Using a Band Saw

Band saws are mostly used for industrial applications such as sawmills, cutting large stocks of lumber to size, especially where curved cuts are required. Versions made for home woodshop use are smaller but just as useful. These models will cut through wood thicknesses of up to 6 inches in either straight or curved cuts. Observe the proper safety guidelines, such as wearing safety goggles and suitable clothing. Exercise common sense around the band saw blade, and maintain alertness in working with all power tools.

Straight Cuts

It is recommended to make straight cuts on the band saw against a guide fence. Mark the cut on the workpiece and then adjust the fence to line up the blade with the mark.. On machines with no guide fence, you can make your own temporary one by clamping a section of softwood to the saw’s table so that the guide wood is parallel to the cutting direction.

Switch the saw motor on then feed the work past the blade, using steady pressure. On a narrow piece of work, use a push stick for more precise control. Even with a guide fence, the blade can sometimes wander off the line, so the blade guide, set and tension adjustments are critical.

Curve Cuts

Ensuring the blade does not twist out of line is the big challenge when making curved cuts on a band saw. If you notice the blade not tracking the curve, due to a tight radius, you should just run the blade out towards the edge of the work on a cut tangential to your main cut, then continue again where you left off. In this way, series of smaller tighter radius cuts can be made which approximate the intended profile of the cut.

If you need to correct the line of cut or go in another direction, the blade can be backed out of a cut. Bring it out slowly to avoid twisting or pulling the blade.

Miter Cuts

It is possible to use a band saw for miter cuts of up to 45 degrees by using a miter fence. Use scrap material to make a trial cut to check for proper angle and calibration. Firmly hold the work piece against the miter fence, then feed the work past the blade carefully. Compound miter cuts can be made by using the miter fence while titling the band saw table on some models.