A Little Band Saw Love

I know I spend a lot of time on my soapbox running my loud mouth about hand tools and woodworking powered by last nights pizza. Its something I feel passionate about and I am proud of the skills I've developed in that realm. However. . . .however, if you've been following my blog for a while you've seen pictures around my shop and you'll know that I have the standard array of power tools surrounding me as well. I don't fire them up often, but I like having them around to lift the workload at the right times.

A year and a half ago I added a new electric apprentice to the shop, a 14" bandsaw. It took us a little while to learn how to get along, the old boy is a little more maintenance than my tablesaw ever was and I still feel like I need four hands, a trained monkey, and a perfect full moon when it comes to changing the blade.

Our relationship has been improving since the start and there are things this guy can do that has changed my woodworking like no other tool I have ever held in my hot little hands. I can describe that change with one word. Resawing.

On his great blog Heartwood, Rob Porcaro has recently been writing about band saws vs. table saws. In the midst of balancing the pros and cons of both machines he sums up my feelings about the band saw with one line. "Resawing is a gateway technique that can change how you think about wood." You can resaw with a table saw, and I have done it before but it is not anywhere nearly as smooth or satisfying of a process as it is on the band saw.

It comes down to use and in the process of my Arts and Crafts Spice Chest build I have need of a significant amount of resawn stock. First there's the shelves which support the small apothecary drawers inside the chest. They needed to be brought down to a 1/4" thick. Then there's the drawers themselves with 1/2" thick drawer fronts and 3/8" thick sides and backs, not to mention more 1/4" stock for the bottoms. All in all that's a good pile of resawing.

I started by ripping my stock to width. Cherry for the drawer fronts and pine for the rest.

I use a very simple, shop made fence on my band saw for resawing. Two pine boards glued and screwed at a right angle. The hole you see drilled in it is a hang hole. I clamp it in place with a couple "F" clamps and often I use a chisel to gauge the thickness of cut. If I want to resaw down to 1/2", I space a 1/2" chisel blade between the fence and the saw blade.

I don't make the space tight to the chisel's width. I leave around 1/16th of an inch space to account for the set of the saws teeth and to plane away the saw marks. I'm not worried about achieving micrometer perfect thicknesses when I'm done. I don't believe that's what woodworking is about.

Then its a matter of feeding the stock through. You can see under my right hand the scrap of wood I used as a sacrificial push block to finish the cut safely.

In the end it really doesn't take long to run a bunch of white pine through this way. The cherry on the right was run through as well. The drawer stock is prepped to thickness. After this comes smoothing the saw marks away, sizing it to dimension, and more dovetails.

The stock that was resawn to 1/4" was smoothed, sized, and set into the stopped dados of the spice chest cabinet.

Putting together the drawers would have to wait for another day. Before I moved forward I had to answer the design questions that had bothered me since the first rough drawings made an appearance in my sketch book. The base.

Ratione et Passionis


  1. I named my 14" Delta bandsaw Sybil, because you never know what her mood will be, sometimes she works fine, others, not so much. I also have a big Bridgewood that I only resaw on and some long curves, but mostly I use the 14" for curves, so I don;t have to change blades. Best of luck as you get to know each other.


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