make your own bandsaw

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Forum topic by jacob34 posted 03-15-2012 06:12 PM 7493 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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465 posts in 2260 days

03-15-2012 06:12 PM

I was online the other night looking through videos and websites for ideas and tips for doing various woodworking things and I came across a band saw video that a guy had built himself. Now I will be honest this tweaked my interest as I know guys will build router tables and feed tables for table saws and I build all the stands that I put my bench tools on but to build a saw completely hmmm.

I am wondering how many out there have done this and if it is worth the effort. I know my skill level and at this point that would result in a off balance death machine craving my fingers and flat out refusing to make a strait cut. I could see after you were more comfortable with your tools and cut lumber to tighter tolerances than I do that this would be possible but I do not know that it would be practical. Seems like it would kinda be like building it just to say you did. Anyway looking forward to hearing everyone’s opinion.

-- so a bear and a rabbit are sitting on a log

15 replies so far

View interpim's profile


1170 posts in 3455 days

#1 posted 03-15-2012 06:18 PM

I’ve seen several folks build their own.

My personal opinion is, unless you have a specific need for a certain clearance or table etc. I would purchase one.
First, the amount of money you will spend on parts and wood will about equal the amount you would pay for one new.
Second, if your built saw isn’t doing what you want it to, your out of luck. The one you purchase can be returned to the store.

I also like having cast tables, and wheels etc… Wood moves, and in a machine I think it would get to be a bit finicky.

-- San Diego, CA

View jacob34's profile


465 posts in 2260 days

#2 posted 03-15-2012 06:27 PM

I had the same opinion it looked like it would wear down alot as well unlike the same tool in say plastic or metal or at least not as much or as fast.

-- so a bear and a rabbit are sitting on a log

View a1Jim's profile


117090 posts in 3573 days

#3 posted 03-15-2012 07:40 PM

Hi Jacob
Welcome to Ljs
if you do a search in the upper right corner there a number of members who have made their own band saws.

here’s one of them

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View DIYaholic's profile


19620 posts in 2671 days

#4 posted 03-15-2012 08:08 PM


My LJs buddy “Sir William”, built his own bandsaw recently. Here is the Project link & the Blog link.

I can see that a build of this magnetude could seem daunting, however with proper planning….......

I think, reading the plans until they are etched into your memory is critical and with shrewed & prudent aquisition of supplies a bandsaw could be made on the cheap. I have not made one, YET!!!, so I may just be talking out my A$$, so take my advice with due skepticism. I WILL build a bandsaw someday & WILL be asking William (&TKMM) for every bit of info and advise I can squeeze out of them. As a1Jim said, several LJ’ers have built bandsaws. Do a search and all neccessary research & then dive right in. The worst that can happen is you discover how not to build it and use the knowledge gained for Bandsaw V.2!!!

Good luck with YOUR build! I look forward to reading your blog and seeing the finished product posted as a project!!!

If I haven’t already Welcomed you, Welcome to LJs!!! Jump in the waters fine.

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View MrRon's profile


4764 posts in 3240 days

#5 posted 03-15-2012 08:18 PM

There was a company that sold a kit of parts to build a bandsaw. I believe the name was Gilliom and it may be out of business. It’s not rocket science, but the main objection I would have is; you would not be able to tension a blade sufficiently. Without good blade tension, you can’t follow a line well.

View Loren's profile


10381 posts in 3644 days

#6 posted 03-15-2012 09:58 PM

If it interests you, go for it, but if you live in the USA,
don’t expect to save much money by building such a machine.

Check out for some good info on
building wood framed band saws.

View StumpyNubs's profile


7590 posts in 2797 days

#7 posted 03-15-2012 10:09 PM

I’ve built my own band saw. I’ve also designed a couple that I plan on building on my little internet woodworking show. It’s not as expensive as interpim suggests. Most of it can be made out of cheap construction lumber or plywood. I have less than $100 in mine. Of course I already had a motor. But you can easily pick one of those up used at a yard sale for less than $25. Or you could buy one new for about $100.

Even if you bought a new motor, and spent a full $100 in materials, you’d have a nice 16” band saw with a wide re-saw capacity. To buy one like it would cost several hundred dollars even used, more than a thousand new. And there is a sort of satisfaction about making your own tools.

We’re woodworkers. We make stuff ourselves. It’s what we do.

Check out my last four episodes and see what else you can make...

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications:

View mtenterprises's profile


933 posts in 2689 days

#8 posted 03-16-2012 01:48 AM

Years ago my dad built two bandsaws. My dad didn’t have half the skills that I do and they worked perfectly fine. My brother still has the big one that he built and I’m trying to get it away from him to use for resawing. Take your time read the instructions several times measure twice and hopefully cut once and you will do just fine. It’s not necessarly about saving money there is the challange and the learning and the pride in building.

-- See pictures on Flickr - And visit my Facebook page -

View rance's profile


4258 posts in 3157 days

#9 posted 03-16-2012 02:28 AM

As Stumpy says, it is not nearly as expensive as suggested. I’ve watched Matthias’s builds. I bought his plans on the third version since it can be used as a bandsaw mill as well. I’ll start the build this summer.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View William's profile


9949 posts in 2838 days

#10 posted 03-16-2012 02:44 AM

DIY has already posted the links to the blog and the project post for my bandsaw build above.
It is completely doable.
Using the plans I used from here, the design allows for a band saw that, in my opinion, is every bit as good and accurate as what you could buy factory made.
You get the satisfaction of using a tool that you made yourself.
You can tweak certain companents to your satisfaction that would cost you more to do, if at all, on a factory made bandsaw.
My bandsaw has a resaw capacity of eleven and a half inches because of a tweak I made to the design. It will do it accurately too. I’m using a one and half horse variable speed motor.
As for accuracy, here is the FIRST test piece off of my saw. This was before I even fine tuned anything. I just kissed the fence to the blade, nudged it back a bit, and here are the results.

I think that is pretty thin and accruate to be able to slice wood that thin. You can see light through it. No amount of tuning on my old Craftsman saw would allo me to do that.

Oh, and the added bonus to my bandsaw is that I have about a hundred and fifty bucks in it at the moment, and that includes the thrity dollar woodslicer blade from Highland Woodworking.

If you do decide to build one with the same plans, here is the only piece of advice I do have.
Stick with the plans.
Me and KTMM (my buddy that worked this project with me) made the decision to alter the wheel design. While it did turn out alright in the end, it was a lot of headache and extra work that we wouldn’t have had if we had stuck with the plans. While I’m happy that we did (I like learning new things), it was the only hangup we had in the entire build.


View RandyM68's profile


693 posts in 2314 days

#11 posted 03-16-2012 05:19 AM

There really isn’t that much to a band saw. It is definitely one of the easier power tools to build. I’ve seen a lot of home built bandsaws. Williams blog is good, and some kid from England( the Teenage woodworker, I believe) has some good videos on his build. They have both inspired me. I find myself in posession of an extra 2 horse motor. My nine inch bandsaw pisses me off so I think I’ll build a big one. I’m not much for following plans so I’ll just make it up as I go along, and draw up some blue prints when I’m done. I work better that way. It doesn’t look like rocket science to me either. Two big wheels to run your blade around. Something to drive the bottom wheel and a way to float the top wheel from a screw so you can tension the blade. A moveable to keep the blade from twisting isn’t that complicated either. You can use roller bearings from the hardware store, or a block of hardwood, with a saw kerf down the middle, on the back side of the blade. The original bandsaws were all home made. We have better tools and materials to build them with. Your saw can be as accurate as you want it to be.

-- I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you. I'm sorry,thanks.

View Rex B's profile

Rex B

320 posts in 2247 days

#12 posted 04-12-2012 02:25 PM

I know this forum topic has been inactive for awhile, but I wanted to add my two cents. People have commented that a wooden bandsaw could not possibly tension the blade enough, but there’s really a lot more to this than simply the material used (such as cross sectional area of the beam and the design of the tensioner mechanism itself). If you look through Matthias’s articles on, you will see that his wooden design is capable of more tension than most low end 14” cast iron bandsaws. Also, if you design with wood movement in mind and leave a bit of adjustability to account for this, that problem can be avoided as well.

So if you want a bigger bandsaw for cheap, and don’t mind a challenge, go for it! Matthias’s plans are very comprehensive. And here is a whole page of success stories!

-- Rex

View StumpyNubs's profile


7590 posts in 2797 days

#13 posted 04-12-2012 02:34 PM

I have one of his wooden band saws, and I’ve seen him use the three he has for several different applications including sawing big logs. There is no doubt that it can be done, and it isn’t as difficult as some people try to make it out to be.

Yesterday the subject of wooden bandsaws came up in a conference and one woodworker said she was afraid of wooden bandsaws. I asked why, and she had no idea. It’s a stigma that unfortunately causes a lot of people to miss out on a great time building their own quality tool.

I am working on a bandsaw design of my own for a future episode of Blue Collar Woodworking.

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications:

View Rex B's profile

Rex B

320 posts in 2247 days

#14 posted 04-12-2012 02:37 PM

I look forward to seeing that Stumpy!

-- Rex

View Doss's profile


779 posts in 2261 days

#15 posted 04-12-2012 02:42 PM

Nothing is wrong with a wooden bandsaw if you understand how to properly build one and the materials and forces at play.

I plan on possibly building a bandsaw, but not wooden and not small. Since I have so many large logs to cut and relatively little income to purchase a bandsaw that can cut 40-50” logs (read: $25000 well used up to $250k new), I’ll probably build a large one out of metal (so it’s somewhat portable). Plus, these types of bandsaws (sawmills) usually aren’t designed with portability in mind. I don’t plan on taking it everywhere, but it will help to be able to transport something capable of at least 36” logs to a site and set up the saw around the log.

Again, you still have to know how to build things even if it is a simple tool. If it fails on you (hopefully not catastrophically), you only have yourself to blame and fix it.

-- "Well, at least we can still use it as firewood... maybe." - Doss

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