What an I doing wrong? (bandsaw issues)

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Forum topic by Michael James posted 01-21-2010 06:01 PM 2686 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Michael James

89 posts in 3250 days

01-21-2010 06:01 PM

Topic tags/keywords: bandsaw help benchtop

Hey everyone,

I’m not sure if this is a regular issue or not, but I’m having some real trouble with my bandsaw. I purchased it last fall – nothing special, just a benchtop Ryobi from Home Depot.

For the life of me, I cannot get it to cut straight. I put a fence on it and still, the blade would drift. I’m new to this and am still trying to find the best way to do things. I know it’s not a full-size bandsaw but my single car garage just can’t hold something like that.

Is there anything I can do to get better technique? Or is it just the fact I have a cheap bandsaw? Any advice would be awesome!

-- Michael James -

13 replies so far

View lew's profile


12432 posts in 3957 days

#1 posted 01-21-2010 06:08 PM

Just about every band saw has some drift. Blades and tension can contribute to this. If you have a quality blade and the tension is adjusted properly, you might try using a “post” type resaw device rather than a straight fence. The post allows you to compensate for drift as you make the cut.

Hope this helps a little.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View SnowyRiver's profile


51457 posts in 3682 days

#2 posted 01-21-2010 06:09 PM

I am not familiar with the Ryobi saw, but check to be sure the guides are adjusted correctly. Be sure the fence is also. Try correcting your feed rate and also check to be sure you are using the correct blade for the cut you are making. It will also wander if the wood is warped. I would also check the blade tension to be sure it is correct.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View PurpLev's profile


8547 posts in 3850 days

#3 posted 01-21-2010 06:21 PM

I would go and research on proper bandsaw tune up – there are plenty of good resources on that (also on and and even here).

another thing that causes drift is blade tracking. where is your blade drifting? which direction? if it drifts to the left, it might mean that your blade is set too much forward on the top wheel, and if it drifts to the right, it might mean that your blade is set too much backwards on the upper wheel. try balancing the blade in the center of the wheel, and if that’s the cause of your drift, it should straighten up your cuts.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Michael James's profile

Michael James

89 posts in 3250 days

#4 posted 01-21-2010 06:50 PM

Thanks for all the help. I’ll try to figure out what the correct tensioning is…

Are there any resources about what blade to use? For the most part, I’ve been using at 1/4” blade for the straight cuts hope the stiffness of it would help.

-- Michael James -

View Blake's profile


3443 posts in 4076 days

#5 posted 01-21-2010 07:01 PM

Blade drift is normal on any bandsaw. Thats why bandsaw fences are supposed to have an adjustable angle to account for blade drift. Another option is to set up a resaw post that acts as a pivoting point so you can angle the stock and account for drift as you cut.

Even the best bandsaw will have blade drift. And every blade you put on it will have a different drift angle depending on the set of the teeth, width of the blade, etc.

-- Happy woodworking!

View matt garcia's profile

matt garcia

1902 posts in 3874 days

#6 posted 01-21-2010 07:01 PM

I think all bandsaw blades have drift to them. You have to find the drift angle, and then adjust the fence to the blade drift. David Marks has done a Woodworks episode on this issue. Look for it on his website.

-- Matt Garcia Wannabe Period Furniture Maker, Houston TX

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3376 days

#7 posted 01-21-2010 07:13 PM

I really like Mark Duginske's Band Saw Handbook.

Easy to find used copies, too.

That said, if you Google “tuning band saw,” there are some excellent resources.

FWIW: Once, I had The Dreaded Drift. Tuning my Grizzly pretty carefully, and replacing the OEM blade with a TimberWolf seems to have entirely eliminated it … and I’ve pushed a few big, dense boards through, to re-saw them.

-- -- Neil

View poopiekat's profile


4386 posts in 3936 days

#8 posted 01-21-2010 07:15 PM

If tracking adjustments, tensioning, and guide adjustments don’t seem to help, it might be that at one time or another, your blade came into contact with steel. Even a tiny staple from where the lumberyard attached a tag, will quickly ruin a blade, and if it struck only one side of the blade, it would wipe out the ‘set’ of the teeth, on that side only. So the blade will try to follow the kerf of the remaining teeth, and drift to the other direction. A 1/4” width is just right for Ryobi benchtops. good luck.

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

View davidpettinger's profile


661 posts in 3402 days

#9 posted 01-21-2010 09:28 PM

The Woodsmith Shop has an excellent video to help you tune up your bandsaw. You’ll have to sign-up, but your looking for Season 1 Episode 105. It gives good direction for tensioning and adjusting the guides.

-- Methods are many,Principles are few.Methods change often,Principles never do.

View Gary's profile


9386 posts in 3635 days

#10 posted 01-21-2010 09:53 PM

Michael, I don’t remember who it was but, one of the LJ’s did a good video on how to compensate for the drift. It was about a month ago I think. You might search that out.

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

View Michael James's profile

Michael James

89 posts in 3250 days

#11 posted 01-21-2010 09:56 PM

I’ve been doing a bit of digging…it might be the bearings…I’ll check tonight when I have a chance. Thanks to everyone who suggested the sources – very helpful for sure.

-- Michael James -

View TheDane's profile


5550 posts in 3865 days

#12 posted 01-28-2010 06:22 PM

Michael—Could be tension or bearings, but I tend to think it could be the blade. The blades they supply with these saws are generally pretty low quality. And depending on what you are cutting, the blade may be wrong for the stock.

Does the blade heat up as you cut? If so, try a more aggressive blade (e.g. 3 teeth-per-inch). When a blade heats up (especially the cheaper ones), the steel expands, increasing the likelihood of blade drift.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View woodywoodworker's profile


30 posts in 3242 days

#13 posted 01-29-2010 09:09 AM

There are a few point to take a look at. Granted you are working with a smaller machine but there is still room for adjustment depending on what the cut looks like.

First make a test cut. Get a piece of scrap wood and make a cut into your material about 1” in using your fence. After you make the cut of 1” into your piece shut off your machine and look at where the blade sits in the work piece. You want your blade in the center of the cut with equal spacing on the left and right side of the kerf. If you see the blade is angled in the cut (left to right, front to back) you need to adjust your fence to make sure the blade and fence are square.

Next you will want to adjust your guides. If the blade is wondering all over the place chances are it is your fence. If your blade is giving you a angled cut, (ie the top is thinner than the bottom of your work piece) then it will be your guides that need adjusting. Usually if your top guide is not aligned with your bottom guide it will give you this angled style cut.

Last but not least your tension, If you are running at to low of a tension your blade is going to want to wander all over the place. Tighten your tension up on the blade. A good way to check if your tension is correct is to raise your guides all the way up. Then open your top door. Where the blade is about to come onto the top wheel push gently on it and you do not want more than a 1/8” to 1/4” deflection on the blade.

Oh and check your blade, just becouse you have a home depot machine does not mean you need to run a home depot blade on it. A good blade makes all the difference. PM me if you have any other questions or if I did not explain correctly…mmmm Beer!!!!

-- "All men can see these tactics whereby I conquer, but what none can see is the strategy out of which victory is evolved" -Sun Tzu

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