How to Prevent a Bandsaw from Burning the Wood

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how to prevent bandsaw from burning wood

Woodworking is a hobby many people enjoy when they have a love of carpentry and beautiful wood pieces.

When you are learning woodworking, it is important to invest in the right tools and understand how to use them properly and safely.

This knowledge can help you achieve a safe environment and produce some beautiful pieces of art.

With the right skill set, you can avoid issues like the wood-burning while you cut with your bandsaw.

How do I prevent my bandsaw from burning the wood? To prevent the wood from burning while using your bandsaw, make sure to keep your saw blade sharp, clean, and properly installed. You should also practice good cutting techniques while using your saw.

Read on to learn more about how to avoid burning your wood and other great tips while using your bandsaw.

How to Stop a Bandsaw from Burning the Wood

Burning wood is never normal when you are using your bandsaw—unless, of course, you’re an artist looking to achieve a stylish burnt wood aesthetic.

Take steps to avoid dangerous accidents from happening in your shop. If you notice accidental burn marks on your wood while cutting or even kick up some smoke from your bandsaw, it is time to inspect your machine to diagnose the issue.

Burn marks on the cut wood result from too much heat on the saw blade. The heat will scorch the wood as it passes through.

When too much friction and burning occurs, it can leave you with a burning smell or smoke that is often enough to set off the fire alarms in your workshop.

The first thing you should do when you have burn marks on your wood is looked at the teeth on your blade.

Are they sharp or dull? Do they have any residue on them, or are they clean?

Each of these things could impact the effectiveness of your blade and could cause overheating and burning.

Sharpen Your Sawblade

First, take a look at the sharpness of your saw blade. Some blades do not last as long against abrasive woods or when you cut dirty wood.

If you frequently cut hard or old, dirty woods, you should always make sure to check the condition of your blade before starting a new woodworking project.

A majority of issues with wood burning is because of a dull saw blade.

These blades may not be sharp enough to efficiently cut the wood, and thus create enough friction to heat and burn the wood.

Dull blades make it more challenging to cut, which causes friction as you pass the wood through. 

To resolve the issue of a dull blade causing too much friction, you can sharpen your existing blade in your workshop by following these steps:

  1. Gather your materials. You will need your bandsaw blade, a Dremel tool, and a flat-surface sharpening tool. You also must have something to mark your blade with, like a piece of masking tape or a Sharpie. It may also be a good idea to wear protective gear like goggles and gloves.
  2. Make sure your machine is turned off and unplugged. You want to avoid the bandsaw being accidentally turned on while you are sharpening its blade.
  3. Place a mark on your saw blade where you are starting to sharpen. That way, as you rotate the blade, you’ll know where you started once you see your tape or Sharpie mark again.
  4. Use your Dremel tool with an attachment that fits the blade’s gullets. Turn the Dremel tool on, and lightly go over the backside of the teeth’s tips. Remove as little metal as possible. Use low speed to have better control over your tool.
  5. Work your way around your saw blade, sharpening the backside of your tooth tips, as well as the gullets, and the sides of the teeth.
  6. Next, sharpen the front of the teeth with your flat sharpening tool. Sharpening tools can be diamond, Waterstone, or oilstone. Place it in front of your saw blade so that it gently touches the front of the teeth.
  7. Open your wheel compartment. Spin the upper wheel so that the blade is moving backward, then move your sharpening tool slowly so that the teeth will come in contact and become smooth.
  8. If some teeth cannot reach the sharpening tool, this means they are too worn down. You can even up these teeth lengths with the sharpening tool. You’ll just have to cut back some of the teeth that are slightly protruding out more.

Steel blades tend to wear down more quickly if you frequently cut hardwoods.

Cutting in this manner can also wear down the motor of your bandsaw. If you want to try heavy-duty projects like these, consider investing in a blade that can keep up.

If your existing blade is too worn out or old, consider switching out the blade with a new one to see if that improves your cut.

Here are some tips on shopping for a new saw blade:

  • Choose a high-quality blade with hardened teeth that have been cut, as opposed to pressed. These will be a little bit more costly to invest in, but they have the quality that’s worth the value.
  • In addition to brand and quality, you should also consider the blade width. Wide blades are ideal for thick woods and straight cuts. They are more precise than narrow blades, which are ideal to use when you are cutting curved lines.
  • Teeth per inch (TPI) tells you about the density of teeth on the blade. Lower TPI is good for cutting thick wood while high TPI is great for leaving a smooth surface

Keep a Clean Sawblade

keeping bandsaw blade clean

The next way to prevent a bandsaw from burning the wood is to ensure your blade is clean.

If you notice discoloration on the blade, that could be built up the pitch. 

What is the pitch? When the blade gets warm, it can soften up the sap within the wood you are working with.

This residue, called pitch, can attach and harden onto your blade while you are making cuts.

This often traps the sawdust in your working area. It will then heat up the wood and result in the burn marks you see on your wood.

If your blade is burning your wood because it is dirty, you will need to stop working and clean it.

Take your band saw apart to clean the saw blade. If you look closely, you can see that you are able to scrape off the resin that is stuck on the blade.

It just needs a little cleaning solution and a bit of elbow grease to be completely removed.

  1. First, put a plastic cover down to protect your working area.
  2. Grab a proper tool cleaner. These products will often include an added lubricant to help you cut more efficiently and smoothly after a cleaning.
  3. Spray the cleaner on the troubled area and allow it to sit for about five minutes.
  4. Use an old toothbrush or a sponge to scrub off the resin. Make sure to clean every surface of your blade’s teeth, including the edges of the teeth and in between each tooth.

Watch this video for helpful instructions on how to clean your bandsaw blade.

After your clean and dry the entire surface of your blade and its teeth, inspect it again to see if there is any residue left.

Once the blade is completely clean, replace it on your machine.

Then, try cutting some wood again. Do you notice a difference in the saw cut?

Cleaning the blade can improve and increase the feed rate of your saw. Without the dirt and grime, there will be less friction to slow it down.

It is a good idea to clean your saw blades and treat them with a lubricant like WD-40 before storing it away after use.

This can help improve the longevity of your tool.

Choose the Right Blade and Install It Correctly

It is crucial for woodworkers to know how their machines work and how to set it up properly before working on a project.

The bandsaw uses a continuous band made of metal that has many teeth that come in various lengths and sizes.

The bandsaw will have two or more wheels to maneuver its blade. This blade acts similar to a ribbon, in that it constantly rotates along with its wheels like a cassette tape.

The various blade types will provide the carpenter with different results. The blade you choose to use will depend on the type of work you are doing and the wood you are working with.

Blades are identified by the gauge (or thickness), teeth per inch, width, and tooth configuration.

There are many types of tooth configuration, including:

  • Standard tooth
  • Skip tooth
  • Rounded back
  • Hook tooth
  • Variable pitch
  • Wavy tooth patterns

This tooth configuration and the gullet (or the space between the teeth) will impact your work. Deeper gullets allow for better removal of debris, while teeth that are closer together provide a smoother cut.

To avoid issues like burning your wood while you cut, make sure you have the right blade and that it is correctly installed.

Installing your blade backward can cause many issues with cutting.

Before working, check to ensure that your blade is facing the right direction and is installed correctly.

Follow these steps to remove your incorrectly installed blade and reinstall it the right way:

  1. Turn the power off on your machine, and unplug it.
  2. Open the top and bottom cabinets of your machine. to reveal the machine’s two wheels that the blade wrapped around them.
  3. Reduce your blade tension. Turn the tension knob to loosen the blade until it is pliable.
  4. Raise and remove the saw blade guard. To do this, remove the screws that hold it in place.
  5. Loosen the blade guard located under the table.
  6. Now, you should be able to remove the saw blade from the machine.
  7. Insert your new saw blade, or reinsert the same blade in the correct direction. The teeth should be facing the direction where you will feed the wood.
  8. Place the blade in the center cutout on your table, then rotate the blade, wrapping it over the top and bottom wheel.
  9. Center your blade between the two tires, then readjust your tension.

Related Article: Can bandsaw blades be repaired? Find out if it’s a throwaway!

Check Your Guide Fence Alignment

Before you work, set up your machine correctly to ensure straight lines. Misalignment of your table saw fence can cause issues with your cut.

Cutting straight is a crucial skill to be able to use when creating a woodworking project.

Without it, tables will not stand straight, bookshelves will lean, and projects will not be as durable.

If your blade and the guide fence are not correctly aligned, your wood can push sideways as it is passed through your saw.

This adds pressure and friction on the wood. Check to make sure the measurement between the blade and guide fence at the front and back are the same.

When in doubt, you can refer to your owner’s manual to make sure you have this part of your bandsaw set up properly.

If your guide is not tuned properly, your blade could swerve to the right. To fix the issue, tune your guide with the following steps:

  1. Disconnect your bandsaw from power, then remove the blade and table.
  2. Reinstall a ½” blade and readjust the tension. Use your saw’s manual to determine the correct tension.
  3. Open the wheel covers, then use a large straightedge to determine if your wheels are parallel with each other.
  4. If they are not lining up, use a ruler to determine how much one must be brought up to become even.
  5. Remove one or two wheels and adjust them with a washer to line them up correctly.
  6. Adjust the tracking knob and the table to make sure everything is aligned.
  7. To check your alignment, loosen the Allen screw that connects the blade.
  8. Place a piece of folded up index card between the guide and the blade.
  9. The blade should not be touching the guide, but it should be no further away than the thickness of the index card.
  10. Fit the card in between your guide and blade, then tighten the Allen screw so that the card is tight between the two parts.
  11. Now, you are ready to continue sawing.

Related Content: Setting up bandsaw properly, make it a versatile and powerful tool!

Learn Proper Cutting Techniques

bandsaw cutting technique

To avoid making mistakes with your blade saw, like burning your wood, it is crucial that you learn how to use the tool properly.

You want to prevent having an accident and producing sloppy work. Remember these basics to get the best results with your bandsaw:

Consider your feed rate. Cutting through the wood too slowly can cause a lot of issues for beginners.

The slower the feed rate, the more friction between your saw and wood.

When you make slow cuts like this, the blade has more time to rub against the wood, cause friction, and create excess heat.

Bandsaws are powerful, meaning they are designed to cut wood at a quick and easy pace. Get better results by simply letting them do their work.

Check your feed rate when diagnosing wood burns while you work. You need to use the proper feed speed, depending on the type of wood you are working on.

Softwoods (like soft maple or cherry) are vulnerable to scorching, so they need to be fed much faster than hardwoods.

It is also important to make sure that you have the right type of blade for the type and size of wood you are cutting.

Avoid making mid-feed adjustments. You want to avoid adjusting your hand in the middle of feeding your wood through the saw.

This can slow down the pace of your feed and often moves the wood, causing an uneven cut.

Think ahead and plan your cut before you start. That way, you can position your hand correctly and comfortably.

Getting ready like this beforehand can prevent you from having to stop or slow down to adjust later.

The saw will give you an indicator of the feed speed you need to utilize. If you bog down the saw as you push the wood through, you may have too fast a feed speed.

As you learn, experiment with different types of woods to learn which saw blade works the best. A lot of practice can help you learn and master the best wood cutting techniques.

Please note that if you have burn marks on your wood, this does not mean you have to throw the whole project in the trash.

You can remove some of the burn marks by sanding them out. You can also try removing the marks by hand using a sharp flat scraper.

Take Care of Your Bandsaw to Achieve Better Cuts

The bandsaw is one of the most important tools to invest in when you are starting your woodworking journey. What is a bandsaw, exactly?

It is a saw with a long blade that allows you to cut many different sizes and types of wood. You can cut straight lines, curves, contours, and more.

Having a bandsaw is great if you want to create detailed wood pieces. This machine is built to help you achieve small, intricate cuts.

Use this machine when you are designing and building unique pieces of furniture and carefully crafted works of art.

A bandsaw is a versatile tool that can help you with a number of projects in the workshop. However, it is, first and foremost, a giant saw.

That means it is crucial for you to learn the proper techniques to use this heavy machine in order to prevent accidents from happening.

Using your bandsaw machine correctly will definitely reduce the amount of burning that happens on your wood.

However, burn prevention doesn’t stop there. You must also properly care for your machine and perform regular maintenance on it to keep its parts functioning well.

Each bandsaw is different because they come in various shapes and sizes. Many are vertical machines, but there are also horizontal models.

It is crucial that you pay attention to the kind of bandsaw you have, so you can perform the right type of care.

Take close attention to what your machine needs while you are cleaning, repairing, and replacing its parts.

Cleaning Your Bandsaw

One of the most important things that impact the quality of your work on the bandsaw is the cleanliness of the machine and its parts.

Dirt, dust, and other debris can get stuck in your work area, cause the burning that marks up your wood or even damages your machine.

Before working, make sure there is no debris sitting around near the blade or other parts of the machine by using these tips:

Clean as you work

Make sure to clear off any leftover debris after you finish a session of cutting. Inspect your machine for cleanliness before storing it away for a few days or longer.

Remember safety before cleaning your bandsaw

First, lock your bandsaw knob on the off position. Then, unplug your machine. Then, you can use an air compressor to blow away any sawdust and debris from your saw.

Clean the wheels and the pitch of the bandsaw

Spray the work surface with a resin remover, then scrub the area with a wire brush.

Remove dust and rust from your machine

These can be dangerous for you and others to breathe in. To remove rust from your machine, use a pad of steel wool dipped in liquid rust remover.

Then, use a clean cloth to rub-down the areas on your table that you need to remove rust and carbon dust. Avoid using solvents during this cleaning step, as these can damage your machine.

To separate and clean your blade, refer to your machine’s safety manual.

Once you have disassembled your parts, use a liquid rust remover and a wire brush to scrub away dust and rust to clean the saw blade.

While the blade is off, you can also take this time to clean the areas around it.

After your work surface is clean, it may be a good idea to treat your tabletop with wax.

Many woodworkers use car wax to lubricate and treat their bandsaw. Put on gloves to protect your hands.

With the blade removed, use a clean cloth to apply wax. Remove any excess by cleaning your blade with rust remover.

Regular Maintenance

Remember to perform regular maintenance to increase your machine’s lifespan and improve the effectiveness of its parts.

This helps you reduce the need to replace parts as often.

Here are some important bandsaw maintenance steps to keep in mind:

  • To ensure smooth movements from your saw, keep all the parts of the machine well lubricated. Use high-quality grease for the job. As mentioned above, you do not want any extra friction to cause too much heat on your work.
  • Know which parts need to be replaced and when. Inspect your band wheels every time you change your blade to check their condition. Replace your band wheel bearings every six months.
  • Replace your coolant regularly. This product works with the blade-cleaning saw to clear out chips and debris from the work area. Empty old coolant completely, then replace it with a new product. Do not simply dilute it with more water.

Store Your Machine Properly

After you finish a project and you plan to store away your bandsaw for a long period of time, take the precautions to protect it while it sits.

This storage starts with the band tension. If your machine sits with the tension on, it can cause metal fatigue, putting your blades at risk for breaking prematurely.

This tension can also flatten the crowns on the saw’s rubber tires, which could cause tracking issues.

You can extend the life of your blade by releasing the tension when your saw sits idle for a few days.

To do this, twist the tension knob two or three turns to loosen it up before packing the machine in your garage or shed.

Some modern machines are built with a quick-release mechanism that will make this step even easier for woodworkers.

Another great step to take before storing your machine is to finish your blade with a finishing stone.

This maintenance step can help improve the quality of your blade. It can also help you reduce blade vibration (which can create a crooked cut), cut tighter curves, and improve your blade’s longevity.

Grow Your Woodworking Knowledge

Woodworking is an engaging hobby that gets you to use your hands and your head to create a beautiful work of art.

Your project options are endless; you can build furniture, tools, decor, and more once you learn the basics.

Part of that initial knowledge is learning and understanding how each tool works and how you can use it properly.

Continue to learn about the bandsaw and other woodworking tools to grow your knowledge and skills.

Sooner than you know it, you can be the resident wood expert on your block. What will you build next?

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