Can't cut straight on bandsaw

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Forum topic by Derakon posted 11-30-2012 03:12 AM 2132 views 1 time favorited 23 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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89 posts in 2133 days

11-30-2012 03:12 AM

Topic tags/keywords: bandsaw

I have a Grizzly 14” bandsaw that I’ve used happily in the past for a number of projects. Now Christmas is rolling around and I’d like to make some building blocks for my niece and nephew. I want these to be as square as possible, since unsteady building blocks are just no fun at all! So imagine my dismay when I find that I can’t seem to cut straight! I went through the full calibration of the machine, checked that everything was square; it all looks good as best I can tell (it’s really hard to check squareness on some of the bearings), but I keep getting cuts like this one:

That piece of wood is lined up like I’d send it through the saw (as if the ruler was the saw’s fence). The cut consistently slants to the left at the start of the cut, and then straightens out. It’s a pretty subtle effect but it’s definitely noticeable and the cut’s simply not straight!

I’m using a 3/8” Wood Slicer blade; I wouldn’t think I’ve pushed it past its limits. Any ideas what’s going on here?

23 replies so far

View cstrang's profile


1832 posts in 3134 days

#1 posted 11-30-2012 03:24 AM

I had that problem with my Delta band saw a few years ago, all the bearings and blocks were adjusted nicely on the bandsaw but it would taper just like the pic, a new blade solved my issue. Quick and easy fix… hopefully it is that simple for you, good luck!

-- A hammer dangling from a wall will bang and sound like work when the wind blows the right way.

View patron's profile


13600 posts in 3306 days

#2 posted 11-30-2012 03:39 AM

i’m with cstrang

sounds like one side of the teeth are dull

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View JAAune's profile


1788 posts in 2282 days

#3 posted 11-30-2012 03:59 AM

If it’s a new blade there may be burrs on one side that cause it to favor the cut in one direction. If that is the case then the cut will probably improve with use as the burrs fall off. If the blade is old then it’s probably just dulled in an uneven manner. There’s also the possibility of one or more teeth having the improper amount of set.

If the blade is just slightly dull it still shouldn’t pull itself noticeably to one side like that unless you’re feeding too fast. The upper blade guides should prevent that from happening. They might be set too far from the blade.

If you are getting a new blade I recommend a 1/2” 3tpi skip tooth blade for the replacement.

Also, make sure the blade is tracking on the center of the upper wheel.

-- See my work at and

View Derakon's profile


89 posts in 2133 days

#4 posted 11-30-2012 04:26 AM

Hm, I wouldn’t have thought that the blade would be worn, but I grant I don’t really have a feel for how quickly blades go bad. I’ve owned the saw for almost a year now, but I’ve not been doing all that much carpentry for most of it.

I’ll take a look for burrs, but in the meantime I’ve gone ahead and ordered a couple more woodslicer blades. I also have a cheapo 1/4” blade lying around that’s never been taken out of the packaging; I suppose now’s as good a time as any to see if it’s any good!

Tracking is definitely not a problem; I checked that as part of the overall calibration.

Thanks for the advice, all. I just hope the new blades arrive quickly. And once I have those and the holidays are over, I guess I can start looking into how hard it is to resharpen the old blade—seems little sense in just throwing it out!

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 3074 days

#5 posted 11-30-2012 04:26 AM

Just for clarification, are you using the saw fence when doing a crosscut? I only ask because you stated “That piece of wood is lined up like I’d send it through the saw (as if the ruler was the saw’s fence).” This could potentially be your problem as the fence might be catching your piece when you first start out, slanting it to the left, and then straightening as you push forward. Crosscuts should not be done with the fence in place. You may not be doing this, but your comment led me to question.


-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View Straightbowed's profile


717 posts in 2263 days

#6 posted 11-30-2012 04:32 AM

yes are you using the miter I have a little sled I use on my bandsaw its on one side kinda like a miter gauge its really handy

-- Stevo, work in tha city woodshop in the country

View pintodeluxe's profile


5620 posts in 2779 days

#7 posted 11-30-2012 04:39 AM

replace the blade with a 3tpi hook blade

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View Derakon's profile


89 posts in 2133 days

#8 posted 11-30-2012 04:56 AM

I’m using the miter guide, not the fence. I should have been more clear; I was just trying to describe how the wood is oriented with respect to the blade.

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 3074 days

#9 posted 11-30-2012 05:06 AM

One other question Derakon. When you state that the board straightens after it veers, are you basing this on observation during the cut? or on the combo square? What is the tightness of the blade? If it is happening only at the start, there is an event that is occurring right when the blade makes contact. Maybe the blade has flex and the forward pressure causes the flex to dissipate after it starts cutting. It is not uncommon for a bandsaw to have some blade drift. This is usually rectified by marking lines along the wood, free hand cutting the line, and noting the angle you are holding the board after a few inches in the cut. You can then adjust the miter to be even with that angle and you should get a straight board. Even if the blade is unbalanced, that cutting angle shouldn’t waver. But if you are getting flex at the start, this would explain the behavior of that strange starting cut.

-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

5807 posts in 3160 days

#10 posted 11-30-2012 05:51 AM

You’re getting what’s called “bandsaw drift”.....

-- " At my age, happy hour is a crap and a nap".....

View tomd's profile


2148 posts in 3736 days

#11 posted 11-30-2012 06:04 AM

Maybe check the clearance between the back of the blade and you rear guide, the guide may not be close enough. If there is too much clearance the blade will flex untill it is pushed back enough to hit the guide then will straighten up.

-- Tom D

View Surfside's profile


3389 posts in 2139 days

#12 posted 11-30-2012 02:56 PM

That must be a blade issue.

-- "someone has to be wounded for others to be saved, someone has to sacrifice for others to feel happiness, someone has to die so others could live"

View Derakon's profile


89 posts in 2133 days

#13 posted 11-30-2012 03:18 PM

David: I’m basing my statements on the combo square, not any observations during the cut. I haven’t tried making any longer cuts since I noticed the issue, so it may well be this is only happening at the start of the cut.

The manual calls for a .016” (approx. 1/64”) clearance between the back of the blade and the rear guide, so I basically set it up so that there’s the tiniest of visible gaps between them.

I’ve checked the blade tension as well; it’s accurate.

View hairy's profile


2655 posts in 3498 days

#14 posted 11-30-2012 03:28 PM

Maybe slow down the rate of feed? I second using using a miter gauge or sled.

-- My reality check bounced...

View Mark Smith's profile

Mark Smith

509 posts in 2005 days

#15 posted 11-30-2012 03:49 PM

Isn’t this cut sort of normal for a bandsaw? I’ve never tried to use my bandsaw for an exact square cut because I just didn’t think it could be done. I use mine mostly for resawing, and I fully expect that I’m going to have to send the two halves through the planer or drum sander after the cut.

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