because it was set up improperly and the owner thought it was garbage. After some research and some tweaking i can cut even construction-grade timber into even, 1/8″ slices. Not bad for an inexpensive, old saw.

    • Glenn Dube on 10 November 2018 at 3:20 pm

      To me. If your’e not going to be using it for business or using it to resaw thousands of feet of lumber in a short time for a deadline then even the cheapest saw can be made to do what you want. The idea that you absolutely have to have the top line everything is kind of a myth. These little 14″ band saws that seem to be everywhere are plenty strong enough for most avaerage hobbyist applications. Mine is a used market purchase. It had a good motor. Came with a robust stand and has been no trouble to get it working perfectly, it was basically sold as scrap. One good thing is the design has been copied so many times by so many companies all the parts are practically interchangable.

    • pricemj43 on 31 December 2018 at 9:08 pm

      There are simple solutions to drift and it has nothing to do with hoe expensive a hand saw or the blade as long as it is sharp!
      Michael

    • Gregory Clancey on 6 July 2019 at 5:30 am

      My dad was a musical instrument maker and did lots of resawing of hardwood blocks to get veneers with book matching grain pattern for the backs of acoustic guitars or violins. Drift was a constant issue. He band saw was just big. It had a large blade (1/2″ to 1″ ) with substantial guides (wheels on his). Also, he worked slowly and backed away at the first instant of trouble. He dealt with drift using skill.

  2. nilshoyer on 9 November 2018 at 11:02 am

    I am looking forward to the series. I have a small old 10-inch bandsaw which obviously can’t do the same as Paul’s larger one. But I am sure, that I will pick up lots of important information anyways.

    Appreciating all your work!

  3. Richard Kelly on 9 November 2018 at 11:28 am

    This looks to be a Startrite 403 or similar. It’s about £1,600 in the UK, but appears to be well made and not the usual Far Eastern junk.

    It appears to need a dedicated 240V 16A supply point – which could be an issue for ‘garage’ woodworkers who don’t have an easy option to run a dedicated spur from the fusebox.

    Appreciating that Paul isn’t aiming to be a power tool ‘reviewer’, but it would be very helpful to hear Paul’s views on what is essential, desirable, and optional in terms of features and even more so, quality. I can well imagine that a ‘cheap’ machine will be more trouble than it’s worth.

    • david o'sullivan on 14 November 2018 at 10:14 pm

      What’s a dedicated spur..?????

    • woodturner on 20 November 2018 at 12:53 pm

      Richard you are correct. It is a Startrite 603 and sells for 2,500 pounds in the UK. I have one exactly like this. Mine is about 16 years old and there are some minor changes. The saw is made by Weber in Italy. In the States Laguna Tools in California markets it.

  4. John Phillips on 9 November 2018 at 12:19 pm

    Thanks so much for introducing the band saw! Can’t wait for more videos on this as I’m sure it will also help me in deciding what type of bandsaw I will eventually buy. Lots of good nuggets of info in this intro video! Love it!!! 🙂

  5. Rod Peet on 9 November 2018 at 12:38 pm

    Good timing for this video. I’m looking for a bandsaw and these tips will be very helpful.

  6. Ed on 9 November 2018 at 12:48 pm

    Quick question- How important is it to remove tension from the blade when not in use? My saw has that feature, but it doesn’t work, so I just leave the tension on the blade all the time.

    Paul mentioned some safety features on his saw. One he didn’t call out is that his main power switch (not the kick switch) appears to be a magnetic switch rather than a simple mechanical switch.

    My saw has a simple mechanical switch. If the saw is running and the breaker trips or the power goes out, my switch stays on. It is really easy to forget to move the switch to off. That means it is quite possible to walk away from the machine and, when the power comes back on or you reset the overload protection, the machine turns back on. Or, if the power just goes off for a few seconds and you’re in the middle of a cut, it could come back on when you don’t expect it while the blade is still in the work and you’re not ready for the blade to move. The magnetic switch automatically moves to the off position when power is lost. This is an upgrade I’ll likely make to my saw soon.

    • Bob Blarney on 9 November 2018 at 2:02 pm

      Relieving blade tension should be done, as well as tensioning a blade properly.
      So far as having a saw equipped with a magnetic (self-latching relay) switch, it is a worthwhile safety feature but I think it is not absolutely necessary. When a circuit breaker trips (which should almost never happen), that’s plenty enough notice to me to flip the machine’s power switch to OFF before resetting the breaker.

    • Glenn Dube on 10 November 2018 at 3:34 pm

      I concur with Bob on the magnetic starter. If it was a different kind of machine I would be more inclined to want it. These saws don’t throw things or grap you and drag you into them, it has a relatively slow moving blade. Paul shows a safety interlock for the doors. Aside from the blade (which mostly would stop moving if it broke or came off) there are pinch points and entrapment hazards inside. If your saw has doors that can open without tools the you should have a proper starter and interlocks on the doors. Mine is like yours. But the doors only open by removing knobs and taking the doors/guards off. All those extra steps to get to the moving parts reduce the risk of getting hurt in there by accident. I think this is why saws were made that way.

      On the tension issue. When I got my saw if was from someone who took care of the saw but did not relieve the tension. The bearing unit on the top is cast aluminum it serves to tension the blade and provide a tracking adjustment in one assembly. These parts will develop cracks and fractures over time and basically disintegrate if left under tension. The old parts fell apart like broken potato chips when I took it apart. A replacement assembly was purchased for it. Not expensively either, but the previous owner thought the saw was scrap when the part failed. I thought I could make the part when I bought it but it turns out the spare was so easily available it made more sense not to waste time trying to make one.

  7. Hugh Roche Kelly on 9 November 2018 at 12:56 pm

    Nice little intro video- this and your previous video on how to fold the d*mn blades is a good combo!

    For those wondering about smaller cost, garage suitable machines- there is a glut of slightly smaller (10″ wheel bandsaws) for around the 400-600 price mark, that don’t require any extra special power. Obviously if you see a good value machine, google some reviews; Record power do fine machines and are a UK company so parts are easy for those of you based there, similarly good brand machines (personally we have a Makita 1200 in a shared workshop space) can be perfectly serviceable and good value for money. Just read reviews carefully and avoid mystery brands / rebranded cheap chinese machines. Getting better quality aftermarket band saw blades also never hurts.

    Second hand market is, here in belgium anyway, more useful for larger 3 phase machines than garage style ones, and of course second hand machine always require a bit of reconditioning. But you might find something good if you are willing to put in the time and prepared for a bit of extra spending after the fact.

  8. fredrick webster on 9 November 2018 at 12:57 pm

    I knew Paul used machines to help mill the wood. Am glad he is now showing that one can use the machines where they help and not necessarily interfere with your hand tool work. I came to that conclusion as i started my hand tool journey, tried all the milling by hand and decided the machines definitely had some positive points.

    • Doug Finch on 9 November 2018 at 1:53 pm

      @X29CS I suspect if you polled most serious people on this site you’d find quite a few that enjoy a moderate amount of “powered assistance” with projects. I have an old Craftsman bandsaw (early 80’s) that rebuilt from the ground up. It is one of my favorite tools to use. Resawing is such a valuable aspect of what we do – what I do in particular.

      While I have a nice brace/bit set that I’ve put together and use regularly, if I need exact, perfectly perpendicular holes drilled – I go to my drill press. Likewise, I enjoy using mortise and tenon joinery in most of my projects. I always chop the mortises by hand. About 60% of the time I do the tenons by hand. I just did a quilt ladder project where I used my table saw to cut the shoulder tenons with my Incra miter gauge (love the precision) and then took them to my bandsaw to cut the cheeks off. After that, I fitted them with my chisel, paring away so that my fit was perfect.

      I absolutely love hand tools and it is always my first thought. Sometimes though, you just need to get some stuff done so you can move on to the next thing. Power tools are great for that.

      • Keith Walton on 9 November 2018 at 2:23 pm

        Yep. Busy weekend for me, but also need to make something. I brought a board into work with me to rip and chop to size on machines. Any time I dont have to spend ripping and sizing stock this weekend will allow me to do the actual woodworking at a more relaxed pace. It is great to be able to dimension by hand though too. Just as useful when I can save my self a trip to the shop because I dont always need a power saw. Id be interested to see just how much power tool and hand tool work I would regulary do if all of those tools were in one location (i have power tools at work, but none at home)

      • david o'sullivan on 9 November 2018 at 7:26 pm

        I agree .i love hand tools without question .but I bought a bandsaw last year and to be quiet honest it’s like having apprentice.

    • jakegevorgian on 10 November 2018 at 4:16 am

      Paul almost always spoke about having a hybrid shop—power tools and hand tools. Although, I don’t think he has electric powered routers. It’s just rough surfacing and dimensioning tools that he uses.

  9. Bob Blarney on 9 November 2018 at 1:41 pm

    The bandsaw is one of my two ‘Desert Island’ power tools (assuming that the palm tree would have an electrical outlet), and the other one is a drill press. In the past, I wouldn’t recommend any saw with less than a 12″ wheel size, but with today’s blade metallurgy I think that a 10″ or even a 9″ saw may suffice. Because the blades are thin, any saw 16″ or less can be powered by a 1/2 HP to 1 HP single phase motor at 120/240VAC.

  10. Richard Villamil on 9 November 2018 at 2:17 pm

    Thanks you for the intro to bandsaws – it just prevented me from buying a “cheap” option to get started!

  11. Wayne Willy on 9 November 2018 at 2:40 pm

    Thank you Paul. I have a 14 inch with a 6 inch riser that is great for rough cuts, yet I still ignore it too often. I know that you will be able to coach us on ways for using the bandsaw that we can consider.

  12. Brian Reedy on 9 November 2018 at 3:18 pm

    Great start! I’m looking forward to more videos about this kind of tool. I recently salvaged some branches from an old apple tree whose trunk had begun to split from the weight of their more or less horizontal orientation. Some pieces might be big enough to resaw into small boards if I’m successful in keeping the cuttings I have from checking and cracking too much. I imagine a bandsaw could make such work much, much easier than trying to do it by hand.

  13. Tom Holmes on 9 November 2018 at 4:09 pm

    I built Matthias Wandel’s 19″ bandsaw, which works extremely well, has a 13″ resaw capacity and can handle a 1.5″ blade. As for drift, my understanding is that drift is a result of wood movement as tension is released in a workpiece as you resaw it. Wood up against a flat, hard fence has no place to move except away from the fence. That why some after-market fence makers like Kreg make a resaw fence that is curved, where only the part of the workpiece that is parallel to the blade is in contact with the fence. That means any movement behind the blade will not put lateral pressure on the blade, causing drift. Regardless of what happens on the cut side, the distance between blade and fence is always the same.

    Here’s a YouTube video explaining it better than I can, although his solution is different from mine, which is the Kreg resaw guide. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4k-r5utmU2Q

  14. John Devereux on 9 November 2018 at 4:42 pm

    Bought sawn and planed wood. Each cut and pass through the planer will add 30% to the cost of the wood sawn from the tree. That is compound. Five processes will raise the price by 1.30 to the power of 5 (x 3.71293); that’s why beading is so expensive. But having paid for PAR we take it to the workshop and plane it to improve the surface but more importantly to true it up. Buy sawn from a good supplier and plane and saw yourself, you will save a lot of money and get exactly what you want instead of having to make do. Where can you buy a veneer 2mm thick? As the Georgians would have used? The big estates will have annual sales at an open day and sell large boards of hardwood from the estate. Slab of Oak 10ft x 15-18 inches wide x 4 inches. Air dried. Under £100. Take it home and do a first resaw. Put it aside for two to three years and make a solid oak table and four chunky chairs, and still have lots of wood left. Paul’s bandsaw can do all of that… Hardest bit is deciding where to make the cuts. You will need to learn how to set the machine up well. No doubt Paul is going to teach us all how to do that. Record Power video is good. I’m all for hand tools but the bandsaw is a real asset too. It will still require skill to get good results. Skills that can be learned. It’s still real woodwork.

  15. Stephen Hillier on 9 November 2018 at 6:06 pm

    Thank you Paul for the video. Thank you guys for the comments.
    I don’t have a full garage to work in, using only half of my small garage but I bought a small bandsaw a while back.