Bandsaws are great tools and can do many things quickly and easily and their versatility makes them a perfect candidate for add-on accessories and adaptations that can allow them to do even more ... 

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 In my case, I was in need of an "open concept" TV stand. I need to be open to accommodate a couple of speakers that seem to be well placed under the Television to help conserve floor space. I decided to help match other furniture, a very light colored finish would be best and I found a nice clear top coat, in a very matte finish that I tested and liked ...  

From time to time I get "urgent" messages from people about their bandsaws. Messages like "my bandsaw was working fine before, now it banging like crazy when I turn it on" ... or "all of a sudden my bandsaw is vibrating really badly" and even though it's hard to diagnose machinery symptoms over the Internet, I usually have an idea what the problems are.

 The thumping sound happens sometimes when bandsaw blades are left under tension, that is, the blades have not been loosened when not in use. If you use your bandsaw a lot, like daily, this usually is not a problem, but if you only use your bandsaw ever week or two, what can happen is that when tension is left on the blade, it can create a bit of a "flat" spot in the tire where it has compressed the rubber. When you turn the bandsaw on, you immediately get a thumping sound and sometimes this can be quite scary to new woodworkers. The solution is to relieve the tension and let the bandsaw sit for a time until the rubber is allowed to reform, restart the bandsaw and all should be fine.

 bandsaw vibration

On a similar note, vibration can seem to start "out of the blue" on some bandsaws. In this case, it is sometimes caused by bits or sawdust that build up on the tires and every time they rotate and come in contact under the blade, they can cause varying degrees of vibration. This is easily solved by taking a moment to - unplug - the bandsaw and clean the tires of any caked on dust. This is something that should be done on a regular basis, so anytime is a good time to do this.

 

In a perfect world there would never be something called "bandsaw drift", unfortunately, woodworking is not always perfect so from time to time we experience bandsaw blade drift which basically just means the blade does not always cut straight and true. When this happens we need to adjust the wood we are pushing through the blade by pushing it through at a bit of an angle. If you are only cutting one piece of wood this is not a problem but if you have something of a production happening, pushing through a few ... or many pieces of wood at the same setting, this can become more tedious. To discover exactly what the "drift" is, simply push a piece of wood through the blade until it is obviously tracking off center ... turn the bandsaw off while leaving the wood in place and after the blade has stopped, you can now set up your fence to mirror the angle of the wood that is off center. Now you have a fence that is clamped in place that you can put multiple pieces of wood through all at the same setting.

 And there is a fence set up that is tracking the same angle as the bandsaw blade drift.

Bandsaw fence

And speaking of setting up a fence, another way of quickly setting up temporary fence is to you a speed square, clamped to the bandsaw top and if you are experiencing blade drift you can set this fence up at an angle as well ... and if you need a higher fence, just put some thicker pieces of wood under the speed square to elevate it (some anti-skid material might help this too) and now you have a quick set, higher fence for cutting thicker wood or even some smaller veneers. 

Bandsaw Square

One of the main reasons I have a bandsaw is for cutting veneers, or very thin pieces of wood. In the past I have used a pivot fence, that is simply a board with a rounded or even pointed end that as you are ripping wood with, the pivot fence keeps the thickness of the wood even, but you can still pivot the piece of wood you are pushing through the bandsaw in case there is blade drift, and still get nice even veneers.

The alternative to the pivot fence is using your table saw, with an ultra-thin circular saw blade in it and cutting slots, top, and bottom, and even on the end, to give a slot for the bandsaw blade to run in, simply push your wood through this way. This has become my preferred method for cutting smaller quantities of veneers. 

Bandsaw Veneer

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Band Saw Tips and Tricks

 

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