I just purchased a 14" bs, and would like input on how to improve
performance in terms of blade, blocks, fence, etc. This is a lower end saw,
so my thought is that I could make it a better saw if I used better
Initial use is to resaw some 8/4 red oak, but after that it would be to
rough cut joints, make circular cuts, etc. My only other saw is a RAS, so
the bandsaw will get more use than typical...
Best bang for the buck is a good blade. You'll want more than one (1/8"
for scroll work, 1/4" for general use, and 1/2" or 3/4" for resawing
would be a good start). Both the Timberwolf from Suffolk and the Wood
Slicer from Highland Hardware (see URLs below) have excellent
reputations. I've got an assortment of Timberwolfs and love them. A
set of cool blocks is worthwhile at another $15 or so.
I personally wouldn't bother with a fancy fence for a bandsaw. Most of
my ripping I do on the table saw. When I need a fence on the bandsaw, I
just use a piece of jointed 2x4 clamped to the table. If your plan is
to use your bandsaw for ripping a lot, a nice commercial fence might
make sense for you.
In any case, most commercial bandsaw fences aren't designed for
resawing, so you may end up building your own resaw fence anyway. I've
got one I made from a few pieces of scrap that works fine.
Look for a copy of The Bandsaw Handbook by Mark Duginske. It's full
of tips for aligning and tuning the saw, selecting the proper blade
for the job, merits of different kinds of guide blocks, etc. It's
fairly cheap and well worth the money.
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Get that kickass bandsaw book by dunsigke? I forget how to spell his
name, but it totally kicks ass, more bandsaw knowledge than anyone can
possibly absorb. Most excellent book. It's only about $20. That's a
small price to pay in order to kick ass with your bandsaw.
You already got good advice on the blades, cool blocks and a book. Take the
time to read and re-read the chapter on setting up the saw. Good alignment,
adjustment of the guides, and properly tensioned blade makes the big
Mark Duginske talks abut drift and setting up the fence to compensate for
it. Scott Phillips says the right blade (Timberwolf), properly tensioned,
will not have drift. Then he proceeded to cut off a 1/16" slice of wood
with a fence set parallel to the blade.
Be sure the blades rides the tire right and you are on your way.
As the other poster suggested, the Timberline blades from Suffolk are
very nice. A decent blade can make all the difference, and these
blades are relatively inexpensive (if I remember right, they were
under $25 per blade).
The other thing that is very useful is to adjust the saw so that your
blade tension is optimum (higher than you might expect), make sure the
blade is centered on the wheels, and make sure that both the top and
bottom guide bearings are adjusted according to the manual. Mark
Duginske has a good book ("The Band Saw Handbook") that you could
probably get from the public library.
I use a homemade resaw fence, which works well for me.
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