Bandsaw drift

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Forum topic by Eric posted 10-30-2011 04:19 AM 3630 views 0 times favorited 29 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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221 posts in 2505 days

10-30-2011 04:19 AM

I have a Craftsman bandsaw from the early/mid 1990s. My dad never used it because it drifts. I went through the manual and tuned up the tension, upper and lower guides and bearings. It still drifts heavy left. Any tips for bandsaw drift before I drop this tool and look elsewhere?

-- Eric

29 replies so far

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2683 days

#1 posted 10-30-2011 04:33 AM

A good quality blade may make a significant improvement but blade drift is pretty common to bandsaws. You can get around it by freehanding your cuts or align your fence at an angle matching the drift. Hope this is what you were looking for.

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

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1754 posts in 2853 days

#2 posted 10-30-2011 04:57 AM


If you haven’t done so already, try a new, sharp, properly set blade and see if that makes any difference.

Good Luck!

Be Careful!


I see that gfadvm beat me to the punch…

-- Herb, Florida - Here's why I close most messages with "Be Careful!"

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980 posts in 3044 days

#3 posted 10-30-2011 05:04 AM

As the other two guys said, get a sharp blade and the right blade for the work. General work calls for a 3tpi skip tooth blade 1/2” wide unless you have a 10 or 12” saw, then 3/8” wide. Make sure tracking is right; center the blade on the top wheel. Drift is a function of a dull blade and/or improper setup.


-- Steve in KY. 44 years so far with my lovely bride. Think I'll keep her.

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298 posts in 3982 days

#4 posted 10-30-2011 05:07 AM

If the wheel is crowned, you should be able to adjust out the drift by changing the tracking.

-- - dabbling in sarcasm is foolish … if you’re not proficient at it, you end up looking stupid … ... ...

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Charles Maxwell

1099 posts in 3800 days

#5 posted 10-30-2011 05:13 PM

I also have a Craftsman Bandsaw that I bought in 1988. The lamps still works after 23 years – go figure!!! I had a radical drifting problem that I couldn’t understand so, I had no idea how to fix it. I blamed it on the saw and never thought that it could be the blade AND the tension force. A fellow woodworker suggested I try a 3 or 4 TPI by 3/8” width blade and putting a bit of tension on it. I purchased a decent blade from Woodcraft (about 25 bucks) and – - – what do ya know? Problem solved. That Craftsman saw is my favorite tool now. I never change the blade, even though the purists will scold me for my laziness. A 3 TPI blade at 3/8” width does all my work. I can cut paper thin sheets off of 6 inch blocks, no problem, no drift – - – absolutely none. So, get a decent 3 or 4 TPI blade and ratchet up the tension.

PS: I cut all of clocks on my Craftsman bandsaw using a 3 TPI.

-- Max the "night janitor" at

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999 posts in 3176 days

#6 posted 10-30-2011 06:10 PM

Outstanding. Show some pics.

-- Proud Supporter of Homes For Our Troops

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13525 posts in 2686 days

#7 posted 10-30-2011 06:16 PM

How radical are we talking about? I have a friend with a Laguna18 that used the same term and it was imperceptible to my eyes. I’ve got a 20” bandsaw with a 3/4” blade with no drift; power is my problem. A new motor is a lot more expensive than a blade and some time, so if it’s just drift, I’d be a long ways away from getting rid of this tool if I were you. I think she’s a keeper and with the suggestions above, I think you’ll get it licked.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View poopiekat's profile


4354 posts in 3728 days

#8 posted 10-30-2011 07:34 PM

Did you hit any metal with the blade? Nail, staple, anything? That can instantly make a well-tuned bandsaw drift, if the set of the teeth on one side get dull.

-- 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 Eric's profile


221 posts in 2505 days

#9 posted 10-30-2011 10:52 PM

from your descriptions, it sounds like I need a new blade. Today at my big box store I found the correct length but they only had 1/4 in with 6tpi. It is a small 10” bandsaw. I’ll keep shopping for the 3tpi.

The drift is pretty severe. I tried resawing a piece of 1×3 cedar and across a 2.5” cut length the top drifts 3/16” and the bottom a good 5/16” and thats with me moving the piece to attempt to compensate for the known drift….. no fence.

-- Eric

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2683 days

#10 posted 10-31-2011 04:19 AM

I don’t think you’ll be happy with a big box blade. I would order a Timberwolf or Woodslicer.

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

View Eric's profile


221 posts in 2505 days

#11 posted 11-01-2011 01:29 AM


I don’t see my size in the brands you suggest. This is a smaller entry level 10” bandsaw. I’m not looking for professional results.. just better than pathetic.

Is the 3tpi a crucial element? I need a 56 7/8 in length. My saw can only accept 1/4 and 1/8 inch blades.

Maybe I should just stick with my scroll saw. :-)

-- Eric

View a1Jim's profile


117085 posts in 3570 days

#12 posted 11-01-2011 01:37 AM

Eric I think others have hit on this but maybe not making it perfectly clear. Besides having a good blade make sure your blade is dead center in your top and bottom wheels . If you still have problems after that it could be blade or the saw it self. The thing about blades is if you have to many teeth it does not cut as well 3-6 teeth per inch should cut most wood fine.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

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301 posts in 3035 days

#13 posted 11-01-2011 02:10 AM

one thing not mentioned is to feed the work SLOW – forcing the work can also cause the blade to drift – I do a lot of re-sawing to build small boxes on an old rockwell 14 inch bandsaw and i normally use a blade that is in the 20 to 30 teeth per inch to resaw thru thin oak boards about 2 to 3 inches tall – a coarser blade leaves too rough a finish for my application. Hope that helps.

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792 posts in 2392 days

#14 posted 11-01-2011 02:34 AM

Already covered are the sharp blades. I use Timberwolf exclusively and have had excellent luck with them. For resawing I use their new 3/4 inch 2-3 TPI blade in my Deluxe 14” Ricon. This new blade alternates the teeth spacing from 2 TPI to 3 TPI to reduce the harmonics sometimes experienced. This blade has worked really well for me.

-- Roger M, Aiken, SC

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530 posts in 2648 days

#15 posted 11-01-2011 03:13 AM

When installing a new blade (any blade on any bandsaw) you need to adjust the fence to account for the offset in the teeth and what that offset does to the blade when cutting. I use a 3/8” 4tpi blade on my Laguna bandsaw and I can resaw 1/16” material all day long. It took me a while to learn how to properly adjust the fence for the offset but now I can do it pretty quick.

Well worth learning how to do properly to get really nice cuts on your bandsaw.

-- Don, Diamond Lake Custom Woodworks - - "If you make something idiot proof, all they do is make a better idiot"

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