Crosscutting with a band saw

  • Advertise with us

« back to Power Tools, Hardware and Accessories forum

Forum topic by JJOIII posted 02-16-2012 03:07 AM 5347 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View JJOIII's profile


6 posts in 2530 days

02-16-2012 03:07 AM

Topic tags/keywords: band saw set-up straight cut with a band saw

OK – New member here. I have been watching all of the good thoughts and helpful hints and found myself coming back for more. Question: I have a 12” Jet band saw w/ a 1/4”-6 TPI alternating tooth blade. I am trying to crosscut a 3” piece of hard maple w/o success. The blade will bow to my left (as I feed) and I can’t get a straight cut. I have made all of the adjustments per the Jet manual but not sure about tension. New the the band saw and looking for tips. – Thanks.


-- JJO

9 replies so far

View Jonathan's profile


2609 posts in 3288 days

#1 posted 02-16-2012 03:19 AM

Do you have the stock blade guides or aftermarket, such as cool blocks or Carter? How are you feeding the wood through the blade? By that, I mean, are you free handing it, or using a miter gauge or sled, etc.? Also, how much clearance do you between the top of the wood and the bottom of the blade guide assembly?

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

View JJOIII's profile


6 posts in 2530 days

#2 posted 02-16-2012 03:34 AM

Thanks for the response. I have stock guides – metal blocks. I am feeding the piece using the stock miter gauge that came with the saw. I have tried different distances between the guide and the wood. I am told that this type of blade should cut the piece so I can’t determine if it is the set-up or a dull blade. There is some signs of burning.

-- JJO

View Grandpa's profile


3261 posts in 2913 days

#3 posted 02-16-2012 03:57 AM

I cut all kinds of wood with the same blade and while it isn’t something I can do with the miter gauge it can be done straight. I have adjusted and tweaked also but I still have to guide the wood. I will cut it and I don’t usually get burns. Are the guides properly adjusted so they nearly touch the blade?

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3885 days

#4 posted 02-16-2012 03:59 AM

Read this:

It’s about resawing, but the bowing you are experiencing is a result
of the same effect.

Also, the miter gauge is not a reliable method of crosscutting on
the band saw due to blade drift. Set the gauge to 90 degrees
and it will cut at some other angle. One way to do it more accurately
is use the miter gauge as a fulcrum to guide the cut but use a pencil
line on the wood itself to show you where to cut. You can try
taping a 1/2” dowel or block of wood to the center of the miter gauge
face and then as you cut you make adjustments and you can stick
a finger in between the miter gauge face and the stock to set
the angle. This is unorthodox but it works and is not dangerous on
the band saw in my opinion.

View klw's profile


17 posts in 2598 days

#5 posted 02-16-2012 07:53 AM

“I am trying to crosscut a 3” piece of hard maple w/o success.”

Is that a 3” square piece? Or a 3 x ?? piece. I would think that a piece of maple would be a pretty hard cut with that blade. Not saying it can’t be done, but probably not ideal.

-- I don't remember being absent minded...

View JJOIII's profile


6 posts in 2530 days

#6 posted 02-16-2012 11:35 AM

WOW! Mathias Wandel is amazing. As a Mechanical Engineer myself, he speaks my language. Loren, thanks for your link. It opened a whole new avenue for me and woodworking. He is a very talented guy and I spent the evening exploring his website

I do have larger blades that I will try. And I also watched is clip on sharping a band saw blade which I will try as well.

-- JJO

View JJOIII's profile


6 posts in 2530 days

#7 posted 02-16-2012 11:40 AM


The dimensions of my block of Maple is 3” thick by 4” square. It is a block that I picked up to play with my band saw and I was trying to square it up before I started a band saw box project. I have a Dewalt miter box that I can accomplish that, but the intent remember is to learn my new band saw. I will play with smaller pieces to see if I have the same troubles.

-- JJO

View fussy's profile


980 posts in 3288 days

#8 posted 02-16-2012 02:40 PM

Pay attention to Mathias’ new post on bandsawing and you will see that 6 tpi is way too many teeth in the cut. A 3 tpi-skip is about the max and 2-3 skip is better. Make sure it is sharp, and look up Michael Fortune’s article “Five Tips For Better Bandsawing” from Fine Woodworking Nov./Dec. 2004. They require a paid membership to view it, but give you a free two week trial. If you follow his advice, you will get along better with your saw. That should be an easy cut with the correct blade, and the miter gauge will work with a sharp blade on a well-tuned saw. Drift is a function of blade tracking adjustment (simple) and a SHARP blade. Nothing complicated when you understand what is happening. Mathias is exactly right and his explaination makes it so easy to understand. Fortune’s setup directions are the same caliber. Just don’t expect a burnished cut as on a table saw with an 80 tooth blade.


ps. the sharpening really works

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

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3312 days

#9 posted 02-16-2012 03:03 PM

I’m skeptical about blade tension. It’s common for people to not put enough tension on their blades. If you are setting your tension based on the markings on the side of your saw, it is probably not tight enough.

There are lots of ways to set tension based on sound of feel (how far can to push the blade). I can’t really get into all of that in this forum, but I advise you to just try tightening your tension and see how that helps (or doesn’t help).

Note that bandsaws and blades are designed to take a lot of tension. The weak link in the equation are the tires and they can always be replaced. Urethane tires can handle higher tensions.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics