Video Shop Tip #1: Band Saw Blade Drift

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Blog entry by Brian Havens posted 11-24-2009 09:26 PM 4530 reads 3 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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Now that I have my web site in order, I have had time to resume working on videos. Here is the link and the writeup:

Band Saw Blade Drift

All too often band saw blade drift is a phenomenon that vexes woodworkers who are new to resawing on the band saw, more...

-- Brian Havens, Woodworker

17 comments so far

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3140 days

#1 posted 11-24-2009 09:39 PM

Excellent vid, chock full of useful information.

Wondering, though: IS drift an inevitability?? Should we just accept that—even if every single element of band saw tuning is correctly performed—a certain amount of drift WILL occur and MUST be compensated for??

What IS/are the primary cause(s) OF the drift?

Really nicely done. Thanks!

-- -- Neil

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3140 days

#2 posted 11-24-2009 09:46 PM

OhByTheWay: GREAT shop!! Just opened the pics!

-- -- Neil

View Brian Havens's profile

Brian Havens

196 posts in 3072 days

#3 posted 11-24-2009 09:52 PM

I would say that it is an inevitability. I suppose that you could get lucky and the drift on a particular blade will be negligible, but I always check the drift when I install a new blade. The good news is that once you find the drift for the particular blade, it will not change for the particular blade—at least not noticeably. I do not re-check the drift every time I go to resaw, but I do perform the double-check to see of there is space on either side of the blade every time, just to make sure nothing has changed. It is simple enough to do and only takes a minute, and is worth the insurance of not ruining some nice stock.

I an not sure of precisely what causes drift. I have heard several explanations.

-- Brian Havens, Woodworker

View OhValleyWoodandWool's profile


970 posts in 3087 days

#4 posted 11-24-2009 10:04 PM

Great tip – looks easier than what I’ve been doing – messing with bevel gauges and stuff

-- "All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then Success is sure." Mark Twain

View hardwoodflooring's profile


202 posts in 3163 days

#5 posted 11-24-2009 10:07 PM

nice shop and website.

-- hardwood, South Carolina,

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3809 posts in 3988 days

#6 posted 11-24-2009 10:11 PM

Well done Mr. Havens.


-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View Brian Havens's profile

Brian Havens

196 posts in 3072 days

#7 posted 11-24-2009 10:14 PM

OhVlyArtisan: On some bandsaws the fence rail gets in the way of using the bevel gauge as well. I also like the fact that the pencil like stays there. I erase it only when I change the blade.

-- Brian Havens, Woodworker

View Mars72's profile


33 posts in 3219 days

#8 posted 11-24-2009 10:21 PM

Love your website. This is very good info. I have been very frustrated with my bandsaw.

-- I usually try the hard way 2 or 3 times before finding the easy way.

View Julian's profile


880 posts in 3492 days

#9 posted 11-24-2009 11:07 PM

I really like how you simplified the process by making the test cut the same thickness as the piece you intend to cut. Great tip!

-- Julian, Park Forest, IL

View Rj's profile


1047 posts in 3597 days

#10 posted 11-24-2009 11:56 PM

Great job ! I found it very helpfull , The editing was right on.

-- Rj's Woodworks,San Jose & Weed Ca,

View Brian Havens's profile

Brian Havens

196 posts in 3072 days

#11 posted 11-25-2009 01:02 AM

I am happy that the video is helpful.

I have put band saw blade drift on my arch-enemies list, and hope to foil its plot to impede fellow woodworkers from taking their work to new levels!

-- Brian Havens, Woodworker

View MedicKen's profile


1612 posts in 3428 days

#12 posted 11-25-2009 01:14 AM

Nice job Brian. I have been very lucky that my saw cuts straight without drift. I have an older, 68 Delta 14” that I have upgraded with carter guides. In my forst resaw attempt with a 1/2” timberwolf blade I had no drift and sliced a 1/16” piece from some 6” walnut. In the video you show cutting freehand about half way the length of a board and then drawing a line on the table. Why not just leave the test board in place, clamp it down and slide the fence over, clamp it down and then mark the table?

-- My job is to give my kids things to discuss with their

View Brian Havens's profile

Brian Havens

196 posts in 3072 days

#13 posted 11-25-2009 02:08 AM

It certainly works to clamp the scrap piece to the table and set the fence based on it, and I know that some folks do just that—and have even done it myself. One advantage of the pencil mark is that it can be reused, say, if I am cutting stock to several thicknesses or doing some other cut between resawing. In other words, the pencil line should be good until I change the blade. (But I still check each time that I have space on both sides of the cut using a scrap piece, before cutting into my good stock.)

Now that I think of it, though, I suppose that if you have an installed fence that you adjust for the drift, then there is no advantage to the pencil line, and perhaps clamping the scrap piece to the fence would be easier for adjusting such a fence. Good point. Just be carful that the scrap piece does not move while you clamp it down.

-- Brian Havens, Woodworker

View patron's profile


13600 posts in 3307 days

#14 posted 11-25-2009 02:24 AM

great tips brian !

good video too .

thanks .

welcome to LJ’s .

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4066 days

#15 posted 11-25-2009 02:28 AM

Great tutorial and video production. I loved the cutaways, you stayed on target with your topic, and had efficient and clear transfer of information. Lighting and audio was good.

Nice to see the website up and running. It is looking great.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

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