Bandsaw blade issues

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Forum topic by NoSpace posted 07-19-2015 03:14 AM 1208 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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120 posts in 1236 days

07-19-2015 03:14 AM

I have the little 10” Craftsman bandsaw, it’s my first bandsaw, and my main bandsaw interest has become resawing. Now, before everyone jumps up at once and tells me to get at least a 14” saw, I’m working on that, but for now I want to solve the problem for my current saw if I can. 1) brute force may win, but the same misuses of tool will just limit me on a 14” saw. 2) I’m experimenting with smaller projects and various more expensive woods so the 4.5” resaw capacity is just fine, for now.

At the suggestion of a forum member, I bought the woodslicer blade at the same time as the saw. My last project, a small bookshelf made from a foot of 8/4 jungle walnut far exceeded my expectations. I ripped and resawed off a few solid, routed pieces, and then cut the rest into 6 slices of veneer about 1/16th think. The veneer slices were uniformly thick and just needed a little sanding. I was so happy with how the raw pieces turned out that when that was finished, I ran out and bought some other woods.

The first was Padauk. I prepared my slices, and went to resaw, and total fail. I spent all evening tuning the saw and trying different things, and I got 1 or 2 good slices and just about ruined the rest. The main symptom was that even after compensating for blade drift, where the back of the fence moved sharply to the right, the blade wanted to go right into the fence within a half inch of cutting, suggesting the fence need to be moved even farther right, but that was just getting impractical. I even tried resawing some pine and it couldn’t even do that right. Defeated, I ordered another woodslicer to rule out the blade itself being the issue.

Finally I had time to test today, and sure enough, the new woodslicer works fantastic. My first drift calculation was off a little, but a minor fence adjustment and test piece of pine looked like it had been cut with a laser. I salvaged what I could of the Padauk and it all went as expected.

What’s disturbing is it seems like I barely used that blade. So I’m trying to figure out, what did I do wrong? a 35$ blade for every project or two is going to get expensive. So I will disclose everything I did with the blade, and maybe some of you experts have some ideas on where I went wrong.

I can’t believe I had more than a half hour of continuous cutting time on the saw. I did resaw a firewood log of some kind of hardwood, I think almond, and cut that into about 9 slices and that was pretty dicey and I wondered if that was hard on the saw given learning to control a bulky log through it went with some horrible noises and stalls. But it was one log only. And then I’ve used it here and there for cutting 3/4 inch plywood and pine for various projects where rough-cut is ok. Some of that was cutting curves, and the woodslicer is not meant for curves, but again, I wasn’t doing it for hours on end. The plywood may be no good either without carbide, but let’s say that was 10-15 minutes max of continuous cutting.

So what are the possibilities for blade defects?

- is the blade just dull because of the way I’ve used it?

- is it maybe just dirty, and worth cleaning and trying again? No doubt I’ll at least try this.

- Did I bend it or deform it somehow? It doesn’t sound horrible running on the saw but I admit the new blade is quieter.

Something else that seems to be true as well. It seems like I had a bit of an issue adjusting the tracking on the “old” blade. It wanted to creep to one side or the other even when spinning the wheel with my finger and it took a while to get it to stay centered. With the new blade, it was just a couple of turns to move it inward and it seems fine.

Any comments on my scenario or general tips on bandsaw blade life appreciated. Before buying another woodslicer, I nearly went for the Lennox Tri-master, but decided to keep the test consistent. I’m thinking the tri-master will be the next blade, but, if I’m doing something wrong that’s shortening the life of a 35$ blade, don’t want to just continue that with a 100$ blade.

12 replies so far

View MrUnix's profile (online now)


6704 posts in 2195 days

#1 posted 07-19-2015 03:26 AM

Sounds like you ran the blade into the guide blocks and dulled it (or maybe the throat plate). Also, if adjusted properly, you should not have to worry about blade drift, and certainly not as much as you seem to have. Have you watched the obligatory band saw tune up video?

Band Saw Clinic with Alex Snodgrass


-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View Andre's profile


1829 posts in 1802 days

#2 posted 07-19-2015 03:43 AM

Was it possible there was some dirt on the fire wood log, couple little pieces of sand can ruin a blade real quick?

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View mpounders's profile


875 posts in 2891 days

#3 posted 07-19-2015 04:09 AM

The noises and stalls you mentioned when cutting the log could have bent the blade and it is possible you got it into the guides when you were cutting curves. Make sure you release the tension on the blade also, when you are not going to be using it for a while (like overnight) and that will help your blades and wheels to last longer. Take the resaw blade off and use a narrower blade if you want to cut curves and just use the other for resawing.

-- Mike P., Arkansas,

View ElChe's profile


630 posts in 1332 days

#4 posted 07-19-2015 04:12 AM

I think you hit the trifecta of no nos with a thin blade with little set. You cut green wood (log). You cut curves. And you cut plywood. So my guess is you dulled the blade by using it for what it is not intended to do. Use the woodlicer for resawing and get a general purpose blade for other stuff.

-- Tom - Measure twice cut once. Then measure again. Curse. Fudge.

View TheFridge's profile


9446 posts in 1482 days

#5 posted 07-19-2015 04:22 AM

Ditto. Bark holds dirt. Plywood glue is hard on any blade

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View NoSpace's profile


120 posts in 1236 days

#6 posted 07-19-2015 04:55 PM

Hmmm., that video was really interesting, Brad. I have watched bandsaw setup videos, but certainly this one is unique.

The woodslicer blade comes with a 2-page document from Highland and about 1 page of single space typing is devoted to fixing blade drift. If it’s just a myth, that’s really amazing. I will go over the stuff I’m missing from the video.

I guess lots of good comments. In particular, I was not aware that contact with the guide wheels was such a problem. The point about cutting curves makes much better sense now. A few more questions:

1) How much contact with guide wheels should be expected when resawing? I’d think they’d be in frequent contact when bringing the wheels within 1/16 of an inch of the blade. what am I missing?

2) The one complaint I have about my little craftsman is that when guides raised to the top to resaw, and I adjust the wheels, all good, but when I lower down to rip 3/4 inch whatever, the blade then contacts the right wheel. This may also have contributed to a wear problem. Is there a way to adjust that?

3) in the clinic video, he says to have the bottom of gullets centered on the wheel. My 1/2 inch blade is almost as wide as the tire, is it OK if it overhangs the wheel a little? in the clinic it looked like it may have been overhaning a little but I couldn’t tell for sure.


View AHuxley's profile


653 posts in 3317 days

#7 posted 07-19-2015 07:10 PM

You ran headlong into an issue that kinda bugs me. Tons of people recommend the Woodslicer but either don’t know or don’t relay the essential caveats to its use.

The Woodslicer is a impulse hardend spring steel blade borrowed from the meat cutting industry with very soft (in tooling terms) 60Rc teeth. It has one specific function, cutting very smooth veneer from dry wood with little waste (very thin kerf). It gained popularity of the last decade due to FWW, Highland and the internet. The other key is with its small cross section small saws have a decent chance of getting adequate tension on it. So great niche blade when used within its limited range.

This is not a blade for green wood, cutting curves or any other general use, use it for its specific use and you will be happy with the results EXCEPT it will dull quickly, it can not be helped the teeth are just soft. This is compounded by the fact you have a very short blade, the shorter the blade the quicker it dulls because each tooth is being ask to take more bites from any cutting job.

The simple answer to you problem is use the correct blade for the job and understand the Woodslicer is a very specific blade for specific tasks.

Be aware the Woodlsicer is the most expensive way to buy that specific bandstock, Ittura Designs sells it as the Bandrunner for less and Spectrum Supply sells it as the Kerf Master for significantly less. Note that Spectrum’s website shows pretty expensive shipping (though even with the stated shipping it is cheaper than Highland) the actual shipping you are charged is less BUT call them up and make sure you get USPS shipping and the rate goes down much more, it is better to buy more blades at one time as the savings are much better.

I will also note that the duller a blade gets the more tension it needs to perform and your saw will max out very quickly on a 1/2” blade, even one as thin as a Woodslicer.

As to your specific questions about the saw.

1. in resawing the blade shouldn’t touch the side guides very often if at all (though the smaller saws with lower beam strength will see it more often) but especially on a small saw the blade will contact the thrust bearing or block almost continuously unless the feedrate is painfully slow. If you have side bearings just ensure they cannot touch the teeth when the blade is fully back against the thrust bearing or block. Bearing guides should be outlawed on small bandsaws soft (phenolic, plastic, wood) blocks make so much more sense but people have gotten the false impression that bearing guides are better, in a general sense they are only more expensive…

2. The guide post is not perpendicular to the table, on most saws this can be adjusted, not sure about yours. If it can not be adjusted then you need to adjust the guides when you move the guide post.

3. Snodgrass’ method is correct for a crowned wheel/tire saw and on a 14” cast saw a 1/2” blade will not overhang, there is not a problem with overhanging teeth (flat wheel saws require it for example) don’t sweat this issue just be aware that the reality is the blade is pushing the limit of the saw.

In the end you either ruined the teeth due to metal on metal contact (less likely) or you used the blade outside its design criteria along with the soft teeth, short length and inability to ramp up the tension as the blade began to dull just caused it to die (most likely)

IN the end this type of blade dulls quickly, no way around it the teeth are soft, but used within its abilities it is an excellent niche blade. I have several of them around for several of my saws and despite having 1 1/2” carbide resaw blades these types of blades are still very useful in certain situations but people recommend them without pointing out how narrow the usage window really is.

View firefighterontheside's profile


18159 posts in 1852 days

#8 posted 07-19-2015 07:25 PM

I’ve seen the video and I thought somewhere he says that the gullets in the center can’t always be followed as the blade gets wider. I wouldn’t run it with the blade hanging off the wheel, especially considering that the blade does not always ride the upper wheel the same as the lower. If it’s hanging off the top wheel a bit it may be hanging over the bottom wheel a lot.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View mahdee's profile


3883 posts in 1763 days

#9 posted 07-19-2015 08:06 PM

+1 MrUnix.


View NoSpace's profile


120 posts in 1236 days

#10 posted 07-19-2015 08:20 PM

I set up my saw from scratch after watching the video and found a couple problems and tried again and the pine resawed about as well as last night. I didn’t do the drift compensation, just ran straight. I ran about a 2 foot piece of surfaced 3/4” maple 3.5 inches wide through and cut it into 5 slices and it is not as clean as the pine but thickness is consistent and the ridges left behind as minor as anything I’ve done.


What is your take on the whole “draw a line on the table and set fence to the line” thing? Do you do that? does it depend on the blade?

That’s some great additional info you had. what about the lexnox trimaster? they make a 70.5 inch. One would think given my saw style is about the only 70.5 inch saw on the market that they’d considered whether the saw could tension it properly—what’s your take?

I couldn’t care less if I waste a little more wood resawing, I mean, with the price of blades, it would take a really expensive wood to matter I’d think.

View AHuxley's profile


653 posts in 3317 days

#11 posted 07-19-2015 08:57 PM

First, regarding the Trimaster… forget it! The Trimaster (A great blade BTW) is a carbide tipped blade with a fairly thick backer that will cut anything from wood to titanium alloys BUT it needs about 28,000-30,000 PSI of tension to be in the optimum operating range, far beyond the saw in questions abilities. Even with the narrowest Trimaster (3/8”) that saw MIGHT be able to get 7,000 PSI on it.

Skipping to waste, it isn’t just a matter of the cost of the wood sometimes it is needing to get X number of leaves out of a specific board when veneering. When building something where you are matching veneer that extra slice or two can be worth far more than tooling costs, even if the wood itself isn’t very expensive.

Regarding drift one really has to establish whether it is really drift, wander or poor setup. Poor setup is usually having one set of side guide pressing on the blade. Wander is usually from too low tension for the blade/wood/feedrate. The blade doesn’t have enough beam strength to handle the wood/feedrate and presses very hard against the thrust bearing or block the causes the blade to pivot off the back edge and wander, if the blade moves offline more with a faster feedrate and generally goes to zero with a very slow feedrate then you have wander. Drift is a result of blade set not being exactly the same on both sides of the blade backer, this can be a result of poor manufacturing or damage to one side, the duller the blade gets the more it will show. I don’t deal with significant drift often, I don’t worry about it on my saws set up for contour cutting since minor drift just isn’t an issue, with my power fed resawing saw the carbide teeth are usually near perfect on quality blades and it isn’t an issue. To deal with drift on a crowned tire saw (like yours) my preferred approach is not to touch the fence. Using the fence to deal with drift deals with it for rips but leaves the issue for crosscutting, for a saw used for general purposes and not set up for a specific task using the fence is just a sloppy quick fix in my book. I eliminate drift by using the point the blade tracks in the upper wheel, it is quick, works on most saws I have tried it on and leaves a saw that can be used for crosscutting. Michael Fortune trumpets this method, search for bandsaw drift and Michael Fortune and you should get video of his method, if you can’t find it I will track it down when I have more time.

View NoSpace's profile


120 posts in 1236 days

#12 posted 07-20-2015 01:17 AM

Thanks again, all great info. I checked out Michael’s PDF and I guess that’s why they say align the back of the gullet to the center of the wheel. I actually did that per the video linked above (and I did it in the past as well) but I wasn’t clear why this is done. This helps a lot as I can tweak the tracking and see how it changes the drift.

One more question if you don’t mind. For the saw I have, what blade would you recommend for resawing, if the goal is longer blade life?

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