A bandsaw is like a scaled-down version of a sawmill. With a skilled and creative person, there’s no limit as to what you can achieve with this saw.
Thus, if you are thinking of setting up a workshop to create artistic wooden pieces, this tool should the first thing to buy.
What is a Bandsaw Used For?
To understand what a bandsaw is used for, we need to look at its design first.
The tool comprises 2 wheels (an upper and a lower one) and these two turn a continuous blade band, hence the name bandsaw.
This minimizes vibrations on the stock when cutting while the downward-facing teeth on the blade push dust down to the table.
That said, you can use a bandsaw in these tasks.
1. Cutting Curves and Circles
This is by far the most common use of a bandsaw. As compared to a jigsaw, a bandsaw gives you more control when cutting curves and circles because both hands will be feeding and directing the stock to the blade.
That said, to make the tightest of curves, it recommended using a narrow blade (1/8” or 1/16”) with many teeth for fine finishing. Typically, 14 teeth per inch will do.
You can actually stack more workpieces together to cut at the same time because a bandsaw’s cutting length can be adjusted by raising the guide to expose more of the blade.
However, if the curve is too tight, you need to make relief cuts along the way to prevent the blade from binding.
Re-sawing is also a very popular use of bandsaws. The process involves cutting boards on their thick sides, resulting in two thinner boards with book matched inner faces.
Apart from giving you more material to work with, re-sawing produces a beautiful effect due to the matching wood grains of the split board. The two sides can be used to create a mirror effect on cabinet doors.
3. Making Veneer
This is closely related to re-sawing as it involves chopping boards on their thickness, although here it is cut into very thin slices. The effect is also very similar to that of re-sawing, creating a beautiful effect of the wood grain patterns.
Veneers can be used as decorative coverings on doors, tabletops, and cabinets. These thin pieces can also be used to cover imperfections on the underlying surface or for lamination.
4. Rip Cutting
Using a wide blade with few large teeth, it is possible to make rip cuts on boards or thick stocks. This helps to reduce the piece to the required size or reset its edge if it was crooked as it came from the mill.
Other than that, you can use the saw to make crosscuts for cutting to size, resetting the face or to expose the grain if working on thick stock.
5. Metal Cutting
Bandsaws can also be used to cut metal, which makes them very versatile.
However, because this material is harder than wood, the metal sheet should not be very thick and you should use an appropriate metal cutting blade.
6. Meat Cutting
Though this is not related to woodworking, it is important to mention that there is a bandsaw type used for meat cutting.
The saw is actually used to cut bones because they are the hard parts, and it is usually found in slaughterhouses.
5 Safety Tips When Using a Bandsaw
- Adjust the upper blade guard to be as low as possible without touching the wood. It is important to minimize the length of the exposed blade to prevent accidents if your finger slips.
- Keep your fingers away from the cutline. If possible, use a push stick.
- When cutting a long piece such as when re-sawing, it is recommended to pull the board from the back of the saw as opposed to pushing it from the front.
- When working on lengthy boards, always use infeed and outfeed supports. This enhances safety and helps to maintain high accuracy.
- Use the correct blade width for every task. Thin blades are better for cutting curves while thick ones are better for straight cuts.
These uses will help you make the most out of your bandsaw, especially if you like exploring your creativity.
As you can see, the saw is also versatile enough to be used in metal cutting and therefore, it is worth having in your workshop.