Woodwork is one of the most common works performed nowadays. You will find a lot of machines available in the local market near you to perform different types of woodwork. The bandsaw is one of the best and most popular woodworking tools. We have often seen many woodworkers starting their job with so many tools such as a table saw, miter saw, sanders, and some drills. They are all very good tools for their prospective works, but when you want to take your work a little further, you will look forward and start using a bandsaw. A bandsaw is a combination of a small tabletop saw and a small sawmill. You can cut long precise cuts with this tool very easily and also can cut very small technical and curved cuts. In this article, I am going to let you know how you can use a bandsaw properly. If you are reading this article, that means you have decided to go one step forward. And after going through the whole article, you will come to know the basic ways of using a bandsaw.
Using a Bandsaw
You may find a bandsaw a little difficult while using this tool for the first time. And that is because you are not totally familiar with the tool yet. After I introduce the tool to you and step by step tell you the ways to use it, you will understand how useful this tool is and how easy it is to use this tool.
Reasons for Using a Bandsaw
Before you start using a bandsaw, first of you will have to know the reasons for which people usually use a bandsaw. You will be definitely amazed to know that you can perform a lot of woodworking tasks using a bandsaw.
You will find almost every popular woodshop own a bandsaw tool. The reason behind this is the vast usefulness of this tool. People who take woodworking as a hobby, love to use this tool because they can cut various curves on the wood using this tool.
You can also cut curves and circles very easily and comfortably using a bandsaw. You may find it very difficult to cut circles and curves on woods with the use of other woodcutting tools. But a bandsaw will let you perform this task very easily and swiftly. This amazing ability of wood cutting makes this tool the most valuable tool in your workshop.
A bandsaw is a complete master at resawing. You can easily cut very small sections from a very little piece of wood using this tool. You can also make a slice of woods from thick or thin veneers. Waste of wood has become very minimal with the help of the amazing ability of this tool.
So, whether you want to do creative woodworks or make some small and thin piece of wood, a bandsaw is always a better option for your job.
Know Your Tool
Getting familiar with the machine you are working with is one of the must doing and most necessary jobs. You can do any task very quickly and safely with that machine if you know the nature of it. Even knowing the tool completely will allow you to use the tool properly and effectively.
Most of the bandsaw machines come with a variable speed system. That means you can control the speed. You will find this speed indicator as well as the speed controller at the left side on the body of the machine when you are facing the machine. You will have to set the speed according to your necessity. You can increase or decrease the speed very easily. At the back of the machine, you will find the variable speed control and the transmission shift lever. If you know these things properly, it will become easier for you to control the machine.
The existence of a table is one of the most important features that you can never overlook even if you want. You will see a table at the front of the tool. This table is mostly known as the tilt table and usually made using cast iron. Some are also made of aluminum or still. Some tables use trunnions. This will allow you to adjust the table very easily up to 45 degrees. You will have to set the woods on that table before cutting. This table will help you to move the cutting object easily. There is an air blower at the top of the blade. It blows the small piece of wood away from you.
Bandwheels are another important element of a bandsaw. The bandwheels mechanism helps to transmit the power of the motor to the blade. As the size and the weight of the wheels is an important factor to consider, you should pay proper attention to that whether they come with a cast iron or aluminum finish. You need to fit good quality tyres and try to balance the wheels properly for minimizing the vibration. This will dump out vibration and improve cutting performance.
The most common mistake a very eager and excited person makes is that they don’t read the safety tips in the user manual. But that is the most important part one should do. Here are some tips that you can follow to use a bandsaw tool safely:
- Always wear safety glasses while using the bandsaw. The small piece of woods which fly during the cut can get into your eyes and hurt you badly.
- Make sure there are no loose clothes beside the tool. It can get unexpectedly caught by the wheels or blades and can cause an accident.
- Before starting operation with the tool check it properly and make sure no part of the tool is loose. If you find any part loose, tight it immediately.
- The stock should be flat on the table.
- The tension of the blade should match with the manual. Adjust the tension if needed.
- Start your cut when the blade reaches top speed.
- Never try to cut in freehand style or hold the wood in the air. Always put the wood on the table and cut it on the table.
- Remove the stock from the blade when it is completely stopped.
- Don’t make any hurry while cutting. Always move slowly and carefully.
- Keep your hands away from the cutting line. If you need to get closer to the blade, use a stick to do the task.
- Always pay attention to your cut.
- Never forget the danger of the blade even if it is properly switched off.
- After using the tool, never forget to switch off the power.
- Make sure there is enough light in your workplace.
There are also some other general safety matters which you will understand on your own. No matter if you are a beginner or an expert, you should always be careful and ensure your own safety while working with a bandsaw.
How to Use a Bandsaw
As you are well aware of the safety precautions, now you can start using a bandsaw. Here, I will tell you the process in steps:
- At first setup your tool according to the instructions of the manual.
- Set the height of the bandsaw just above your waist. At that height, you will feel comfortable to operate the tool.
- If there is not enough light in your workplace, arrange some extra light. You will need this mostly.
- Now, you have to choose the right blade for your work. Thinner blades are good for making a cut with short turn radius. Wide blades are best when you need a wider turn radius. Though you cannot make the accurate cut with a thick blade, they are more durable than the narrow blades. You can choose any of these types which matches your requirements.
- Always check the blade tension of the tool whether it matches with the manual or not. A loosen blade can slip or deflect while you are using it. If something like this happens, stop the machine and adjust the blade tension.
- Set the blade guards as they are between 1/8 and ¼ inch from the stock.
- Make sure the blade is properly aligned. You can use a 90-degree mark to test it. The blade must be perpendicular to the table.
- You must keep the Woodstock in place. To do this properly, you can set the miter guides.
- Whether you are cutting it straight or curved, at first mark the cutting line with a pencil.
- Don’t keep anything unnecessary on the work table which can come between you and the wood that you are cutting.
- After plugging the tool make sure the table is going up and down in a straight line. If you see any unwanted movement, it means there is something wrong with the setup. Just turn off the machine and check the setup again closely.
Using a Bandsaw to Resaw
One of the toughest jobs in woodwork is to resaw. The bandsaw is the master of doing this tough job. Resawing a thick wood can certainly save some money for you. You can also decrease the wastage of woods in this process.
Below, I will show you how you can resaw with a bandsaw in some very simple steps:
- It will need a lot of strength for you to hold the resawing wood on the table against the fence. Now move the wood easily towards the blade while holding it steadily. Don’t even try to force the wood to go forward. It can damage the blade of your tool. You can also lose your control over the wood. The only thing you should do is just hold the wood and the table will do the rest. You will only move forward the wood when the machine finishes cutting the wood.
- When your cutting is complete, turn off the machine and clean the place of working properly. Remove the remaining piece of woods carefully. Now take the remaining piece of wood, place it on the table and repeat the same process.
- Though you can use a blade which is 3 or 4 inches wide, I will suggest you to use a wider blade to resaw a wood.
- You can use a fence as helping equipment for resaw. The fence should be of the same height as the wood. But I will recommend you to use a fence which is taller than the wood you are going to cut.
- Be careful while holding the wood against the fence. If you use a jig to do this task, it will become a lot easier for you.
Using a Bandsaw as a Sawmill
A bandsaw is so useful that you can also use this as a sawmill. Let’s take a look at the way of using a bandsaw as sawmill:
- To cut like a sawmill with your bandsaw, you will need a sled. Without a sled, the wood log will start to rotate or twist on the table.
- Switch off the machine when you are completely done cutting board from the log. Now, readjust the sled before you again start your cutting.
- The large size of the log is not the point which makes the whole work difficult.
- The most difficult part is holding the log steadily. So, you have to have full control over the log you are cutting.
Some Special Tips
Here are some special tips for the beginners which will help you more I guess:
- A bandsaw tool leaves its marks on the wood you are cutting. You can use some other material to make the edge smoother. However, you can practice cutting the outside edge sharply to avoid that situation. But you need a lot of practice to master this technique.
- You can also cut some nonferrous metals with your bandsaw tool. You can cut thin walled brass, aluminum, and copper with this tool if it has a blade with lots of fine teeth.
- If you see your work is taking too much time than usual, that means it is time to change the blade. The blade is getting dull. Never continue your cut with a dull blade. Besides consuming extra time, it will not let you cut sharply and smoothly.
- When you are about to start a contoured cut, start it from the opposite direction. So, the cut will finish at the shallow angle. Otherwise, it can cause you a ragged edge because the blade can veer off the cutting line at the very last second and pop out.
- After using the blade for quite a few times, you can tune the blade with a saw blade finishing stone. It will take a very small time from you but will give you long term benefits.
- Don’t forget to clean the bandsaw after you use it every time. Look for any sawdust and wood which can be stuck between the teeth. Doing it every time will keep your tool ready for use next time.
Without this, there are a lot of things you can do with this amazing tool. But if you are a beginner, you can’t do all the tasks right now. The things I have described above are more than enough for a beginner to start with. The more you will practice cutting with the tool, the more expert you will become. When you will do more cutting with the tool, you will start to know more about the tool. You will also be able to do some more creative works with the tool. If you have ever found this tool a little more difficult to use than other tools, after reading this article, I believe it is no more difficult for you to use this tool. It will become easier for you as the day progresses. If you are still confused about buying a bandsaw just thinking about the complexities of using it, then throw those confusions away and buy that tool today.