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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,
Consider me new in the band-saw world. Long story short - I can't cut a straight line to save my life, as the blade is all over the place. I don't think it's feed speed, as I can inch along and still have same problems. I have guides as close to the wood as possible, but doesn't mean that they aren't jacked up somewhere else. I basically can't cut anything more than 3/4" and expect an ok result. Even less than that if I'm hoping for a good result.

I sort of think it's probably a super dull blade, as this is a super cheap freebie/hand-me-down, but wanted to at least get a little knowledge from the pros.

What does a sharp blade feel like? (Does it hurt like pricking a finger with thorn?, should it draw blood just from the slightest touch?, etc)
Does a dull blade cause eradic wandering?
How much should the guide blocks support the blade? (half of it? everything but the teeth?)
Are these smaller saws just junk in general? (I'm not resawing, just a way to cut some small curves, or stuff that's a little more convenient than a different tool)

I've attached a pic, it's almost identical to this, just Skil branded from who-knows-when.
Always open to any other advice. This is basically just testing something free, see if I would ever want something larger. (So far, I don't want any bandsaw)

Jay
 

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There are many good YouTube videos showing you how to set up your band Saw. This is step one before you start blaming the blade.
Once you've followed the set-up procedures and have your saw tracking correctly, then you're ready to try a new blade. Narrow blades are made for sharper turns and twist while wider blades are used for straighter cuts. ...For the straightest cut, us a wider blade (1/2" minimum).
Narrow spaced teeth cut smooth but cut slower and generate more heat.
Wider spaced teeth cut faster and generate less heat.
Tension on the blade should be followed closely to the guide. A loose blade won't track right but you shouldn't overtighten.
I gathered this Saw is new to you. The blade may not even be a wood blade. Bandsaws can cut wood or metal. Since it's a Craftsman, it was sold by Sears and they should carry blades to fit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Appreciate the notes. Part of the reason I think it's the blade, is because it feels about as sharp as butter knife :)
I've adjusted the tension to the best I can without specific tools I don't yet own, I've also done my best to review/adjust the guideblocks and the thrust bearing. I also wondered if the blade itself can/will stretch over time. It's possible I simply can't apply enough tension as well. (I'm not necessarily expecting a lot, for essentially free, mostly just experimenting at this point)

Thanks, Jay
 

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where's my table saw?
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start with a new blade!

Even the best setup won't make a dull blade cut straight. Yoiu can get a new blade for that saw for around $10.00, maybe less. Once you have the new blade installed there is a process for adjusting the guides and the tracking. It's best to remove the table so you see what you are doing.

I can tell you how to do it or recommend the Alex Snodgrass video.

First back all the guides far out of the way. Next, track the blade so the gullets are centered on the upper wheel, never mind the lower wheel. Next, bring in the upper and lower back guides so they barely kiss the back edge of the blade. Next adjust the side guides in a like manner, barely touching the sides of the blades. Next, reinstall the table and make a test cut. Let us know how it works...... :smile3:
 

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Even the best setup won't make a dull blade cut straight. Yoiu can get a new blade for that saw for around $10.00, maybe less. Once you have the new blade installed there is a process for adjusting the guides and the tracking. It's best to remove the table so you see what you are doing.

I can tell you how to do it or recommend the Alex Snodgrass video.
Band Saw Clinic with Alex Snodgrass - YouTube

First back all the guides far out of the way. Next, track the blade so the gullets are centered on the upper wheel, never mind the lower wheel. Next, bring in the upper and lower back guides so they barely kiss the back edge of the blade. Next adjust the side guides in a like manner, barely touching the sides of the blades. Next, reinstall the table and make a test cut. Let us know how it works...... :smile3:
If the set-up is wrong, you can ruin a new blade by knocking the set out in only a few revolutions under power.
Check the set-up first, then install the new blade.
 

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The blade may be the wrong blade for the saw. I recently bought a bench band saw and when I tried to get the guides to align with the blade, I realized the blade was too long. The previous owner didn't like that he couldn't get the short blades locally so he bought the next size up and tried to adjust the saw to compensate.

My saw works great, with the correct size blades. Check yours.
 

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where's my table saw?
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Nope, follow this procedure.....

Even the best setup won't make a dull blade cut straight. Yoiu can get a new blade for that saw for around $10.00, maybe less. Once you have the new blade installed there is a process for adjusting the guides and the tracking. It's best to remove the table so you see what you are doing.

I can tell you how to do it or recommend the Alex Snodgrass video.
Band Saw Clinic with Alex Snodgrass - YouTube

First back all the guides far out of the way.
Next, track the blade so the gullets are centered on the upper wheel, never mind the lower wheel. Next, bring in the upper and lower back guides so they barely kiss the back edge of the blade. Next adjust the side guides in a like manner, barely touching the sides of the blades. Next, reinstall the table and make a test cut. Let us know how it works...... :smile3:
If the set-up is wrong, you can ruin a new blade by knocking the set out in only a few revolutions under power.
Check the set-up first, then install the new blade.
You would not set up the saw to a blade that you were not going to use. It may be a different thickness... the side guides won't work properly. It may be a different length.... the tracking won't be correct. It may be a different width.... the back guides won't be in the correct location. Follow the procedure I stated and back all the guides out away from the blade. Finally, DO NOT power up the saw before you spin the wheels by hand and look and listen for any issues!

For what it's worth I own 5 woodcutting bandsaws and 2 metal cutting bandsaw saws AND I weld my own blades. I'm not just shootin' from the hip here. :|
 

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My own experience is that I owned a cheap Ryobi bandsaw of about the same capacity as this (but only two wheels) for over 20 years and had lots of use from it. Of course there are limits to what these small benchtop machines can do but for cutting simple curves in thin material they are very handy. As luck would have it, although I bought the saw new, it too would not cut in a straight line. A friend suggested replacing the blade, which I did, and the problem disappeared.

Eventually the tyre on one of the wheels started to disintegrate and I found they were no longer made. So I went to a tyre repair shop and got an old inner tube from a scooter and cut a strip of this and it was still running fine when I eventually sold it on eBay.

I now have a 14" generic Taiwanese saw which has a much higher capacity for work but still doesn't get much more use than the old Ryobi. It came with a crook blade too but for $30 I was able to replace it and it now runs like new.
 

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snip(So far, I don't want any bandsaw)

Jay
Try a real bandsaw and see if you still feel the same.

I honestly would not spend too much time or money on that style of saw, they are a poor design mostly sold to hobbyists that end up getting rid of them, look for a two wheel saw where you will have half a chance to get it tuned up and working.
 

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A neighbor gave me one of those saws and I curbed it after the first cut.

Any saw is only as good as its blade. The first time I used a Timberwolf resaw blade was a revelation that a bandsaw can actually cut a straight line.
 

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I would also install ceramic guide blocks and thrust bearings as you can set the guides within less than the thickness of a dollar bill.
 
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