Bandsaw Blade Question

I've got a 9" Craftsman bandsaw. Apparently Sears was phasing it out or something, not sure just what.and it was priced at about $35, new, in the box. Few days later they had the shelves stocked with an almost identical model, going for about $175.
For various reasons I don't use it much, altho it runs well enough, and the blade cuts smooth. However, I'm not having a lot of luck with cutting, can't make a straight cut for mor than about 3 inches, then it starts wandering. It's a 1/4" blade.
I'm thinking I'll do a bit better with a wider blade. The specs say it'll take up to a 3/8" wide blade.
I'm wondering if I could move up to a 1/2" blade, rather than a 3/8", with no problems, or should I just stick with the 3/8"? The tires are wider than 1/2', and I can't seen anyplace it didn't look like a 1/2" blade wouldn't work.
I'm not interested in making any curved cuts, intentionally or not, I'd rather use my Craftsman scroll saw for it. (Same type of price, and situation, with the scroll saw. Around $35, for a nice 16" variable speed, new in the box. The Woodworking Gods look out for me at times). All I'd probably use the bandsaw for is crosscuts, maybe up to a foot, max, at this time, maybe make a jig and try a bit of resawing later on. Thanks.
JOAT Measure twice, cut once, swear repeatedly.
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I think it has more to do with how much tension the machine can apply to the blade. Wider blades require more tension to stop them twisting. Usually the largest listed blade (i.e. 3/8) is the max it will be able to tension correctly. Perhaps you don't have enough tension on that 1/4" blade? Or your guides may need adjusting. The bandsaw is the toughest machine in my shop to tune up and havie running well :-( -- Regards,
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On Thu, 18 Nov 2004 03:11:08 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (J T) vaguely proposed a theory ......and in reply I say!:
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As was said, tension may be a problem with the present blade.
So check tension, and check for properly adjusted guides.
Don't push the wood too hard. This will also cause the blade to wander.
Many blades, especially the crap that comes with the machine, have an "off" "set" with the teeth set more to one side than the other. So if you try to work using a mitre unit or a fence, you will get the trouble you are describing. I ok a long time to learn that and it was very frustrating for me. I just kept on assuming it was old ham-fist at work again! <G>
What you need to do is draw a dead straight line along a nice straight piece of wood, say 2' long. Then cut along it freehand, dead straight along that line. When you have cut 6-7" dead straight without hassle, then you need to leave the piece of wood _exactly_ where it is, turn off the saw, and find the angle from dead right angles or dead parallel to the mitre slot that the wood sits. You then have to allow for this in setting your fence or mitre unit. You may need to fine adjust, and the blade's set may well alter over time, again especially with the crap that comes with the saw.
Or you can simply adjust the mitre/fence bit by bit until the trouble goes away, using scrap wood.
I would not recommend getting wider blades than recommended for the saw. Wider blades are also often thicker, so you need even MORE tension, and also they start not liking going round the small wheels.
Actually IIRC Mark Duginske (the Bandsaw Guru) says that wider blades can be _harder_ to handle, because they force you to go with them more.

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On Thu, 18 Nov 2004 03:11:08 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (J T) wrote:

All bandsaws tend to cut at an angle and this is especially true of the small, cheap ones. The trick is to find the angle and adjust your cut accordingly. Most of them are pretty consistent about it.
I don't think you can get a 1/2 blade for a 9" saw. However you're on the right track. Wider blades tend to cut straighter.
--RC (the 'proud' owner of a 9" Delta)
Sleep? Isn't that a totally inadequate substitute for caffine?
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On Thu, 18 Nov 2004 12:28:06 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@TAKEOUTmindspring.com wrote:

Bah. My HE&M saws cut straight as an arrow until the blades wear out and break. Not all bandsaws cut crooked- not even most of them. They just need to be adjusted correctly and used for appropriate tasks. The smaller, cheaper ones are just a lot harder to adjust.

Try out some carbide or ceramic spacers as well- they're a lot more wear-resistant, and are supposed to help reduce the amount of heat on the blade.

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On Thu, 18 Nov 2004 03:11:08 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (J T) wrote:

You could probably run it, and it would probably work even worse. It's not blade size that makes them stable, it's the tension per cross-section area of the blade. A small saw is probably light on total tension, so it works better if you can concentrate what you do have into a smaller blade. It's not surprising if it actually works better with a 1/4" blade than a 3/8".
All bandsaws have some "drift" too. This is a tendency to cut off square, but it's repeatable (at least for that blade, with those setup adjustments). You don't try to fix it, you set the fence to match it. Try running it with the guides open and cutting some corrugated cardboard. Let the saw cut "straight" as it wants to, then see how square the line you made was to the original fence position. Then repeat the experiment with the guides adjusted. Don't try to force the blade into tracking "straight" with the guides, if the wheels are happily leading it along a different angle. Stable is better than square. If your fence isn't drift adjustable, take it apart and do stuff with washers and shims until it is.
Try to find Duginske's or Lonnie Bird's bandsaw books. Just reading the section on choosing the right blade teeth is worth it.
You can play with the guides too. Red plastic isn't too bad, but hard steel pins are. Either fit some CoolBlocks or saw up a few sets of your own from hard maple (hey, you can cut them on the bandsaw!) and soak them in oil for a day or two.
--
Smert' spamionam

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"J T" wrote in message

Actually, tension is one of the last things I'd look at. How does it track?
Spend some time getting a new 3/8" or 1/2" blade to track in the middle of the wheels. once you've got that whipped, then go on to other things like properly setting the guides, etc.
IME, and apparently contrary to popular opinion, you don't need a world of tension to get a good, straight cut on a well setup band saw.
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Last month's FWW had an article that claimed that the drift can be compensated and canceled by the tracking adjustment. I haven't had a chance to try this technique yet but it sounds like this jives with your experience.
TWS
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The folks at Suffolk recommend "gettin just past the flutter" on their Timberwolf blades. This is hardly tight.
http://www.suffolkmachinery.com/six_rules.asp
Which agrees with your method.
The recent article in FWW on bandsaw tuning also seems to follow the same logic.
Swingman wrote:

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Thanks for that link. Lots of info. One tip Iwill try on my benchtop bandsaw is applying a light coat of Pam veg oil on the blade.

track?
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Yeah, but we're talking small -- ah, 'value priced' -- items here. In my experience tension makes a big difference on these saws and the more the better.
--RC
Sleep? Isn't that a totally inadequate substitute for caffine?
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The only way to work with some tools is to experiment until you find out exactly what _does_ work for that particular tool ... and, regardless of price, the basic mechanical principles are still the same, if not the forces involved, and it behooves you to at least try the same tried and true methods that work on the more expensive tools of similar design.
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I forgot to say, it is a 2 wheel saw.
After reading the responses, and reviewing what I've done so far, I'm thinking I need to get the instructions out again, and spend some more time on setting it up, than I have in the past. I think I also need to spend a bit of time and make some hardwood guide blocks. I'll also try the 1/4" blade, for now, but think I may be ahead getting a 3/8" blade, sometime in the future.
Actually, my previous bandsaw was a 3 wheel Craftsman bandsaw. It was about worn out when I got it, had to get a new (plastic) drive wheel, but it worked, and actually would make a straight cut. No power to speak of tho, and it would bog pretty easily. That's the biggest reason I got rid of. Otherwise I'd have kept it, and probably still have it.
The previous blade I had on my present bandsaw, is one I experimented a bit with, and set the teeth, making a bit wider cut. That thing cut like a champ, even tho it had a slightly wider kerf, and cut straight, with no binding. But, it broke. Don't know if that was from my setting the teeth, or just because it wanted to, it was used when I set it.
So, like I said, after absorbing all the posts, I think spending some time with the instructions, and more time setting it up, would seem to what I need to solve my problems.
Thanks muchly.
JOAT Measure twice, cut once, swear repeatedly.
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On Thu, 18 Nov 2004 17:22:34 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (J T) vaguely proposed a theory ......and in reply I say!:
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I would definitely look at Mark Duginske's book the Bandsaw Handbook. It goes way beyond most home-user's requirements, but it's gort all the right stuff. It's also very inspirational to read a guy who is so passionate about the bandsaw.

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People are better than dogs for only one purpose. And then it's only half of ofthe people. And _then_ most of them are only ordinary anyway. And then they have a headache.........
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If this is a 3-wheel saw, which seems likely from the source and the price, then by definition it's not a "well setup bandsaw".
More to the point, it's a tiny saw, it's probably never going to do well with a 1/2" blade. All the tension in world doesn't help when the top of the blade is being pushed into the cut faster than the bottom of it is being pulled out.
I'd suggest Joat work on getting it to track well with a 1/4" blade, which should be servicable for anything you'd do on that saw (he's not going to be resawing logs into lumber on it).
John
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"John McCoy" wrote in message

You're assuming that it is a "3-wheel saw". I don't know that Craftsman has ever had a 9" 3 wheel saw, but they have had at least two, and possibly more, models of 9", 2 wheel band saws.
More to the point, no saw is likely to come from the factory as a "well setup bandsaw", or even stay that way though use, and the setup on _any_ tool can be always be improved.

Joat did specifically state that the specs say a maximum blade width of 3/8" ... but he obviously wants to see if he can push the envelope a bit. For the price it will cost him to try, I'd say it's certainly worth a shot

Sounds like he's already tried that and now wants to be adventurous, not to mention that everything I stated above is completely independent of size, so it can't hurt his efforts at seeing what he can make this "tiny saw" do ... which it appears was his reason for posting .
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Um, you read the question a bit different than I did...to me it came across more as "this isn't working well, where should I start to fix it", hence the idea that there was more that could be done with the 1/4" blade.
John
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I had the Delta 9" (now known as the BS100).

So did the Delta until I spent a few minutes carefully adjusting everything, tracking, guides, etc. I also had best results when I "over tensioned" the blade, "over" according to the manual.

I couldn't find a blade that big on the shelves and didn't think the poor thing would tension it properly if I had one custom made. It appears that the ability to properly tension a blade is an important factor in tensioning.
Personally, I'd stick with the 3/8" as the biggest and see if I could tune it into producing acceptable results first
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On Thu, 18 Nov 2004 03:11:08 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (J T) wrote:

Same problem with my Delta 9" bandsaw. The usual reason for this is that one side of the blade is duller than the other, but it seems to be more of a problem with the 1/4" blade than it is with wider blades.

3/8" does a pretty good job, as far as it goes.

Your guide blocks won't be in the center of the blade. I'm not sure how much of a difference it would make in your cuts, but it's usually not a good idea to try to push machines too hard by using bits or blades that are too large for them.

Only a bit of resawing, of course. Unless you saw has a whole lot more power than the Delta, 2.5" is about the widest board (using maple as a benchmark) I've gotten to resaw nicely with a saw that small. Anything larger really bogs down the motor.

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On Thu, 18 Nov 2004 22:46:01 -0600, Prometheus

Could you improve on that (albeit saw slower and rougher) with a lower tooth count ? Or were you down at about 3 or so already ?
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