Bane of the band saw - Woodshop News

Bane of the band saw

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I’ve talked before about how much I hate changing band saw blades. Guess what? I’m talking about it again.

Sanding is generally recognized as the task most woodworker’s hate, but I’d gladly sand for hours on end to avoid changing a band saw blade. For one thing, they don’t cooperate and flop around like a fish – a fish with lots and lots of sharp scales. And for machines like mine with 12” resaw capacity and a 125” blade, the flop factor is even higher.

No matter if I wear gloves and roll my shirt cuffs down, I always get scratched while dealing with the blade. The danged things flop so much that I’ve on occasion worn my lathe face mask just in case the blade decides to go for my face while it’s writhing around.

Then, once on the machine there’s a lengthy period of getting the machine to actually work with the new blade. If it’s an exact replacement, the tweaking and tuning is pretty straightforward, but if you’re going from one size blade to another there’s an endless series of adjustments you need to make to accommodate the new blade. It takes forever. Time I could be spending sanding or something fun.

It’s such an ordeal (at least, for me) that I tend to put off changing the blade, leading to either trying to make tight curves with a too-wide blade or ignoring the fact that the blade is dull and needs to be dealt with. In short, I’d rather do almost anything else in the shop than change that blade.

I’ve opined before that if I was rich and had lots of room, I’d have two band saws – one with a wider blade for resawing and thick material, and one with a narrow blade for tight curves and thin stock. Well, I’m no richer than before, but my new shop has tons of space. I’m thinking maybe the time has come to investigate getting that second machine.

Of course, if I buy a second machine I’ll have to put a blade on it.

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