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What Is Blade Drift and How Does It Affect Workshop Band Saw Blades
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Q: In the last three years, I’ve started woodworking, something I always wanted to do since my first woodshop class in high school. Unfortunately, I had to wait until after I retired to get started. Boy, is my learning curve huge!

Anyway, my question is relative to band saws. I keep hearing the term “blade drift,” and I have no idea what it is or how it happens. Could you please explain what it is, how it happens, and finally, how does one correct it?

Rob Johnstone Bandsaw Cutting Every band saw blade has a tendency to cut slightly to the left or right, so adjust your fence accordingly.

A: The term drift is used because all band saw blades do not have the exact same cutting “direction.” The reason that the cutting direction is not the exact same for all band saw blades is the fact that the teeth are pushed to the left and to the right to create the set in the blade. Sometimes one side has a little more “set” than the other side.

Also, the blade is sharpened using a grinding wheel, and this process can leave a little burr on one side of the blade. In order to compensate for these less than perfect blades, a band saw fence should have a small adjustment left and right. This adjustment is what is called the “drift.”

I hope this helps.

posted on April 1, 2011 by Torben Helshoj
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