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Band Saw Blade Drift On Headstock


Berserker
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It's these kind of days when I just want to say "#*%$ - it" and buy an Allparts neck. Sawing the headstock down on my second of three tele builds and the band saw blade drifts in the middle of the cut rendering the new neck useless and increases my firewood inventory. I was using a 1/4" blade on my delta 14" band saw and thought that would be sufficient. What size blade do all of you use to do resawing? Specifically for cutting down the headstock. I'm purty good with woodworking but admit there really hasn't been the need for much resawing in my shop. I just don't want to waste anymore good wood. What's your secret to a smooth, flat, accurate cut for the headstock? Thanks all.

Gil

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There are a few tips. I don't know everything, but these things help at least.

I just finished resawing a 9 inch wide curly maple board which was 1 inch thick into 4 boards for front and back bookmatched sets for a semi-hollow build. Here is the steps I did.

My saw is a 14inch cheap-o with an extra riser block for extra height. I have a 3/8 inch blade on it, skip hook tooth from woodcraft. Don't cheap out on blades.. The fewer teeth the better, it clears the shavings.

I tightened the blade pretty tight.

I set the table 90 to the blade. It must be exact. If it's a hair off, you will end up blowing out the side of your board.

Make sure your guide wheels are correct. Loosen all the guide blocks so the blade is unsupported, then without moving the blade, push the guide blocks and roller bearings so they just touch the blade. I actually push them against the blade, but it wears the guide blocks more and is rough on the blade. The roller bearing should not spin when the saw is on not cutting, but as soon as you put ANY pressure on the blade they should spin. If you put pressure on the blade, the blade will be at an angle, and when the blocks wear (Which happens fast) the blade will go straight, all your setup is now off.

I built a fence which is some scrap 9 inches tall that is just a couple of boards screwed together. There is a vertical portion that is 9 inches tall that is tapered to a point with a hand plane. This is set away from the blade at the width you want your boards cut off (That is to the side of the blade). It's set right at the point where the teeth are on the blade front to back.

Joint the edge of the board that will ride on the table. It's impossible to resaw if the bottom of the board is at an angle.

Make sure your table doesn't move and your fence is solid. Any movement you blow out the side of your cut. Clamp it all down. I had an aux. table once out of plywood that was a bit whimpy. I had to put a bar clamp from the table to the floor to keep it from moving. It only takes a fraction of an inch of table movement to give you a huge movement 9 inches above the table.

Make sure your guide wheels are correct. Loosen all the guide blocks so the blade is unsupported, then without moving the blade, push the guide blocks and roller bearings so they just touch the blade. I actually push them against the blade, but it wears the guide blocks more and is rough on the blade. The roller bearing should not spin when the saw is on not cutting, but as soon as you put ANY pressure on the blade they should spin.

Joint the edge of the board that will ride on the table. It's impossible to resaw if the bottom of the board is at an angle.

Run your marking guage around the edges of the board, then run a pencil along the indention left by the marking guage to get a nice line to follow.

Put the board to the blade, and make sure that the blade lines up to the pencil line on your board. You ran a pencil line around the end of the board, they should be aligned the same. You shouldn't even see the line, the blade should obscure it.

Oh, before you run the board through, you need to determine the cutting ofset. Take a scrap hunk of wood, and draw a stright line parallel to one edge. Run the board through the saw about 1/2 way. To keep to the line you will have to angle the board a little. Band saws pull a little. Stop the saw with the board 1/2 way through the saw, don't move it. Pencil a line on the parallel side of the board right on the saw table. This is the angle you want to run the board through. You can sight down the line and see if it's correct as you cut. This will change every time you change a blade.

Fire that baby up, stick your board to the blade, one hand on the back, one on the side keeping the board tight against the fence you built.

It takes a LONG time to cut 9" hard maple. It probably took me 15 minutes to cut the three cuts. If you push too hard the blade will bow. It will also dull almost instantly. A dull blade will follow the grain somewhat and go all over. It cuts, but it's slow. You shouldn't have to do much, keep the angle that you marked on the table, keep it tight to the fence and put low pressure on the back.

There you go.

Oh, I go through bandsaw blades after about an hour or two of resawing. That's a couple of 6 ft boards cut into 4 sections plus I do necks and non resawing after that. If I'm not resawing, I can use a blade for weeks. 9" of thickness kills a blade.

-John

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Oh, before you run the board through, you need to determine the cutting ofset. Take a scrap hunk of wood, and draw a stright line parallel to one edge. Run the board through the saw about 1/2 way. To keep to the line you will have to angle the board a little. Band saws pull a little. Stop the saw with the board 1/2 way through the saw, don't move it. Pencil a line on the parallel side of the board right on the saw table. This is the angle you want to run the board through. You can sight down the line and see if it's correct as you cut. This will change every time you change a blade.

Use a wood of similar density to what you are going to cut when determining the offset. In other words, don't use MDF to determine the offset when you are going to resaw maple.

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. Sawing the headstock down on my second of three tele builds and the band saw blade drifts in the middle of the cut rendering the new neck useless and increases my firewood inventory.

Dude..this EXACT same thing happened to me on my third build...I spent alot of time on making a perfect 7 string neck and the blade cupped into my headstock...

I fixed(improved?) it by planing it flat,then adding a headstock cap of other wood to rethicken(?) it...It was a completely painted guitar,so it was invisible,but if it were not I would have capped it with Ebony...

But I have to admit...I was really close to literally crying in frustration when it happened...

I need to get one of those safe t planers...they look perfect for the top of the headstock...

Edit And DONE...planer on the way

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I just did my tele headstock last week. I did it before the fingerboard was on, but after I shaped the headstock.

I needed to take 8 or 9 mm off the front of the headstock, so I turned the neck face down on the router table, and adjusted a straight cut router bit to protrude up from the table surface the required amount. With the neck lying face down on the router table surface, there's no way the router can take too much off. So, moving the neck slowly back and forth, I routed a strip at a time from the end of the headstock, working towards where the nut will be, but stopping well short of it.

Then , just a few seconds with smallish sanding drum in my drill and I have I nice curve to ramp the headstock face up to the fingerboard.

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First, if your bandsaw is set up and performing well you can make VERY accurate cuts. Drift and cupping are real possibilites, but not something that you are helpless to control. To be able to consistently maintain accurate and consistent cuts that are +/- a few thousandths is absolutely possible, but again requires good set up and understanding of your machine. I think there is a lot of information in topics and on web sites that can help you with set up, so I won't type a long responce on set up and blade selection.

Free hand cutting brings in the operator variable, which means you need to allow tolerance for your ability on top of how well your machine performs. Point fences are worthless to me, because it is not accurate enough for my repetative close tolerance resawing or gets in my way when I free hand cuts. That is just my 2 cents on that, so take it FWIW.

As for headstocks. You need control. You can ruff cut with a bandsaw, but must maintain a reference surface so you can plane/sand/route(whatever you prefer) a true surface. How much you have to clean and true up will just depend on how close you can cut with a margin of safety(tolerance). As an example, I use the face of my angled headstocks as my reference surface, and ruff cut the back of the headstock with my bandsaw. I then use my open ended drum sander(referencing the face of the headstock) to true the surface. Then I adjust the volute area with my spindle sander. With a non angled headstock you are going to need to play with the front of the headstock, so it would make sense to use the back as your true reference. Using the end of a belt sander or spindle sander is a great way to deal with volutes or the transition on straight headstocks.

Rich

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Thanks for all the tips guys. I went ahead and purchased a Safe T-Planer. Pretty slick. I'm going to change the 1/4" blade with my 1/2" blade, tighten it up and use the regular fence this time. I used the resaw point fence last time and admittedly it very well could by all my error. I haven't used it until now. As for the one I messed up, I think I'll try veneering it to salvage what otherwise is a nice neck build.

Gil

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What others have said about having the machine set up so the guide rollers are all adjusted properly and blade tensioned correctly so the blade tracks correctly is essential. The other point to note is to only have the throat opening just greater than the thickest part of the cut so the blade has the least amount of flex.

To get a accurate cut on a band saw free hand requires practise, patience and good co-ordination. When I cut out a neck blank or body I mark the outline with a black permanent marker pen, then stay a mm or so outside my line. With that and the thickness of the line it leaves enough to clean up on a shop sander or jointer. I dont know what the band saw blade in my school shop is, but it has been on for about 5yrs now and still cuts well. I dont let my students cut out any guitar parts as I know in most cases they will go inside the line and stuff things up as they dont have the experience or feel of machines. That comes with practise.

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just went thru this recently, switched out my 1/4 to a 3tpi 1/2" blade which is the max my 15 year old low buck Delta can run. tune up to proper tension, and set the guides and bearings as described above and it cut my first ever birdseye fretboards straight as an arrow.

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