I’m having trouble resawing a dimensioned piece of lumber. I have a JET 16-in. band saw equipped with a 5/8-in. blade and a fence with a round resaw post. I have drawn a pencil line full-length on the workpiece for the blade to follow. When I start resawing, the blade starts to drift to the left, so I correct for this by moving my end of the board to the left, which brings it back on line — but the blade continues to drift to the left until my end is now touching the fence and therefore I cannot move it any further to the left because of this obstruction. What am I doing wrong? – Roy Watts
Chris Marshall: Blade drift can be a tough problem to resolve, because there are several variables that could be to blame here. Where the blade is sitting on the saw’s flywheels, how tightly you have it tensioned, whether or not the wheels are spinning in the same plane as one another, how sharp and effective your blade is, how well the blade guides support the blade during cutting – all of these factors could be influencing your saw’s tendency to drift as it cuts. If the saw makes normal curve or rip cuts just fine, and resawing is its Achilles’ heel, try this: Position the blade so it runs centered on the wheels, right on the crown of the tires. Tension the blade as you normally would, or even a bit higher still, and check the upper and lower guides for proper clearance on both sides. If the cut still wants to drift, switch to a brand-new blade. Sometimes the blade itself can be the whole problem. I’ve actually had surprisingly good luck resawing even wide lumber with an ordinary 6 TPI, 1/4-in.-wide blade. I’ve found that resaw blades certainly work, but even a narrow blade can do the job if you give the saw time to chew through the cut — and they make it easier to steer the wood left or right because the blade body is narrow and not working against your efforts to twist the wood. So, if you have a fresh 1/4-in. blade, give that a try next. You might be surprised. I would also suggest trying to resaw without using your point fence. If your rip fence can be adjusted for drift, make that adjustment and try resawing again (you can find instructions for adjusting rip fences to account for blade drift in most band saw books). A resaw post or point fence isn’t mandatory for resawing—it just makes steering the cut easier.
Rob Johnstone: One other thing to consider is that you might have a dull saw blade. Because of the way band saw blades are mounted on the saw, sometimes a blade will get pushed back into its guides and one side of the blade’s teeth can get dulled. From then on, that blade will drift as one side of the blade will cut more effectively than the other. If Chris’s tips don’t help, try switching out your blade for one you know is sharp.