Band-Saw Basics

When making carefully crafted parts for furniture or cutting the same design into several pieces of wood at once, the band saw is the tool of choice -- and one of the most versatile tools available.
cut out template using band saw

cut out template using band saw

To determine the size of a band saw, measure the distance from the blade to the throat. That measurement is a little more than the largest piece of wood the band saw can handle.

The band saw's large circular blade is placed around the tool's top and bottom wheels. Some band saws have built-in fences. If the band saw does not have a built-in fence, clamp a piece of scrap wood into position to use as a fence.

To Resaw

To resaw (cut a large piece of wood into a thinner, smaller piece), lower the foot of the saw to the corresponding height of the work piece. Start the blade, and feed the work piece directly into the blade, giving the wood a little pressure with your hands. Protect your fingers by using a push-stick to send the wood through the blade.

To Cut an Arch or Circle

To cut an arch or circle, adjust the foot of the band saw to the height of the work piece. Then cut small pieces from the wood surrounding the circumference of the circle.

To Cut Pieces Simultaneously

The band saw can be used to cut several pieces of wood of the same size simultaneously. Stack the pieces together and secure the stack with masking tape. Adjust the band saw's foot to the appropriate height. Feed the stack of wood through the blade just as you would a single piece. The cuts will be identical on each piece from the stack.

To Make Straight Cuts

Keeping stock straight is one of the key techniques for cutting on a band saw, but it's not always easy.

If the guide on the band-saw blade isn't finely tuned, the blade will most likely swerve to the right. To tune the guide, loosen its Allen screw. Place a small piece of an index card between the guide and the blade.

The blade shouldn't touch the guide, but it should be no farther from the guide than the thickness of the card. Tighten the Allen screw until the index card is held tight between the guide and the blade, then remove the card.

It's important to keep the band-saw table well maintained too. Lubricate the table with lubricating oil to make sure wood glides smoothly across the blade.

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