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Baffled by bandsaw

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Just4Fun

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OK, Let me make it clear from the outset that I don't normally use power tools and definitely do not know what I am talking about, so please be gentle.

At my woodwork evening class this week I wanted to resaw some 100mm x 30mm pine to make to pieces 100mm x 15mm (ignoring the loss from the kerf). Feeling lazy I decided to try the bandsaw, which is not a tool I am used to. Now the bandsaw at the class is a massive old jobbie with a cast iron table. I measured the wheels at about 76cm diameter. It was probably a major investment when Noah bought it to build the ark but it is definitely from times gone by. Anyway, how to proceed.

First, the saw has no mitre slots (not that I wanted that) and no fence - which I did want. The teacher jointed up a bit of scrap to clamp on as a fence. That did not go well because the underside of the table is not flat. It has a web of bracing pieces in the casting so clamping to the bed is almost impossible. When we did get the "fence" clamped on we had to adjust it and that proved difficult. To get it the correct distance from the blade and parallel to the blade whilst not disturbing the clamps was a frustrating exercise. The only easy bit of the set-up was to adjust the amount of exposed blade to be just a little more than the 100mm I needed to cut through.

After all that effort the cut was not straight. No matter how we adjusted the "fence" the cut always strayed way off line.

At this point the teacher decided to change the blade which was another time-consuming exercise. Apparently the blade he fitted was brand new. It didn't help.

At this point we gave up on the bandsaw.

There is a table saw but it didn't have enough depth of cut. The teacher said to use a contractor's saw which did have the required depth of cut but I refused to use it. It had a riving knife but no blade guard, no push stick (just use a piece of scrap) and I didn't feel particularly brave or stupid so declined.

Anyway, getting back to the bandsaw, I am baffled. With no fence and no mitre slot, what possible use is the saw? What would such a saw have been used for originally?
 

PAC1

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The short answer is cutting curves. Properly set up a bandsaw is very good at many tasks from ripping as you wanted, making veneer, cutting dovetails, cutting curves freehand or using a circle jig. It is one of the most versatile machines in the workshop
 

MikeK

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The saw could have been originally designed for the meat packing industry.
 

MikeG.

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It probably originally had a fence. For re-sawing, you don't actually need a fence, but a sort-of single point fence at the line of the saw teeth. Frankly, you should have just drawn a line on the wood and free-handed it, or, picked up a handsaw.
 

Droogs

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What you want to use to get your cut is a single point fence. basically clamp or glue a straight plank of wood about 90mm high to the table with a tranglular block with the pointy bit 15mm away from the blade. Score/mark your line of cut along the edge of the board to be sawn and push through the saw guiding the blade on the line as you go with the point of the triangle guiding the side of the plank


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hth
 

sometimewoodworker

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There is a good technique for a situation like this. don’t try to cut through the wood in 1 pass.
set the table saw either to the highest It can comfortably cut and if that is less than ½ the required depth it’s OK.
make the first cut. Flip the workpiece over cut again.
If there is anything left in the centre go to the bandsaw and using the kurf as a guide complete the cut, no bandsaw guides needed.

you are too dependent on fences with a tool and a cut where they are not needed.

yes it’s quite possible that the bandsaw hasn’t been adjusted to cut parallel to the table but that doesn’t matter as you just angle the wood so it’s cutting the line you need.

you probably need more practice with the bandsaw to get comfortable not relying on a fence for some/many cuts

FWIW re-sawing 30mm will probably give something less than 2 x 11mm, may a little over, once they have been planned
 
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Just4Fun

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It probably originally had a fence.
Possibly, but I am not convinced. It is not obvious to me how any fence would have been attached, but I could certainly be wrong.

Frankly, you should have just drawn a line on the wood and free-handed it, or, picked up a handsaw.
Yes, a handsaw is my normal approach and what I reverted to in this case. It was only laziness that tempted me to consider the bandsaw at all.

What you want to use to get your cut is a single point fence.
Thanks to you & Mike for this suggestion. I may try it next time I need to do something similar. Or I may stick to a handsaw, having learned not to get ideas above my station.
 

Droogs

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I have to admit J4F, I prefer just using a frame saw
 

PAC1

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There is a good technique for a situation like this. don’t try to cut through the wood in 1 pass.
set the table saw either to the highest It can comfortably cut and if that is less than ½ the required depth it’s OK.
make the first cut. Flip the workpiece over cut again.
If there is anything left in the centre go to the bandsaw and using the kurf as a guide complete the cut, no bandsaw guides needed.
Actually this is not a good technique. The problem is that the riving knife has to be set lower than the cut and so there is a risk that the stock will take flight. Further the HSE say that the blade must always protrude through the stock.
I know it is done but that does not make it "good". I also know that the HSE say you can rebate on a saw in which case what is the difference goes the argument. The difference is they say rebating should only be done when there is a guard like a shaw guard to hold the stock and stop it taking flight.
The bandsaw is better (but slower) for resawing where the stock is deeper than the maximum height of a circular saw
 

sometimewoodworker

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Actually this is not a good technique. The problem is that the riving knife has to be set lower than the cut and so there is a risk that the stock will take flight. Further the HSE say that the blade must always protrude through the stock.
I know it is done but that does not make it "good". I also know that the HSE say you can rebate on a saw in which case what is the difference goes the argument. The difference is they say rebating should only be done when there is a guard like a shaw guard to hold the stock and stop it taking flight.
The bandsaw is better (but slower) for resawing where the stock is deeper than the maximum height of a circular saw
I disagree. I have 2 riving knives. One used when I am making through cuts and that knife is well above the blade and has an overhead guard. the other is fractionally lower than the blade9F536D77-812C-4EBB-8167-0DA43E4A5937.jpeg
by a few millimetres. The table has been dropped for this picture it is almost always much higher.

The HSE governs commercial shops, it may cover educational institutions, it certainly doesn’t cover home/hobby use. It has rules that do not have any bearing on the amateur user. There are cuts that can’t be done with a different guard that done correctly (3mm draw bottom slots) cannot fly.

YMMV and your saw may be unable to have this style of guard.
 

no idea

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If the board is 100x30 it should be relatively easy to follow a line drawn along it on the bandsaw without a fence assuming the face on the table is square to to the 100mm faces?
 

Just4Fun

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If the board is 100x30 it should be relatively easy to follow a line drawn along it on the bandsaw without a fence assuming the face on the table is square to to the 100mm faces?
Probably so, but I didn't try that. Let's put that down to my inexperience with a bandsaw. Or stupidity. Take your pick.
 

HamsterJam

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Can you put a sash clamp over the table with a wooden fence screwed to it through the holes so the work piece is kept clear of the ends of the clamp?
 

Lons

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No matter how we adjusted the "fence" the cut always strayed way off line.
At this point we gave up on the bandsaw.

There is a table saw but it didn't have enough depth of cut. The teacher said to use a contractor's saw which did have the required depth of cut but I refused to use it. It had a riving knife but no blade guard, no push stick (just use a piece of scrap) and I didn't feel particularly brave or stupid so declined.
Was this a qualified woodwork teacher or just one of the other members?
I ask because it's surprising he didn't know how to set up for a re-saw operation on the bandsaw or how to easily clamp a temporary fence using scrap in the webbing under the table to support clamps and he really shouldn't be advising a student to use an unguarded contractors saw.
Luckily you had the sense to refuse but I wonder about the legal implications had you chopped your fingers off.
 

Just4Fun

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Can you put a sash clamp over the table with a wooden fence screwed to it through the holes so the work piece is kept clear of the ends of the clamp?
Not a bad idea; I don't see why it wouldn't work. Just one more thing I didn't think of.

There comes a point though when it is much quicker and easier to pick up a hand saw.
 

Just4Fun

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Was this a qualified woodwork teacher or just one of the other members?
I have no idea how qualified he is or what his background is but he is the official teacher.
The whole class though is a very relaxed affair, more of a club than a class. I go there more as a social activity than in the hope of learning anything.
 

Gerard Scanlan

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A bandsaw is the best tool for resawing, it is safe and accurate once you understand how you need to interact with it. But it is a tricky tool for resawing in a shared workshop. If the previous user has been cutting curves, putting the blade through its paces, it will always be difficult to resaw with that same blade. You say the blade was replaced with a new one but things did not improve. How the blade is positioned and tensioned it really important, but not too difficult to learn. Search for Alex Snodgrass and bandsaw tension if this link does not work.
Most of the time the blade is positioned on the wrong part of the wheel.
Many other helpful tips here have suggested ways of using a pivot point or how to secure a fence on a table like and I believe most of what you might need to know has been covered.
A bandsaw is trickier than a hammer but easier than a violin to master. The more gentle you are the better it performs. Don't give up on it just yet.
 

Just4Fun

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There is a good technique for a situation like this. don’t try to cut through the wood in 1 pass.
set the table saw either to the highest It can comfortably cut and if that is less than ½ the required depth it’s OK.
make the first cut. Flip the workpiece over cut again.
If there is anything left in the centre go to the bandsaw and using the kurf as a guide complete the cut, no bandsaw guides needed.
OK, I tried that. I failed. On the bandsaw, following the table saw kerf on the top of the wood was easy, but after only 70mm or so the blade emerged from the side of the wood at the bottom. I expected the blade to stay within the kerf automatically as it is "easier" than wandering off, but that didn't happen.

I think I will just give up on this bandsaw. It seems impossible to reliably do what I want, and I do not know why that is. I really would like to find some way to resaw though as it is my least-favourite aspect of hand-tool woodworking.
 
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