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If it ain’t broke

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My band saw broke, or so I thought. The culprit turned out to be something I never suspected.

About two weeks ago, my band saw started acting weird. It was as if the motor had suddenly lost its power. No significant problem cutting thin stock or softwood, but trying to cut through thick hardwood had it bogging down something awful. I needed to do a good bit of resawing in 4” sycamore, and the blade bogged down nearly to the point of coming to a complete halt. I checked everything, and just couldn’t figure out the problem.

Now, several are probably jumping way ahead of the story here, and I can almost hear you shouting, “Your blade’s, dull, knucklehead; time to get a new one.” But here’s the thing, I already knew that wasn’t the issue, and for a very good reason: The blade was good quality, of the right tooth count for resawing and, most importantly, brand new. I’d installed it just before the problem showed up.

Before tearing the machine apart to search for the cause, I decided to go the easy route first by trying a different blade. I didn’t really expect that to be the issue since the blade on the machine was literally brand new – in fact, I expected the effort to be a waste of time – but I did have an older resaw blade hanging around so I swapped out the brand new one for it. Now, that old blade was long past its prime and probably even a couple years old, but I still noticed an immediate improvement. To double check, I put the brand new blade back on and sure enough, it was right back to bogging down to a near stop.

So the problem was simple: That brand new blade was, for whatever reason, bad. I returned it where I bought it, explained the problem, and got a replacement of the same blade. That one works just fine.

Now again, don’t get ahead of me here. My point isn’t that products are crummier today; some are, some aren’t. But I think this was just a simple case of a bad one managing to make it through the system and I was unlucky enough to be the one to get it. It happens sometimes.



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