Synopsis: Should you’re utilizing the bandsaw only for tough cuts and curves, you’re lacking out on one thing. This machine is ideal for ripping strong wooden, from breaking down inventory to near-finish cuts. It’s quieter and safer than a tablesaw, and Tony O’Malley argues it’s additionally extra snug to make use of. Right here he covers the fundamentals of organising and utilizing the bandsaw for all of your ripping wants.
Bandsaws include a fence for a purpose: They aren’t only for curves and tough cuts. Certainly, they’ll make high quality, correct rips as nicely. Supplied you’ve an excellent noticed that’s arrange and geared up with the appropriate blade, you possibly can stick to this protected, environment friendly machine from inventory breakdown to close end cuts. The one restrict is your bandsaw’s rip capability. As a result of bandsaw tables are small, infeed and outfeed helps are useful.
Whereas I’d by no means hand over my tablesaw, the bandsaw is the higher solution to go for ripping strong wooden in my store. For one, it’s quieter and far safer. You’ll by no means expertise kickback on one. It additionally wastes much less wooden as a result of its kerf is about half that of a tablesaw’s. And final, I discover that working at a bandsaw is simply extra snug.
Rip large to provide the wooden room to maneuver
I work with kiln-dried, roughsawn lumber from one in all a number of trusted native mills. Although the wooden has been dried nicely, I nonetheless anticipate some motion after I rip boards into narrower items. That is the place the bandsaw’s security benefit shines essentially the most, as a result of there’s no chance of kickback when pressure within the wooden is relieved and the wooden binds towards the blade. You may at all times simply maintain pushing the workpiece by the minimize.
To start, I joint one fringe of a tough board, then set the fence on the bandsaw and rip my items 1⁄8 in. to 1⁄4 in. over their remaining width. If the sting could be very irregular, like a pure edge, I first mark a straight line and bandsaw to the road earlier than jointing that edge. The longer the half, the extra additional width I depart in case the half develops criminal—a curve alongside the sting—which is frequent. There’s no have to joint between rips at this stage. I then give the rough-ripped components a day to settle earlier than persevering with to mill them. I stack the items on edge with house between to permit air to flow into.
As soon as the wooden has acclimated, I proceed milling it to remaining dimension. I begin by jointing a face. If there may be any bow, I joint the concave face for security and practicality, then aircraft to remaining thickness. Subsequent, I joint one edge, once more selecting any concave edge. With each faces planed, I can edge-joint with both face towards the jointer’s fence.
A 3/4-in.-wide blade is ideal for ripping lumber to width. I take advantage of one though my noticed will settle for blades as much as 1-1/4 in. Should you incessantly alternate between rips and curved cuts, a 1/2-in. blade is an efficient compromise. Regardless, you need an aggressive tooth profile, the perfect being hook tooth and skip tooth. And fewer tooth, like 3 tpi, are higher than extra. Each the profile and smaller tooth rely stop the blade from bogging down beneath load.
I’ve had my noticed for over 15 years, however early on I wasn’t tightening the blade sufficiently. This may let the blade wander in the course of the minimize and result in extra friction between the blade and guides. Friction causes warmth, which may break blades prematurely. Now I tighten the blade absolutely and modify the guides fastidiously to attenuate friction.
For a top quality minimize, you want the blade to trace appropriately. As a result of the fence is crucial for straight rips, I guarantee its alignment with the blade by aligning it with the miter slot at the back and front of the desk. To regulate drift, I feed slowly to keep away from sending the blade off beam.
Second rip is simply shy of ultimate width
At this stage, folks typically flip to the tablesaw and rip the board to width. I stick to the bandsaw, however with an help from the planer—or if want be, the jointer—within the subsequent step. The bandsaw’s advantages nonetheless stand for this end-stage ripping, however the bandsawn edge will want cleanup and refining. So I rip my completed components 1/16 in. to 1/8 in. wider than remaining width, once more relying on the half’s size. If I’m ripping thinner strips from a wider board, I rejoint a reference edge between passes. The result’s a number of items of the identical width, with one edge jointed and the opposite edge bandsawn.
Rip large, then wait
Joint and aircraft
Convey to remaining width
On large boards, joint a second edge
Aircraft (or joint) to width
This may increasingly sound shocking, however I run my components by the planer on edge to dimension them to remaining width. It really works nice offered there’s sufficient bearing floor on the tables. For thinner components of the identical width, I group multiples and cross them by the planer collectively, letting them act like one thick workpiece. For instance, I might by no means attempt to run a single 3⁄4-in.-thick by 3-in.-wide piece on edge by the planer. The piece is just too prone to tip, and the planed edge most likely gained’t come out sq.. But when I gang 4 items of the identical width and maintain them collectively as one bigger block, they are going to keep vertical and their edges will probably be sq.. For longer inventory, I arrange infeed and outfeed curler stands to assist the work.
Once I want only one half or when the piece is just too large to aircraft on edge, I rip it on the bandsaw 1⁄16 in. large after which joint the ultimate edge. Concentrate on your jointer’s depth of minimize; don’t go previous your required dimension.
Jointing the sting could also be one other shock. Returning to the jointer goes towards frequent milling follow, however I feel we should always rethink. For one, whether or not you rip with a bandsaw or tablesaw, that edge can have machine marks that must be cleaned up. Some folks do that with a handplane, however I argue that my jointer works simply as nicely and is faster. Plus, when are completely parallel edges essential? Not with boards glued up for a tabletop, because you’ll carry the entire high to dimension, together with making its outer, unglued edges parallel after gluing. Maybe completely parallel edges are necessary for a floating raised panel in a bigger door, however I imagine that lower than good is ok. As a result of floating panels want room to maneuver, there may be additionally room for slight variation within the width from one finish to the opposite. Whereas there may be at all times the perfect to attempt for, there may be additionally acceptable actuality.
Images: Barry NM Dima.
Drawings: Vince Babak.
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From Positive Woodworking #302
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