Monday, 7 March 2011

Sharpening a Bandsaw Blade in situ!

I've been tidying the garage which is my workshop and taking stock of my staves. I've only got about 3 bits of Yew remaining and some Hazel that I want to have a go with.
I wanted to get the last bits of Yew de-barked and roughed out, however the bandsaw blade is badly worn. Ripping through wet hardwood soon takes it's toll, the points of the teeth were more like knitting needles than chisels.
I found this article on t'web where this guy had sharpened his bandsaw blade, he'd made a wooden holding fixture and used a Dremmel tool with a tiny grind wheel.
Well, that looked seriously slow to me and still involved taking the blade off and on, which in my case also means moving the bandsaw as it's tucked behind my table saw.
Why make a holding fixture when the bandsaw holds the blade nicely anyway? Nothing ventured nothing gained, so I put a small grind wheel (about 2" diameter) in my electric drill and just touched it to the sloping back of a tooth, it ground away enough to clean up the cutting edge and the downward pressure moved the blade down slightly.
The blade is only 3 teeth per inch and you wouldn't want to try it on a finer blade as there wouldn't be enough room between the teeth and there would be too many of 'em.
I got a decent light onto the job and set about it. Once I got the feel for it I could give a quick touch to each tooth, changing the angle of the grind wheel for alternate teeth and occasionally helping the blade around. I'd marked where I started with a bit of masking tape and it seemed forever before it reappeared, but it was only 15 minutes.
I tested it out and it cuts ok, it wanders a bit more than a new blade, but it was fine for roughing out my next Yew stave.

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