A band saw is capable of making some pretty precise cuts – but it has nowhere near the built in precision of your table saw. On the table saw, the blade is securely mounted parallel to the guide slot, and, after adjustment, it is also parallel to the rip fence. So, cuts that run straight are pretty easy to produce. Not so true on the band saw.

First of all, the upper and lower guides will be pretty far apart when re-sawing. Secondly, instead of the thickness, and tempered body of a circular saw, you have a much thinner piece of metal, that is flexible by need and design. So, it is inherently less stable when 5 or more inches between the guides. Speaking of the guides — while the manufacturers strive to make things line up, there is no guarantee that the installed blade is parallel to the slot in the band saw table. In fact, I almost guarantee that it’s not. Add to this the fact that the set on the blade may not be exactly centered at times. SO – how do we make it cut straight when making those thin, thin, slices for veneer? Fear not, asmMost rip fences for band saws are adjustable for exactly this reason.

Once the blade is installed on your saw, the guides adjusted as best as you can, and its all tensioned and ready to run. The first order of business is to check the square between the blade and the saw table. I prefer a 6” combination square. Just place the wide end on the table and hold it next to the blade. Adjust the tilting table if need be. To set the “drift”, I take a piece of scrap plywood – usually ¾” thick. The size isn’t critical, something 6” or wider, and 16” long or so will be fine. Using a ruler, or a small combo square, I make a pencil line parallel to the left edge of the plywood, an inch or so from the edge. I turn the saw on and feed the wood to the blade trying to cut precisely along one side of the pencil line. It will be obvious that the direction the blade wants to travel is not parallel with the table. About half way into the cut, I hold the piece firmly to the table with one hand and push the “stop” button with the other. Once the blade has stopped, I take the pencil and draw a line right on the saw table along the left edge of the plywood. This is the line this particular blade wishes to follow, today. I move the fence close and loosen the adjusting screws. I then fiddle with it until the fence lies along the new pencil line on the table, and tighten the screws. I am now ready to set the desired thickness of the piece to be cut. I move the fence into position and clamp it to the track. You should be able to make cut after cut without too much effort to keep the blade tracking down the board. I have successfully sliced, veneers as skinny at .020” with this method, but thicker is easier, for sure.

Good cutting,
Ron Owens

Cut along a line to see where the blade tracks
Cut along a line to see where the blade tracks – then make a mark along the edge
The blade should cut straight ahead
The blade should cut straight ahead
Beautifully smooth cuts from the X-tra Edge Resaw blade
Beautifully smooth cuts from the X-tra Edge Resaw blade
Align the fence to the mark you made on the table

Align the fence to the mark you made on the table