How To Use A Bandsaw: Tips and Tricks?

Last Updated on May 11, 2024 by Sharaj

A bandsaw is one of the most versatile tools that can design a wide range of furniture pieces. It is also useful for cutting decorative mouldings and craftwork.

It’s easy to use a bandsaw when you need some curved cuts on the wooden lumbers.

If you want to use this cutting machine into a wide range of projects, then follow the given tips from our experts. But, before that let’s go through the basics.

The Band saw Basics

Band Saw

The Bandsaws are available in different dimensions and price ranges, but their functionality remains the same. Such a woodworking tool comes with four major parts; two wheels, a steel blade with teeth, a motor, and a working table where you can place the cutting material.

Both wheels rotate the steel blade and pass it through a table. There are components to hold the wood pieces while you move it through the rotating blade.

Such cutting machines are available as a benchtop that you can secure using some bolts or stand and floor top models that are huge as well as expensive. Benchtop band saws are portable but they don’t have the cutting capacity that a floor top variant possesses.

These portable models are compact and work great if you are don’t have much open space in the workshop. They are generally available in nine or ten-inch options and are suitable for small projects. Due to their lightweight construction, you might some added vibration. Also, the blade choices are limited.

Floor models are generally 14 inches and are heavy as well as vibration-free due to cast iron components that reduce the unwanted shakes. You get a wide range of blade choice and the cutting ability is also better than benchtop options.

Their ability and functionality add to the cost. So, you might think, is a floor top band saw is worth your investment? If you are a woodworking enthusiast or professional, then yes. Especially, if you want to practice some resawing.

How To Use A Bandsaw

Below are the steps to use your bandsaw properly with safety. Let’s check out…

Start With The Right Adjustment

Adjustment Band Saw Blades

You should adjust the guide and blades according to the instructions manual. Loosen the tension when you need to replace the blade or install a new one. The wide blade needs more tension.

However, any of the blades will break if there is extra pressure on them. Switch off the band saw, open the guards and move one of the wheels once or twice to check if the blade is moving in the right alignment.

Next comes the blade guide. The backside of the blade should remain close to the rear guide. The blade should run clear of both the guides. Make sure that the blades only Make contact with the guides when you apply pressure on a cutting material. Follow the rules and wear safety glasses before you start working on a band saw.

Follow The Proper Cutting Process

Use a pencil to mark the cutting line, move the wood stock slow and steady towards the blade. If you push out of line, the blade will bend and the cuts will not be vertical.

Don’t cut at a smaller radius than a blade can handle, otherwise, the edge might jump off the wheel. Keep the waste part outside while making irregular cuts. Make the small connecting cuts first, because it will be difficult to manage them after you cut a long curve.

Choose The Right Blades

Choose The Right Blades

You can continue using the same blade that came with your band saw. However, for better results, we recommend you replace it according to your usage. Always remember that blades with hardened teeth are one step ahead of the pressed ones.

Blades with hardened teeth might cost more than regular blades, but they are more efficient and provides you with precise results. Apart from the built quality, there are two other factors you need to consider while choosing the blades.

Width: A wide blade is suitable for thick woods and straight cuts, but you would need narrow blades to make curves. Narrower the blade, more it can take the tight turns while cutting. A band saw with one of the narrowest blades can cut curves at a radius of 3 1/16 inches.

Teeth per inch: TPI decides the speed of a blade. A module with higher TPI will cut slow and leave a smooth surface. However, blades with low TPI are suitable for thick lumbers.
You can keep both wide and narrow blades in your workshop arsenal so that you can use them according to the projects.

However, midsize blades ranging between 3/8 to 1/4-inch width are the most productive ones. Use one of these blades and you will not have to replace the modules frequently while working on a project. All the credit goes to their versatility because such a blade is effective in a wide range of cuts.

Cutting Nonferrous Materials

Cutting Nonferrous Materials

You need a blade with lots of small teeth to cut aluminium, thin brass or copper. It must have hardened teeth, otherwise, the blade will exhaust quickly.

A Dakin-Flathers band saw blade is one of the suitable options to cut nonferrous metals.

Get Zero Clearance Instantly

The offcut jams in the saw’s throat plate, right next to the blade is annoying and causes unnecessary delay in the cuttings.

There is an easy way to tackle such situations. Take thin cardboard from any of the cereal boxes, cut kerf and tape it on the table.

Make Relief Cuts

Do you make contoured profiles on the workpieces? The process will be easier if you cut along the curves and at all the transition points. You will notice that the waste wooden parts will fall away once you reach these relief cuts.

Making these cuts reduces the long path that a blade has to follow while finishing a contoured cut. Hence, you can easily manage the small cuts that will result in high precision.

Start Cutting From The Shallow Angle

Got a contoured cut to make? Then, always start it from the shallowest part.

When you end the cut at its shallow angle then there are chances that the blade might veer off the path at the last point to pop off. If both the ends are shallow, then start from each end and cut them to the middle.

Round Up The Blades For An Improved Performance

Use a saw blade sharpening stone to remove the back corners, and then round the entire back.

It should take around five minutes, but the process will improve the blade’s life and its ability to cut tight curves. Moreover, the band saw will also work at reduced vibration after rounding up its blade.

Instantly Replace An Exhausted Blade

You should do it without any delay. Once you notice a reduced feed rate, difficulty while cutting into a straight line and burning signs, then it’s time to replace the blades. Before you replace a blade, check for dirt and small blockages that might add to the cutting resistance.

Use a brush to clean the blade in such a situation and leave it for some time into a blade cleaner. You can also use a cleaner spray like Trend CLEAN/500.

Allow The Blades To Relax For Some Time

If the band saw is going to sit idle for three or more days at one stretch, then release the tension on its blade. Some of the band saws come with the quick-release mechanism while in several other models you need to rotate the tensioning knob to reduce its blade tension.

Leave the blade in a stretched position for long can break them prematurely. It will also cause tracking issues. On the other, you can extend the blade’s life by simply releasing its pressure when not in use.

Install A Bigger Worktable

Use your table saw to cut a square table worth 24 inches from a wooden board. Cut the blade slot with the table saw and use a cleat to correctly position the new block against your band saw.

Then, install it on the front of your band saw, locate and drill some screws that can keep the new table at its place.

Deploy Cool Blocks

Old band saws come with square guide blocks made of steel. Such blocks overheat the blade and can instantly dull its teeth if they make any contact. On the other hand, cool blocks are made of non-metallic composite material that contains dry lubricants.

Moreover, such blocks never damage the blade teeth. They are also easy to install because you can press them against the blade, unlike steel blocks.

Coil A Blade For Secure Storage

Rotate the blade at 360 degrees using your wrists before you store it on the wall hook. Wear gloves and hold the blade with its teeth away from your body. Keep a wooden piece under your foot, stabilize the blade by placing it between your foot and the wood.

Press your hand to press the blade into an oval shape. Rotate your hand slowly, so that blade can roll accordingly. Maintain a proper grip on the blades to make sure it never slips from your hands. Continue rotating the blade using your hand until It makes a complete coil. Use both your hands to tie up the coiled blade.

Read The Manual

It will be easier for you to operate the band saw in the best possible way if you read the included instructions and guidelines. The information will familiarize you with the internal parts and you will be able to use them for precise results.

Then comes practice, which is the only thing that can make you perfect. Keep improving yourself by working on new projects.

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