the saw to make the cut.
Blades must be sharp and
sized for the job.
Compensate for drift. Don’t
Get the Drift: Setup Tips
If you’ve tried cutting a straight line on your bandsaw, you probably
noticed that your material has to be fed at an angle to the blade. This
is called "blade drift." Any resaw technique that uses a fence requires
finding and working with this drift angle. Drift varies from blade to
blade, so follow this simple setup procedure (Photos 1 through 4) every
time you change blades.
Logs to Lumber: Cutting Tips
If your firewood pile puts visions of potential projects into your head,
use resawing to turn those logs into planks.
You can cut logs when they’re wet or dry, but they’ll be easier to cut
when wet. Either way, you’ll have to dry the lumber all the way before
you use it for a project (see "Drying Wood," page
The diameter of the logs you cut is limited by the capacity of your saw:
6 in. on most 14-in. saws. If you want to cut bigger stuff, see if the
manufacturer of your saw makes a riser kit. It can increase the capacity
of your saw by another 6 in. A bigger table on your saw is almost a must
when handling logs. It’s nearly impossible to cut a straight line without
one. You’ll also need a sled to hold onto the log and prevent it from
rolling while you cut (Fig. A). Once
you use the sled, you’ll love the stability it gives you for these difficult
cuts. Green logs measuring 11 in. in diameter and 36-in. long are about
at the top end of what you can safely handle.
FIND THE DRIFT angle
by drawing a line parallel to one edge of a 16-in.-long scrap piece. Saw
the line freehand. Notice how much you have to angle the wood in order to
follow a straight line. This is the drift angle.
Tip: If the front of your bandsaw table isn’t
straight, screw on a strip of hardboard or aluminum bar. This will make
it much easier to move and adjust a shop-made fence.
STOP about halfway through the cut, hold the wood in place
and shut off the saw. Trace the angle of the wood onto the bandsaw table.
SET YOUR FENCE parallel
to the line on the table. An adjustable block at the end of the fence allows
you to hold this angle as you move the fence laterally. Make sure your table
is square to the blade and your fence is square to the table.
CLAMP THE FENCE and make a test cut. Watch for the wood
pulling away from the outfeed side of the fence or binding. It can take
a couple tries to get the drift angle perfect. Once the drift angle is correctly
set, move the fence laterally to make the cuts you need.