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Last week I posted an entry about cutting lasagna (read that entry) and mentioned there was no YouTube video worth watching. A few days after the post, I received a note from the President of Forrest. Not the Forrest that makes the table saw blades, this e-mail was from the President of Forrest Manufacturing Company, a 50-year old manufacturer of band saw machines, based in Texas, that often gets confused with the New Jersey-based Forrest in my post.

Mr. Steve Sykes wrote, “Forrest builds large and specialty band saws for industrial users. People use our equipment to cut materials such as insulation, plastics, graphite and carbon, drywall, pipe, and frozen whales. I’m not kidding about the whales. I have never cut lasagna on a band saw, before today. But after reading your article we had to give it a try.” (Click here to watch the video)

Mr. Sykes went on explain that Forrest band saws are much larger and more expensive than would be of interest to most home woodworkers, although some might be interested in knowing about the company’s traveling tables. All Forrest vertical saws come with a traveling workpiece support table. The traveling table allows the operator to make straight cuts on heavy or awkward workpieces while keeping his or her hands clear of the blades. To check out a few Forrest machines, click here.

Upon talking with Sykes further, I found out that a traveling table requires that the machine be anchored to the floor to prevent tipping, but keep in mind Forrest tables travel around 55″ overall. The company makes two different types of machines: a cantilever style and a rail-mounted design. The cantilever style works like a drawer side. And bigger jobs require a rail-mounted saw.

So here is my question: Would woodworkers be interested in a traveling table if the blade could be accurately located so there is no blade drift? How much work do you do at your band saw that would benefit from this feature? Who knows, we might see a traveling table on a woodworking-type band saw sometime in the future.

– Glen D. Huey

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Showing 7 comments
  • John Hanlon

    I use my bandsaw all the time. Probably more than any other major tool in my shop. I’ve also made more alterations (improvements) to that machine than any other including jigs, sleds etc. I’d still love to have that saw in the video! No, I don’t have room for it, but so what.

    Now, if some manufacturer could come up with a quick-change solution for band saw blades…..

    John

  • John G.

    I think a bandsaw that could resaw 12" and had a sliding table would be a great idea if it didn’t break the bank. But as you indicated one must take into consideration how often/much one used the band saw.

  • c

    My take… give me a consumer grade bandsaw with zero blade drift relative to the table surface.

    Then, if you like, go ahead bolt some other random widgets like sliding tables and racing stripes onto the side.

    c.

  • Glen

    Mike,
    Blade drift is part of the make up of a band saw. The wheels on a band saw are slightly crowned, so when a blade is installed, although you try to get the blade tracking at the center of the wheel and set at 90 degrees to the table, there is more than a chance that the blade is angled slightly. That small angle is the blade drift.

    Blade drift renders your fence useless. You cannot set the fence to rip parallel cuts, the blade drifts away from the lines.

    To counteract drift, you need to find the natural cutting angle of your saw setup. To do so, scribe a straight line onto a S4S piece of stock, then cut to that line without using your fence. As you get into the cut, you’ll notice that you’re holding the stock at a particular angle in order to stay at the layout line. That line is the cutting angle for your setup and if you set a fence at that same angle, you will be successful ripping against the fence.

    Blade drift changes each time you switch out blades and needs to be calculated each time. Blade drift is especially an issue if you resaw at your band saw.

    Glen

  • Mike

    What’s blade drift?

  • glen

    Murphy,

    The TimberMaster is a band saw accessory, a sliding platform that moves stock past your blade. Forrest’s tables are an integral part of the saw unit.

    Glen

  • Murphy

    Glen,

    I think Laguna is already offering a sliding table called the TimberMaster. Though, it is limited in width it has a 5′ stroke. See their web site here: http://www.lagunatools.com/bandsaw.timbermaster-2.aspx

    It is inteded for the resawing of beams or to act as a mini mill. However, I bet some of the creative people that frequent this site could easily come up with a lot more uses. As a bonus, no lag bolts appear to be needed to hold the unit down.

    Regards,

    Murphy

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