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Yet another bandsaw question

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Robin Graham11/03/2018 22:26:21
351 forum posts
41 photos

Time is coming when I have to replace my aged MCB100A Axminster horizontal bandsaw. It's becoming increasingly erratic with the blade jumping off the wheels, and it's always been horribly innaccurate - about 2mm up/down off square on a 50mm round bar.

I was more or less settled on waiting for my next ' VAT-free' offer and going for the Clarke version of the ubiquitous 6x4 at £270ish, but then lit on a thread here singing praises of the Femi offerings - about £100 more for the entry level machine, but it seems that they actually cut square. So worth it for that.. However....

A final look at the Clarke before making a decision led me to a review on the MM site saying it cut a 2" bar with "an accuracy of 0.001 inches out of the box", so now I'm confused. It seems hardly credible that a cheap bandsaw can cut that accurately, but what do I know! But if it's true, well 100 quid is 100 quid, don't want to throw it away!

Any advice would be welcome, Robin

not done it yet11/03/2018 22:54:37
1544 forum posts
11 photos

My advice for any hyped-up claims is to read the review carefully. Within on thous does not necessarily mean square. It might have been a lucky sample - only one in how many?

Your old saw might well have cut far more accurately if it had been set up properly. They are all much of a muchness, if built to a price and your machine may be recoverable for far less money than shelling out for new.

Your money, your choice, as always. Good luck with your decision.

ChrisH12/03/2018 00:21:45
718 forum posts
10 photos

Robin, I have the same bandsaw and it has been absolutely spot on with me, wouldn't be without it, was most impressed with it's performance and to me having one that I could stuff under the bench when not required was well worth it as my shed is small.

My bandsaw has always cut reasonably straight, within a few thou, not actually measured it but it's straight enough; it certainly has never given me cause for grief with the cut it's made. As 'not done it yet' says, are you sure you need to shell out for a newie; is the one you've got not worth a look at fixing and setting up straight? There's not not much in it to fix really, as it's quite basic. Axminster carry spares and even if they haven't got it straight away for the MCB 100A they might have the spare you want as it's probably the same as what fits another of their saws - happened to me when the drive rubber went, the spare for the machine was going to take a few weeks but the same part was fitted to their current equivalent model and was in stock. Why not give it a good dose of looking-at and see how you go?


charadam12/03/2018 00:47:51
146 forum posts
2 photos

For me the question has always been - how accurately do I need this lump of steel cut?

My SIP 6" has always cut 1mm out vertically in a 50mm bar but I find this OK as all I want is a shorter length of 50mm without all the sweat.

However, when I cut box or angle for fabrication jobs, I find the inaccurate cut an arsepain.

The problem on my saw is that the axle is off by a few thou - its the one with the cut angle adjusted by swinging the cutting assembly, not the vice.

I think I got what I paid for.

Brian Wood12/03/2018 08:29:36
1465 forum posts
35 photos


Before you condemn it check the blade guides. You will find they are cast and the fit of each to the other leaves a great deal to be desired. Check also the rim running accuracy of the driving wheel in particular, they are not perfect and a wobble there will give the blade a harder time than it needs.

I corrected all sorts of alignment errors on my 115 version of that bandsaw and if you tension a wire between the two wheels when you know they run true that will give you the true guide you need to properly set up the blade guides and bearings. I have an uncomfortable feeling that you might find you have bought an equally inaccurate machine as the alternative, so in my book it would pay you first to try and get yours correct. All that attention transformed mine, I used to watch it like a hawk; it would break blades with monotonous regularity and throw them off on pretty much every job

Best of luck


ChrisH12/03/2018 09:29:22
718 forum posts
10 photos

In all the years I have had my 100A, the only problems I have had is the rubber drive band on the drive wheel went so no drive - easily fixed, a spare was bought and fitted (a very easy job), the auto cut-out at end of cut is not set up to cut-out - I've lived with it and been too idle to spend the time to sort it, and on Saturday the blade snapped. That was the original blade and has been on for several years now, so fitted the spare that came with the machine and away we went again, no worries. For me, that's a good record.


Edited By ChrisH on 12/03/2018 09:30:16

richardandtracy12/03/2018 10:35:40
738 forum posts
8 photos

I have a Clarke 6x4 bandsaw, and regard it as a great fabricator's tool. It will do something to length close enough for a fabricator/welder, so +/- 1mm. To expect it to do much better than that it being rather hopeful. You may get it to do one thou, but on every job in every material? I'd imagine that is well beyond the precision you have any right to expect from the type of machine it is. Or any bandsaw, for that matter.




Edited By richardandtracy on 12/03/2018 10:37:28

Martin Connelly12/03/2018 11:04:46
613 forum posts
66 photos

Good set up is vital with any bandsaw but so is how it is used. Industrial machines have tension indicators for a good reason. I have seen manually operated hydraulic tensioners with a pressure gauge and also disc springs with an indicator and target mark. On top of setup the feed rate is important as trying to feed too fast can cause the blade to distort away from the natural line causing a wonky cut. The controlled cutting you get from a hydraulic feed control is better than just letting the bow weight control the cut.

Martin C

larry Phelan12/03/2018 12:30:54
519 forum posts
17 photos

My cheap Taiwan band saw was cutting off square recently,can,t understand why since I,ve only had it for about 20 years !. Anyway,the problem was simply that the guides had worked loose and needed to be re-adjusted. This was not surprising,considering the amount of work it handled in that time. It now cuts 3"x 3" square enough to be used without any further work,also handles angle and box well enough. The cutout switch problem I solved by fitting an angle piece to the frame and fitting an adjusting screw to act on the switch,so,no more problems with that.

They are a cheap machine,but none the worst for that,so it might pay to give it a good going over before scrapping it.I paid less than £200 for my saw at the time and over the years,I consider I got my moneys worth,and it,s still going strong, So,dont knock it till you,ve tried it !

PS There was an item in the M,E.W long ago about fitting a hydraulic device to those band saws. Never got around to making one,but I think it would be well worth the effort,being kinder to the blades.

Robin Graham12/03/2018 23:53:37
351 forum posts
41 photos

Thanks. Y'all have encouraged me to have a more serious go at correcting the faults in the machine rather than splashing out on a new one.

I don't need (or expect) 0.001" accuracy, but what I'm doing at the mo involves cutting 8mm thick discs from 50mm round brass bar, so about 20% waste - that's what set me thinking.


clogs13/03/2018 07:36:56
350 forum posts
12 photos

out of interest,

my SIP 12" was cutting out of square 1,5mm over 3" box section, top to bottom, where norm it was reasonable.......this has happened slowly over time........

anyway, hit a hard spot when cutting some used steel so the blade went past its best........

bought a new cobalt type, variable tooth blade and now cuts square again.......

now very happy, like to know how long this new blade will last, guess I'll have to wait........


Ian S C13/03/2018 08:50:12
6650 forum posts
217 photos

Sometimes the blade will lose the set on the inside, this is gradual, and the cut will slowly go off straight. I don't suppose it is so bad on a wood working saw with a rubber tire on the wheels.

Ian S C

Trevor Crossman 113/03/2018 11:57:52
27 forum posts
1 photos

Some years ago I bought one of these Far Eastern saws (which are mostly 'badge engineered' generic machines so spares from one seller often fit others) and it gave hopelessly variable results until I dismantled it re-engineered it by skimming the wheels to a slight dome, threw away the crap bearings and replaced with European quality items and set the two wheel spindles running parallel. With a quality blade and lube it cut accurately until tooth wear became uneven which was usually caused by too many repeated angle Ian S C has described, so yours Robin might be recoverable at a lot less cost than £270. That would buy stuff for projects.........and we all need more of those!!


Neil Wyatt13/03/2018 13:04:52
12817 forum posts
562 photos
67 articles

Posted by Robin Graham on 11/03/2018 22:26:21:

A final look at the Clarke before making a decision led me to a review on the MM site saying it cut a 2" bar with "an accuracy of 0.001 inches out of the box",

Well the surface roughness of a good bandsaw cut is several thou so frankly that's *********

I have one of these saws and held a chunk of 1" thick alloy plate on end for a 130mm long cut. I set it up in the mill on the cut surface and the top surface was within 0.01mm out over 75mm.

Frankly though, that's pure luck - the next chunk I cut was at least a millimetre out over the length of the cut.

But who would leave a bandsawn surface without finish machining if they need accuracy?

Nealeb13/03/2018 14:56:46
13 forum posts

Current project is going to need rather more hacksawing than I want to do by hand! Steel and gunmetal up to about 1.5" square. So I'm thinking about one of these bandsaws as well. In the smaller sizes, there seems to be a choice between a swiveling vice, or swiveling saw. The former don't seem to be able to hold shorter lengths - bigger gap between vice and blade to allow for swiveling - but are generally a bit cheaper. Any comments from those who've had a play with them? I don't actually foresee an immediate need for angled cuts anyway, but jobs seem to appear once you have the capability to do them!

Brian Wood13/03/2018 15:54:28
1465 forum posts
35 photos

Hello Nealeb,

Try my trick for holding short lengths and bond the stub to a block of wood with the lower part of the short end in line with the lower surface of the timber, ie so that you can lay them flat on a surface. I use 'Gator'glue which is a foaming polyurethane glue, it will need clamping to stop the foaming action from forcing the joint apart as it sets.

24 hours later you can hold the timber as a handle and cut washer thin slices off right up to the joint.

I recommend the swivelling vice if space in your workshop is at a premium, Jobs will appear that need angled cuts, you can't avoid them!



oldvelo14/03/2018 18:36:19
129 forum posts
43 photos


A link to an excellent manual on the set up of a band saw By John Pitkin



OuBallie15/03/2018 13:04:26
1081 forum posts
605 photos

Was given advise in the '70s when I had a vertical bandsaw:

If the blade starts to veer offline then lightly press a dressing stone against the teeth causing the problem, to blunt them slightly.

Geoff - Worked a treat.

Robin Graham15/03/2018 23:12:56
351 forum posts
41 photos

Thanks for further comments. Unfortunately I don't think the problem with this machine is going to be solved by the usual bandsaw setup methods - I have a vertical saw also, and have got to grips with correcting blade drift etc. Leaving aside tracking problems, which I can probably fix, the saw's major deficiency is that the arm doesn't swing perpendicularly to the vice bed. If I put a 4" square with the stock on the vice bed, align the top of the the square's blade with the saw blade then drop the arm, there's a gap of ~3.5mm between square and saw blades when the arm is down.

I can't see how to fix this given the way the machine is constructed. If anyone can suggest a strategy (other than taking up knitting preferably wink) I'd be grateful!

Pic of machine...


I've set the arm at an an angle for the photo just to (hopefully!) make it clearer how the bits fit together.


oldvelo16/03/2018 02:49:02
129 forum posts
43 photos

Hi Robin

Looking at the photo and your description shows things to check. The bore of the pivot is not parralel to the mitre base of the casting the saw is mounted on or the bottom of the vice and the main frame casting the saw pivots on.

Excess clearance on the saw frame pivot Bush?

Check that what looks like there is two castings bolted together  the vice casting and the base of the mitre and could be separated and shimmed to correct the error

Unfortunately you will need to dismantle to check on a flat and true surface.

This error should be able to be corrected with  time and patience as You have identified  the problem





Edited By oldvelo on 16/03/2018 02:59:56

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