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Cutting Techniques – Complete BandSaw Usage Guide

November 14, 2018Olen Murriel

Band Saws are widely known for their ability to cut wood in a circular or in a curved fashion. The truth is that they can be used for a variety of different cutting styles. Even though they might not have the portability of the jigsaw but the versatility more than makes up for it. The band saw can be a formidable tool in your arsenal as long as you know the various techniques with the help of which, you can cut the wood in different ways. We will today share with you some simple Band saw cutting techniques which will help you use the tool efficiently.

 

Circular cuts with Band saw

We will start with the type of cut for which Band saw is widely known. With the help of curved cuts, you can easily create any type of woodworking project which would otherwise have been too difficult. Curved cuts are the specialty of Band saw. It is most widely used for these types of cuts.

In order to cut the wood in a curved fashion, it is important to choose the right size of the blade. If you’re looking for smaller curves, the smaller the blade, the better it will be We will provide you with a rough guideline regarding the size of the blades and the radius of the curved cuts which can be accomplished with it.

  • A blade of 1/8 inch will have a minimum curved cut radius of 3/16 inch.
  • A blade of 3/16 inch will have a minimum curved cut radius of 5/16 inch.
  • A blade of 1/4 inch will have a minimum curved cut radius of 5/8 inch.
  • A blade of 3/8 inch will have a minimum curved cut radius of 1-1/2 inches.
  • A blade of 1/2 inch will have a minimum curved cut radius of 2-1/2 inches.
  • A blade of 5/8 inch will have a minimum curved cut radius of 4 inches.
  • A blade of 3/4 inch will have a minimum curved cut radius of 5-1/2 inches.
  • A blade of 1 inch will have a minimum curved cut radius of 7 inches.

The blade of the Band saw can be changed easily. You just need to fasten the newer blade and tension it as per your need. This will ensure that when you cut the wood, there is no blade deflection at all. This will also prevent any kind of breakage as well as wastage. You will be able to induce precision by setting the blade all the right tension.

In addition to adjusting the tension and tracking, it is important to set the Band saw table at a perfect angle with respect to the blade. Ideally, it should be at Square with respect to the blade. This, however, can change depending on the type of cut which you are looking to achieve. Certain cuts require you to place the table at a specific angle with respect to the blade. You have to use a pencil in order to mark the curve on the board. Once you have done that, you have to place it on the table.

You have to thereafter lower the blade guard so that the lower portion of the guard is just above the board. You have to lock the guard in that position before you begin.

You have to then turn on the Band saw. The blade should be placed in parallel to the pencil where it needs to enter the wood. You have to make sure that the board is entirely flat on the table and thereafter make the contact of the board and the blade. You have to ensure that you are not forcing the wood through the blade but rather than doing it smoothly. This will ensure that with the force of the blade, the wood is cut at the desired place quite easily. You have to always leave a bit of margin on the outer side between the pencil mark as well as the blade. You will, later on, reduce this margin by sanding it with the help of an oscillator spindle. This will provide you with the perfect cut.

In order to rotate the wood along the pencil line, you have to move it left or right without lifting it up. At all points in time, you have to ensure that your hand is away from the blade. You have to also ensure that if you want to reach the other side of the board; you should never do so across the saw. You have to continue moving around the board without lifting it until; the entire task has been done. Once the cut is complete, you have to turn off the motor and wait for the motor and the blade to stop before lifting the wooden piece.

 

Straight Cuts

As we stated above, Band saw is also useful for cutting the wood in different type of cuts. In order to get the straight cuts, you will need the right blade along with a fence. Ideally, the fence should be placed on the left side of the blade to guide it in parallel during the cut. You can even use the Band saw to get thin strips of veneer or to get logs from the lumber which you have procured.

 

Cutting Veneers

In order to cut veneers with the help of the Band saw, you will need a fine tooth blade. The width of the blade should be at least 1/2 inch. You have to place the guide blocks accordingly and place the blade guard just above the wood.

You have to place the board in such a way that the edge which is to be cut is in parallel with the fence. You have to thereafter adjust the position of the fence as per the thickness which you need. The blade should be placed in parallel to the fence. The distance depends on the width of veneers you want to cut. Once you have done that you can turn on the saw and make sure that the wood is eased into the blade. You have to just hold the board firmly rather than forcing it through the blade. You have to then turn off the saw once the cut is done and wait for the motor and the blade to stop working before adjusting the fence and repeating the cut.

 

Pro Tip

In order to make sure that the board is firmly placed against the fence, you have to use a featherboard. This should be placed on the right-hand side of the board. It should be directly in front of the blade. When you pass the board through the blade, the featherboard will ensure that it is firmly in place against the fence.

 

Resawing Boards

In order to procure the thinner boards from the thicker ones that is to resaw the boards, you will need a blade of 3/4 inch width. We are advising you to choose a wider blade in order to ensure that there is no deflection. When you choose the blade, you have to make sure that it cuts in a narrow profile. This will help you in reducing any kind of waste.

In this procedure also, you will need to use the fence. The fence should be the same size as the board. This is needed especially when you’re looking for larger resaw. The fence will ensure that wood remains in its place during the cut. Instead of using the featherboard in this case, we will use a jig to make sure that the block remains in place. This will help you in cutting it precisely.

When you start the resawing of the board, you have to ensure that the block of wood is placed on the table as well as against the fence. Thereafter, you have to pass it easily through the blade. You have to ensure that in none of the cuts, you are forcing the block of wood through the blade. You have to let the blade do much of the work rather than forcing the wood against it.

You have to continue moving it slowly until the entire cut is complete. Thereafter once again you have to turn off the Band saw and let the motor and the blade stop before adjusting the block and the fence and repeating the procedure.

This is not only the resawing which can be done with the help of the band saw. You can even convert the log into smaller boards with the help of a sled. The sled will be used in order to provide proper support to the log of wood. You will use the miter sawslot in order to complete this procedure. The job of the sled is to ensure that the log does not rotate or move around during the cut. If that happens, it can not only result in an uneven board but also can also waste the entire log. Once you secure the log of wood with the help of sled, you have to begin the cut. After the cut, you have to turn off the Band saw and remove the board which was sliced from the log. You have to then again place the log in the sled and reposition it to repeat the cut.

Thus, as we have highlighted above, Band saw is not just useful for curved cutting but various different type of cuts as well. You just need to follow the detailed procedures of various cuts which we have listed above in order to use it for your woodworking projects.

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