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Wavy Cuts

Started by woodman58, September 03, 2010, 08:41:22 AM

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 I have a guy that saws for me on occation. He has a Woodmizer LT40. The last few times he cut for me the cuts have been very wavy. What can I tell him to do to fix this problem with out insulting him. He has been cutting for 15 years.
The other person that cuts for me has a Baker 3665. The cuts are always true. He is moving futher away in 2 months and semi retiring, so I'm going to have to use the other guy. Thanks
Timberking 2200


Boards like that turn your planer into a skip planer  ;D  ;D  ;D
Why not just 1 pain free day?



Sounds like he is trying to cut to fast and using blades that are dull. Could be a issue with the mill also. Has he always cut wavy lumber.

Sawing part time mostly urban logs -St. Louis/Warrenton, Mo.
LT40HG25 Woodmizer Sawmill
LX885 New Holland Skidsteer

John Bartley

My experience is this:

1 - bands that are dull but properly set for the type of wood, will cut slowly and will load the engine down. They also seem to gather the most dust and pitch.

2 - bands that are under-set for the type of wood they are cutting, will almost always produce a wavy cut, regardless how sharp they are.

3 - bands that are over-set will produce more sawdust then is necessary, but if they are sharp, they will cut just as well as a properly set and sharpened band.

that's all I got...

Kioti DK35HSE w/loader & forks
Champion 25hp band mill, 20' bed
Stihl MS361
Stihl 026

Bro. Noble

In addition to John's list,  a dull blade runs warm and picks up sap from the wood.  If you don't run enough water, the sap buildup has the effect of removing set, causing wavy cuts.

I feel my blade for warming (not while it's running ::)) and start thinking about changing it when it begins to feel warm.
milking and logging and sawing and milking


what do you mean by "over-set", "under-set"?
I suspect the guy is running the blade too long.. it is dull, and running hotter than it should.  It expands and is now running is looser.


One thing I forgot to mention is that he does not run water on the blade. His hose is broken. He says it works fine without it.
Timberking 2200


dosent sound like it works fine to me.
god bless america god save the queen god defend new zealand and thank christ for Australia

paul case

Quote from: weisyboy on September 03, 2010, 04:35:08 PM
dosent sound like it works fine to me.
i  almost said that, thanks for posting it so i didnt have to.
my exp.  dull blade  pushing to fast. no lube can do it too if the sap builds up on the blade like noble said.   pc
life is too short to be too serious. (some idiot)
2013 LT40SHE25 and Riehl edger,  WM 94 LT40 hd E15. Cut my sawing ''teeth'' on an EZ Boardwalk
sawing oak.hickory,ERC,walnut and almost anything else that shows up.
Don't get phylosophical with me. you will loose me for sure.

Tom Sawyer

One other factor would be the kind of wood he is cutting.  Spruce will sometimes give me fits no matter how sharp or well set my blades are.  I always make sure the customer knows that wavy wood is not acceptable to me as the sawyer, and on the one occasion that I couldn't cut a customer's spruce straight no matter how hard I tried, his bill was discounted significantly. 

Amen to weisyboy and Paul Case.


backwoods sawyer

The saw tracking to far back on the wheel will take the set right out of a new saw.
Worn guides will not hold the blade flat in the cut.
Not having enough tension on the saw will allow the saw to wander.
Get the water flowing even if that mean using a garden hose on the saw or the sawyer. :-X
Backwoods Custom Milling Inc.
100% portable. . Oregons largest portable sawmill service, serving all of Oregon, from our Backwoods to yours..sawing since 1991


"Folks" that saw wavy lumber are good for my business.  Their former customers are my future customers.  Notice that I didn't call him a "sawyer".

He has a sawmill and saws logs, but a sawmill don't a sawyer make.
Knothole Sawmill, LLC     '98 Wood-Mizer LT40SuperHydraulic   WM Million BF Club Member   WM Pro Sawyer Network

It's Weird being the Same Age as Old People

Never allow your "need" to make money to exceed your "desire" to provide quality service.....The Magicman


Quote from: woodman58 on September 03, 2010, 02:15:23 PM
One thing I forgot to mention is that he does not run water on the blade. His hose is broken. He says it works fine without it.

I have noticed everytime I let my water tank run empty my cuts get wavy, even with a new blade on. You should let him know, this could cause him to lose a lot of business. I know if it were me I would want to know.


Wavy where?  At the beginning of the cut, around the knots, on the edges of the board, only on the large knots, or anywhere on the board?

All of those places have their own cause and effect.

Steve Gschwend

John Bartley

Quote from: dkyle on September 03, 2010, 12:02:48 PM
what do you mean by "over-set", "under-set"?

When a band is made, the teeth tips are alternately bent left and right so that the band cuts wider than the thickness of the band material. This is called the "set" of the tooth. On the bands that I use the set pattern is Left - Right - None, so every third tooth tip is bent (set) the same way. When a tooth tip is bent too far (over-set), the kerf in the cant is wider than it needs to be and extra energy and wood are wasted making sawdust that could be a board. When a tooth tip is not bent over far enough (under-set), the result is often a wavy cut accompanied by a band that runs warm and builds up pitch.

FYI : I'm no expert.....not even close to being one......this is just my experience so far.


Kioti DK35HSE w/loader & forks
Champion 25hp band mill, 20' bed
Stihl MS361
Stihl 026

gator gar

If he has been cutting for 15 years, he has it figured out by now. My opinion is that he just don't care and has little or no pride in his work. I'd find another person to saw for me in the future.


Woodman,perfect excuse to get your own mill.Frank C.
A man armed with common sense is packing a big piece


  We all get a wavy cut once in a while but should not get 2 in a row.   Steve
Timberking B20  18000  hours +  Case75xt grapple + forks+8" snow bucket + dirt bucket   770 Oliver   Lots(too many) of chainsaws, Like the Echo saws and the Stihl and Husky     W5  Case loader   1  trailers  Wright sharpener     Suffolk  setter Volvo MCT125c skid loader


If he's been doing this for 15 years and is sawing a large amount of wavy lumber, either he doesn't care about quality, or he doesn't know what he is doing. I'd say an occasional wavy cut is to be expected, but the situation should be fixed right away. Bottom line- I'd find someone else. ;)
Too many irons in the fire

Chuck White

Other than mill alignment, wavy cuts are caused by:
Dull blade.
Not enough lube (pitch build-up).
The set doesn't match the wood being cut.
Pushing a dull blade too hard/fast.

My money says that the other guy doesn't sharpen his own blades and/or have a good resharp service.

I found that once I got my own Sharpening/Setting equipment, I pull the blades off the mill at first sign of a wave or the engine laboring.

Quote from: Magicman on September 03, 2010, 09:15:26 PM
"Folks" that saw wavy lumber are good for my business.  Their former customers are my future customers.  Notice that I didn't call him a "sawyer".

He has a sawmill and saws logs, but a sawmill don't a sawyer make.

I have quite a few of those too Magicman.  ;D
~Chuck~  Sawing mobile from 2005-2022.  Cooks Cat Claw sharpener and single tooth setter.  2018 Chevy Silverado and 2021 Subaru Ascent.
With basic mechanical skills and the ability to read you can maintain a Woodmizer  LT40!

Meadows Miller


Magic was Spot on With his comment that there is a big difference between a Sawyer and someone who Has a Sawmill Mate  ;)
A sawyer who takes pride in their work and  equipment ,how they maintain it and operate it will produce consitant quality Timber Day in Day out Without Fail  ;) and id recomend that you take the time between now and when your current reliable sawyer retires to suss out and find yourself a good one if not persist with this one just put it to him that he wont be getting paid for miss cuts  Mate  ;)

Good Luck

Regards Chris
4TH Generation Timbergetter


Just an addendum to Cris's post. "suss out" means to figure out.
'98 LT40HDD/Lombardini, Case 580L, Cat D4C, JD 3032 tractor, JD 5410 tractor, Husky 346, 372 and 562XP's. Stihl MS180 and MS361, 1998 and 2006 3/4 Ton 5.9 Cummins 4x4's, 1989 Dodge D100 w/ 318, and a 1966 Chevy C60 w/ dump bed.

Magic Smoke

If he has used several blades (especially a new one) and it cuts wavy right off the bat, then the issue is probably not the blade. Something as simple as a loose drive belt can cause wavy cuts... when the belt slips, the blade slows down causing wavy cuts (especially in wide cuts). If the drive belt is good and tight then he needs to do a blade guide alignment.


Noticed this thread while researching some ideas and solutions for wavy cuts.

I have a WoodMizer LT50HD. I use the WoodMizer soap/lube. A few months back the blade got below the leading blade guide/roller. I didn't notice when I started the cut and mid way through the mill was bogging and the blade was steaming. It was a quick shut down and the dreaded "stuck in the middle of the log" scenario. The blade was being pushed to the rear of the slot in the bracket and pushing metal on metal on the guide bracket. Blade was burned on the rear edge, of course, and now junk. When freeing it and removing I saw the blade wheel belts were burned/scorched. Dang. Got new factory belts and replaced them - it was probably time anyway.

But darn it, since this happened I can not get a straight cut out of the saw. Even with fresh blades. I'm sawing 2 to 3 year old 12 to 16" Doug Fir that was bunked and with relatively clean bark (I have a debarker and use it when needed anyway but no stuck rocks or stones). I've inspected the blade guides and jewelry and all looks good. I think this batch of blades were resharps but can't recall now. I do have a box of new ones but *DanG I don't want to trash another blade let alone a new blade. And I've NEVER had a bad experience with resharps from Woodmizer's Portland store.

Any ideas?

Best from WA,

alan gage

So you haven't gotten a single straight cut since the incident? I assume you've tried multiple logs?

Timberking B-16, a few chainsaws from small to large, and a Bobcat 873 Skidloader.

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