Learning bandsaw skills

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Forum topic by muddyboggy posted 02-19-2013 07:47 AM 2407 views 2 times favorited 29 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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20 posts in 1967 days

02-19-2013 07:47 AM

I and 4 other ‘old’ people were laid off from our company. I was six months short of receiving retirement benefits, so I decided to just stay retired since I’m 65 anyway. I have the skills and knowledge to build a house but have never owned or used a bandsaw. I bought a 14” Ridgid bandsaw and would like any tips and tricks you are willing to share. My son-in-law gave me a bandsaw box build by a woodworker in Oklahoma and I would like to practice those since they seem fairly simple. Any assistance would be appreciated.

29 replies so far

View Sandra's profile


7207 posts in 2103 days

#1 posted 02-19-2013 08:24 AM

Hi muddy,

I have only owned a bandsaw for about a month now. The biggest help for me other than this website has been Taunton’s Complete Illustrated Guide to Bandsaws. I ordered it on Amazon.

The book walks you through changing blades, making curve cuts, different fences, etc etc etc…

It has been much more useful than the dismal instructions that came with the saw.

Good luck

-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

View Harry Montana's profile

Harry Montana

46 posts in 2022 days

#2 posted 02-19-2013 12:41 PM

which kind of bandsaw?

-- With regards from Harry Montana

View JesseTutt's profile


854 posts in 2138 days

#3 posted 02-19-2013 02:26 PM

Look on YouTube for videos on setting up and using a bandsaw. There are plenty to choose from. If you live near a woodworking store they may offer classes.

-- Jesse, Saint Louis, Missouri

View MonteCristo's profile


2099 posts in 2216 days

#4 posted 02-19-2013 07:29 PM

A bandsaw is much tricker to set up than a table saw in the sense that the blade must track on wheels, be under proper tension, and been stabilized by the upper and lower guiders and thrust bearings. Pay attention to these issues, as they will be new to you.

-- Dwight - "Free legal advice available - contact Dewey, Cheetam & Howe""

View gtbuzz's profile


427 posts in 2469 days

#5 posted 02-19-2013 10:04 PM

I second the recommendation for Taunton’s Complete Illustrated Guide to Bandsaws. I “used” mine for a while based on what I taught myself from watching a bunch of youtube videos, but that book really helped to clear things up.

My bandsaw purchase included the DVD “Mastering Your Bandsaw” (ironically also from Taunton) and I didn’t find that nearly as helpful as the book. Go figure.

View Surfside's profile


3389 posts in 2201 days

#6 posted 02-19-2013 10:06 PM

You may want to watch the Alex Snodgrass videos too. Read some band saw blogs.

-- "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 Francisco Luna's profile

Francisco Luna

943 posts in 3421 days

#7 posted 02-19-2013 10:18 PM

we all learn from our own mistakes.
Turn on the thing, use your common sense, meke sure the blade guide over the casted top is close enough to the piece of wood to be cuted. that keeps the blade to brake. blade must have enough tension as well.

-- Nature is my manifestation of God. I go to nature every day for inspiration in the day's work. I follow in building the principles which nature has used in its domain" Frank Lloyd Wright

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5849 posts in 3613 days

#8 posted 02-19-2013 10:20 PM

There are several good books and dvd’s out there.If you are completely new and slightly anxious it would be prudent to ask at a local school or technical college for a bit of support.You might find someone in your area retired or working in the field who would possibly discreetly give you some tips.
Bandsaws can be dangerous so it is wise to be cautious.As long as you use pushsticks for the final few inches and keep everything tight into the fence when cutting and don’t let your fingers trail on a cut.I would recommend getting a friend etc to show you or as already advised some of the other ways Have safe fun. Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View exelectrician's profile


2327 posts in 2455 days

#9 posted 02-19-2013 10:21 PM

Alex Snodgrass the video’s are a must see. I also reccomend Birds “The Bandsaw Book”. – safe sawing.

-- Love thy neighbour as thyself

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2658 posts in 2949 days

#10 posted 02-19-2013 10:41 PM

”...........I and 4 other ‘old’ people were laid off from our company. I was six months short of receiving retirement benefits, ............” you need a lawyer!

-- Website is No PHD just a DD214 and a GED

View Loren's profile


10476 posts in 3675 days

#11 posted 02-19-2013 11:58 PM

If you’re looking to do scroll-cut bandsawn jewelry boxes
probably find you’ll get good results using “cool blocks”
and a 1/8” blade. When using narrow blades you’ll
wreck the blade if the teeth touch the metal guide
blocks. Cool blocks can be set to enclose a narrow
blade without damaging it.

View Monte Pittman's profile (online now)

Monte Pittman

29398 posts in 2365 days

#12 posted 02-20-2013 12:37 AM

Welcome to LJ’s

As with any saws safety is of the utmost importance. Slip ups can cause severe injuries and then we’ll all make fun of you and insist it won’t happen to us. Viscous circle :-)

Sandra’s suggestion for a book is excellent. For bandsaw boxes, do a search on this site and you’ll see more varieties than you can imagine. Lots of basic ones. Several members are phenomenal at them. My personal favorite is blackie in Austin Texas. The even better part of being here is that you can actually talk to these people and they will actually answer you! You’re in a great place. Ask away sir.

By the way, give your previous employer an obscene gesture from me for cutting people that close to retirement.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View woodsmithshop's profile


1319 posts in 3573 days

#13 posted 02-20-2013 01:04 AM

here is one site , really good info here

and here is another

both very informative.

-- Smitty!!!

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1520 posts in 4152 days

#14 posted 02-20-2013 01:11 AM

nth the “you need a lawyer” suggestions. But, back to woodworking:

I’m only a few weeks ahead of you on the bandsaw, I got a Jet 14” with the riser kit, and I’m learning too. I’ve watched a bunch of videos and read a bunch of the Fine Woodworking online articles about tuning your bandsaw, and I’m still a bit confused when I actually try to use the thing.

The main problem I’ve hit so far is trying to resaw: I’ve been trying all of the suggested mechanisms to set up fence alignment, and it seems like fence angle is heavily dependent on the material: I’ll set up the fence angle with a piece of 2×4 or 3/4” thick redwood (got some left over from some gates I was building), put the fence in place, cut a few more test strips, and then put a piece of nicer thick wood on there and no matter what the blade pulls towards the fence and either binds (if I hold the wood on the fence) or pulls the wood away. And if I try to set up a pivot fence I end up doing better for further, but eventually it feels like when I’m trying to turn the blade away from the fence I’m just pushing the back of it around and getting in to a spiral.

So I’m going to order a new resaw blade shortly.

Other than that, I’d definitely play with everything. Unplug it, open it up, and turn it manually while adjusting the top wheel angle, see how the blade tracks. Tweak the block positions. Get some 2-by material and cut curliques out of it. We went down to a local road widening project where they’d cut down a bunch of trees, grabbed a bunch of logs, and are experimenting with screwing them to boards to make sleds and trying to slice and resaw from those (Charlene was having a blast slicing rounds off some wormy redwood, which led to some freehand router inlay).

It sure seems like this is one of those tools where a lot of the real skills in using it come from learning the feel of it, not the kind of thing you can pick up with “book larnin’”.

Also, get a copy of the “Iturra Design catalog”, it looks like there's a downloadable copy here, I got a paper copy from a local woodworking and cabinetry shop owner, more than the amazing array of goodies and gadgets you can add to your bandsaw, it’s got a lot of articles about why he thinks each of those goodies and gadgets is useful and/or necessary. Including things like “I was trying to decide between rollers and blocks, so here’s how I set up to measure block temperature in different places in the blocks…” Lots in there about setting up a saw for different sorts of cuts, and why tuning for cutting bandsaw boxes isn’t the same as tuning for resawing.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

View muddyboggy's profile


20 posts in 1967 days

#15 posted 02-20-2013 02:36 AM

I really appreciate all the helpful info you guys have given me. Looks like I will be doing some reading also. Thanks for the advice Jim, concerning get a lawyer. I paid for 8 years of college and law school so I would have my very own personal lawyer, my son.

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