Dear Band Saw,

I know this is the time I usually write the Link of the Week, but, after the way I have treated you, I needed to write this letter of apology.

Do you remember the day we first met? It seems like yesterday. I was in that local Lowe’s, money in hand, looking all over the store for someone who could help me pick you up. I had read a lot about you, and thought that you and I would make a great pair. It took me a while, but I eventually got some help, and the sales associate told me to wait where I was.

Oh, how we laughed together when the sales guy brought out the forklift to carry you to our minivan.  It’s a good thing that I remembered to take out the back seat, because you were so big, and you barely fit into back cargo area.

And, when I got you home, and none of the neighbors were around to help me cart you out of the van.  Don’t you remember how I nearly broke my back attempting to haul you from the van to the shop?  How I struggled single handedly to haul your top half on top of your bottom section and bolted you together?

Oh the promise of those early days!  I was going to learn how to resaw, to make band sawn boxes, to cut thin strips for bending around forms…

But, it never felt right. You would struggle.  You would stall. You would drift wildly.

I did everything I could to get you to work better. New highly-recommended blades. Books about how to properly tune you. Cool blocks. A rolling base.A Kreg precision band saw fence.  The sky was the limit as far as I was concerned – you were MY band saw, and nothing was too good for you.

Then it happened. I went on vacation and used another saw. That band saw worked wonderfully. Oh, how it cut! Like the proverbial hot knife through butter.  Everyone asked me when I was going to get my own band saw, and I didn’t have the heart to tell them about you and your pitiful performance.

After that, things were never the same between us. I said bad things about you on this blog and in front of the other power tools in the shop. Do you remember how I would growl at you when I had to resaw even the smallest board?  “Why don’t you work like the other band saws?”

I know it must have hurt your feelings when I showed  you the catalogs with other band saws in them. The Grizzlys. The Lagunas. The Generals. The Rikons. When I told shop visitors that I couldn’t wait to get a ‘real’ band saw that would actually do some work. When I turned to other tools to do the jobs that you should have been able to handle with little or no effort.

But, after all these years, all of these abuses, all of these libels and slanders, will you ever find it in your heart to forgive me for discovering last night that I never properly tensioned your drive belt the right way when I first set you up, and discovering that three turns of a 1/2″ bolt would have spared us all of this trauma in the first place?

Yours truly,


P.S. Iggy can’t stop laughing. Seriously. I think he may blow out a lung.

14 thoughts on “Dear Band Saw,”

  1. Ouch, that stings the pride. God bless your bandsaw for stalwartly taking your abuse and never flinching. I bet you’re going to have some fun now that it is working like it should.

  2. I have the same model. I bought it a year ago. It just wouldn’t hold a line. So annoying. Checked the blade tension, realigned the wheels, tightened the drive belt, got frustrated and overdid it with the blade tension. Nothing. Went through the manual several times. Nothing.

    Then over Christmas this year,I decided to be really methodical about going through the set up with the manual and good band saw book. It took me less than a minute to find the upper guide block were almost 1/2″ apart. I had never moved them since I unpacked the saw. After several choice words and a minute or two of adjustment, what do you know, my band saw can hold a line.

  3. Don’t have a band saw but, BTDT with other tools.
    Hind sight is a wonderful thing…..If you can laugh at your self a bit. 🙂 It opens up whole new worlds.


  4. Same here.
    I thought I had it set up properly and couldn’t get decent results.
    Went back over it s l o w l y and triple checked everything, and sure enough, way, way better cuts now.

  5. I found your post interesting, I had a similar experience getting my saw into my basement workshop, no friends or neighbors to help, but being the independent woodworkers we are…just a minor technicality! Hahaha

    Ok, I just installed a riser block (for re-sawing) and just gave my saw a complete tune-up. I have the same saw at home so I just revisited saws manual.

    The manual stipulates, the weight of the motor is all the tension necessary for the belt. Moreover, the bolt with a rubber covered end, acts as a shock absorber so when the saw is switched on the motor can jump and relieves itself against the stop and NOT for use to apply tension on the belt.

    I do remember it was discussed around the internet, many moons ago when these saws were making the long steamship journey to America, (as you may recall, these saws use to be made in America) and folks were being critical the Asian v groove belts these saws were shipped with being garbage and you should replace with a quality belt.

    So that’s what I did. No with my quality belt installed, no vibration or any issues whatsoever. I even use a 5/8 3 tpi hook tooth blade and can re-saw hard maple 10-1/2 inches thick with no problems. Just take it easy and not slam it through.


  6. I spent all day pulling my hair out because my big bandsaw (sawmill) was diving and weaving and rattling and the like. I have been cutting up oak for siding an outbuilding and tree house. My other bandsaw, the 18-inch General International in my shop I got second hand, sits like yours does; it just never seems to cut right. I finally took the time to go over everything on the sawmill and found my blade was not running parallel with the rails the whole thing runs on, something I haven’t checked in ages and really should have been the first thing I checked (I just thought it was a dull blade.) My point is to commiserate, celebrate (oh those 12-inch wide red oak boards I was pulling off the mill at the end of the day were sweet), and find out a good book recommendation to tune up everything properly on the General once and for now. Any suggestions?

  7. Chris – I have been using Cutting Edge Bandsaw tricks… but I think I may need to be checking some others out as well…

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