Bandmill Tolerances

      How close can you cut it? Plus or minus a sixteenth (or better) is reasonable. September 14, 2006

One of the manufacturers of bandmills claims their mill cuts + or - 1/16 of an inch. Is this normal? It sounds like a lot. How close should a bandmill with a good sharp blade cut? I guess the scenario that comes to mind is a 2" board that measures 1-15/16" on one end and 2-1/16" on the other.

Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From contributor J:
Under most circumstances, you can do that good or better with any quality mill that has been properly set up. Problems do arise when cutting wood that has stresses in the log. All bets are off when you get one of these. The most important thing you already mentioned - a sharp blade that has been properly set.

From contributor A:
That is right about stress. The tolerance that I tell people is zero. The mill has to have the capabilities of all kinds of adjustments to get this tolerance. The blades have to be sharp and set correctly. Feed rate has a lot to do with this also. To answer your question, the only mill that can't hold this is the one with the cantilever design. But most all the bandmills can do this with proper setup.

From contributor P:
I would like to think my bandmill is better than +- 1/16th. Most of the time it is, but dull blades, knotty logs, and incorrectly adjusted guides can increase the wave.

From contributor G:
If my mill is off by 1/16, it is time to make adjustments.

From contributor J:
Just depends on what is causing the problem. If an adjustment would correct it, I certainly would take care of it. What's the point of the thin kerf on a band mill if you have to plane a bunch to get a square board?

From contributor W:
"To answer your question, the only mill that can't hold this is the one with the cantilever design. But most all the bandmills can do this with proper setup. "

Yeah, my WM cuts more like 1/64 or right on the money. Most of the errors come from not reading the scale right (bad eyes!).

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