A properly aligned bandsaw with a good, sharp blade, is a wonderful tool and a basic necessity in any well equipped woodworking shop. Bandsaws can do things that no other tool can do, they can cut curves, they can resaw, they can cut veneer, etc. Generally, they’re equally adept at ripping and at cross cutting.
While bandsaws provide you with diverse cutting capabilities, they may also require more maintenance than any other tool in your shop, and the vast majority of that maintenance is alignment. Bottom line; a properly aligned bandsaw is a wonderful thing, and an ignored bandsaw probably doesn’t justify it’s required floor space in the shop.
Lets assume you have a good bandsaw which is properly aligned and utilizing the correct bandsaw blade. There’s one more step you can take to help that saw go from good to great. Next time you get a new blade, carefully feel the back corners. I’ll guarantee you that they’re perfectly square and in many cases dangerously sharp. Why does that matter? Those corners will leave vertical tracks in the piece you’re cutting and will make it very difficult to back up the piece for purposes of realignment, etc.
Those sharp corners on your bandsaw blade need to be softened, and here’s the simple procedure:
Mount the blade and align it so that you’re ready to cut.
Make a small blade file by following these steps: Cut a piece of maple or other hardwood approximately 1-1/2”wide, 1/4” thick, and about 12” long. Glue a piece of wet/dry sandpaper (we usually use 150 grit) to one smooth face of that piece. Now, you’ve made a file with very fine teeth on it. (people have told us that they use a sharpening stone instead of making a blade file. That should work fine too.)
With the saw running, stand behind the bandsaw blade and lightly file those sharp corners until they’re rounded. Be very careful with this step, as you’re working on a sharp blade that’s running. The back of the blade doesn’t have to be completely round, it simply needs to have the sharp corners removed. How much to take off is a judgment call, but don’t take so much off that you weaken the blade.
Now your cuts will be cleaner, the wood will slide past the blade easier, and if you need to back out of a cut it will be much easier.
This article is sponsered by Wood Werks Supply inc.