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October 23, 2014

34…How to adjust for Band Saw Blade Drift

Adjusting for Band Saw Blade Drift

 

“A warrior never worries about his fear.”
Carlos Castaneda…Peuvian-born American anthropologist and author (1925-1998)

Understanding Band Saw Blade Drift

When resawing wood veneers on the band saw it is quite important to take into account the the band saw blade drift. If the adjustment is correctly made for the drift angle a woodworker can rip straight thin strips of veneer that are of a uniform thickness. By making an accurate adjustment to the bandsaw fence one can save plenty of time and material. Better yet, a woodworker can perform with a greater level of confidence. So, learn how to adjust for band saw blade drift.

 

What causes band saw blade drift?

A band saw blade has two sets of teeth. Band saw blade drift occurs because the differences in set and sharpness of the bandsaw teeth from one side of the blade to the other side of the blade.

One theory has it that heat caused by friction can also play a role in band saw blade drift. It is said that the cutting action of the saw teeth creates more heat in the front of the blade than the back of the blade. The front expands more than the back and becomes slightly longer. As a result the blade can warp inward or outward and thus cause the cut to drift.

 

Bevel square used to adjust band saw blade drift

Recently, a number of the viewers of this blog have asked me some great questions concerning the cutting of uniform thin strips of wood veneer on the bandsaw. They wanted to know how to adjust for band saw blade drift. While I have responded to their questions already, I believe this woodworking video will help to further clarify and resolve their concerns. Perhaps, it can make a difference for you also. As you will see, this article will point out an important step of the process regarding making an adjustment for the band saw blade drift. Ripping uniform thin strips of veneer is an easy task once the angle of the drift is understood and accounted for by making a simple adjustment to the fence.

 

Making the adjustment for Band Saw Blade Drfit

 

Band saw auxiliary fence - Band saw blade drift adjustment

(This tutorial on how to adjust for band saw blade drift assumes that the band saw is correctly set-up with a proper tension, the bandsaw blade guides are accurately adjusted, and a good sharp blade is in place.)

 

This woodworking video tutorial shows how the angle of the drift is found. A bevel square is used to duplicate the angle once it is determined. The video also shows how the thin rip fence is set in place by using a wedge at one end of the fence. Spring clamps help to secure the wedged fence angle. (Some band saw fences can be adjusted by loosening the bolts, aligning the fence according to the drift angle, and then re-tightening the bolts.)



A Rockler thin rip jig with a roller bearing is set into the miter gauge slot and is fastened in place by simply turning a star knob. Placement of the bearing is 1/2″ before the band saw blade. The thickness of cut is set to 3/32″ as this is the thickness used in my wood shop when ripping wood inlay bandings. The demonstration clearly shows how to cut stock that is 3/4″ high and stock that is 3″ tall. All veneers that are ripped were within 1/64″ of one another. (In the video the second to last veneer was actually the leftover piece and was not ripped. It was just a bit thicker than the other strips of ripped veneer. However, it was close enough to be included in this batch as it can be run through the open drum sander to attain the desired measurement of 3/32″.)

 

Maple Veneer Thin Strips - Band saw blade drift adjustedConsider the need for adjusting the fence for band saw blade drift as basic maintenance of the band saw. Through repeated usage the blade cuts can again drift as the set of the teeth undergo change. This is normal. However, understanding how to adjust the fence for band saw blade drift is an easy matter. It just takes a few minutes. Acting on this matter will allow you to rip material that is straight. When a thin rip jig is added to the equation you will be able to also make cuts that are of uniform thickness.

 

Note: The blade used for this particular demonstration is a PS Wood Timberwolf bandsaw blade (3/8″ blade with 4 teeth per inch.) However, select a blade according to your needs.

 

Helpful Tips:

1.) Check that the band saw table is set 90 degrees to the blade. Use a combination square or a digital protractor to ensure this angle.

2.) The auxiliary rip fence was simply made with scrap 5/8″ particle board. It is made to the same length and height as the original fence. It’s just a matter of making the cuts, adding a little glue, and using an air-nailer to drive the pins home.

 

Recommended Article: How to Cut Uniform Thin Strips

Recommended Videos:

Ripping Thin Strips of Wood Inlay on the Band Saw

Cutting Thin Strips on the Band Saw

Band Saw Rip Fence made in the Shop

The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

 

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How to Cut Uniform Thin Strips

“The man who has no imagination has no wings.”
Muhammed Ali…3-time World Heavyweight Boxing Champion (1942-)

Hardwood Veneer cut on Band Saw

Hardwood Veneer cut on Band Saw

One of my woodworking shop accessories is drawing a lot of attention lately. Many viewers have seen it on my band saw during recent woodworking videos and they have asked me about it in their emails. While the name of the tool implies that it is to be used on the table saw, it has also found a lot of time on the bandsaw cutting thin strips of wood inlay bandings. What is it you ask? It is an invaluable saw accessory called the Rockler Thin Rip Tablesaw Jig.

One might ask “What makes this simple jig so special?” The beauty of this jig is indeed its simplicity. There is a roller bearing on the end of the accessory. The jig is adjustable from side to side and it can be locked into position in the miter gauge slot. When used on the tablesaw the roller bearing is set away from the blade an amount equal to the thickness of the desired ripping. Then the jig is simply slid about 4-5 inches in front of the saw blade and locked into position. Basically, that’s it.

How to Cut Uniform Thin Strips on the Tablesaw
1.) Place the surfaced edge of the board to be cut alongside the roller bearing.
2.) Slide the table saw fence alongside the opposite edge of the board.
3.) Lock the fence in place. When ready turn on the saw and take a small practice cut into the board.
4.) Check the measurement with a dial or digital caliper. Make lateral adjustments of the bearing as needed to obtain the desired measurement and adjust the fence to the boards’ opposite edge. When you have the right measurement for the ripping it is time to “rip away.”
5.) Simply, repeat the procedure of moving the table saw fence in alongside the edge opposite of the cut after every rip is made.

Band saw setup for ripping wood inlay bandings

Bandsaw setup for ripping wood inlay bandings

How to Cut Uniform Thin Strips on the Bandsaw
Note: (The “drift” of the band saw blade must first be accounted for when using this technique.) In the picture to the left a small wedge has been set between the manufacturers’ fence and the L-shaped thin rip fence. This was performed to set the fence to the correct angle of the “drift.”)

1.) Set the roller bearing a distance away from the blade that is equal to the desired ripping.
2.) Now, place the roller bearing an inch or so in front of the bandsaw blade and turn the star knob down to lock the jig in place.
3.) Next, place the right edge of the surfaced board alongside of the bearing.
4.) We now want to set an L-shaped thin rip fence alongside the left edge of the board to be ripped.
5.) Place the regular bandsaw fence next to the L-shaped thin rip fence and clamp both fences together along the boards’ left edge. Lock the fence and for safety lower the bandsaw’s bearing guides to just above the boards’ surface.

Dial caliper measure thickness of wood inlay banding

Dial caliper measure thickness of wood inlay banding

At this point it is just a matter of taking a practice cut to check the accuracy of the thickness of the ripping with a digital or dial caliper. Adjust as necessary. When the correct measurement is obtained it is time to rip. To make the next rip it is simply a matter of placing the board’s right edge against the roller bearing and then sliding the fences over to the left edge of the board. Rip and repeat the process to obtain uniform rippings.

The Rockler Thin Rip Tablesaw Jig has been in my woodworking shop for over 3 years and is still going strong. It is great for making rips on the tablesaw. However, it is also terrific on the bandsaw as it allows me to rip wood inlay bandings to a consistent uniform thickness of 3/32.” This simple little jig allows me to perform operations safely, efficiently, and with accuracy.

So, give it a try. You’ll be glad you did.

Recommended Videos…

Ripping Thin Strips on Wood Inlay on the Band Saw

Cutting Thin Strips on the Band Saw

Band Saw Rip Fence made in the Shop

The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

Thin Strips of Wood Inlay on the Band Saw

Wood Inlay Strips Cut on the Band Saw

 

“Do something wonderful, people may imitate it.”
Albert Schweitzer… (1875-1965) Humanitarian, Theologian, Missionary, Medical Doctor

The Importance of  Thin, Uniform Wood Inlay Strips

 

It’s important to be able to cut thin wood inlay strips. One of the challenges in making bandings of wood inlay is maximizing the material. We certainly do not want to cut the wood inlay banding too thick or too thin as either would be wasteful of our decorative inlay that we took the time to make. We also want to be able to cut the wood inlay to a uniform thickness. Cutting wood inlay bandings to an equal thickness is a sign that we are on the right track to maximizing our material. So, just how do we get the right thickness of uniform thin wood inlay strips?

Wood Inlay Bandings in Picture Frames

Wood Inlay Bandings in Picture Frames

Why Cut Thin Wood Inlay Strips on the Band Saw?

The woodworking video shows how ripping thin strips of wood inlay can be done on the band saw. The band saw is chosen because the woodworker in the video found it safer cutting on the band saw than the table saw. Also, the saw kerf of the band saw blade is narrower than that of a table saw blade. So, by cutting the wood inlay on the band saw there is a higher yield of bandings.

 

In the wood inlay video the woodworker has set up a thin rip jig with a ball bearing along with a shop made band saw rip fence. This band saw rip fence allows for the bearings and guide assembly of the band saw to be set to a height just above the material to be cut. Also, you will notice that this rip fence allows more room for the left hand of the woodworker than the manufacturer’s rip fence allows. These are two critical safety reasons in and of themselves.

 

The setup of the fence and rip jig controls the movement of the material being pushed through the band saw blade. The only movement is forward as there is no lateral movement of the material.

 

The following two things need to be achieved in order to maintain uniform thickness of the wood inlay bandings:
1.) The fence needs to be set parallel to the “drift” of the band saw blade.
2.) The material being ripped needs to be properly dimensioned, paralleled, and squared.

 

Recommendation…Take a piece of scrap material and test cut the piece and then check with a digital or dial caliper for uniform thickness. Make adjustments as necessary to properly set the fence to the “drift.”

Dial caliper measures wood inlay banding

Dial caliper measures wood inlay banding

A Technique for Ripping Wood Inlay Banding

Once the fence is correctly set for the “drift” we can adjust for thickness of cut. This is just a matter of setting the bearing of the thin rip jig to a distance out from the band saw blade. This should be equal to our desired thickness of the wood inlay bandings. Take a piece of scrap material to test the cut for the desired thickness and adjust the thin rip jig as necessary. When we have the correct thickness then we will slide the bearing about an inch or so before the band saw blade. Now, lock the rip jig securely in place.

 

Now that we have accounted for the drift and have the thickness that we want it is time to set our material against the bearing. Now place the band saw rip fence alongside the wood inlay to be cut. Lock the fence, turn on the power, and take the first cut. After each cut simply repeat the process. If this process is followed the material cut will be of uniform thickness and we will have maximized our material. The woodworking video simply reveals this process of ripping uniform thin strips of wood inlay banding.

 

Related Videos and articles:
…..Creating Picture Frame Moulding
…..How to Make Picture Frames with Wood Inlay

 

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