January 21, 2022
Many woodworkers are terrified at the thought of resawing with the table saw. They would instead prefer using a bandsaw for such tasks because of the advantages offered by the bandsaw when it comes to resawing. Of course, resawing using the bandsaw opens a new artistic slant to your woodworking activities. It lets you reduce logs into lumber with ease and safety. Moreover, you can slice your veneer and create book-matched panels with the bandsaw, which you never do with ease using the table saw.
With a bandsaw equipped with a resaw saw blade, you can downsize 3/4-inch-thick lumber into 3/8-inch lumber. You may also want to make your gorgeous wood piece out of the fallen tree branches in your backyard. Resawing, however, is not an inborn skill. It takes effort and time to master this skill. But once you’ve learned this skill, you can safely transform larger chunks of lumber and logs into usable and manageable wood pieces.
Reasons Why You Should Resaw?
One succinct reason behind the need for you to resaw as a woodworker is pragmatic and money. First, if you got fallen branches of a good lumber tree, you can utilize them by resawing them. In doing so, you will spare yourself from buying expensive lumber. The fact is wood prices are not going down. Milling your wood will, therefore, be an appealing option if you want to save.
Another succinct reason is the concomitant satisfaction of making your lumber out of raw logs. Just imagine the pleasure you will get from milling your wood from fallen chunks of cedarwood. You can do an entire project out of these fallen branches that have otherwise gone to the fireplace. Besides, you will have the bragging right about how you have transformed a formless trunk into something artistic and valuable.
Steps on How to Resaw Logs Using Your Bandsaw
As mentioned above, resawing comes with a few advantages. So, if ever you would like to experience the exhilaration and satisfaction of milling your own lumber, you might as well check out the following simple steps on how to resaw logs using your bandsaw:
Step 1: Choose an Appropriate Saw Blade for Resawing Wood
Bandsaw blades for resawing are different from other bandsaw blades. So, it will help if you zero in on a bandsaw blade designed for resawing. Look for a resaw blade with silicon carbide and low tension. These saw blades will allow you to come up with an excellent finish with their thin kerfs. Moreover, they don’t necessitate much power to work well. Likewise, it will be best to use the widest saw blade for handling 1/2 inches and 3/4 inches lumber.
Wider saw blades allow for easier straight line cutting. So, it will help if you go for wider saw blades. It will also help if you look for a saw blade with 4 TPI. Plus, the saw blade teeth should have a hook pattern. With this pattern, the saw blade will have big gullets for clearing sawdust, allowing the saw blade to run cool. You can make it easier for your bandsaw to cut by reducing the heat factor when cutting.
Step 2: Make Adjustment to the Blade Tension to Achieve the Appropriate Tension
You can use the flutter test to get to the proper blade tension. First, you need to make an adjustment to the tracking. Ensure that you center the saw blade on the wheels. Then, tension the saw blade using the gauge of the saw. Close the hoods and raise, all the way, the guidepost (upper).
Afterward, you can retract the blade guides and thrust bearings away from the saw blade. You can then turn on the saw. Inspect if the saw blade flutters. If there is no noticeable flutter, decrease the tension gradually to let the flutter shows. Soon after, you can increase the tension again until the flutter disappears. Then, give the knob an extra 1/4 turn to increase the tension.
Step 3: Adjust the Guidepost’s Height
It will help if you position the upper guides about 1/2″ from the workpiece’s top. You can do this by adjusting the guidepost. If you’re dealing with irregularly shaped logs, you should ensure that there is enough clearance at the stock’s highest point. Make sure the guard’s aftermarket section entirely covers its blade’s share.
Step 4: You Need to Adjust the Guides
If you want optimum control of the saw blade, you should adjust the guides and set them directly against the saw blade or very near it. You can then position the thrust bearings about .004 inches at the back of the saw blade.
For the side guides, let the roller bearings press against the saw blade lightly. Ceramic and steel guide blocks must be set at about .004 inches from the saw blade. Once you’ve set the distance from the blade’s sides, you can adjust the guides’ edge to just near the gullets of the saw blade.
Step 5: Make Sure You Set the Fence of the Bandsaw at the Right Angle
To make a straight cut on your stock, you need to angle it. You need to find the drift angle and set the fence to align with the drift angle. This aligning of the saw fence is vital to a successful result. Begin by highlighting a straight line on your scrap board. Then, cut by following the line. Figure out the drift angle.
Hold in position the board and make use of that drift angle when cutting. Make use of the line you’ve delineated in positioning the fence at a similar angle. Afterward, you can test cut while adjusting the fence to fine-tune your setup until you get the stock flushed against the bandsaw fence sans wandering or binding.
Step 6: Make Sure You Square the Saw Blade with the Board!
The bandsaw blade should be perpendicular to the bandsaw table. To get the optimum results, you need to raise your guidepost. Then, utilize a square with its arm that fits the re-saw capacity of the bandsaw. You should adjust the table to remove any gap between the arm and the blade.
Afterward, ensure that the board got a square corner. In this way, the board will be flushed against the table and the tall fence when cutting.
Step 7: Start Resawing
If you will mill a log, you need to make a flat face to flush against the table. But such a task is more complicated than it seems. When establishing a flat face, you should refrain from cutting a raw log freehand. Such an irregularly shaped log might roll, twist, or break the bandsaw blade.
You can use a hand planer to have a starting flat surface. Of course, you don’t need to make the initial flat surface perfect. It should be flat and wide enough to provide stability for cutting on the opposite side. Once you’ve established that flat surface, you can flip over the log and make a cut on the opposite edge, parallel to the first flat surface.
At this point, you don’t need to fret about precision. You can approximate the parallelism. Your goal is to make the second flat surface wide and flat enough for the log to stop rocking for stable sawing on your bandsaw.
You can then load the saw log onto the bandsaw table and fashion it into a roughly square shape. Trim the bark’s perimeter. You can also use a straight-edged plywood piece to the log’s top to serve as your guide for a straighter cut. Once you’ve shaped the log into a rough square, you can utilize a straightedge to make the first board layout near the edge.
Additional Tips When Resawing Using a Bandsaw
Aside from knowing the steps on how to resaw logs, it will also help if you know the following additional tips when resawing logs using the bandsaw:
The crucial thing when cutting irregularly shaped logs is the making of the reference face. But once you were able to make that reference face, you can then begin making boards. Your requirements would determine how thick you would cut the logs.
At the onset, it will be best to consider the warping and shrinking aspect of the roughly cut fresh wood. So, it will be best not to cut the wood piece to its final thickness. Instead, you should approximate the shrinkage aspect of the wood and leave that extra material for planing and jointing.
You can add at least a quarter of an inch to allow for shrinkage.
Remember that freshly cut lumber must be dried and stored well to make it stable. When drying boards, you need to allow air to dry the wood and prevent the onset of wood mold.
To keep the boards aerated, you should keep the wood off the floor. You should add wood strips between each wood to let air aerate the wood and allow the moisture to evaporate. Align the wood strips vertically over the stocks.
In this way, the boards will remain straight while allowing the moisture to evaporate. You might ask how long you should store the stocks before they are suitable for usage. Well, it depends upon the board’s thickness. You can let one year of drying for every inch of board thickness.
Level of Safety When Resawing
As mentioned above, cutting irregularly shaped logs might be riskier than cutting milled lumber since the bandsaw is perfect for cutting flat stock. Milled lumber gets supported entirely by the bandsaw table at the point where the saw blade is.
But when you cut irregularly shaped logs, the log is not flat on the bandsaw table, depending on the diameter of your log. With this gap, the log might roll or turn while you cut. The bandsaw blade might also slam the log, dragging the log across the table.
Your finger might get pinched or crushed along the way. Hence, it will help to secure the wood in the sled to make a flat surface on the wood. Therefore, you should ensure that you will be on the safe side when you engage in resawing.
Problems You Might Encounter When Resawing Using the Bandsaw
The irregular shape of the log poses a considerable problem when cutting logs. You can skirt this problem by positioning the log on a bandsaw sled. Yet, it will be challenging to set the log on the bandsaw sled if it is too big.
So, you got a problem. To flatten the log’s bottom, you can use your jointer. The raw wood, of course, is much bigger than your jointer. Yet, the jointer is enough to make a flat spot on the raw wood.
As a woodworker, you might go through whole piles of defective hardwood lumber and find some chunks that are free of knots and rots. You can take these chunks of wood and transform them into usable lumber for your projects. Of course, you need to resaw the chunks to make them suitable for your projects. The best tool to do the resawing is the bandsaw, and you can follow the abovementioned tips on how to resaw these chunks.
As mentioned above, you can use a bandsaw sled or some form of jigs to create the initial reference surface for cutting the chunks into the required sizes you would need. Yet, before you can make the initial flat surface, you need to strip the chunks of barks. You can also use the jointer to make the initial flat surface before setting the chunks on your bandsaw.
Jason is a 40-year-old woodworker, carpenter and author who have been involved in the woodworking and woodcraft industry with 17 years of experience. He is expertise in technical aspects, woodcraft and furniture building projects.