Building The Bandsaw

1 May

So, if some sunlight-deprived, Moosehead drinking Hoser from the Great White North can build a bandsaw, surely I could do it.  How hard could it be?

Well, let’s not kid ourselves.  It’s going to be pretty hard.  Matthias Wandell is making engineering and woodworking a full-time job; he’s a skilled engineer and a veteran woodworker.  In contrast, I’m in the shop a few hours a week and I’ve got another full time job.

So why build a bandsaw?  Why not use the proceeds from my job to just buy one?  Maybe scrounge a good used one off Craigslist?  Well, Henry David Thorough left a perfectly good house to live in the woods:  “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived."

In Matthias’ videos, he goes through all kinds of experiments to figure out just how much of this thing he can make out of scrounged parts or whatever to make it for next to nothing.  For Matthias, building a bandsaw is really not that striking an achievement.  Compared to some of his other projects, this one really isn’t that hard.  I suspect I know one of the reasons why he’s building it on the cheap – he’s trying to inject a little challenge in there for himself.  I respect that, but I’ve got challenge enough just in replicating his design.  Although I’m a cheapskate, I’m not going to spend a lot of time dumpster-diving to build this thing.

I’m doing this for the sense of accomplishment I expect to feel every time I flip the switch on.

When I was learning to fly, I remember flying with a flight instructor who had, among other things, flown F-104 Starfighters in the 1960’s near the edge of space.  We were taking off in a Cessna 172.  This was hardly my first flight, but still, when the wheels went up, well, I don’t know exactly what I said, but I remember what he said.  He looked over and saw that thrill go through me as we went wheels up and he said “I get that thrill too.  Every time we lift off.  When I stop feeling that way is when I’ll stop flying.”

While lifting off is an amazing feeling, it’s way, way more amazing when you command it yourself.  Lifting off in a commercial airplane is exciting – the first few times.  But after those first flights, if you extract the thought of crashing from it, there isn’t much thrill left.

You see, it’s not about the flying; it’s about you flying.

I haven’t been flying in a long time, and I don’t think it’s in the cards for me to fly again for a while.  It’s a choice I made when I had kids and chose where we’ll live.  But things change.   Kids grow up.  When they do, I’ll choose to live somewhere else and do other things; if I can, I’ll go flying again.  Meanwhile, I’ll be building my band saw.


One Response to “Building The Bandsaw”


  1. So class, what have we learned? | Indisputable Facts - December 28, 2014

    […] I got a bur in my bonnet to build my own band saw, and then I did a couple of little things, did our usual array of summer […]

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