Wooden bandsaw riser block

This is the 14" bandsaw I bought back in 1996. It always seemed to me like it was made 1" too short, or for a blade 2" shorter than the standard 93.5". The top wheel is at the very end of its adjustment range, nearly hitting the top of the enclosure.

I toyed with trying to make a 1" thick riser block out of steel plate, which would put the top wheel closer to the center of its range and add an extra 1" of resaw height. Then I had the idea of making one out of wood.

I used some hard maple, end grain pieces. Wood is much stiffer in the grain direction, so by making it end grain, it's much harder to squeeze it flat. For my homemade bandsaws, a wooden frame is more than stiff enough, so I figured this should do.

Here cutting the piece to thickness. I'm using this job-site saw, because it was the only table saw in my big garage workshop that cut 80 mm deep.

I cut the block to be 16 mm thick.

Then sanding it flat. After that I sanded the middle of the faces to make it slightly concave.

My friend Luc stopped by and was a great help in disassembling the saw to put the block in.

I drilled a hole for the main bolt through the block. But there are also two alignment pins. I placed the block on the frame and tapped it with a wrench to get the location for these, then drilled where the divots ended up.

I only made the block 16 mm thick because I already had a bolt that was the right size but only slightly longer than the original bolt. Rather than going shopping for another bolt, I figured 16 mm was enough to add.

With the alignment pins not reaching through the wooden block, I had to carefully line it up so that the upper and lower wheels were co-planar, here looking down the saw from above to eyeball the alignment.

I put a blade on the saw to check it more closely. If the blade tracks differently when spinning the wheels clockwise than it does for counter clockwise, then the saw has "twist" to it.

This was quite fiddly to adjust. Once I had it all coplanar, I realized I offset the top frame to the side a little bit, so I had to correct for that, then redo the whole adjustment!

In retrospect, I should have drilled the hole for one of the pins all the way through, then put a short dowel in the other end to at least fix the side-to-side alignment.

With the riser in place, I now have almost 6 3/4" or 17 cm of resaw height.

If I were to use it with this resaw blade guide, I would have 9.5" or 24 cm of clearance for resawing, while still using a standard 93.5" blade. (Though my 14" bandsaw has 29 cm clearance, also with a standard 93.5" blade.)

The blade guard for the left side had elongated holes on either end to leave some range of adjustment, but it was still about 5 mm too short. So I cut open the bottom elongated hole to make it fit. If I had made it any taller, I would have had to make a new blade guard.

And this was the last thing I did with this saw. I gave it away to my friend Luc, who only had a little 9" Ryobi bench-top bandsaw. Since I built my 20" bandsaw, I had five bandsaws. Even with two workshops that's one more than I have use for.

But carrying it out of the shop, the alignment slipped (you can see it in this photo)

Once we set it up in his shop, I adjusted the alignment again. Having done it twice already, it was much quicker this time.

Interestingly enough, it seemed like the bandsaw vibrated more once I set it up. I later realized, what most likely made the difference is that I took the saw off its wheeled base. I experienced this twice before that putting a bandsaw on a more solid footing can cause it to vibrate more. Most recently this time. But I was able to cut down on vibration by bracing a few blocks of wood against the motor to ensure the motor doesn't vibrate too much.

Then a quick resawing of a 2x6 piece of wood (the widest piece of scrap Luc had kicking around)

So overall, this riser block worked. I think making a taller wooden riser block is also feasible, though not for the timid. If you add much height, you will also need a longer guide column for the upper blade guide and longer blade guards.

I think if I had to make a riser block, I'd probably make it just 3" (7 cm) tall and order custom blade lengths for the saw. Most places you can order blades from will cut and weld blades to any length you chose. In Canada, tuftooth.com is a good place to order bandsaw blades. In the US, sawblade.com.

I only made a very short riser block but, inspired by my experiment, this guy made a wooden 6" riser bock for his bandsaw.

More about bandsaws on my woodworking website