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How to remove Bandsaw marks

Jack Gordon - March 18, 2019 - 0 comments

When working with bandsaw, we know that it doesn’t create finished surfaces, so after bandsawing, you will have to smooth away the sawmarks from the surface. This can be done in a number of ways, such as by filing, by sanding, or even by cutting way the band sawn surface with a router or shaper.

The more accurately you saw to the layout line, the less cleanup is required. Careless bandsawing leaves the sawn surface bumpy, and you will have to remove more than just sawmarks. You will have to remove enough wood to create a smooth, flowing curve. Creating the curve by hand with a file is much more labour-intensive than creating the curve on a bandsaw, so it is important to saw accurately. Getting the best-quality bandsaw is essential for your need, a good tool can make your life easier immensely.

Note: Avoid tedious smoothing of curved parts by sawing precisely to the layout line.


Small files are indispensable for removing saw marks, especially in small, difficult-to-reach areas. Half-round files, as the name implies, are curved on one face and flat on the opposite face. Round files are available to fit the smallest of contours.

Note: Files are indispensable tools for removing bandsaw marks. They come in variety of shapes to suit almost any curve.

Spindle sanders

Using a spindle sander is one of the fast and easiest ways to smooth a bandsawn contour. Most spindle sanders have at least a half dozen sanding drums of different diameters to accommodate the radius of the curve you are working.

Floor model spindle sanders are the most powerful and come with the widest assortment of sanding drums. On the other hand, small benchtop sanders are more affordable. The best benchtop sanders are industrial-quality machines that are powerful enough for any job.

Note: A spindle sander will make quick work of smoothing concave areas of curved work.

Carving gouges and chisels

If you enjoy making reproductions of colonial American furniture, then you may wish to use carving gouges to remove the bandsaw marks from your work. Eighteenth century craftsmen used gouges of various sizes and sweeps (radii of curves) to carve away saw marks and create flowing contours on their work. Wherever gouges were used to carve away the inside edges of a chair rail or table apron, craft men would chamfer the edges afterwards.

As you might imagine, this can be a time-consuming method that you may wish to use only when you are attempting to strictly reproduce and antique. Although I seldom use this method, I do use ordinary flat chisels quite often to create crisp inside corners on my bandsawn work.

Template shaping

As I mentioned earlier, you generally want to follow the layout line as closely as possible when sawing contours. By carefully following the line, you can avoid the tedious cleanup associated with careless sawing. But there are times when you can saw “heavy” of the line and make the final, exact contour with a router or a shaper.

The technique is called template shaping and it is a fast, easy way to reproduce an exact contour in any number of pieces of stock. Because a router or a shaper produces the final surface, it is not important to saw exactly to the layout line. In this case, a bandsaw is used to remove the excess stock before making the finished cut with a router or shaper.

To use this technique, you will first have to make template, which must be the exact contour that you want to reproduce. Next, secure the stock to the template with toggle clamps, brads, or double-sided tape. Before shaping, select a router bit or shaper cutter with the desired profile. The bit or cutter must have a bearing to follow the contours of the template.

Once you have got a good template, removing bandsaw marks with this method is remarkably fast and easy. As the bearing on the router or shaper follows the template, the cutter removes the bandsaw marks and creates an exact copy of the template contour on the workpiece.

I use my table-mounted router for small-and medium size cuts, and my shaper for large, heavy cuts. Although this is a great technique, it does have a few limitation. First, neither a router nor a shaper can create sharp inside corners. To solve this problem, you can either soften the inside corner to accommodate the bearing diameter, or you can do what I do: shape as much as possible, then carve inside corners by hand. The radius of a contour that you wish to shape mush be no smaller than bearing diameter. This is where a router bit has distinct advantage over a shaper cutter; it’s a small bearing will turn through a much tighter curve.

Note: When using template shaping to finish an edge, remember that using a router or a shaper guided by a template is the fastest way to remove bandsaw marks and create a smooth, finished surface.

Removing marks on ripped boards

When ripping straight stock on a bandsaw, you will also want to remove the bandsaw marks and create a finished surface. Either a jointer, a planer, or a handplane will work. Bandsawing is fun but not easy, remember to check out other guide of how to use bandsaw properly here for further information of bandsaw. Other guide for bandsaw: safety when using bandsaw and how to change bandsaw blades in 12 steps.

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