Wandel 16″ Wooden Bandsaw

Ever since I first saw Mathias’ videos on home-made wooden bandsaws I thought that one day I’d like to have a go at building one myself. I ended up purchasing the plans but sat on them for a few years until I had the space, time and motivation to start the project.

If you are interested in building one for yourself, more details can be found on Mathias’ website here and here.

For the most part, I followed the plans but there were a few things which I altered, one of which being the laminated frame construction. The bandsaw is designed to be fairly easy to construct using traditional tools (table saw, drill press, hand-tools etc.) but I saw an opportunity to take advantage of my CNC router.

My idea was to combine some of the frame pieces into single parts which resulted in some more complex shaped components that would be very difficult to produce accurately without a CNC. The benefit would be a lower overall part count and therefore less parts to align and fit together during the glue lamination stage.

I used mostly scrap or reclaimed timber for the majority of the build with the exception of the frame where I was swayed by the convenience of pre-made 19 mm thick finger-joint laminated pine panels.

The cut plan above shows the geometrically complex shapes nested onto panels ready to be cut by the CNC and the other components arranged by width to allow me to batch process by ripping strips on the table-saw.
CNc router
CNC router
This was ine of those occasions where I was glad that my CNC router was built to be open at the front and back to allow long workpieces to pass through.
Offcuts from the CNC were cut into strips to fit the rest of the components.
Strips cut and labelled according to width.
All frame components cut and accounted for.
Components laid out in stacks and labelled according to assembly layer.

CNC cut complex components simplify the assembly. I made sure to add 0.3 mm clearance for easy fitting and glue-up.

DIY Wooden bandsaw frame
DIY Wooden bandsaw frame
Dry-fit of the frame assembly.
I started the frame lamination, the first few layers are critical, it’s very important that everything is well aligned, any error will propagate through the whole frame.
As recommended by Mathias, the lower frame components were glued at a later stage in order to make mounting the lower axle block easier.
The vertical members at the top of the frame need to be very stiff as they bear the tension of the blade, I substituted the front layer for white ash.
DIY Wooden bandsaw frame
After roughly 50 (I lost count) individual glue-ups on the frame it felt good to begin the process of cleaning up the faces using my No.4 Stanley smoothing plane.
DIY Wooden bandsaw frame
I was thankful that I had a sturdy workbench to handle the awkward clamping setups.
Lower axle block installed. I machined the axle from 30 mm 4140 steel shaft.
My track-saw and handsaw were used to cut the corners off.
Glueing up the lower section of the frame.
Two coats of wipe-on poly was used to thoroughly seal the frame.
The wheel bearing mounts were another area where I veered slightly from Mathias’ plans. I machined some custom bearing hubs out of aluminium.
6206-2RS bearings were pressed into the hubs.
I decided to use 18 mm thick MDF for the wheels, mainly because of its uniform density.
The material was cut to rough size and laminated to a final thickness of 36 mm. My moxon vice came in handy for this glue-up.
Hub recess, through holes and alignment holes were machined into one side of the wheels.
Screws were used to hole the wheel in place and the outer profile was cut.
Alignment pins were inserted into a sacrificial board and used to ensure the wheel was perfectly aligned when the other side was machined.
Quick round-over used to soften the edges of the large holes.
Drive pulley machine out of birch plywood.
Pins used to ensure perfect alignment when attached to the lower wheel.
I made a quick-and-dirty drive dog to use when mounting the wheel on the lathe using its own axle.
Using a dial indicator to make sure the wheel is running true.
This laser-cut template shows the crown which I need to turn onto the outer rim of the wheel.
The parting blade was the only tool I had which had the length to get in close enough to cut the drive belt v-groove. It was quite tricky to do this manually.
The wheels ended up measuring 403 mm across the crown.
I made sure to thoroughly seal the MDF with a few coats of wipe on polyurethane.

The instagram post above shows some video footage of the wheels being turned on a lathe.

This is the upper wheel-mount frame and L brackets, made from Ash.
To cut the splines I used a thin strip of wood clamped to my fence to act provide a point of reference for the stop cuts.
Splines glued in place.
Attaching the L brackets to the frame.
Marking out the upper axle mount.
Completed upper wheel-mount assembly.
Both wheels finally mounted.
I used 14″ inner tubes as bandsaw tyres.
Used Mathias’ method to balance the wheels.

The instagram post above shows a video of the blade and wheels turning under the power for the first time.

Employed my CNC to accurately cut the trunnion components from reclaimed Rimu.
I added dowels to ensure perfect alignment.
Upper blade guide assembly.
Very carefully cutting a notch in the frame to receive the upper blade guide. It is very important that this be aligned vertically to the blade.
Test-fitting with blade.
Making the relief cuts in the bottom of the trunnion. I made a series of saw cuts and then knocked the majority out with a chisel and followed up with a shinto rasp.
I made this drilling jig to accurately locate the holes in the end of the trunnion support. I clamped it to the table securely and used a hand drill to drill into the end grain of the trunnion.
This is the motor which I scavenged for this project, it is a 3-phase, 750W unit.

The pulley I had was a very tight fit on my motor shaft so I used an old trick I picked up from somewhere online. I got a piece of threaded rod, cut a slot from one end using a hacksaw and slid a piece of emery paper through and mounted in my hand drill. A couple of seconds honing the bore at high speed resulted in a perfect fit.

This motor spins at 1800 RPM when connected to my VFD set to max, this results in a wheels speed of 516 RPM and blade speed of roughly 653 m/min. You may also note that originally the pulley was made to drive dual belts, I only need one so I used a lathe to trim off the excess.

After running this motor a few times I realised that the bearings were slightly noisy, it probably would have been fine but I made the decision to put fresh bearings in and save. myself the hassle of dismantling the saw to do it in the future.

Once again I used my CNC to cut the table profile and some relief on the underside for the table tilting. the material is birch plywood with HPL faces.
Cutting the lower enclosure sides, used the table saw for the majority of the cuts.
Assembling the upper enclosure. Constructing the enclosure was a deceptively tricky process, it needs to be customised to fit your saw to accomodate any construction variations, frame material thickness, wheel thickness etc. Lots of parts to measure, scribe and fit.
The enclosure is made from 4 mm oak veneered plywood which I got from an estate sale.
These transfer pins which came with my dowelling kit were used to transfer the location of the enclosure mounts onto the frame.
The blade guard is made from water-jet cut stainless steel and folded by hand.
DIY Wooden bandsaw frame
At this point I completely disassembled the saw, sanded all the surfaces, chamfered the edges and gave it two coats of Feast Watson Wipe-on Poly to hopefully protect it for many years to come.
DIY Wooden bandsaw frame
I was lucky to find this trolley in the scrap bin at work. It was originally roughly twice this height but I disassembled it and cut the vertical components down to a suitable height.
Using my track-saw to make the dust cut-out. The dust from the saw should fall down through the enclosure and into the top draw where it is collected.
diy wooden bandsaw workshop
Sitting on its frame for hte first time.
My daughter practicing her hammering while I work on the saw. Perhaps one day she will inherit this handmade bandsaw, I hope it lasts this long!
I made some hardwood draw runners, affixed them to 12 mm plywood and mounted them into the stand.
Some quick and dirty boxes made from leftover pine construction plywood.
Pinned and glued together.
They fit nicely and slide well. The top drawer is used for dust collection and the lower will be spare parts, documentation etc. These drawers won’t get a lot of use so the wooden slides will be satisfactory.
These are some very old native Rimu stair treads, they look pretty ugly in this state…
… but look great after a couple of passes through my thicknesser, look at that grain!
Mocked up in their final location, I’m very happy with that spacing.
Finished and mounted in place.
Here you can see how the dust makes its way through the enclosure and down into the drawer.
I spent a lot of time looking for an off-the-shelf plastic enclosure to house the controls but then it dawned on me that a wooden bandsaw really deserves a wooden control box. I’m really happy that I went to the extra trouble and did this, I think it really finishes the saw off nicely.
Planning the cable routing hole through the frame.
Block clamped to the rear of the frame to prevent blow-out at the exit point of the hole.
The long batten clamped to the side acts as a guide and helps me to “eye-ball” the hole trajectory as I am drilling.
Luckily everything went to plan. The motor is powered by a 1.5 kW variable frequency drive (VFD). The VFD offers lots of options, electronic breaking which slows the saw very quickly and I can also adjust the frequency (speed) via an external potentiometer located in the control box.
First time I’ve used these wire ferrules on a project, they are so satisfying!
Main isolation switch mounted to the rear of the saw.

Photos of the completed bandsaw are below, I am very happy with how this project turned out, it cuts great and has proven to be a very useful and versatile addition to my workshop.

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