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Align Bandsaw Wheels


Align Bandsaw Wheels

By Dave Munkittrick & Bruce Kieffer

Q. I’ve tried everything to get good resaw results on my bandsaw, but the blade still wanders. What gives?

A. If you use a sharp blade designed for resawing, you compensate for drift angle, you’ve set the proper tension and you’re still getting bad results resawing, there’s only one other possibility: Your wheels need alignment. Pop the hood (well, the wheel covers) on your saw and put a straightedge across the rim of both wheels (Photo 1). If there’s a gap, your wheels are not operating in the same plane.

Misaligned wheels are a problem for bandsaws with crowned wheels. If your saw is 16 in. or smaller, chances are it has crowned wheels. A crowned wheel has a slight hump where the blade rides. The crown is designed to force the blade toward the center of the wheel and aid in tracking the blade. If the two crowned surfaces are not in the same plane, they pull against each other, robbing the saw of power and accuracy.

Fortunately, the problem is easy to fix on most saws. First, measure the misalignment (Photo 2). Next, remove the blade and the wheel and apply the appropriate shim(s) (Photo 3). Most saws have thin washers behind each wheel. You may find removing the stock washer and replacing it with a thicker one is just the ticket.

Reattach the wheel and give your saw a spin.

Note: Some saws have an adjustable bottom wheel. Just loosen the setscrew and slide the bottom wheel in or out the appropriate amount.

This story originally appeared in American Woodworker November 2004, issue #111.

November 2004, issue #111

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Click any image to view a larger version.

1. Check the wheel alignment with your resaw blade mounted and tensioned. It may be necessary to adjust the tracking of the upper wheel to make the faces of both rims parallel.

2. Measure the gap with a ruler calibrated to at least 1/32 in. or with a dial caliper.

3. Add or replace washers behind the wheel to achieve alignment. For small adjustments, use metal shim stock or metal dado blade shims behind the washer.