Following the Rules of Sawing Success

In today’s society everyone demands perfection.  If we go out to eat we want our food to be cooked the way we want, when we buy a car we demand that it have no problems, and when we buy band blades we expect nothing less than perfection.

Perfection demands many things with sawing lumber with a bandsaw blade. We might say that sawing at peak performance demands perfection. Most people want to saw as fast as possible. I will say to you that you can only saw at the speed that the physical conditions at hand allow you to. The only way to saw faster is to change the physical conditions.

Remember that our Creator gave us a set of physical rules that are consistent.  These rules are never broken, but always produce exactly the same results as long as the physical conditions remain the same.  Man has the power or ability to change the conditions but he does not have the power to change the rules. Gods rules will prevail every time.  We have the ability to find the rules and consistently use them to our benefit.  We also have the ability to ignore his rules and this is called ignorance.

Ignorance causes failure every time, but wisdom is finding Gods laws and using them for success.  There are different levels of wisdom and ignorance.  Some people do a half way job by mixing some wisdom with some ignorance.  The results of their labor is about 50% success.  Some people put a little more effort into their work and seek a little more knowledge and use a little more wisdom and a little less ignorance and they get about 75% production.  Then there are some who seek the greatest level of knowledge and wisdom and apply it to their work and they reach completeness or perfection.  They do not ignore the things that knowledge tells them to do.  They reach 100% of the possible success. These people understand with wisdom if one physical condition changes, less success is reached.

So, ‘what is my point?’ you ask.  I trouble shoot a lot of sawmills every day, most of them are mills that my company does not manufacture.  There are physical rules to sawing with a bandsaw and they work with every mill.  Some mills are not equipped to follow the rules of success and some are.  Very often I talk to mill owners and managers and I will tell them certain rules to follow which requires some extra work with wisdom and immediately I hear the reply “I don’t want to do that”.  This is to ignore wisdom. Then I hear this “I want a bandsaw blade that will take care of my problem”.  These replies make me feel helpless and frustrated.  As humans we want success but often don’t want to put in the effort with wisdom to achieve it.  We want a magic solution, and there is no magic solution.  The physical rules of the earth demand that we follow exactly for success.  Finding knowledge and using it accurately is wisdom. The scripture says wisdom is the key to success; find it and get some.

Then there are those people who seek perfection and when they hear the rules to reach perfection, will do what it takes to change the physical conditions at hand and immediately see success.  Sometimes success is reached by understanding limitation. Understanding the process in which something is produced and knowing the tolerable variation as well as the intolerable variations. Like knowing tolerable conditions of bandsaw blades, or roller guides, or band wheels.

So what are the rules for sawing with a bandsaw blade?  A mill with a good heart is the starting point.  I call the band head the heart of the mill, if the heart is working you are sawing straight.

A good mill with a good heart will have the things listed below:

The mill must have adjustable tilt of the band wheels in both vertical and horizontal directions.

The band wheel needs to be true in roundness for long blade life and true cutting.

The guides must have adjustable tilt in the vertical and horizontal directions with the ability to

deflect the blade toward the log without changing the tilt.  Roller guides are best for sawing logs.

They reduce friction, and a cold blade is stronger than a hot blade

The tensioner needs flexibility to allow the band to stretch and contract since bands are spring

steel and need to be able to expand and contract as they change in temperature.

A good bandsaw blade. ‘The blade has to be made of a certain type of steel for strength and flexibility.

It has to be flat and the teeth have to be sharp and the teeth have to be set. 


Concerning blades:  A good mill with good adjustment will make a good band perform great and good things will be said about that blade.  However, a bad mill or a mill out of adjustment will make a great blade look like junk.  It takes wisdom to discern these variables.  I have been freely sharing this wisdom for several years and one thing I tell all these people is that success in sawing can be achieved but it takes work.

Tim Cook