Woodworking Tool Tips: The Band Saw

Many people do not think of the band saw as a necessary tool for the wood shop. However, the band saw is one of the most underrated and under used tools of the shop.

If you know of all of the uses for a band saw, you will be amazed at how useful it can be. In fact, many experienced wood workers find that the band saw is one of their favorite tools and a must have for any wood shop.

Many people typically think of cutting curves when they think of a band saw. And while the band saw is an extremely effective tool for that purpose, there are so many more uses for a band saw. You can cut joints with this saw as well as making cross cuts. And band saws are also often used for ripping wood, which is cutting a thick board into several thinner boards.

Band saws utilize a large blade that is a continuous loop. Most of the blade is hidden inside the machine, with only a small portion exposed to the user.

There are different types of blades available depending on what you are using the band saw for. However the typical wood worker will generally choose a carbon flex blade. The blades of a band saw have teeth only along one edge and they come in different sizes, typically ¼” or 3/8” are good sizes for a wood worker, with 6 teeth per inch.

The thinner blades are more effective for cutting circles and curves; however they tend to break easier, so the wider blades are better for straight cuts. It is important to balance the horse power of the machine with the size of blade that you are using.

Band saws are very useful because they also can be used to cut metals and plastics as well as wood. Because the blade operates by cutting downward and pushing wood against the base instead of putting the wood. The band saw is also one of the safer tools in the wood shop for this reason. Because there is very little of the blade exposed, there is less chance that you will harm yourself. It is important to be careful around the saw however, and common sense safety rules still apply.

Important safety note: Do not reach around the blade or try to clear pieces of wood from in front of the blade.