How to Use a Bandsaw

Learning how to use a bandsaw? Bandsaws are one of the most versatile tools iin any woodworking shop, and using them properly opens up a range of project possibilities.

Basic Safety Procedures
Always use safety glasses to prevent wood chips from flying up into your face and injuring your eyes. Never wear loose clothing in the shop, which can get caught in equipment and cause serious injuries. Take off jewelry and watches, and follow all safety procedures outlined by the instruction manual.

Choose the Right Blade
Bandsaws are great woodworking tools because they're so versatile. However, the versatility of a bandsaw depends, in large part, on the bandsaw blade that you use for a particular project. Always make sure the blade is sharp, as a dull blade can burn the wood or cause other damage. Make sure the blade isn't missing any teeth and that it's free of cracks. Avoid using cheap blades that have too much play, as these will break easily. Wide blades are best for straight cuts, while narrow blades are required for curved cuts.

Use Miter Guides
If your bandsaw has miter guides, set them when you're making straight cuts. Miter guides hold your wood in position, producing a precise alignment between 45 and 90 degrees. Not all bandsaws have miter guides, but if yours does, you should use them to get the straightest cuts possible.

Check the Guards
Adjustable guards are a great piece of safety equipment, but they can cause trouble if not properly adjusted. Always check adjustable guards before you begin a cut, to ensure they'll clear the piece of wood. You can ruin a piece of stock if you get halfway through a cut and find that a guard won't clear or that the wood is stuck in a guide. 

Feed Wood Steadily
Feed speed isn't as big of a concern with bandsaws as it is with table saws, because bandsaws are less prone to burning the wood. However, when you're working with a bandsaw, it's still important to feed the wood steadily into the saw. Don't rely on rollers to feed the wood. Use rollers to keep tension on the wood, if necessary, but control the feed yourself.

Keep an Eye on the Blade
Watch the bandsaw blade while you're cutting to make sure the bandsaw is operating properly. If the blade is wobbly or has too much play, stop the bandsaw and check or tighten the blade, as necessary. If the blade breaks, turn off the machine immediately and replace the blade before resuming your cutting.

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