63 comments on “The Bandsaw

  1. 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?

      • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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).

    • 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.

    • 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.

  2. 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. 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.

  4. 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. 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

    • @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.

      • 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)

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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. Have used it for a few jobs but5 never really happy to use it for big jobs yet.
    I will check the set up when I next get to use it. I think there have been some good hints here.
    I have to say it did struggle when I tried to rip some teak boards to make my garden bench (see gallery) and ended up ripping by hand. Good for keeping warm on cold winters evening in an unheated garage and good for fitness levels.
    I shall look at my saw with renewed interest.

  14. Beach 512,
    Drift on a bandsaw is the prominent, existential problem every owner deals with. I have read all the responses to your inquiry and each solution has merit. Except one. The idea that no part of the tooth should touch the tire on the wheels due to pressure removing the “set” on the teeth is totally adverse to correcting drift if not impossible to achieve. Think about it. What actually does the cutting? The teeth right? So it is the teeth that must have proper guidance. Yes, there are guides on the machine, but they are there to guide the portion of the blades that move the teeth, keeping that extended metal from moving side to side and to far back. What guides the teeth? The rubber or synthetic tire. Bandsaw wheels are crowned, with a one to two degree slope from center. The is to allow the blade to track evenly without running off the edge of the wheel as it would do on a flat surface. It’s simple geometry.
    Since the teeth are what does the cutting at a precise point it stands to reason you want those teeth, no matter what configuration or rake, to be supported directly on the center or crown of the top wheel. This is done by adjusting the wheel tilt lever while turning the wheel by hand and observing where the teeth track. Once you have the teeth tracking on the crown you then adjust the lower and upper guides to control the rest of the blade. This setup will greatly reduce the tendency of drift. All bandsaws have some drift tendency, it’s the nature of the beast, but running the blade with the teeth on the crown will greatly reduce that tendency. Type of wood, rate of feed, stability of the fence all factor in but you will never minimize drift until the teeth of the blade are supported properly.
    Now don’t take my word for it. My information comes from the people who design, manufacture and sell quality bandsaws to the professional and industrial markets. What applies to those high end machines also applies to the smaller, home shop machines.
    What about damaging tooth set? Doesn’t happen. If your tires on the wheels are in good condition and supple, not hardened by heat or age, the resiliency is sufficient to accommodate the set in the teeth. It’s what they were designed to do. Some think it’s the rubbery nature of the tired that keeps the blade on the wheel but that’s not so. They are there to protect the teeth on the blade. It’s the crown that keeps the blades running true, besides, if you are using quality band saw blades they are made of superior metal alloys that resist damage to the teeth.
    I have an older model Deta 14 inch, USA made bandsaw that gave me fits with drift until I discovered a manufacturer’s rep video doing a proper setup with the teeth tracking on the crown. I tried his method as described above and the drift went away. Now if I have drift it either a dull blade or me trying to feed too fast that is the cause.
    By the way, once I discovered this I found I could successfully resaw without any type of fence whatsoever!
    Hope this helps.

  15. Paul is so right in how a bandsaw, even for a hand tool devotee, can help you become much more efficient in processing stock to get it prepped so your hand tools can then get you to your finished dimensions. If you could go back in time 150+ years, imagine how over joyed a cabinet maker would be to have a bandsaw in the shop! For many of us, time in our shops can be limited, so a tool that provides efficiency has a lot of value.

    I don’t think I heard Paul mention the “size” of the bandsaw (which often refers to the wheel diameter). He said he could cut up to a height of a little more than 11” (from the table to the bottom of the upper guide assembly at it’s highest setting – also sometimes called “resaw capacity”). It looks like the saw has a wheel diameter close to 16”. The tension needle indicator showed from 1/4” to 1-/8” width for minimum and maximum blade capacity.

    My experience with even decent consumer grade bandsaws is that often the blade that ships on the saw is sometimes a poor performing blade. The manufacturers may go with a super budget blade to save some money and the end user’s first cutting experience often suffers as a result. So don’t get dejected with a new bandsaw if its cutting lacks luster. Usually installing a blade from a reputable blade manufacture (and which has the correct width and tooth configuration for the cutting task at hand) makes all the difference in the world.

    So Paul, we hope for you that your new bandsaw lets you craft even more beautiful things from wood for the people that mean the most to you in life! More power to you (pun intended)!

  16. I remember Tage Frid advising that the bandsaw is the first machine a woodworker should buy and the last one s/he should dispense with. I’ve worked with bandsaws from 10” to 48”, and consider them essential. I had an 18” Laguna for years when woodworking for a living. Now that I’ve downsized and semi-retired I have a 14” Grizzly with a riser. I almost never use skinny blades, since tight curves are not my machine’s purpose—mostly ripping and resawing. Buy quality blades. Period. My most often used are 1/2” and 3/4” skip-tooth blades because of my purposes. Go get you a bandsaw. Shop the used market, but don’t buy junk or too small.

  17. I support the use of a band saw in the shop.

    I am a mature person, and have injured both shoulders and wrists in my past (four separate surgeries for carpal tunnel, alone), so long rips, etc., are very taxing for me.

    I found a used, older Delta 14″ band saw on Craigslist for a VERY reasonable cost (part of his problem was that it was set up incorrectly and didn’t cut well, so he thought it was garbage). So after some research and a little tweaking I was able to re-saw even construction-grade wood into even 1/8″ sheets. Not bad for an old saw! I made a lockable wheeled dolly for it so i can tuck it out of the way in my 1-car garage when not in use.

    I appreciate that I can do many of the things a table saw can do (and more!) without the safety issues, as well.

  18. Thanks Paul. I’m very excited about the bandsaw series. I have no machine tools, only hand tools. In the three years I’ve been woodworking, I’ve gotten comfortable sawing and planing by hand. What I absolutely dislike is thicknessing wood. I can do it but it takes a while and I have such limited time. Right now I pay someone at my local woodcraft store to do it. I can see where I will eventually own a bandsaw for thicknessing.

  19. I’ve long followed Paul for hand tool techniques and a bandsaw is the only power tool I use, aside from battery-powered drills. I use it for almost all my sawing needs. Most often I saw freehand, without a fence. With practice, you can very accurately crosscut and rip free hand. Resawing thick boards is problematic as even kiln dried stock has a higher moisture in the middle than at the edges and after resawing that newly exposed face wants to dry and contract, causing cupping.
    A good quality planer like the DeWalt 12-13” model is the only other power tool I wish I had.

  20. I have a “cheap” desktop Craftsman bandsaw that I purchased shortly after I started woodworking (with power tools then). I have gone through a few blades and spent hours trying to tune it correctly, get the wheels aligned properly, tension it properly, etc. My blade just never seems to move in a perfectly vertical path with no noticeable wobble. I feel like the blade should have plenty of life to it but sometimes it seems duller than I’d expect. I just don’t use it much b/c I don’t feel like I am very adept with it. But I wish I was better with it because I love woodturning and a good working bandsaw is key for making bowl blanks. Right now I’d be lucky to resaw a stick of butter. 🙁

  21. In answer to several questions, the bandsaw that Paul is using is a Startrite 403 and the motor is a 230v Single-Phase motor. We are not specifically recommending this as it may not suit your situation, but Paul has been happy with it’s performance and features.

  22. I bought,some years ago Record’s smallest bandsaw,I think it is the 250, for around £150. Th. This is a very decent little saw, and will cut 4 3/8 deep, perfectly straight and vertically.
    My only regret is that it will only allow 11” between the blade and the frame. Of course I have had to set it up carefully to make it work well, but it has been worth it.
    I always use a 3tpi hook blade with a heavy set that I originally got for bowl blanks. I like this little saw and though occasionally feel I’d like a bigger saw, I don’t need one enough to justify the outlay. Paul’s saw is professional workshop kit and very nice too !! I like most people would resent every minute it wasn’t paying for itself ! Seriously, you don’t need to spend that much, but you probably do need a bandsaw !

  23. I would like a closer look on the video as to what ‘ blade centered on the wheel means’. I have read several different descriptions on various web sites as to centering the blade.Does that mean centered with teeth and gullet n front of wheel center. That always made the most sense to me. As far as cost I have a ‘cheap’ Chinese imitation Delta which sometimes I get working ok but mostly end up with some minor drift and or bowed vertical cut. I am sure I am not setting everything up correctly. Else why work ok sometimes and fail other times.
    While Pauls bandsaw is likely more than many of his ‘ students’ would spend on their saw it still seems to me the general concepts of support bearing positioning, tracking, tensioning, blade type and blade tracking are valid for all saws.
    I compare it to buying old planes and hand saws. You can spend a lot for new tools or restore old tools ending up with tools that function almost identically.

    Look forward to more useful info on bandsaw and wood working hand tools and techniques.

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