Bandsaw Blues

Here’s the part of woodworking that is not much fun .. for me anyway.  I’ve been trying to re-saw boards on my band saw and this is what’s coming off the saw ..

.. potato chips.  Grrrr …

This after several attempts at re-saw fences, a flat clamp on tall fence, etc. etc.

Here’s what I think the culprit is.

After a fair amount of sleuthing, I think what’s happening is the tensioner is not tensioning and I need to figure out why.  Stripped or just in need of tightening?  I’m still diagnosing.  AND .. I’ve pulled out the manual.  Watch out!

16 thoughts on “Bandsaw Blues”

  1. I had trouble with tension that was caused by blade length. Mine were too long for the original set up and would not tension enough. The manual should help. Love your blog, it is an inspiration. Just started my blog last weekend. Lot’s to learn. Al

  2. When I lived in Seattle, a metal fabrication shop down in the industrial area made my resaw. blades. They were of thicker metal than those flimsy commercial blades that tend to bend inside the cut, and they were sharp enough to cut your arm off. I wish I could remember the name of the place, but I don’t. I only know I looked up metal fabrication in the yellow pages and started calling people until I found a business that knew what I was talking about.

    Now I use Lenox bi-metal blades and have good success with them, even cutting hardwood up to 10″. They aren’t flimsy, by any means. I have a carbide-toothed, 105″ 3/4′ Lenox blade for sale (never opened up and used) if that would help.

    … and installing a new Carter tension spring will do wonders (


  3. Read everything you can get by Michael Fortune, especially the article “5 tips for better band sawing” in Fine Woodworking Dec 2004 (#173). Sharp blade, skip toothed blade, blade centered on upper wheel, fence absolutely parallel to blade, don’t use fence to compensate for drift, adequate tension, appropriate feed rate, etc.. One important concept from his writing is that as the blade runs on one side or the other of the crowned upper wheel (some European bandsaws don’t have a crowned wheel – yours probably does) it twists enough to cause a scooped cut. The crowned wheel does allow you to “steer” the blade slightly by moving the upper wheel tilt adjustment. (too much and you will see a scooped cut.)

      1. Mark made an excellent point about feed rate: if a person tries to feed the wood faster than the blade can cut it, it will curve inside the cut. In the same vein, if the throats of the blade hooks clog up with sawdust and can’t clear, then the same thing will happen. Simple physics. Also, a thicker, bi-metal blade will not be affected by the crown in the wheel as will the thinner carbon steel blades. So … a sharp, thicker blade with good tension, one that has only 2 or 3 teeth per inch (TPI) and an aggressive hook shape can resaw all day long.No potato chips as long as everything else is set up nice and square and parallel.

  4. Bandsaws are awesome, but they can be more trouble to set up than other tools. If you have a weak tensioner, you may have trouble getting a big wide blade tight. I’m running a 3/8″ “woodturners” blade on mine, and I really can’t even get quite enough tension on my (actually my Dad’s) imported 14″ saw.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: