I have recently added a 14” bandsaw to the shop, upgrading from an older 12” model that needed more than a basic tune-up to get back to the precision tool it should be. Of course a new bandsaw led to wanting to find a piece of firewood to try out it’s resaw capability. Several years ago I found myself with a downed limb that needed something done with it and I threw together a “sled” of rough and ready nature from my scrap pile to salvage some project boards from it. While functional, the more I used it the more I realized I should go in a different direction. The new saw provided that. To start with, the old sled wasn’t at hand, and secondly the miter slot on the new saw is at a different location relative to the blade.
A resaw sled needs to do 2 basic things: Securely hold an irregularly shaped object and guide it through the cutting path. Looking around the shop, I noticed a long piece of particleboard and a 36” F clamp which wasn’t being used and looked about right for the job of holding the log, so I decided I would center the new sled around those components.
The guide part was relatively easy and consisted of screwing a ¾” x 1/8” steel strip to the bottom of the particleboard in order to guide it through the band saw table miter slot. By using a strip that was shallower than the depth of the slot I was able to avoid needing to countersink the mounting screws, and 1/8” is still thick enough to give a solid contact area. Prior to mounting the strip I cut it a touch longer than the sled base board and tapered and rounded the ends to help ease getting it started in the slot. I also ran it through the miter slot a few times just to see if it bound anywhere (flat steel strip not known for having the most accurate dimensional tolerances), then filed the offending spots on the strip until it ran smoothly. A handful of #6 screws mounted it solidly to the sled base. There seem to be 2 schools of though on shop made jigs using the miter slot for guidance, one advises mounting the strip so the resulting width is slightly fat and then trimming it down to the exact setting on the saw itself, the other being to mount it just a touch shy so there is ample blade and sawdust clearance. I subscribe to the second approach and mounted it to leave about a 1/8” gap.
Holding the workpiece was only slightly more difficult. I eyeballed what looked to be a good offset from the edge of the clamp to the blade that didn’t interfere with the guide strip, match-drilled a 3/8” hole through the clamp and the sled base, counterbored the underside of the sled base to provide clearance for the bolt heads, then used a couple of 3/8” x 4 ½” bolts, plastic standoffs, and wing nuts to securely mount the clamp to the board.
Although I haven’t yet bought a resaw blade to fit this saw, the ¼” blade that came with it did a reasonable job of giving it a trial run with both first and second cuts being easy to setup and execute. I’m rathar satisfied with it, but of course there are a few things I will probably work on before really using the sled..
- taper the front edge of the sled base to assist in getting it engaged and on the table when loaded
- either drill and counterbore additional holes in the sled base or mount a t-track to enable more flexibility with the clamp mounting to handle different sized logs (I would have liked to have slabbed off a bit less on both cuts)
- match drill one of my smaller clamps to be able to use it as well
- make some clamp pads that grip over a wider area and are more tolerant to variations in the clamped surface