Wednesday, July 15, 2015

For the Times Ordinary Lumber Doesn't Cut It: Resawing on the Band Saw

Kreg 4-1/2-Inch Resaw Guide

Your typical amateur woodworker is well-equipped for making straight-line cuts; normally using a table saw and a power miter saw or (perhaps more rarely) a radial arm saw. When it comes to cutting curves, though, a portable jig saw is often all that can be found in the tool chest. If your favorite projects call for curved cuts, you know that the next bench- or floor-mounted tool you’re gonna buy is a band saw.

This versatile tool does more than just make curved cuts, though. A band saw can be used for ripping and crosscuts in tiny or large or oddly-shaped pieces, and one of its most valuable capabilities is resawing: the task of cutting dimensional lumber or raw stock down to custom thicknesses. Given the proper equipment, your band saw can slice wood veneer-thin.

Just like a table saw, straight-line cuts on a band saw require a fence. A band saw is harder to use, though, since the flexible blade tends to drift as you cut. The amount of drift varies with blade tension, blade sharpness, and the species of wood. Such variability makes resawing more difficult than ordinary rip cuts. The difficulty can be offset, however, by adding a resaw guide to your band saw’s fence. I use a Kreg 4-1/2" Resaw Guide (their model number KMS7213. The company also makes a 7" guide, model number KMS7214).


The guide block, machined from solid aluminum and anodized “Kreg Blue,” slots into the Kreg Universal Band Saw Fence. The maker says it also mounts on fences made by other tool companies, including Jet and Delta, or can be clamped to a shop-made wooden fence. Kreg drills the guide to match a T-slot in their fence. It attaches easily, with two bolts and knurled knobs. The rear surface, which is machined flat, lies against the fence. The front surface, which is slightly convex, faces the blade. The guide should be positioned so that outermost point of the curved face lies about ¼” before the point at which the workpiece contacts the blade.


A resaw guide allows you to feed stock into the saw blade by hand while you adjust it for the blade’s drift by eye and a pencil line. Setup of the guide is easy, and so is use. Kreg’s package includes all the hardware for installing the guide on their fence plus an instruction sheet. One thing I did notice is that the instructions are mostly about blade specs; not about setup and use.

A band saw with the Kreg Resaw Guide allows you to use "non-standard" thicknesses  in your projects. I built a nice little box out of 3/8" poplar and walnut, for instance. You can also buy blocks of your chosen species at the hardwood store instead of having to paw through the bins hoping to turn up a chunk of wood the right thickness. If you already have a band saw, a Kreg Resaw Guide is an investment that I’d definitely recommend


Plus: easy to set up and easy to use
Minus: instructions could be better

What They're Saying: If you have a band saw in your shop, you should probably have a resaw guide - a Kreg 4½" Resaw Guide.

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