A review of the Jet Bandsaw Riser Block
and Timberwolf resaw blade

by Dominic Greco


For those of you who have a Jet 14" Bandsaw, there is an accessory that can add to the resaw capacity of your bandsaw. It is called a Riser Block.

The Riser Block is a rectangular piece of cast iron, roughly 6" in height. It is installed between the upper and lower cast iron arms of your bandsaw. This block increases the distance between the table and the blade guides, in turn increasing the resaw capacity of your bandsaw.

I purchased mine from Woodcraft for approximately $70.00. Although the color of the riser block was white and my bandsaw was blue, it made little difference. The riser block works for both the old blue and the newer white models.

Installation

While the 2-page directions were somewhat limited in scope, I found I was able to follow them with ease. This installation is not rocket science. All you must be sure of is that you support the upper arm while removing the connecting hardware. Since the upper arm is cast, it is somewhat heavy. If you're not sure you can handle the weight alone, you may want to get someone to help you.

The rest of the installation proceeded without any problems, and soon it was time to install the new blade.

Resaw Blade

Installing the Riser Block also makes it necessary to install a longer blade. The new blade length is 105". Jet does include a 105" blade with the riser block kit, but I set this aside. I had purchased a Timberwolf 105" - " x 3 AS-S x 0.025" thick resaw blade just for this.

The technician at Suffolk Machinery (the company that manufactures Timberwolf Blades) was very helpful when I called. I told him that I had used their blades in the past and that I had purchased the Jet Bandsaw Riser Block kit. He knew immediately which size I needed. He then asked me a number of questions regarding the type of work I was performing with my Bandsaw, and suggested a couple of blades. Besides the resaw blade, I got a " x 6PC x 0.025" thick blade for standard bandsaw work. I ordered the blades and 3 days later I received the packages on my front door step.

For those of you who are interested, Suffolk Machinery's website offers some tips for bandsaw care and maintenance. This document came in handy when it came time to tension my new resaw blade.

After I installed the blade, checked the guides, and blade tension, all that remained was to give the bandsaw a last minute check-up before throwing the switch.

Initial Impression

The first thing that struck me about adding the riser block was that the added height made it somewhat difficult to reach the blade-tensioning knob! I am 6'1" and had to reach up a bit to get to this. I imagine that this will pose something of a problem for woodworkers of a shorter stature.

After setting up my shop-built resaw fence, and adjusting the fence for the drift in the blade, I retrieved a 1" x 6" piece of oak from the woodpile. My goal was to produce 1/8" veneer. Much to my delight, I was able to slice veneer of a consistent thickness with no problems what so ever. I found that feed rate is crucial to limiting the "wavering" pattern you might get on your work pieces.

Conclusion

The installation was easy and the downtime experienced was minimal. I was able to install the riser block, calibrate the bandsaw, and try resawing all in the same night.

I would highly recommend this economical upgrade to your bandsaw. For those who have a Delta bandsaw, they make a version of the Riser Block that is much the same as Jet's.

Suggestions
  1. Invest the time in building a good, solid resaw fence. Fine Woodworking, ShopNotes, Woodsmith, Wood Magazine, and American Woodworker all have plans for this item. I built a version of the one featured in Fine Woodworking.
  2. Make several push sticks. These saw blades are SHARP! You want to keep your fingers away from them as much as possible.
  3. Support your work fore and aft! Two roller stands work great for me, and are very useful for other applications around the shop. Just make sure you get the type that will extend to the height of your bandsaw's table. I got mine from Home Depot. At approximately $25.00 each, they are worth their weight in gold when working on long work pieces.
  4. While resawing, listen to your bandsaw's motor. If the motor starts to labor under load, slow down. You will get used to the sounds issuing from your bandsaw and know when something is amiss.
  5. Lubricate your blade before resawing. Alta Resource makes a product called Sliq Stik that works fantastically. Besides making resawing easier, it extends the life of your blade by reducing the friction caused by the blade coming in contact with the wood. Friction causes heat, and heat can cause a blade to crack, or become brittle.
  6. Speaking of lubricating your blade, you should also wax your bandsaw's tabletop. Your wood should be able to slide across the table easily.
  7. Unless you have an efficient dust collection system, be prepared to clean up a lot of fine sawdust. I was unprepared for this and spent a lot of time cleaning up. A dust collection retrofit for my bandsaw is my next shop project.

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© 2003 by Ellis Walentine by special arrangement with Wayne Miller of Badger Pond. All rights reserved.
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