Why would I want a bandsaw fence??

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Forum topic by Tedstor posted 05-12-2013 08:44 PM 2525 views 4 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1643 posts in 2660 days

05-12-2013 08:44 PM

I already own a table saw. So if I want to cut something in a straight line, I used my TS.
I also have a bandsaw. Specifically, a “14 Ridgid (Orange). I use it when I want to cut something into a curvy shape. I have, on a few occasions, resawn a few boards. But I used a shopmade resaw jig that I clamped to the BS table.

That said, why are bandsaw fences considered a “must have”?? I assume that most bandsaw owners probably already own a table saw. However, I guess I could see why a fence might be important for someone that didn’t have a tablesaw. So I guess my specific question would be:
”’Why would a TS owner want a fence on their BS”?

16 replies so far

View Brandon's profile


4152 posts in 2979 days

#1 posted 05-12-2013 08:52 PM

For resawing, or for those who only have a bandsaw and not a TS (they exist, especially among some hand tool enthusiasts). Resawing on a bandsaw is often preferred to doing it on a TS because the kerf of the blade doesn’t waste as much material and because the BS can saw a much thicker piece of lumber in one pass than a TS could do in multiple passes. That said, YOU may not have need for one.

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View Loren's profile


10476 posts in 3675 days

#2 posted 05-12-2013 08:56 PM

They are useful for cutting tenons and dovetails, not to
mention common shop tasks like neatly notching panel
corners…. and of course there is the ripping of narrow
strips and delicate materials that would be wrecked
by the table saw.

View The Box Whisperer's profile

The Box Whisperer

678 posts in 2097 days

#3 posted 05-12-2013 08:58 PM

One reason I could think of, and I dont own a bandsaw so what do I really know? When I cut out the sides of step stools, Its like cutting to top corner quarter of the board out, if that makes sense. Im not ripping or crosscutting through the whole thing, just partially, then stopping, resetting the other side of the cut, etc. I dont want to cut the whole way through the line with a TS, because the curved blade will go too deep on one side, leaving my corner cut out with little cross cuts. Last time I made some I cut 95% with a TS and used a jigsaw to finish the cuts, keeping them square. If I had a bandsaw with a fence, I would have used that for the entire cut, rather then switching tools.

Sorry for long rant, hope it makes sense!

EDIT: Loren, you got in 3 words what took me one whole rant. Well done.

-- "despite you best efforts and your confidence that your smarter and faster than a saw blade at 10k rpm…. your not …." - Charles Neil

View Tedstor's profile


1643 posts in 2660 days

#4 posted 05-12-2013 09:00 PM

Is a fence better for resawing, than one of these??:

View The Box Whisperer's profile

The Box Whisperer

678 posts in 2097 days

#5 posted 05-12-2013 09:01 PM

I dont know, thats a pretty sweet jig. My way would be to cover all my options and make both!

-- "despite you best efforts and your confidence that your smarter and faster than a saw blade at 10k rpm…. your not …." - Charles Neil

View Tedstor's profile


1643 posts in 2660 days

#6 posted 05-12-2013 09:07 PM

Loren- I forgot all about the joinery. I typically use my TS for those. But I could see how a BS could be preferred by some.
And true- the BS is not as ‘traumatic’ as a TS. Delicate operations are not a strong point of a TS.

View wbrisett's profile


203 posts in 2376 days

#7 posted 05-12-2013 09:23 PM

Tedstor: I like the fence on my bandsaw. Once I got everything setup, I can resaw things and now pretty accurately that they are the size I want and I do think it’s easier than the resaw jig you show. However, there are advantages to that method (and I’ve used that method as well). I just find once I setup the fence for the drift of the blade, things seem to go much faster for me than a resaw jig.

View Loren's profile


10476 posts in 3675 days

#8 posted 05-12-2013 09:50 PM

1/2 blades are always going to be prone to drift and
deflection in deep cuts, so arguably the single-point fence
is a better way to do it with 1/2” or narrower blades.

A real resaw machine takes wider blades (sometimes
much wider) and because of this the fence can be
set-and-forget to some extent. As these wide
blades dull they cut slower and burn, but they
don’t deflect and drift as readily.

View GT350's profile


368 posts in 2009 days

#9 posted 05-13-2013 02:16 AM

I use the fence on my bandsaw for things like cutting tenons especially the edges. There are a lot of small projects that you can use the fence for like that that don’t do well on the tablesaw. It’s one of this things that you don’t realize how much you will use it until you have it. I made mine, it took a little bit of plywood, a couple of pieces of angle iron for the rails and a few bolts so it cost me very little.

View NormG's profile


6141 posts in 3031 days

#10 posted 05-13-2013 02:28 AM

Good question and good remarks. I fine it handy for all of the above and simpler for some tasks than setting the TS up

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View taoist's profile


124 posts in 2518 days

#11 posted 05-13-2013 02:34 AM

I purchased a Magswitch feather board a couple of years ago because I need one and because I was intrigued by the other things you could do with the magnets. Last year Magswitch came out with a resaw fence for about 25.00 that uses the magnets and the feather board base. That’s a lot cheaper than a Carter mag fence for my BS. There are just so many other options that are available with a BS over a TS.
If I was you, I would have a resaw fence in addition to the the feather board type device you posted in the pic.

View JAAune's profile


1802 posts in 2344 days

#12 posted 05-13-2013 04:58 AM

A fence is definitely superior to a resaw finger for resawing operations. The finger is supposed to allow for steering to compensate for drift but that steering ability also results the loss of the ability to cut in a perfectly straight line. There’s too much room for human error.

A properly tuned bandsaw with a sharp 3 TPI blade is capable of resawing with enough precision to cut veneer if desired. This means during resaw operations, it’s usually possible to cut a thin slice off a 6” wide board and pass the board across the jointer to ready the face for the second cut.

Rather than me going through a long explanation I’ll just post the link I found in another thread on this forum.

Tuning the Bandsaw

That one is an old article. There’s a newer one out in Fine Woodworking now by the same author I believe but I don’t think it’s much different.

-- See my work at and

View Wildwood's profile


2322 posts in 2162 days

#13 posted 05-13-2013 11:31 AM

I do not own a table saw. In an ideal world would have both decent band saw & table saw they excel at what designed to do!

Next to riser kits & dust collection, aftermarket fence and or miter gauge popular optional buy for BS owners that need them.

My bandsaw came with a decent fence & miter gauge. No, do not use my fence for every cut same true for miter gauge. Besides my fence, use a homemade sled to resaw. Have sleds for cutting pen blanks square or on diagonal. Made my own circle cutting jig, but often cut bowl blanks free hand.

Even with all my homemade jigs & sleds glad my BS came with a fence from the factory!

-- Bill

View distrbd's profile


2252 posts in 2474 days

#14 posted 05-13-2013 02:47 PM

I made this fence for my bandsaw copying from the youtube made by Tom Casper American woodworker’s editor ,it is easy to make and dead accurate.all you need is a piece of MDF,an old mitre gauge,some scrap pieces of wood.

-- Ken from Ontario, Canada

View Nicky's profile


695 posts in 4119 days

#15 posted 05-13-2013 04:12 PM

Lots of good information here.

I use my bandsaw fence to rip boards (among other things mentioned already)

The fence is useful when I rip rough lumber, especially when the board is not flat, or the grain is a bit wild. This is a safer alternative then my tablesaw.

-- Nicky

showing 1 through 15 of 16 replies

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