How to Use a Bandsaw Safely and Effectively – A Tutorial

use bandsaw safelyBandsaws are one of the most versatile and unique power tools in any workshop. Not only can they cut through a wide variety of materials including wood and metal, but they can also be used to create ornate designs thanks to their ability to cut curves, not just straight lines. More importantly, a bandsaw can also replace several other saws by simply swapping out the blade.

The following tutorial will help you to not only use your bandsaw safely but effectively:

1) As with any power tool, the number one priority is safety. Any time you operate the bandsaw, make sure that you are wearing a pair of protective eyewear (i.e. safety goggles) to prevent injury from flying debris.

2) Bandsaws are a versatile tool thanks to their ability to use a wide variety of blades. Before you begin, make sure that you always have the right blade for your project. In general, you will need to use a narrow blade if you intend to cut curves. Wide blades, on the other hand, are better suited for straight cuts. It’s also important to remember that you should only use metal blades when you need to cut metal otherwise you risk breaking the blade.

3) In order to ensure accuracy and safety, you must always keep tension on your board or material while you are feeding it through the bandsaw, even if yours is equipped with rollers. If you allow the rollers to pull your material for you, your cuts will not be as accurate and your hands could suddenly be pulled forward into the blade.

4) When you’re cutting through a thick piece of wood or other material, the last thing you want is a broken blade. To prevent this, always check the adjustable blade guards before starting your cut. If the self-adjustment doesn’t follow the contour of the material then you will need to adjust the screw tension until it moves freely up and down.

5) If you break a blade, and it does happen, never try to start the bandsaw up again where the last cut ended, otherwise there’s a good chance that you will not only damage the new blade but also throw the wood, which can leave a notch and ruin your work.

6) You can tell whether you’re using too much or too little pressure when feeding your material through the bandsaw by looking at the wood chips. Pay special attention to both the size and texture of the chips. When you’re applying too little pressure they will be fine and powdery. If you’re applying too much then they will be heavy and singed. Concentrate on using even, steady pressure.

7) Most metals will cut more cleanly if you use fluids on your blade while cutting, but not all of them need it so be sure to check your instructions first. For example, when you’re working with cast iron or bronze you won’t need to use any fluids.