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The laws of bandsaw ripping

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Forum topic by ErikB posted 07-08-2009 04:56 PM 3744 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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ErikB

14 posts in 1968 days


07-08-2009 04:56 PM

Topic tags/keywords: bandsaw milling

Hello jocks,

I purchased my first-ever bandsaw last year and recently had the chance to use it for ripping. Here’s a little bit of background information to help answer my question…

The saw: Powermatic 14”

The blade: The one that came with the saw (probably a portion of my problem.

The wood: I recently replaced the two 4×4 posts that hold up the overhang above the front door of my house. The tops were rotten, but the rest of the wood is nice solid pine (I presume Douglas fir).

The project: Since the wood is still very usable, I’m going to build a side table to accompany the Adirondack chair I built for my mother in law a couple of years back. I presume she’ll paint it white to match the chair and ottoman.

The problem: I’ve cut all pieces to rough length and now I’m ripping them to rough thickness. (I’ll use my joiner and planer to get them to the proper thickness.) So here’s my problem… Some cuts go well with no problems. During other cuts, however, the board wants to away from the fence and it’s a battle to keep the board at the desired thickness of cut that I want.

I’m using a magnetic featherboard (a single, not the more desirable double-stacked variety) to help keep the board pressed against the fence. Could that be my problem? Should I not use the featherboard? Is it positioned in the wrong place (it’s before the blade).

So, are there any laws of bandsaw ripping that I should adhere to? Is there a good demonstration video out there somewhere?

Thanks in advance,
Erik


11 replies so far

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8476 posts in 2370 days


#1 posted 07-08-2009 05:03 PM

one of the problems I see here is that you seem to be using the straight fence, and a featherboard on the bandsaw. as opposed to a table saw where the blade always stays true to the line of feed – on a bandsaw, the blade can twist, and if your lumber is trapped between a straight fence and a featherboard – there is no way to manually correct this. this is where a “resaw” fence comes into play with a bandsaw. either a V-shape, or a round post that is placed next to the blade – keeps the lumber at a constant distance from the cutting edge, but still gives you the ability to shift the lumber left and right to compensate for blade drift.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View SnowyRiver's profile

SnowyRiver

51450 posts in 2202 days


#2 posted 07-08-2009 05:30 PM

I agree with PurpLev. Use the resaw fence or attachment and follow a line.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View ErikB's profile

ErikB

14 posts in 1968 days


#3 posted 07-08-2009 06:07 PM

Thanks, PurpLev. Now that I think about it, I do recall the saw coming with a plastic do-dad that’s for resawing. I’ll have to re-examine the owner’s manual. Any Powermatic user’s out there have experience with that thing?

Erik

View SnowyRiver's profile

SnowyRiver

51450 posts in 2202 days


#4 posted 07-08-2009 06:19 PM

I have the Powermatic bandsaw. You should have a small plastic post with a screw sticking out of it. The screw should fit though a slot in the bandsaw fence. Mount the plastic piece on the fence across from the blade. I draw a line on the board I am cutting so I can tell if the blade is drifting. Run the wood along the plastic post and follow your line.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8476 posts in 2370 days


#5 posted 07-08-2009 06:20 PM

you can make your own resaw fence – the taller the better. do a search for “resaw fence” and you’ll surely find many good sources and designs.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View ErikB's profile

ErikB

14 posts in 1968 days


#6 posted 07-08-2009 06:33 PM

Thanks, Wayne.

So the only contact the board will have with the fence is at the point where it’s touching that plastic post? And that’s it? So it’s almost like doing it freehand, so to speak? Just follow the line, right?

Erik

View SnowyRiver's profile

SnowyRiver

51450 posts in 2202 days


#7 posted 07-08-2009 06:49 PM

Yes Erik this is correct. I forgot to mention if you havent already noticed it, but the plastic post has a little ledge on it and that will lock over the top of the fence so it cant slip around as the board is moving past it.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View ErikB's profile

ErikB

14 posts in 1968 days


#8 posted 07-08-2009 07:06 PM

Thanks again, Wayne.

Hopefully this helps me make some progress tonight. Mother in law’s birthday is this coming Monday so I’m under the gun! (Shocking!)

Take care,
Erik

View SnowyRiver's profile

SnowyRiver

51450 posts in 2202 days


#9 posted 07-08-2009 07:15 PM

No problem Erik…good luck with it. Keep us posted on how its coming.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View Raymond McInnis's profile

Raymond McInnis

36 posts in 1969 days


#10 posted 07-09-2009 07:21 PM

erik, from your description, your problem is called “blade drift”.

while i have a heftier saw: http://www.woodworkinghistory.com/bandsaw_table_fence.htm when i first bought my saw, too had blade drift, and it was driving me crazy—i was ready to send the saw back. instead, though, i started buying different configurations of blade teeth—right now i use 1 tpi,, yes pretty rough, but it allows me to do all the dimensioning the rough sawn timber i get—basically free—and all my ripping, but without having to contend with blade drift.

i can resaw pretty well with it though: srcoll down on this page: http://www.woodworkinghistory.com/resawing_BLM_burl.htm

one thing i did was build a larger table, and cobble together a larger, heftier fence, and started cutting on the righthand side of the blade, just like a table saw.

also i use the blade for only resawing and ripping, which means that the wear on the teeth is uniform. i have heard that blade drift comes from some of the blade’s teeth being duller—from cutting curves—which means that, since the bandsaw teeth are “set” , one side of the blade cuts more aggressively than the other, thus causing the blade ot “drift” as it’s cutting.

whether all this helps is of course something else.

your saw is brand new, and the blade unused, everyting the same as mine when i started.

hang in there, and try different “solutions”, like a courser blade, ie, reduce the tpi.

-- Raymond McInnis Washington State ray@woodworkinghistory.com

View hairy's profile

hairy

2097 posts in 2254 days


#11 posted 07-11-2009 11:00 PM

Like the other guys said ,you might want to check your saw for drift. Below:

http://www.newwoodworker.com/bsblddrft.html

You will need to do this every time you change blades. Also, make sure the blade is adjusted for tracking and tension before you check for drift. They all drift. Using the resaw fence allows you to compensate for the drift.

I have successfully resawed some smaller pieces using the fence and featherboard as you described. I fed the wood into the blade very slowly, not something you want to do with a big piece.

-- in the confusion, I mighta grabbed the gold ...

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