Bandsaw setup: Snodgrass vs. typical obsessions

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Forum topic by MarcRochkind posted 06-27-2014 04:12 PM 1760 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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12 posts in 1430 days

06-27-2014 04:12 PM

Topic tags/keywords: bandsaw

Watching the excellent, well known video, “Band Saw Clinic with Alex Snodgrass” (, several things stand out for me:

1. His rejection of the importance of getting the wheels co-planar.

2. His straightforward, almost casual approach to setting blade tension. (Similar to what Michael Fortune recommends in several older Fine Woodworking articles. Fortune strongly recommends a looser tension than is commonly recommended.)

3. His simple approach to setting the blade guides and thrust bearing. (Fortune goes even further, suggesting that the lower bearings be backed out, as the saws he’s used in Europe don’t even have lower guides.)

On the other hand, he does at one point emphasize that nobody knows the bandsaw better than the manufacturer, and my manufacturer, Grizzly, recommends a LOT of attention to #2 and #3, although they do seem to suggest worrying about #1 only if the blade won’t track.

I’m very tempted, as I guess most viewers of the video are, to go with Snodgrass. As I’m new to bandsaws, I’d be interested in how closely more experienced woodworkers do it the Snodgrass way. And, does anyone back off the lower guides, as Fortune does?

9 replies so far

View jonah's profile


1696 posts in 3294 days

#1 posted 06-27-2014 04:43 PM

I did pretty much exactly what Snodgrass did, and it worked wonders for my old 12” bandsaw. It now cuts straight.

View rrww's profile


263 posts in 2109 days

#2 posted 06-27-2014 05:09 PM

Try it out and see for yourself…

View jmartel's profile


7884 posts in 2146 days

#3 posted 06-27-2014 05:23 PM

Set it up per the video and you will be happy.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

View JAAune's profile


1797 posts in 2312 days

#4 posted 06-27-2014 05:37 PM

I’ve adopted the Michael Fortune method since it worked fine on my bandsaws once I set everything up and cost me nothing to do. I don’t know how different the Snodgrass method is except that he recommends centering the gullet whereas Michael recommends centering the blade on the upper wheel.

-- See my work at and

View Jorge G.'s profile

Jorge G.

1537 posts in 2471 days

#5 posted 06-27-2014 05:42 PM

Yep, saw the video, did as he recommended and it worked wonders for me.

-- To surrender a dream leaves life as it is — and not as it could be.

View Earlextech's profile


1161 posts in 2686 days

#6 posted 06-27-2014 05:52 PM

Go Snodgrass! It works!

-- Sam Hamory - The project is never finished until its "Finished"!

View MrRon's profile


4764 posts in 3239 days

#7 posted 06-27-2014 07:12 PM

I have a Rigid 14” BS with riser and the Snodgrass method has worked wonders for me. I do keep the bottom guides in place. It would seem to me that without the lower guides, the blade would want to deflect away from you when pushing hard, especially when using narrow blades. Everything is working good now, so I will stay with the lower guides; no reason not to.

I don’t particularly believe the manufacturer knows the most about his BS. They may know machines and mechanics, but they are probably not woodworkers. I’m sure they set up their saws by the “conventional” means and leave it at that. As long as the blade stays on the wheels; good enough.

View Surfside's profile


3389 posts in 2169 days

#8 posted 06-30-2014 09:08 PM

His video is very helpful. He keeps it simple.

-- "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 Robert Brown's profile

Robert Brown

151 posts in 2687 days

#9 posted 06-30-2014 09:55 PM

I have a hf bandsaw with a riser. My plan was to be able to resaw. For 5-7 years I could not. I bought a couple of bandsaw books and looked at videos on the net & info from woodworking forums. Almost all to no avail. Finally one of them forums pointed me toward Alex Snodgrass’s video. I followed his advice and voilà. I can resaw now – no drifting – up to 12 inches high and as thin as 1/16 of an inch.

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