I needed to re-saw an 8-1/2"x8' section of the 3/4" bamboo plywood I'm
using for our bathroom(s) remodel to end up with a thinner piece to
veneer the side of a cabinet.
I have an old Jet 14" bandsaw that, like most, can only cut 6" high. The
more I read about bandsaws, the more read about how the guides aren't
that necessary for a saw that is properly set-up and tensioned. That got
I decided to see how high I could cut without the guides in place. The
saw's case only allowed about 7-1/2" inches to pass under it. I opened
the front case and noticed the back case was a bit higher, but it still
only allowed about 8-1/4" to pass under. So, I cut out another 1/2' from
the saw case to allow my 8-1/2" plywood to pass under it. See the pic
for where I cut the case and bent it back, near the bolt at the top....
Next, I needed to set up the saw as perfectly as I could. I adjusted the
top section of the saw to correct for the wheels that were not perfectly
coplaner. I bought a new 3/4" Timber Wolf re-saw blade and installed in
on the saw. As I was tensioning the blade, the tires started to come
off. They were original and pretty messed up, so I decided to instal new
ones. After new tires, I adjusted the tracking and tension and ran some
7" scraps to determine where the blade was leading and marked it on the
table. It was cutting straight and like buttah, so I decided to get the
bamboo and go for it.
The short story: it worked and did a really good job. It cut straight
and the blade didn't bow or wander throughout the height of the cut.
The long story.... the saw is way too underpowered for this, obviously.
I popped the little 15amp breaker on the power strip in which the saw
was plugged, so I plugged it directly into a dedicated outlet. The saw
stalled out a couple times. Near the end of the total length, it was
really bogging down. The blade was still plenty sharp and I think it was
just taxing the motor too much.
BTW, I made the cut with the front case OPEN. I don't recommend notching
out the case of your saw to get more height for a cut, nor do I
recommend using a bandsaw with the case open. :-)
It's done, it worked, I'm pleased. I was asking way too much of a 30-ish
year old bandsaw which was never designed to do what it did.
What this did prove, however, is that we rely too much on, worry too
much about, and probably spend way too much on the saw guides on
bandsaws. I think this experiment has convinced me to jump on board with
those who preach that what's really important for getting great cuts
from your bandsaw is high quality blades, properly set-up wheels, proper
blade tension, and determining the correct lead angle of each blade
"Playing is not something I do at night, it's my function in life"
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