Resawing with a Bandsaw

Fewer teeth makes for a cleaner cut. Here's why. July 28, 2006

I'm a professional woodworker who does a lot of inlay and marquetry work in my furniture. Until recently I'd have my larger resawing needs handled by local mills while on my 9" Ryobi band saw (with a 3 1/2" blade exposure), I'd handle the smaller stock. I could handle all kinds of hardwood on that little thing with surprisingly excellent results.

In an effort to save some time and money, I recently bought a Delta 14" bandsaw (single speed, 6 1/2" blade exposure) for resawing my larger pieces of lumber. I installed a 1/2" X 93 1/2" blade with 6 TPI, as that is what the manufacturer suggested as the widest blade. (Although it looks like it would take a 3/4"... but that's another story). I adjusted the tension a bit tighter than "good," as indicated by the built-in torque gauge, as I thought that resawing would probably require a slightly tighter blade.

Well, everything looked good, so I clamped on a straight edge, turned on the saw, and attempted to resaw a piece of domestic cherry burl: approx 5" X 5" X 12". I had it set to rip 3/4" thick foot long strips. It didn't take long for the smoke to come pouring out of the cut! I didn't let that stop me at that moment, but when it was over, the cut edges were charred black. A certain amount of sanding got rid of it, but there HAS to be something I'm doing wrong. Surely this is not the norm.

Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From contributor P:
It's a shot in the dark, but sometimes bandsaw blades can get turned inside out, so you are cutting the wrong way.

From the original questioner:
Do you mean in such a way that the teeth are pointing up? Or would they still be pointing down, but on the wrong side of the teeth (if that's possible)?

From contributor P:

On my Wood-Mizer blades (for a sawmill) they mention that the blades can sometimes get turned inside out. If you installed a blade that was turned inside out, then the teeth would essentially be cutting backwards and would not work very well.

From contributor T:
6TPI is way too many teeth for resawing thick material. You need a 3TPI hook-tooth blade.

From contributor W:
Yes, you definitely need a few less tpi. Call up Suffolk Machinery and get a few Timberwolf blades. Tell them what you have and let them tell you what you need. They will probably send you a 1/2 inch blade with 3 tpi. You can also get a riser block to handle wider stock.

From Professor Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
Here is why fewer teeth will work. Your motor delivers a certain amount of horsepower to the blade. With a lot of teeth in the cut (maybe 25), each tooth uses its proportion of power (small amount) so it cannot cut very much wood. In fact, if the teeth are not well set up, many teeth will rub the wood and not cut it. It is easier to run than cut. With rubbing comes heat.

Now with fewer teeth, each tooth will have more power and be able to cut into the wood and take a nice size chip. No rubbing unless you feed too slowly. Hope this helps you understand why fewer teeth are often better, especially when sawing thick stock.

From contributor J:
A gentleman named Brian Hahn has a lot of experience in resawing on a shop bandsaw. He has this to say: "I have a 14-inch Delta with riser blocks. For re-sawing I use a 5/8" - 3 tpi hook tooth blade (Olson from Woodcraft). Ive tried other blades, but this is the one that works best for me. The blade has a three-tooth pattern, Left-Right-Center. The first thing I do is remove every other tooth using a mandrel-mounted grinding wheel (1" dia x 1/4" thick) on the Dremel. I start with the first tooth above the weld and work my way around the blade until I get back to the weld. If the blade has an odd number of teeth, the two-tooth gap spans the weld, which is convenient when I sharpen the blade. That makes it a 1.5 tpi blade with a L-C-R pattern. The blade cuts at least twice as fast because there is more room to clear the sawdust. It also seems to cut twice as long before it needs sharpening. This also works for a five-tooth pattern, but if you have a two-tooth pattern (no raker/center), youd want to remove two out of three teeth to maintain the pattern."