Better on the Bandsaw

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Blog entry by Dave Rutan posted 07-09-2014 12:18 AM 1195 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’ll be the first to admit I bought cheap power tools, so any complaints are just brought on by my financial limitations. That said, I used to have unhappy experiences cutting anything on my bandsaw. It just always cut in the wrong direction. Lately though, I must have either adjusted something just right, or gotten better in my technique using the saw because it’s been working pretty well for me.

I’ve been cutting out the parts for a whirligig and I must say it’s been a pleasure. One secret I think is that I realized I cannot force the saw. So now I take it easy, not necesarily real slow, but I don’t push it faster than it can cut. It’s working well.

Note: In defense of cheap tools, I notice at least several YouTube woodworkers have my drill press, not all of them among the unknowns either.

-- Ni faru ion el ligno!

4 comments so far

View Oldtool's profile


2361 posts in 1608 days

#1 posted 07-09-2014 12:49 AM

I think you figured it right when you say you don’t force the wood too fast into the bandsaw blade. Also, did you change the blade recently?, as I’ve discovered a worn blade causes drift, and sometimes sideways blade flex.

As for “cheap” tools, well, I prefer “less expensive”, mainly because I too have purchased tools that some might consider “cheap”.
The way I look at it, if the tool does what it is supposed to do, and it doesn’t come apart in use, it’s not cheap. Example; I was doing wood working for about 6 or 7 years, happy with making furniture requested by family members, when I thought I might try turning some drawer pulls rather than purchasing wooden ones from a well known woodworking store. Didn’t want to spend a fortune in case I lost interest, and then I saw a Harbor Freight coupon for their lathe for a mere $89. Figured what the heck, I’ve spent that much on a dinner with the wife. The lathe only needs to spin the wood between centers, and if 18th century woodworkers could do with pole lathes, how could I loose!
Still have the lathe, just used it for door pulls that also latch on my most recent posted project, and I’m looking forward to more turning.
I also have other less expensive tools, like a Sears Craftsman table top drill press, got it for less than $100 on sale, and it also does what it’s supposed to do – which is make holes in wood. My table saw is a Skill Saw, table top type, but it rips wood just fine. My band saw, the only one ever made by Hatachi, 12” size, also from big box on sale for peanuts as a clearance.
So I guess my philosophy is such that, a “cheap” tool is one that breaks easily, while a less expensive tool still does what it’s intended to do. If you can accomplish your woodworking using any tool, who’s to say how much it should cost?

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

View Dave Rutan's profile

Dave Rutan

1363 posts in 1606 days

#2 posted 07-09-2014 01:24 AM

Oldtool, I think it has more to do with the tension and feed speed. I did put my smallest blade on before cutting out the whirligig parts, but the bigger blade worked just as well the other week. I’m using Delta blades. The original one for the saw broke last year.

More regrets: when we moved into this house in ‘93 there was a benchtop drill press missing the motor. I don’t know if it was rusted up or not, but I pitched it. Those were the days before I discovered that things can be repaired/rehabbed. Also I wasn’t into woodworking in those days, just gardening.

My Skil tablesaw does all right by me. It needs a new blade, but with jigs and a crosscut sled, I’m generally happy with my results. I just don’t ask it to do the impossible. Even when I need to upgrade the TS, I’ll be sticking with something portable. I don’t want to be dependant on riggers to move my stuff.

-- Ni faru ion el ligno!

View gfadvm's profile


14928 posts in 2108 days

#3 posted 07-09-2014 02:42 AM

Dave, It is amazing the difference a sharp blade, tracked, and tensioned properly will make!

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Charlie75's profile


286 posts in 1682 days

#4 posted 07-09-2014 10:51 AM

Dave, I’m in your camp too. There are a few more expensive tools I would love to have but being retired and on a fixed income it’s not going to happen. So I get the best I can for what I can afford.
As for band saw cutting You have it pretty much figured out. A sharp blade adjusted right and slow feed. My Chraftsman 14” band saw cut terrible until I tweaked the lower wheel a bit. Not it will recut a 3/4” 4/4 quarter by 6” starting at 3/8” going in and will come out 3” later at 3/8”.
My old Delta (you might remember old “smiley face”) the I got for $50 . and restored cuts like a new high end saw.


-- Charlie75, Alto

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