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30 Bandsaw Book Review + My Experiences


This article is from the Woodworking FAQ Collection 2, by multiple authors.

30 Bandsaw Book Review + My Experiences

From: tpc@bmerh195.BNR.CA (Thomas P. Chmara)
Date: 16 Oct 90 14:20:27 GMT

(Trouble with our NNTP server (full /tmp): hope this isn't a duplicate..)
I recently purchased a new book, "Band Saw Handbook", by Mark Duginske.
(Sterling Publishing Co. Inc. ISBN 0-8069-6398-0).
Mark is the inventor of "Cool Blocks", graphite-impregnated phenolic
blocks for bandsaws (they're sold by Lee Valley Tools, in Canada, and
Garrett Wade in the US). I got it through a book club, but I've seen it
in bookstores as well. In the vein of "Tuning your Radial Arm Saw",
it offers tips on how to get the most benefit from your bandsaw; he uses
his for ripping, etc. and claims as good or better results than from a
radial/table saw. Hope he's happy; I'll be content with a well-working
bandsaw. The book is well-written and an easy read, with plenty of drawings
photographs and illustrations, though because I was
reading it at my parents' place (far from my saw) the strong urge I kept
getting to cut wood just about drove me nuts.
The nice thing about the book is he covers Sears,
INCA (yikes!), Delta, and the Taiwanese clones in his instructions.
He goes through the different types of saws, a detailed consideration of
blade types (TPI, hook type, set type, etc.) to the point where you'll
be counting TPI in your sleep. His is the first place where I found
discussion regarding blade *speeds* as well.
The book also deals with cutting techniques (over a third of the book:
chapters on:
- "Basic Cutting Techniques"
- "Making Curves"
- "Circular Work"
- "Making Straight Cuts"
- "More Advanced Techniques"
However, as I'm still in the business of *tuning* my machine, I haven't had
a real opportunity to do much of the rest.
Thought I'd offer some of my recent experiences in tuning my machine.
It's a Taiwanese import (from Busy Bee Tools here in Ottawa, Ontario,
Great White North) and is pretty much the same as the Jet, etc. from what
I understand.
First off, I discovered that I'd been running the machine too slow.
It's a 3-speed unit (stepped pulleys) and I'd been compromising in the
absence of instructions: out of 600, 1200, and 2400 fpm, I'd chosen 1200.
He figures 2400-3000 is better, so I upped the speed. Cut smoothness
immediately improved.

--->IMPORTANT POINT: The author makes a point that HORSEPOWER is important;
in the absence of sufficient HP, *slow down*. 3/4HP is minimum in his
books; as Delta's offering is 1/2HP, you may not want to run it this

Next, I checked out my wheels. It's a two-wheeler, and our buddy
Mark observes that the saw will work better if the wheels are coplanar. Well,
mine are out by about 1/8". He recommends 5/8" washers as shims for the
Delta and Taiwanese clones (INCA and Sears owners can simply move the bottom
wheel out and retighten the setscrew...sigh). My problem was/is that unlike
the Delta, there are no small-body washers (i.e. small OD, 5/8" ID) in my saw.
I can't put standard washers behind a small-body washer, 'cause I haven't got
any, and standard washers rub against the wheel hub. This problem still
seeking resolution; I'm checking out specialty stores (including a Delta
parts depot).

Then, I picked up some Cool Blocks and installed them. WOW.
The sound level dropped sharply. These seem worth the price of admission.

Finally, I did something I should have done half a year ago: I
stripped the machine apart, looking for the source of vibration that had
been bothering me for some time (I haven't used the saw much, thankfully,
before now, partly because of this vibration and partly because my work
hasn't required it much). I figured it was just a cheap Taiwanese clone;
the problem turned out to be a setscrew that either:
a) had worked itself loose, or
b) I'd nebbishly failed to tighten during initial assembly!
(I'd like to think (a), but I fear (b) may be the true reason. It's things
like these that keep us humble.)

Well, between all of these changes, the saw is a joy to work with.
It's extremely quiet, well-mannered (ripping *is* easy on a bandsaw...but
between you and I I think I'll stick to the radial arm saw -- just don't
tell Mark). I'll let you know how resawing works out in a few weeks.

Hope this is of interest to our small community of contributors.


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