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Live Bandsaw Techniques Demo with Alex Snodgrass

Updated: Feb 8

Bandsaw Basics with Alex Snodgrass

Few tools rival the versatility and precision of the bandsaw. From intricate curves to flawless resawing, the bandsaw empowers craftspeople to bring their visions to life with unparalleled accuracy and efficiency. However, maximizing the performance of this indispensable tool requires careful attention to blade selection and proper machine maintenance. In this video, we explore the intricacies of bandsaw woodworking including blade selection, tuning up your bandsaw, blade tension, squaring up the bandsaw table and offer examples of what a bandsaw can truly do if it is set up properly.

Blade Selection for Resawing

Resawing—the process of cutting thin slices of wood from a larger piece—demands a blade capable of delivering smooth, straight cuts with minimal waste. However, contrary to popular belief, Alex suggests that the ¾” or 1” blades are overkill when it comes to resawing.  Can they do a nice job? Sure! Are they completely necessary? Maybe not. When selecting a blade for resawing, it may be more about the quality of the blade than it is about the size of the blade.  Alex’s favorites for resawing are both the ⅜” and ⅝” Green Wood blades from Carter Products

Narrow blades with a high TPI count are ideal for intricate scrollwork and delicate cuts, while wider blades with fewer teeth excel at resawing and ripping thick stock. Using a quality blade and placing the deepest part of the gullet in the center of the wheel ensures efficient chip removal and prevents blade deflection, resulting in clean, uniform cuts and maximizing the yield from your lumber.

Tuning Up Your Bandsaw

A well-tuned bandsaw is the cornerstone of successful woodworking projects. Begin by inspecting the machine for any signs of wear or misalignment, paying particular attention to the blade guides, tensioning mechanism, and table surface. Adjust the blade guides to ensure proper clearance on either side of the blade both above and below the table.  When checking for blade tension, be sure to check on the inside of the machine on the left side.  This will give you a more accurate assessment of tension than at the table.  Finally, and we can’t stress this enough, make sure the deepest part of the gullet on your blade is near the center of the wheel.  If you need more help setting up or tuning up your bandsaw, consider joining Alex’s Facebook group, the Bandsaw Boxes Community.

Setting the Bandsaw Guides

The proper adjustment of the bandsaw guides is crucial for maintaining blade alignment and preventing premature wear. Begin by setting the thrust bearings behind the blade to minimize lateral movement during operation. Next, adjust the side guides to provide just enough clearance for the blade to pass through without binding or wandering. Regularly inspect and lubricate the guides to prolong their lifespan and preserve the integrity of your cuts.

As we embark on our bandsaw woodworking journey, let us draw inspiration from masters of the craft such as Alex Snodgrass, whose passion for precision and dedication to excellence have earned him widespread acclaim in the woodworking community. By honing our skills, mastering blade selection, and tuning up our bandsaws, we can unleash the full potential of this remarkable tool and embark on a journey of creativity, innovation, and boundless possibility in the world of woodworking.


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