Why does my bandsaw blade wander?

Chances are if you are reading this article, either you own a new band saw or regular saw that is misbehaving, don’t worry, this is a common problem. Perhaps you have tried using the assortment of blades experimenting with each size, yet your work still drifts from the fence. Most people who opt for an alternative second fence to check this drifting don’t get better results. Or maybe your final attempt was using a blade guide which is tight with the teeth beyond them while setting up rollers are pressed against the back of the blade, yet your saw still wanders. Look no further; you are on the right page. Here is a guide on how to go about the issue.

Possible reasons for your bandsaw wander

  • First, most people overlook the minute differences between the set and sharpness of the teeth on opposite sides of the blade.
  • When teeth on one side stick out more or are sharper, the blade tends to be skewed towards that one direction. The leaning during cutting action places lateral pressure on your work translating to movement away from your fence.
  • A fast feed rate when will cause the blade to wander due to accumulation of wastes and slow clearance
  • A dull blade wanders due to the inefficiency associated with cutting
  • Improper storage contributes to your edge wandering due to possible damages to your blades, mainly when laid flat. It is recommended that you hang your blades from a wall.
  • Heat-related deflection often results in a wander. Friction from cutting builds up the heat on the blade surface, especially the front edge (the teeth portion) compared to the back of the blade.
  • The continuous heating expands the metallic blade. Disproportionate expansion of the front edge than the back results to a slightly longer blade. However, due to the blade’s attachment to the end, the expansion is manifested through outward or inward warping resulting in a drifting cut.
  • Using high tension blades

Fixing a bandsaw drift

When your fence and blade aren’t in the perfect line, your saw edge automatically wanders. However, there are several ways of handling this problem are a couple of ways to deal with this problem.

Making a better fence

  • You can use two pieces of plywood placed at right angles to each other.
  • Carry out a test by making cuts in scrap and paying attention to the drifting of your blade and adjustable angle to push work what angle to counter the problem.
  • Then clamp your improvised fence to the bench that this angle. This should solve your drifting woes.
  • Alternatively, use the commonly reoffered to “single-point” fence, which is a vertical edge clamped at right angles to the bench but parallel to the blade and the teeth.
  • Apply pressure on the opposite side of your workpiece so that it is held against the single-point fence.

Manual course-correction

  • You can manually course-correct for drift as you continue with your cutting; however, it is tiring and demanding, especially if you are a newbie.
  • However, experts contend the process is relatively simple when you get into the flow or are experienced.
  • Ensure you squint my eyes paying attention to detail at the kerf directly behind the blade.
  • Make adjustments on the direction of your workpiece, ensuring the trailing edge of the blade is centered in the kerf.

Use a wider blade

Place your widest blade available on the saw in case you were using a narrower blade.

  • Freehand makes a straight cut while ensuring the back of the blade is perfectly centered in the kerf.
  • Use the fixed line in setting your fence parallel to your bench and, not its groove.
  • Go slow when ripping to allow for clearing avoid the accumulation of waste that may drift the blade.

Use a low tension blade

Low tension band saw blades available in the market are less prone to wandering due to this metallic property as opposed to high tensile ones. Replacement can help eliminate the problem.

Use a vortex tube

Over-heating is a significant cause of the wandering of your saw blade. Outfitting your saw with a vortex tube allows for blowing of cold air on the front of the edge while it was running. The effect is cooling of the heat prone front of your saw, preventing its expansion and resultant wandering.

Bottom Line

A wandering blade is a result of many factors, as stated here. Solving the problem depends on the actual cause of the problem. These issues can be cured through improvisation, proper workmanship, or replacement of blades. However, some of the causes can be solved by care and proper use of equipment. If you saw still wanders after taking all or any of the measures listed, perhaps it’s time to consider purchasing a new one.