Bandsaw drift

Bandsaw Drift

A bandsaw within your shop is by far one of the most versatile machines out there. However, it’s very important the machine is set up correctly to make sure you are getting the most out of this great asset.

Most woodworkers will probably agree a major flaw with using a bandsaw is drift. Drift is the result of the blade and fence not aligned with each other. Therefore, when a piece of wood is pushed through the saw it will not track parallel to the fence.

Some woodworkers try to adjust the fence to fit the blade however a better solution is adjusting the blade position to fit the fence.

This is done using the upper wheel tracking knob on the back of the bandsaw that tilts the wheel very slightly to move the blade backwards or forwards.

The upper wheel edge is usually cambered, and the ideal position for the blade is the middle of the camber. Using the adjusting knob tilt the wheel so that the blade moves to the middle of the wheel when the machine is running. If the blade is not tracking in the middle of the wheel the blade will want to cut the wood to the left of right depending on the blade position.

Once adjusted the alignment can be tested by scribing a pencil line on a piece of plywood and run it through the saw. If the saw cuts perfectly to the line the adjustment is complete. If not some further adjustment of the wheel tilt will be necessary. You will have to go through this process every time you change the blade.

It’s an easy solution to a problem all bandsaw users experience at some time in their woodworking journey.