The Basics of the Bandsaw
Setting up and using this versatile machine
Synopsis: The bandsaw is one of the most versatile machines in the shop, but it’s best for cutting curves and for resawing wide stock with minimal waste. In this thorough article, Tage Frid explains how to get the best possible cut on your bandsaw by choosing the right blade and installing it properly. He covers basic bandsaw technique and the most common way people are injured while using them, and how to cut several joints on the bandsaw. Side information discusses straight-line cutting and a bandsaw “sawmill.”
The bandsaw is one of the most versatile machines in the shop. It can cut curves, it can rip, crosscut, resaw, and it can cut joints. It can also cut sides of beef with ease, so if you see bits of meat clinging to the wheels in these photographs, it’s because that’s what I’ve been doing lately. However, the bandsaw cannot make as smooth a cut as a table saw, because a table saw has a stiffer, thicker blade that stays straighter in the cut. A bandsaw blade must bend around its wheels, so it can also bend in the cut. It is a welded ribbon of steel. Because the two ends are difficult to weld exactly in line and the weld itself produces a raised surface on the blade, the blade pulses, both forward and back and sideways, when moving at high speed. This pulsing makes the cut uneven. Still, because the depth of cut is greater and the blade is narrower, a bandsaw can do things a table saw can’t. It’s best for cutting curves and for resawing wide stock with minimal waste.
To get the best possible cut on your bandsaw, you first have to choose the right blade and then install it properly.…