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Easy Resawing

By George Vondriska
In my experience, resawing on the bandsaw is one of those
things that makes smoke come out of woodworkers ears. It
can, admittedly, be tough to get perfect, especially if you have
to go through the steps required for drift compensation.
(Sometimes you get the drift, sometimes you dont.)
Heres whatll save your resaw bacon. You dont always have to
do drift compensation. The key to dirt simple resawing is a
singe point contact fence, which you can easily make.
The Fence. The fence
is simple. Use 1/2! ply-
wood for the base, face,
and brace. Use 3/4!
hardwood for the con-
tact point. The height
of the face should be
close to the width of
the material youll be
resawing. Your best bet is to make a few of these, in 2! increments, so you have fences for
narrow, medium, and wide stock.
The base should as long as your bandsaw table is deep, or
a little more. The brace needs to be cut at a perfect 90-
degrees. The hole is for hanging the fence up when youre
done.
Make the contact point
by easing two corners
with a 3/8! roundover
bit, which produces a
bull nose. Do this to a
piece thats wider and
longer than what you
need for the fence. Rip and crosscut it to final size after the roundover is complete. Its OK
to make this piece from thinner or thicker stock to match the roundover bit you own. The
important thing is getting a bull nose so you create a single contact point.
Choose the right blade. While a 1/4! blade is fine
for cutting curves, you need something wider for
resawing. Use a blade thats at least 1/2! wide,
with 3 or 4 teeth per inch. Resawing is a ripping
operation, and requires aggressive teeth to carry
the waste out of the cut.
Set the camber on the upper wheel to position the
blade in the center of the tire.
The thrust bearing should be .003! (the thickness of a
piece of paper) behind the blade. Steel guide blocks or
bearings should be .003! away from the side of the blade.
Composite guide blocks can be allowed to kiss against the
side of the blade. Make sure you check the set up above
and below the table.
Mark Your
Boards. Youll
need to mark
each piece you
want to resaw (a
downside to this
process). I do this
by locating the
cut on the edge of
the board and,
using a pencil and my finger as a marking gauge, mark a line down the length. You can
also use a straight edge or marking gauge to do this.
Position The Fence. The fence needs to be posi-
tioned front to back and left to right. The front to
back setting is correct when the contact point is
1/4! in front of the teeth of the blade. Its impor-
tant that the material touches the contact point be-
fore it touches the blade.
To position the fence left to right, align the mark
you made in the previous step with the blade.
Clamp one end of your single point fence to the bandsaw
table and confirm that the position is correct.
Clamp the oppo-
site end.
Making The
Cut. Using a
push pad to hold
the material
against the fence,
push the piece
forward into the
blade.
Youll need to
steer as you
cut, keep-
ing the
blade on
your pencil
line.
As you near
the end of
the cut its
safer to pull the material than push it.
Why Resaw At All? One
great reason to resaw is book
matching. These two pieces
are perfect mirrors of each
other because they were cut
from the same board by
resawing.
You may also resaw simply
because of economics. Got a
project that calls for thin
pieces? Instead of planing to thickness and sending much of your material into the dust
collector, resaw first to get the pieces close.
The Negatives to Single Point. Alright, theres no such thing as a free lunch, or a free
resaw. A few downsides to resawing with a single point fence;
You need to mark every piece youre going to cut.
You cant just ride the material against the fence and go, you need to steer as you cut.
This does provide an opportunity to screw up.
If youre resawing pieces to various sizes youll need to move and reclamp the fence
for each cut.
Bottom line? If Im resawing a board or two I put my single point fence on the saw. If Im
cutting lots of pieces or making a demanding cut, such as cutting thin veneer, I use my
conventional fence and do a drift compensation.
Photos By Author
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