Before you attempt any resawing of wood, be sure to read the article Bandsaw Setup. This will give you the information you need to make sure your saw is properly tuned and ready for the task. A good blade like the Wood Slicer Blades will help you a great deal too.
The Re-saw Fence:
Most of the fences supplied with bandsaws are pretty pathetic. They are short and lack the proper adjustment and support that is needed to give accurate results for re-sawing wood.
Actually the best resaw fence is the one you make yourself. I make my resaw fence from some 1″ cabinet grade teak plywood I had around the shop. It is essential that the wood you use for your fence be absolutely flat! I will be putting up free plans for the resaw fence that I made for saw wood on our Georgia Luthier Supply. Be sure to follow this blog to stay tuned for that publication.
Set the Table Tilt to Zero:
First of all we want to check the table angle. With the table tilt function lever tightened and the bandsaw blade at proper tension, check the blade to table angle with a good Woodworkers Try Square. It is best to measure this just behind the teeth. Sight through and see if you can see any daylight between the square and the blade. If you can you will have to adjust the set screw that is used to adjust table angle.
Place the Fence on the Bandsaw Table
Put the bandsaw fence on the table and adjust it so you cut the desired thickness. If this is your first re-sawing attempt, I would cut just a bit thicker than usually, just to make sure you don’t waste any wood while learning this task. A good rule of thumb is if you have a piece of 8/4 stock that is finished planed down to about 1.5″ actual, you can get 6 pieces out of that stock or 1/4″ (6.3mm) per cut. Considering the width of the blade and with a little bit of blade drift thrown into the mix and you can nicely plane down the top or back plates to proper thickness.
Start by aligning the fence square with the table edge to the blade will be parallel with the cutting line. Secure the fence with clamps, or if you do like I did, tighten the adjustment knobs to secure the fence. Double check the measurement from the fence to the center of the blade. It should be exactly 90 degrees.
Selection Of Your Wood:
You should make a test cut on a piece of hardwood that is not too valuable and is of sufficient width to simulate the re-sawing you will be doing. Start up the saw and cut into the wood enough just see the blade track. This would be about 1/16″ . Make sure the cut is perfectly straight on the end of the wood. Measure to the center of the cut and make sure it matches your cut selection.
Next take a sharp pencil or a Very Fine Sharpie and strike a line that will represent your cut line on the top edge of the wood.
Another option for your first stock cutting is to cut some Cedar or Spruce tops rather than the hardest of hardwood or exotic wood that is very expensive. The softer wood will give you a good indication of any problems and will give you a great deal more satisfaction with your first re-sawing job.
Complete The Re-saw:
Start up the saw and hold the stock firmly against the fence with your right hand. I usually hold my hand just ahead of the cut so I am sure I’m not placing pressure against the blade and yet keeping the stock in place. With your left hand push the stock into the saw. Above all else do no feed the stock too fast. Slow and consistent will give you a consistent and even cut.
Even a slight pause can cause a slight ripple in the cut. While you are feeding the stock keep a close eye on the blade track. If it begins to drift away from dead center on your line, you may need to correct the fence for a bit of blade drift. This is not unusual and don’t get too alarmed over this as it is a function of how the teeth are set on the blade.
How to Correct For Blade Drift:
If after making a partial cut and you find that the blade wanders a bit to the outside of the line (away from the fence) you need to make a fence adjustment. Do this: Trace a line along your fence directly on the table. Use a marker to do this. Now loosen the fence knobs a bit. Take a plastic hammer or the palm of your hand move the backside of the fence to cut slightly deeper and the front side of the fence slightly shallower. How much? Well that depends on the amount of drift you have. A good place to start is about 1/16″ each way.
If your blade drift is in the opposite way in that the blade drifts toward the fence, make your fence adjustments in the opposite direction.
Keep doing trial cuts until the blade tracks perfectly. When the cut is done examine the cut. Check it with your Woodworkers Try Square. Is there any bow in the cut? If so you blade is dull or you don’t have enough blade tension dialed in.
Don’t Become Disheartened:
At times cutting deep hardwood on the bandsaw can cause you grief. Just keep in mind to have the best blade you can buy, don’t try to save money and use a dull blade and make sure your bandsaw setup is absolutely perfect in that the blade is securely captured in the blade guides and stop bearings and crank in lots of tension. Use the deep cut fence and make all the proper test cuts and you will find that it goes really smoothly.
Once you get to be a pro, you will find that with proper and consistent feeding of stock, you will barely get any inconsistencies in your guitar plates.