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Rule

Could someone who uses a bandsaw to saw out strips tell me what to consider in a blade? The only thing I could find was to use about a 14 TPI blade. I am pretty bandsaw illiterate, so I do not know what to consider for kerf size or width of the blade. I greatly appreciate it. I know the length of my blade and the parameters it will support, but that is about it.  (Bob Maulucci)

    I don't saw strips but I use a band saw for a lot of cutting chores and occasionally resaw lumber. For sawing strips I would suggest as wide a blade as your saw can handle with anywhere from 4 to 8 TPI.

    The more TPI, the more heat from friction.   (John Zimny)

    I'm not quite sure what you mean by "sawing out strips" (how wide a strip, how thick a material, etc.), but I use my bandsaw for resawing which might be similar to your requirement.  I've had excellent results with a Timber Wolf blade 3/4" wide and 3 TPI.  The thicker the material you are sawing, the fewer teeth you want per inch.  Oh yes, a nice benefit of the Timber Wolf blade that I am using is that the blade is 0.025" thick so you don't waste a lot of material.  (George Bourke)

    You want about the widest blade your saw will handle. 1/2" is probably  plenty. Fine for the Delta 14" and clones.

    I agree with the 14 TPI being about right, I think that would be my first choice. The guideline is that you want no less than 1 1/2 or 2 teeth in the thickness of the work piece at any time. Consider that the power fibers are about 1/8" or so typically, so 14 TPI or 10 TPI sounds right. I'm sure either would work well.

    I've never done any more than a couple swipes in cane with my band saws, so I wonder about how long the blade will last before it gets dull. You'll put a fair bit of mileage on the blade, straight sawing out for a rod or two. I don't know how to compare the hardness and durability of a bandsaw blade to a plane blade, but we all know how tough cane is on plane irons. So you may want to try one of the hopped up blades with hardened teeth. But they cost at least twice as much, so start with a common woodcutting blade from a good supplier and see if you're satisfied with the life you get out of one.

    Be sure to use enough tension; if the blade is slack and you feed a little too fast, it'll deflect left or right and wander a lot. There's what, 7 or 8" of blade exposed with the guides all the way up? Think of that as a guitar string. When plucked, you should hear a low note, not just a thud. The tension scale on the saw is probably weak, you'll want more tension than it suggests. Of course you'll lower the guides when cutting cane, but you need them all the way up to hear the note.

    I also wonder if you'd want a jig to put on the tabletop to handle the diameter of the culm. A little concave, dished-out block of about 2" inside diameter, kind of a V-block parallel to the cut, would probably help to keep your cuts on the radius of the culm, keep the strip from tilting left and right. But the entry edge of this block should be eased quite a bit so the nodes don't hang up each time one enters the block. You could cut the cove on a table saw with a temporary fence set diagonal to the blade, but BE CAREFUL this is a dangerous cut.  (Rick Funcik)

Rule

I recently bought a band saw on eBay - a Delta 14 (finally, one for sale close enough to pick it up and not pay shipping).  It works well, but I am in the process of tuning it and thought I would share some ideas summarized from the web. I haven't actually done anything yet, and would interested in learning whether or not any of these ideas work, or if I have overlooked anything.

Making the upper and lower wheels coplanar with shims or machined washers: I found a couple web sites that insist this is critical, and then a site that says emphatically that it should not be done with Deltas.

Replace standard drive belt with a V-link belt.

Don't try to run a 3/4 inch blade on a Delta 12 or 14-they don't have enough horsepower. Stick with 1/2 inch or smaller blades and pay attention to the correct tooth spacing for the work you are doing.

Balancing the wheels. Mark the wheel at 12 o'clock and spin the wheel by hand with no blade tension. Remark at 12 o'clock every time the wheel stops. If the marks are turning out close together, the wheel is not balanced and should be. The recommendation is that you drill VERY shallow holes in the wheel to balance it - I think I will add weights.

Don't buy cool blocks. Make your own from a resinous wood like Cocobolo, or maple soaked in mineral oil.

On Deltas, the stand is thin and benefits from a plywood shelf, and a 3/4 plywood spacer between saw and stand. Add a bag of play sand to the lower shelf for stability and vibration reduction.

No one mentioned aligning the motor pulley with the band saw pulley using a straightedge for perfect alignment.

Allegedly a higher horsepower Baldor motor contributes to smoother operation.

Polish the saw table for smoother sliding.

Take apart the blade guides and clean them up just as you would a plane. Square channels, remove burrs,  smooth surfaces.

Timberwolf blades.

I would like to know if anyone has tried any of this stuff on a band saw and whether it worked or not. And I did not mention that I want to revisit the idea of sawing very straight strips for use on the Morgan Handmill. (Jeff Schaeffer)

    Well, I got a lot of responses from band saw users and requests for an update. Here is a summary:

    1. Most told me that I was being way too anal-retentive, or just plain nuts. The advice was "use the thing". I took this kindly because no one brought up any of my numerous lathe posts urging new rodmakers to buy Sherline lathes and not imported or used lathes because you did not have to spend weeks tuning them. So at least there were none of those "follow your own advice" posts.

    The problem is that the saw vibrates like mad, which is undoubtedly one reason the former owner sold it. I isolated the problem to the drive belt and a VERY unbalanced arbor pulley that was probably defective from the get go. I ordered a V-link belt from woodcraft, and a balanced after market pulley from Woodworkers supply. Waiting on both.

    Making a shelf for the base and weighting it with 80 lb. of gravel did not help. Nor did putting in a stiffener of 3/4 plywood between the saw/motor and the metal base. I did the mark and spin thing to check for wheel balance. It seems just slightly off, but not enough to correct. I have done nothing to make the wheels coplanar because there is no consensus on this and it seems easy enough to adjust blade tracking when I change blades, which is not very often.

    2. A bunch of folks asked me for a list of sites dealing with band saw tuning. Here are two good ones, Highland Woodworking & Old Woodworking Machines.

    3. I did order cool blocks. Waiting.

    4. The new blades arrived, but I am not going to install them until I know everything is back in place and adjusted properly. There were a few posts on band saw forums about new blades getting trashed after a bunch of adjustments were made and something was out of place causing the new timberwolf wood slicer to cut into the insert, table, etc.

    5. This has tried my patience (mostly with waiting for UPS), but it gave me a working knowledge of the tool I never would have had, and I am confident that when I am finished this one will pass the nickel test (a nickel placed upright on the table should stay upright when you turn on the machine).

    6. But I was a victim of poor research. I passed up a new Rikon 14 inch because it only had 6 inch clearance. The Delta I bought has the same clearance, but you can get riser blocks. During the tune-up process I visited a lot of forums and learned that  riser blocks often create alignment problems, and you need a more powerful motor to really take advantage of the increased cutting height. So I probably would have been better off to start saving for an 18 inch saw. But there is no way I would have ever come up with that amount of money. And I have a nice made in the USA machine.

    I will let you know how all this turns out.  (Jeff Schaeffer)

    Results are in. The saw now is vibration free and cuts wood like a hot knife through soft butter. The solution:

    1. a replacement arbor pulley that was actually balanced, unlike the one that came with the saw. From Woodworkers Supply.

    2. A V-link belt from woodcraft.

    3. Cool blocks, properly adjusted.

    4. A 1/2 inch Timberwolf blade.

    It took forever because the V-link belt was back ordered. Now all I need is to cook up a jig and I can saw some mighty straight strips.  (Jeff Schaeffer)

Rule

I just acquired a 12" Craftsman bandsaw, is there a source to get a rip fence for this machine? I know how to make a temporary fence, but I would rather have the convenience  of a lock down fence.  (Ed Miller)

    I would imagine that Sears sells one. If not, there are several aftermarket fences out there, but you would have to check to see if they fit sears models. Check out Lee Valley, Woodcraft, Garrett Wade and the like.  (Jeff Schaeffer)

Rule

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