Bandsaw Strategies for Safe, Straight Cuts in Solid Stock

Bandsaw Strategies for Safe, Straight Cuts in Solid Stock

Synopsis: For those who’re solely utilizing the bandsaw for tough cuts and curves, you are lacking one thing. This machine is ideal for ripping strong wooden, from inventory breaking to just about completed cuts. It is quieter and safer than a desk noticed, and Tony O’Malley argues that it is also extra comfy to make use of. Right here he covers the fundamentals of organising and utilizing the bandsaw for all of your ripping wants.

Bandsaws include a fence for a purpose: they don’t seem to be only for curves and tough cuts. The truth is, they will additionally make correct and high quality rips. So long as you may have a great noticed arrange and geared up with the correct blade, you need to use this machine safely and effectively from inventory breaking to just about completed cuts. The one restrict is the reducing capability of your bandsaw. As a result of bandsaw tables are small, the inlet and outlet brackets come in useful.

Whereas I by no means quit my desk noticed, the band noticed is the easiest way to tear by strong wooden in my store. On the one hand, it is quieter and far safer. You will by no means expertise kickbacks on one. It additionally wastes much less wooden as a result of its lower is about half that of a desk noticed. And lastly, I believe engaged on a bandsaw is simply extra comfy.

Tear nicely to make room for the wooden to maneuver.

I work with kiln dried lumber from one among a number of trusted native mills. Although the wooden has been dried nicely, I nonetheless anticipate some motion as I tear the boards into narrower items. That is the place the security benefit of the bandsaw shines brightest, as a result of there is no such thing as a chance of kickback when pressure within the wooden is launched and the wooden grips the blade. You may all the time hold pushing the workpiece by the lower.

To start out, I be part of one fringe of a tough board, then put the fence on the bandsaw and rip my 1⁄8- to 1⁄4-in. in its closing width. If the sting could be very irregular, like a pure edge, I first mark a straight line and noticed off the road earlier than becoming a member of that edge. The longer the piece, the extra further width I go away in case the piece is crooked – a curve alongside the sting – which is frequent. There isn’t any want to affix between the slots at this stage. I then give the torn items a day to settle earlier than I proceed to mill them. I stack the items on the sting with house between them to permit air to flow into.

As soon as the wooden has acclimated, I proceed to mill it to closing measurement. I begin by placing collectively a face. If there may be an arch, I be part of the concave face for security and practicality, then flatten to closing thickness. Then I be part of an edge, once more selecting any concave edge. With each faces planed, I can be part of both face in opposition to the joint fence.

arrange for achievement


A 3/4-in. in width is ideal for splitting wooden to width. I take advantage of one, though my noticed will settle for blades as much as 1-1/4 in. For those who often change between rips and curved cuts, a 1/2-in. blade is an efficient compromise. Regardless, you need an aggressive tooth profile, the very best being hook tooth and heel tooth. And fewer enamel, like 3 tpi, is best than extra. Each the profile and decrease tooth rely stop the blade from binding beneath load.


I’ve had my noticed for over 15 years, however at first it wasn’t tightening the blade sufficient. This could let the blade wander whereas reducing and result in extra friction between the blade and the guides. Friction causes warmth, which may break the blades prematurely. I now absolutely tighten the blade and punctiliously alter the guides to attenuate friction.

grip blade


For a top quality lower, you want the blade to trace accurately. For the reason that fence is crucial for straight rips, I guarantee its alignment with the blade by lining it up with the miter groove on the back and front of the screed. To regulate drift, I feed slowly to maintain the blade from going astray.

illustration showing bandsaw fence aligned to miter slot

The second tear is barely under the ultimate width

At this stage, individuals typically flip to the desk noticed and rip the board widthwise. I proceed with the bandsaw, however with the assistance of the planer – or, if obligatory, the joiner – within the subsequent step. Bandsaw advantages nonetheless characterize this closing stage of reducing, however the bandsaw edge will want cleansing and refinement. So I tear my completed 1/16-in. to 1/8 in. wider than the ultimate width, once more relying on the size of the piece. If I’m ripping thinner strips from a wider board, I collect a reference edge between passes. The result’s a number of items of the identical width, with one edge hinged and the opposite sawn.

Tear good then wait

Be a part of a reference edge earlier than ripping vast. Collect one fringe of a tough board (above), then tear it into 1/8-in. to 1/4 in. wider than its closing dimension (under). The longer the piece, the extra further width it is best to go away in case the piece turns into crooked when ripping.

laying planks to acclimatize after rough rips
Permit the plates to acclimate. Tough rips launch stress within the wooden, inflicting the items to maneuver. To allow them to carry out this transfer, O’Malley locations the items on the sting with house between them. He returns the subsequent day to proceed grinding.

joint and plan

joining and then flattening a workpiece with an arc
Be a part of a face after which flatten. If a workpiece has any bows, be part of them with the concave dealing with down. Then use the planer to thicken the board and convey the other face parallel.

Carry to closing width

Square an edge of the plank to a face
Sq. an edge to a face. After tough tearing, the plank is more likely to be crooked. In that case, place the concave edge in opposition to the desk for higher stability. This hinged edge will go in opposition to the bandsaw fence when ripping.
O'Malley tears his finished pieces 1 ⁄ 16 in.  or more in width
Tear a bit vast. O’Malley tears his completed items 1 ⁄ 16 in. or extra in width, getting wider because the items get longer. If he’s ripping a number of slender strips from a board, he brings the sawn fringe of the board collectively between passes.
Flat parts to final width
Plan the items to the ultimate width. To stabilize slender sections of the identical width, hold them collectively in order that they act like a single block of wooden. Maintain them regular as they arrive out the exit aspect as nicely.

On vast boards, be part of a second edge

Make a slightly wide tear before cleaning the sawn edge into the joint.
Make a barely vast tear earlier than cleansing the sawn edge into the joint. If a board is simply too vast to plan, merely rejoin the torn (and tough) edge. Simply watch your jointer’s reducing depth to make sure you do not go over the specified dimension.

Flat (or joint) to width

This would possibly sound shocking, however I run my items by the planer on the sting to measurement them to the ultimate width. It really works nice so long as there may be sufficient working floor on the tables. For thinner items of the identical width, I group multiples collectively and cross them by the planer collectively, letting them act as one thick workpiece. For instance, I’d by no means try to iron a single 3⁄4-in. thick by 3 in. vast on the fringe of the planer. The half could be very more likely to tip over and the planed edge is unlikely to return out straight. But when I group 4 items of the identical width and maintain them collectively as one bigger block, they’ll stay vertical and their edges will likely be sq.. For longer inventory, I arrange feed and output curler holders to help the job.

Once I solely want one piece or when the piece is simply too vast to plan on the sting, I rip it on the band noticed with a 1⁄16 in. in width after which be part of the ultimate edge. Concentrate on your jointer’s reducing depth; don’t exceed the specified measurement.

Becoming a member of the sting will be one other shock. Going again to the jointer goes in opposition to frequent milling follow, however I believe we should always rethink. For one factor, in case you rip it with a bandsaw or desk noticed, that edge may have machine marks that should be cleaned up. Some individuals do that with a handplane, however I’d argue that my jointer works simply as nicely and is quicker. Additionally, when are completely parallel edges essential? Not with glued tabletop boards, as you may be dimensioning all the tabletop, together with leaving the indifferent outer edges parallel after gluing. Maybe completely parallel edges are essential for a floating raised panel on a bigger door, however I imagine lower than good is nice. Since floating panels want room to maneuver, there may be additionally room for a slight variation in width from finish to finish. Whereas there may be all the time a super to try for, there may be additionally an appropriate actuality.

—Tony O’Malley makes customized cupboards in Emmaus, Pa.Bandsaw Strategies for Safe, Straight Cuts in Solid Stock

Pictures: Barry NM Dima.

Designs: Vince Babak.

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