Synopsis: If you’re utilizing the bandsaw simply for tough cuts and curves, you’re lacking out on one thing. This machine is ideal for ripping solid wooden, from breaking down stock to near-finish cuts. It’s quieter and safer than a desk noticed, and Tony O’Malley argues it’s additionally extra comfy to make use of. Here he covers the fundamentals of organising and utilizing the bandsaw for all of your ripping wants.

Bandsaws include a fence for a cause: They aren’t simply for curves and tough cuts. Indeed, they’ll make high quality, correct rips as properly. Provided you will have a very good noticed that’s arrange and geared up with the best blade, you’ll be able to follow this secure, environment friendly machine from stock breakdown to close end cuts. The solely restrict is your bandsaw’s rip capability. Because bandsaw tables are small, infeed and outfeed helps are useful.

While I’d by no means quit my desk noticed, the bandsaw is the higher approach to go for ripping solid wooden in my store. For one, it’s quieter and far safer. You won’t ever expertise kickback on one. It additionally wastes much less wooden as a result of its kerf is about half that of a desk noticed’s. And final, I discover that working at a bandsaw is simply extra comfy.

Rip extensive to offer the wooden room to maneuver

I work with kiln-dried, roughsawn lumber from one in every of a number of trusted native mills. Even although the wooden has been dried properly, I nonetheless anticipate some motion after I rip boards into narrower items. This is the place the bandsaw’s security benefit shines probably the most, as a result of there’s no risk of kickback when stress in the wooden is relieved and the wooden binds in opposition to the blade. You can all the time simply maintain pushing the workpiece by way of the reduce.

To start, I joint one fringe of a tough board, then set the fence on the bandsaw and rip my items 1⁄8 in. to 1⁄4 in. over their closing width. If the sting could be very irregular, like a pure edge, I first mark a straight line and bandsaw to the road earlier than jointing that edge. The longer the half, the extra additional width I depart in case the half develops criminal—a curve alongside the sting—which is frequent. There’s no must joint between rips at this stage. I then give the rough-ripped elements a day to settle earlier than persevering with to mill them. I stack the items on edge with area between to permit air to flow into.

Once the wooden has acclimated, I proceed milling it to closing measurement. I begin by jointing a face. If there’s any bow, I joint the concave face for security and practicality, then aircraft to closing thickness. Next, I joint one edge, once more selecting any concave edge. With each faces planed, I can edge-joint with both face in opposition to the jointer’s fence.

Set up for successblade saw drawing


A 3/4-in.-wide blade is ideal for ripping lumber to width. I take advantage of one though my noticed will settle for blades as much as 1-1/4 in. If you often alternate between rips and curved cuts, a 1/2-in. blade is an effective compromise. Regardless, you need an aggressive tooth profile, the most effective being hook tooth and skip tooth. And fewer tooth, like Three tpi, are higher than extra. Both the profile and smaller tooth rely forestall the blade from bogging down beneath load.


I’ve had my noticed for over 15 years, however early on I wasn’t tightening the blade sufficiently. This can let the blade wander through the reduce and result in extra friction between the blade and guides. Friction causes warmth, which might break blades prematurely. Now I tighten the blade absolutely and modify the guides rigorously to attenuate friction.

tighting blade


For a high quality reduce, you want the blade to trace accurately. Because the fence is essential for straight rips, I guarantee its alignment with the blade by aligning it with the miter slot at the back and front of the desk. To management drift, I feed slowly to keep away from sending the blade off target.

illustration showing bandsaw fence aligned to miter slot


Second rip is simply shy of ultimate width

At this stage, folks usually flip to the desk noticed and rip the board to width. I follow the bandsaw, however with an help from the planer—or if want be, the jointer—in the subsequent step. The bandsaw’s advantages nonetheless stand for this end-stage ripping, however the bandsawn edge will want cleanup and refining. So I rip my completed elements 1/16 in. to 1/8 in. wider than closing width, once more relying on the half’s size. If I’m ripping thinner strips from a wider board, I rejoint a reference edge between passes. The result’s a number of items of the identical width, with one edge jointed and the opposite edge bandsawn.

Rip extensive, then wait

Joint a reference edge earlier than ripping extensive. Joint an fringe of a roughsawn board (above), after which rip it into items 1/8 in. to 1/4 in. wider than their closing dimension (under). The longer the half, the extra additional width you must depart in case the half develops criminal when ripping.


laying boards to acclimate after rough rips
Let the boards acclimate. The tough rips launch stress in the wooden, inflicting workpieces to maneuver. To allow them to work out this motion, O’Malley lays the elements on edge with area between them. He comes again the subsequent day to proceed milling.

Joint and aircraft

jointing and then planing a workpiece with a bow
Joint a face, after which aircraft. If a workpiece has any bow, joint it with the concave face down. Then use the planer to thickness the board and convey the other face parallel.

Bring to closing width

Square an edge of the plank to a face
Square an edge to a face. After the tough rip, the board is prone to have criminal. If it does, place the concave edge in opposition to the desk for higher stability. This jointed edge will go in opposition to your bandsaw fence when ripping.
O’Malley rips his finished parts 1 ⁄ 16 in. or more over width
Rip a contact extensive. O’Malley rips his completed elements 1 ⁄ 16 in. or extra over width, going wider because the elements get longer. If he’s ripping a number of slim strips from a board, he joints the board’s bandsawn edge between passes.
Plane parts to final width
Plane elements to closing width. To stabilize slim elements of the identical width, maintain them collectively in order that they act like a single block of wooden. Hold them tightly as they arrive out the outfeed aspect, too.

On extensive boards, joint a second edge

Rip slightly wide before cleaning up the bandsawn edge at the jointer
Rip barely extensive earlier than cleansing up the bandsawn edge on the jointer. If a board’s too extensive to be planed to width, merely rejoint the ripped (and tough) edge. Just watch your jointer’s depth of reduce to be sure to don’t go previous your required dimension.

Plane (or joint) to width

This might sound shocking, however I run my elements by way of the planer on edge to measurement them to closing width. It works nice supplied there’s sufficient bearing floor on the tables. For thinner elements of the identical width, I group multiples and cross them by way of the planer collectively, letting them act like one thick workpiece. For instance, I might by no means attempt to run a single 3⁄4-in.-thick by 3-in.-wide piece on edge by way of the planer. The piece is just too prone to tip, and the planed edge in all probability gained’t come out sq.. But if I gang 4 items of the identical width and maintain them collectively as one bigger block, they may keep vertical and their edges can be sq.. For longer stock, I arrange infeed and outfeed curler stands to help the work.

When I want only one half or when the piece is just too extensive to aircraft on edge, I rip it on the bandsaw 1⁄16 in. extensive after which joint the ultimate edge. Be conscious of your jointer’s depth of reduce; don’t go previous your required dimension.

Jointing the sting could also be one other shock. Returning to the jointer goes in opposition to frequent milling apply, however I feel we must always rethink. For one, whether or not you rip with a bandsaw or desk noticed, that edge can have machine marks that should be cleaned up. Some folks do that with a handplane, however I argue that my jointer works simply as properly and is faster. Plus, when are completely parallel edges essential? Not with boards glued up for a tabletop, because you’ll deliver the entire prime to dimension, together with making its outer, unglued edges parallel after gluing. Perhaps completely parallel edges are essential for a floating raised panel in a bigger door, however I imagine that lower than excellent is okay. Because floating panels want room to maneuver, there’s additionally room for slight variation in the width from one finish to the opposite. While there’s all the time the perfect to attempt for, there’s additionally acceptable actuality.

—Tony O’Malley makes customized cabinetry in Emmaus, Pa.Bandsaw Strategies for Safe, Straight Cuts in Solid Stock

Photos: Barry NM Dima.

Drawings: Vince Babak.

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From Fine Woodworking #302


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