Band saw it that hard?

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Forum topic by Tom posted 06-03-2016 01:55 AM 886 views 1 time favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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170 posts in 936 days

06-03-2016 01:55 AM

I was trying to make a bandsaw box..first one…and messed it up. I’m thinking it was the stock blade since I couldn’t get a tight turn…but it looks so easy on Youtube. Any advice? I have a 1/4” blade I’m going to use next and hope that’ll help.

Any advice?

9 replies so far

View Betsy's profile


3391 posts in 3772 days

#1 posted 06-03-2016 03:00 AM

I like to use a 4tpi blade. Check out books on Amazon by Lois Ventura – good instructions. Youtube videos have their place but sometimes a good old fashioned book is better.

Also for a first box I would pick a design that has large sweeping turns and not sharp turns. Make sure your blade is properly tuned, blocks are properly set.

Hope that helps a little. Good luck.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

View ScottM's profile


580 posts in 2023 days

#2 posted 06-03-2016 12:47 PM

I’ve also been having trouble with my box testing. I don’t have a lot of time on the band saw. Been making some test boxes using some scrap construction 2×6 that I glued together. I’ve started getting better results with them by slowing way down on the turns and being sure to not try extremely tight turns, even with a small 1/8” blade.

My last couple of tests came out ok. I’m still searching for a design that I can pull off before I put more expensive wood to the test.

Make some blanks out of construction lumber and practice. Every one I screw up and throw in the trash my wife pulls it out and asks, “what did you throw this one away for?”.

Also, watch the tune up video by Alex Snodgrass, I think. Don’t be intimidated by how fast he cranks out a band saw box. Just pay attention to the tune up parts. And practice with scraps. Still practicing and having fun even when I trash it!

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Jim Finn

2599 posts in 2798 days

#3 posted 06-03-2016 01:50 PM

I recently started making band saw boxes and this is what I have learned: Design your patterns to have turns that have 3/4” radii. Remember that after cutting you will want to sand the inside of the box and the outside of the drawers and sanding tight turns is labor intensive. I use 1/4” wide bandsaw blades and have learned to feed the wood slowly. In order to reduce the inside sanding I also flock the inside of the box and the inside of the drawers. Makes for a smooth and quiet operation of the drawers. It also gives a good spacing of the drawers to the box that looks nice.

-- No PHD, but I have a GED and my DD 214

View Tom's profile


170 posts in 936 days

#4 posted 06-03-2016 02:37 PM

I’m thinking my blade wasn’t adjusted right; Grizzly says the bearings should be touching the blade and I had them adjusted so they were barely against it. I did use the fence and the back of the box I attempted cut off nice and even; it’s the drawer where I had issues. I’m going to have some time this weekend and will try again; I’ll be glueing some scrap up today to make blanks I can practice on before I use better wood.

View ChuckC's profile


826 posts in 2811 days

#5 posted 06-03-2016 03:18 PM

I usually use an 1/8” blade for BS boxes. You can make tight turns and the cut quality is better.

If you will be doing a lot of these consider an oscillating spindle sander. It will save you a lot of time in sanding.

View Tom's profile


170 posts in 936 days

#6 posted 06-03-2016 04:02 PM

Chuck: I picked up a Ridgid belt/spindle sander from CL. Still had the factory belt on it in pretty good shape. Runs great and I will use it when I finally get a finished box.

I may pick up a 1/8” blade once I get better with the saw.

View BurlyBob's profile


5156 posts in 2142 days

#7 posted 06-03-2016 04:11 PM

Tom, I had much the same issues you did and I know my practice pieces sure helped me get a little better. I was using a lot of pine in my stuff. I was just to cheap to waste hardwoods. I’m thinking the pitch/resins it pine build up on the blades and add to the friction. I’m certain that the heat really leads to early metal fatigue. Combine that and twisting the blade in tight turns.. the weld separates. At least that’s were my issues were.

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2599 posts in 2798 days

#8 posted 06-03-2016 08:14 PM

I borrowed a spindle sander from a friend and tried it in making the boxes pictured. I found that the hard rubber mandrel for the sanding sleeves to be too hard for my liking. I had trouble keeping the sanding smooth on the straight parts of the inside cuts . Ended up kinda’ wavy. I purchased a 1 1/2” pneumatic drum sander for my drill press and it works way better. No waviness and smoother curves. I returned the spindle sander to my friend.

-- No PHD, but I have a GED and my DD 214

View MrUnix's profile (online now)


6201 posts in 2075 days

#9 posted 06-03-2016 09:40 PM

For a 1/4” blade, you can’t do much tighter than a 5/8” radius, and even that tight is kind of a PITA. The 3/4” radius curves Jim mentions is a good target size. If you want tighter curves, a smaller blade is needed, or you can use a stabilizer, which is how Alex gets those incredible turns in his bandsaw tune up video.


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

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