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How to Use a Band Saw for Beginners – Complete Guide

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The band saw is an essential tool that can replace many other unnecessary machines in the workshop due to it being is suitable for all kinds of projects and materials. A band saw is an important tool in most workshops due to its effectiveness in cutting different materials in a way that humans just can’t do manually. This post will reveal some of the best band saw reviews to help you find the perfect tool for your next project.



What is a Band Saw?

This type of equipment is extremely popular in most workshops. It is used to make specific and quick cuts on various materials. It contains a blade that is attached between two wheels. This blade is made from jagged metal and is used in the actual cutting process. The band saw tool is best suited for most woodwork projects because it can make even cuts, cuts on unusual corners and angles. An electric motor is used to power this type of machine.

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Different Band Saw Types

These tools come with their advantages and disadvantages. They are available in two types – namely, floor-standing models and benchtop models. Analyzing the pros and cons of band saws will help you in choosing the best saw that will work for your needs. You can also opt for online reviews in deciding on the best choice of a band saw.


Floor-Standing Band Saws

They come with a stand that you can use to place your band saw in any place you like. This stand enables you to work freely with the band saw and move it around the building. They are perfect for professional artists in workshops. Moreover, most of them can be put to industrial use. The greatest benefit is that you can use these band saws to cut large wood pieces. It is advisable to check the brand of the band saw before you purchase to ensure that you buy the right type of saw.


Benchtop Band Saws

These band saws are well-known for taking up a lot of space in the workshop because these tools are exceptionally large. This type of band saw is suitable for various work surfaces You can fix and set it to any type of surface, whether it is a workbench or an assembly table. Before you decide on purchasing the benchtop band saw, assess whether you have enough space to store this machine.



How to Use a Band Saw

Now that you have understood all the safety procedures to follow when handling the band saw, the next thing you must know is how to use the band saw. Take note of the following tips so that you can ensure a smooth and uncomplicated cutting process.


Choosing the Right Blades

Make sure you use the correct blade that is best suited for your project. If you are using materials like softwoods, then you should opt for the skip-tooth blades. If you want to make deeper cuts, then opt for the hook-tooth blades because their gullet is much deeper. Regular tooth blades can be used for any general work or projects, this is because they are suitable for several materials.


Adjusting the Blade Guards

The blades must be properly adjusted so that they can do the work properly. The most suitable height for any blade to function properly should be between 1/8 to 1/4 inch. The proper height will reduce the amount of pressure that might affect the contour of the cut. You should not work too close to the machine, as this might result in more pressure being imposed onto the blade. The blade can break if you impose excessive pressure on it.


Using the Bevel

The bevel is the most important feature if you want to level up the quality of your work. Make sure that the band saw has been set to tilt to an angle of 45 degrees to the right. This angle will give you enough room to make clean cuts. Besides the 45 degrees angle, the bevel can also be adjusted to any level that suits you and you can explore and assess the angle that works better for you.


How to Slow Down When Cutting Curves

Making clear and clean cuts on the curves can be quite impossible. This is because cutting curves requires more specific details and a high level of accuracy. You must do this process very slowly and with a little caution. You can also opt for a relief cut to make the process much easier. You can do a relief cut by doing a specific cut that leaves enough room and space on the material.


Keeping Your Blades Clean

It is important to clean your blades properly after use. The process can take you a lot of time, but it is very important. You should clean your blades at least every two weeks or every month to get rid of the gunk and resins build-ups. You must also clean the blades each time you replace them. Oven cleaners are the best way you can use to clean your blades. Soapy water can work too, and it is mostly considered to be the easiest method.


How to Remove Tension After Every Session

When you are done working on your project, always release tension from the blades. Use the tracking feature of your blade to do this process. This step can easily be forgotten during the first few times you start operating the blade, but you must try your best to do it every time you finish using the band saw. This is an important way of enhancing the lifespan and durability of the blades.

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Tips and Tricks for Using a Band Saw

The tips and tricks below will help you in ensuring that you enjoy the cutting process when using the band saw. They are very vital in making the process of handling the band saw much easier for you. Besides making the process easier, the tricks will add more fun to your project.


The One-Dollar Guide Positioning

The thrust bearings and blade guides must be positioned properly leaving enough room between them and the blade. This process can be done using a dollar bill, thus ensuring that no friction can lead to overheating. You can also remove the blade guard to simplify the process. The blade guide should be positioned from the wood to be cut at about a ¼-inch.

Fold the dollar bill at least four times, using its thickness as a guide. Put the guides in the correct position so that they can rest at the bottom of the gullets and blade. Use the bill in positioning the guides and the blade. You can repeat the process by repositioning the lower guides and the thrust bearing.


Instantaneous Zero Clearance

You should prevent offcuts from entering the saw during the cutting process. You can do this by cutting a kerf from a thin cardboard piece. Tape the cardboard piece to the table. This will help in preventing jams.


Cutting at the Shallow Angle

There is a chance that the blade can veer far from the line, so it is better to start your cuts at the shallow edge. Doing your cuts at the shallow edges will minimize the risk of errors, thus making your cuts much smoother and cleaner too. Cutting at the shallow edge also works when doing contoured cuts.


Switching to Cool Blocks

Avoid the problem of dulling the teeth of the guide blocks whenever you are using the band saw. You can do this by opting for cool blocks, thus entirely getting rid of this problem. Purchase cool blocks that have a self-lubricating component. This component can stop the blade from overheating. The best brand is the Olson Cool Blocks because they are much softer than steel guide blocks and will not risk damaging the teeth of your blades.


Storing Your Blades

It is important to safely store your blades when they are not in use. You can do this by coiling your blades. The process of coiling is quite simple. Make sure you hold the blade in an outward-facing position, ensuring the teeth are as far away from you as possible. Place a chunk of wood below the blade, thereby protecting the edges. Make an oval shape from the blade, then let it face outward by circling your wrist. Continue circling your wrist and winding the blade, use your other hand to catch it.


Improving the Performance of the Blade

Do you know that you can increase the overall performance of your blade through a very simple and easy process? Blades bought from the store are not efficient since they are made under mass-production. You can increase the performance of your blade by using a saw blade finishing stone. This will reduce the risk of vibration. This will also help you in cutting the tighter curves.

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How to Use the Band Saw Successfully

You might require a few steps and tricks to help you with your band saw. When it comes to the band saw, the important thing is to ensure that you make clean cuts and do this from comfortable angles too. Take note of the following steps in ensuring that you can use the band saw successfully without any problems.


The Coolant

A coolant is an important piece you might not want to take for granted when handling a band saw. Besides transferring heat, it can lubricate the blade as well. The coolant is also capable of flushing woodchips through the cleaning brush that is attached to the blades. This coolant acts the same way as a car engine.


The Blade

To achieve clean cuts, make sure that you work with a lubricated blade. You have to consider the speed of the blade, the rollers` position, as well as the band saw guides. These are important features of the band saw that can enable you to get a clean cut.


The Down feed

Take note of the thickness of the material you will be cutting. Adjust the pressure and down feed according to that thickness. Ensure that the material will not be able to move when you are cutting it. If you do not adjust your down feed properly, you will not be able to make any clean cuts.


Workpiece Support

The piece of material you will be cutting should not move when you are working on it. Make sure that it is firmly supported on both sides. If the material continues to move while you are cutting, this may result in burrs being cut on the material. Clampdown your workpiece into a steady position before you start cutting it.


Maintenance of the Machine

You must maintain your machine regularly so that you avoid the problem of wear and tear. Keep your band saw lubricated all the time so that all the components can work effectively without facing any resistance. Conduct regular inspections to monitor and correct any problems before they affect other components of the machine.

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Factors to Consider When Purchasing a Band Saw

Although there are only two types of band saws that have been mentioned in this article, this does not mean that the market is not flooded with different brands. Choosing the right band saw to buy requires more extensive knowledge. We have listed some of the factors to consider before making the best choice on your band saw:

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This part of the band saw can determine the width of the cuts that can be made using the band saw. This is because the throat is the distance that lies in-between the frame and the band. It will also show you the amount of space that is available on the material you will be working on. When you go to purchase a band saw, always check the packaging to determine the size of the throat before making a purchase.


Safety Features

The band saws that are being manufactured these days have safety features. These safety features come in the form of blade guards that can be adjusted, trigger safety switches, and so on. These features are there to ensure that you stay safe when you are working with either the floor-standing band saw, or the benchtop band saw. There are also sliding gauges that will help in protecting your hands.



It is the most important part of the band saw. This is because the frame can support the work you will be doing with the saw. When purchasing a band saw, ensure that the frame you choose can support the kind of workload you want to do. Most of the frames found on band saws are made from strong materials. Thus, the frames are not likely to break very easily. The frame also holds and controls the tension imposed on the band saw.


Dust Collection

If you do not want to face the problem of getting rid of sawdust from your band saw, then you must purchase a band saw that comes with a dust collection system. Also, make sure that the dust collection system is compatible with the vacuum system at your workshop. This is because most band saws cannot work fast enough as compared to circular saws.



The perfect band saw should be heavy and stable enough to remain standing when undergoing heavy projects. The band saw should remain stable when the blade goes through tough materials. Although a very heavy band saw might be the best option, you should also consider something a bit lighter so that you will be able to move the machine around.

A band saw that weighs over 200 lbs is too heavy. However, go for a machine that is heavy enough to withstand any project but light enough to be moved around. Weight plays a vital role in the process of purchasing the best band saw because anything too heavy will slow down your projects.


Blade Width

Go for a band saw that can accommodate different sizes of blades, thus a band saw that is compatible with sizes from 1/8 to 1 inch. Getting the blades of the right size is equally important as the band saw itself. Wide saw bands are suitable for strong and tough materials like hardwood. On the other hand, a thin saw band will enable you to make curves, and so on.


Power Output

A band saw that is underpowered will have difficulties in cutting very strong materials and this might lead to catastrophic failure. An underpowered band saw will not be able to withstand the friction that happens when the blade is cutting through wood. Most band saws have motors that generate at least 0.5 and 1.5 hp. The 0.5 hp is suitable for very small objects. For heavy-duty projects, the required power output is from 1 to 1.5 hp.

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Buying Band Saw Blades

Take special precautions when buying band saw blades as these tools are as important as the band saw itself. Most of the band saw blades that come with the machine are not strong and may not be the best option. This is especially true with cheap band saws. This means that even the most expensive band saw blades may not be the best option. However, you can choose from the best blades that are available in different shops to get the best option.

Note: Blades that consist of a tooth count do not clog very easily. On the other hand, blades that contain a skip-tooth enable fast and clean cuts with less clogging. You can also opt for carbon steel blades as they are known as the best general-purpose blades.

A ¾ wide blade can only fit other large band saws while a 1/2-inch blade can fit on any band saw no matter the size. Take note of the following list of the best band saw blade brands:

  • Timber wolf
  • Highland Woodworking
  • Starrett
  • Laguna
  • Olson

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Band Saw Safety

The following is a safety guide to follow when handling band saw tools. Even though band saws can be extremely huge machines, they are also dangerous and should be handled with caution. Note and follow the tips below to stay on the safe side.


Safety Precautions When Handling Band Saws

When you have purchased your band saw and you are in the process of setting it up. Please take time to go through the safety precautions below so that you know how to properly handle your tool without any further complications:

  • Take out the manufacturer`s manual and list of instructions and go over it carefully
  • Read and understand the instructions and information of all the applications and features associated with that band saw
  • Place the band saw on a stable workbench and make sure that it is secured before you start your project
  • Put on safety glasses before you begin and ensure you wear them throughout the process
  • Use noise protection headphones to cover your ears
  • Wear a pair of work boots to avoid the small scraps of wood that will be falling on the floor during the process
  • Ensure that you remove anything that might get caught within the band saw during the cutting process
  • Check and ensure that the wheels of the band saw have been closed properly
  • Check the wheels and blades carefully and ensure that they are in good condition and they are functioning properly
  • Check the blade to make sure that is set correctly on the track
  • Make sure that the width between the gaps has been adjusted properly using the blade, a wide gap can increase the risk of breakage
  • Do not put a lot of pressure when pushing wood below the blade
  • Always use a brush when removing sawdust; never use your hands
  • Never leave the machine running or unattended

The list above is just the basic safety procedures you must follow when handling the band saw. Following the procedures above will ensure a safe working environment in your workshop. It is better to be safe than sorry, thus ensure you go through the safety procedures and double-check on anything that you might not understand.

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Frequently Asked Questions


How Do I Sharpen the Blade On My Band Saw?

You can either sharpen the blade manually by using a file, Dremel tool, or a pencil grinder.  You can also opt for a mechanical sharpening machine which is available in most hardware shops. However, make sure that you wear protective clothing to cover your ears and eyes. You can also use a sharpening stone that has a flat surface to sharpen your blade.


What is the Use of a Band Saw?

A band saw is an essential tool that can be used in the process of cutting wood or ripping it into thin slaps, cutting metal, and so on. The band saw can cut curved and irregular shapes and objects. It also can make clean, smooth, and straight cuts.


Why is My Blade Saw Not Moving?

There are several reasons why your blade saw might not be moving. You must adjust the blade tension if it is loose. Or check whether the blade is broken and replace it. If these two are not part of the problem, then you must consider the motor drive belt. If the motor drive belt is damaged, you must replace it too.


What Can I Do if My Band Saw is Not Starting?

There are several things you must take into consideration to find the problem that might be stopping your band saw from starting. You can check if the electrical outlet is working properly and ensure that it has power. Check the on/off switch on the band and ensure that you have inserted the safety key properly. If all the above are in place, then you can also opt for the power cord. It might be damaged, or the drive motor might not be working properly.


How Do I Lubricate My Band Saw?

Band Saws that are bought from most manufacturers already have the motor bearings sealed permanently lubricated. These band saws do not require any further lubrication. You can also refer to the manufacturer`s manual to understand if your band saw motor needs lubrication.


Does a Band Saw Blade Have Teeth?

Yes, band saws come with teeth depending on the type and model you will be using. Band saws that are suitable for wood and other soft materials consist of three to six teeth that are attached to the band saw. However, for hard materials and metals opt for a band saw that has at least six to 24 teeth attached.


Is a Band Saw Considered as a Dangerous Machine?

Band saws are mostly regarded as very safe machines. They are the safest woodworking machinery compared to other dangerous machines. However, if it is not used and operated carefully with proper caution it can cause a lot of injuries.


If you love working with wood, then a band saw is a must. These tools are incredibly useful for any workshop, and are the kind of investment that you will be able to apprecioate for many years. We hope that our guide has helped you to find the best band saw for your DIY needs.


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