Working at Highland Woodworking, I’m often asked to assist customers with their band sawing questions, of which resawing is a frequent topic. Fortunately for woodworkers, there are plenty of articles, books and videos for use as reference guides to help one navigate the tricky waters of resawing. Suffice it to say most standard two-wheeled shop bandsaws, with well-adjusted guides set to a blade suited for the task at hand, and with an operator at the helm having a wee bit of experience, will typically offer up satisfactory resawing results. Of course this doesn’t mean that sometimes the waters won’t be choppy on the journey and your results may vary some as you work to find your resawing sea legs. My experience has been that there are always common elements to keep in mind, but as with most journeys, the path to arrive at a destination is not always a singular one or one rigidly set in stone. You may like to reference fully against a long fence, or use a point fence or just scribe a line and free hand the cut. You may be on a small saw with just a fraction of a horsepower motor and so your progress on the journey will happen much more slowly than using a saw that dims the lights in the neighborhood when turned on. There are many elements that come into play as you resaw in your own shop on your own bandsaw.
A recent article in the March/April 2016 issue of Fine Woodworking solidly covers resawing basics and you should find it quite helpful. One thing that resonated with me was the mention of how a consistent material feed rate improves results. This is true of most machining work you do in the shop. I found this out years ago while working in a stair building shop where we would mill up long lengths of custom handrail. The machine we used was a monstrous 5 HP, 3 ph Oliver shaper (it did dim the lights on the block when turned on!) Regardless of how evenly we tried to feed the stock through the shaper, afterwards we’d always need to spend a good deal of time removing the blips you could feel along the rail at each place on the rail’s profile where our hand grip had changed at the time when feeding the long stock through the shaper. When the owner of the business purchased a 3HP – 3 wheeled stock feeder and hitched it up to the shaper, the blips in the milling results completely vanished. The feed rate was so perfectly consistent along the rail’s entire length that the need for follow up hand work to remove milling hiccups was no longer necessary. So yes, an even feed rate can make a big difference in your cutting results.
I don’t mean to suggest you need a power feeder to resaw successfully any more than I would suggest you use your 2-wheeled consumer grade bandsaw to process all the trees on your back 40 lot into prized veneer, with the hopes of creating a retirement nest egg. Some things are just not practical. The consumer grade shop bandsaws we all use typically can resaw when called to do so, but they are not resawing machines. Bandsaws built just for resawing run blades as wide as your fist. Because we are running a 1/2” or 3/4” wide blade which can twist, and are cutting wood that can & will move as it’s liberated of its thickness, we need to pay a bit closer attention to the set-up and the process to achieve satisfactory results. An even feed rate on our saws comes about from listening, feeling, anticipating (where is my push stick?) and yes, practice.
The other thing in the FWW article that perked me up was that the author, Timothy Rousseau, highlighted how much he liked using a no-frills Sterling brand 3 TPI hook tooth blade made by Diamond Saw. I am very happy to report the blade he spoke of is one we have sold at Highland Woodworking for going on 15 years. In fact, it was the same blade that was a top pick in a Fine Woodworking blade evaluation article back in 2004. It has been a solid performing blade for our customers for a very long time and I recommended the blade as a good choice for ripping and resawing thick stock. The blade is listed on our website as our general purpose 1/2” blade and we keep more than 30 lengths in stock, so we probably have one for your saw. Check it out here:
That blade made by Diamond Saw work like wonder. I recommend it to my woodworking buddies.
Is this blade better than the Wood Slicer for reshaping?
That should have said “resawing”.