How to Use a Horizontal Bandsaw (With Accuracy and Precision)

Picture of How to Use a Horizontal Bandsaw (With Accuracy and Precision)
This is a horizontal bandsaw.  It's usually used to cut stock to rough length, but with a couple of tricks and a bit of finesse you can use it to cut accurately (within a few thousands) again and again.
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Step 1: Measure and Mark the Workpiece

Picture of Measure and Mark the Workpiece
First, measure and mark your workpiece.  Using a little Dykem Blue makes the scribed line a lot easier to see, but isn't absolutely necessary.  Use whatever tool is appropriate to mark the desired cut line.  Here, I use a digital height gauge and make a mark at one inch from the end.

Step 2: Safety First

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Return to the machine and make sure the emergency stop is activated (pressed in) and the feed rate is set to zero.  People like to leave these active after using the machine.  On the TechShop saw, the feed control knob is located on the top of the machine.

Step 3: Insert the Workpiece into the Horizontal Bandsaw

Picture of Insert the Workpiece into the Horizontal Bandsaw
Lift the bandsaw head by the red handle until there's enough clearance for the workpiece to fit.  Lightly secure the workpiece in place by sliding the moveable jaw of the vise against it.  Don't clamp it into place yet, we'll need to slide it back and forth to locate the cut accurately.  Loosen the blade guide and move it as close as possible to the workpiece.  Dont' move the guide so far in that it will impact the workpiece as it drops, however.  If the guide is too far out, you might not get a straight cut, but it isn't worth risking damage to the machine.

Step 4: Prepare for Positioning

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With the feed rate set to zero, disengage the emergency stop (twist the knob counter-clockwise until it pops out).  Press the feed button and turn the speed knob to lower the bandsaw head.  Keeping an eye on the rate of descent, lower the blade until it's just above the workpiece.  Re-engage the emergency stop and set the feed rate back to zero.
Wyattr551232 years ago
It helps to check blade tension, as a loose blade wiggles, slips and will loose more teeth, and an over tight blade may break more often
Phil B2 years ago
I do not have access to one of these, but thank you for the information.