Introduction: Steps for Using a Bandsaw

Recently I got a new bandsaw. To remember the steps to do before and after using it, I made myself a little list as a friendly reminder. I find that it's helpful to have a checklist to make sure you don't forget a step, so here is the procedure that I've found helpful to remind myself of when using any bandsaw.

Step 1: ​Before

Before using the bandsaw, there are a couple of things to keep in mind and look at.

1. First of all - clean. It may seem obvious, but to make sure to clean the dust and any left over wood on the bandsaw can make a big difference when it comes to making a good cut. It's always a good idea to make sure you start fresh with a nice clean saw.

Step 2: 2. Using the Appropriate Blade

Most people tend to leave the same blade on all the time, usually a 1/2 inch blade. While that works fine for some jobs, sometimes you might want something a little finer, and at other times you might want something a little rougher. If you have multiple sized blades for your bandsaw, it's a good idea to be mindful before starting a cut and check if the blade you have on is the right one for the job.

Step 3: 3. Blade Tension

The blade tension should not be left high when not using the saw. So when you need to use the bandsaw, make sure to raise it to the appropriate level. The bandsaw that I'm working with has a really nice window that makes it easy for you to raise or lower the blade tension to the right size blade, however not all bandsaws are that easy to work with. Making sure however that you have the right blade tension set can make a big difference for your cut.

Step 4: 4. Blade Guides

The blade guides are little holder that keep the blade level and its place. There are two sets of blade guides, one higher and one lower. Make sure the guides are relatively close to the blade in order to make a good cut.

Step 5: 5. Blade Guard

When making a cut you want to make sure the blade guard is close to the wood you're cutting. In other words, you don't want a large exposed blade running when you're making a small cut. So make sure the blade guard is at an appropriate level for your cut.

Step 6: 6. Plug In

I like to keep my bandsaw unplugged when not in use. It's just easier that way, especially when working on the saw, changing the blade etc... So the last thing I do before making a cut is to make sure that the saw is plugged in.

Step 7: After

Once I'm done using the bandsaw, here are the steps I like to go through:

1. Unplug

Before I do anything else - unplug. It's just safer to keep the saw unplugged when you're working with it, so it's a good habit to get into.

Step 8: 2. Release Blade Tension

Just like we raised the blade tension before making the cut, we now want to release the tension so the blade isn't kept stiff. This is an important step that's easy to forget, so make sure you make it a priority to always release the tension when you're done with the saw.

Step 9: 3. Clean

When you're done with the saw, make sure to clean off any sawdust and wood that might have gotten stuck. That way it's ready for next time you want to use it.

Step 10: Conclusion - Watch the Video!

To see all the steps, make sure to check out this video which also goes over a couple of cool jig ideas and thoughts on using a bandsaw.

Comments

author
carlpoppa (author)2015-07-26

I have a band saw I rarely use it because I cant get a some what straight cut for nothing. The blade keeps veering off to the left. I have adjusted it to no end.. Do you have any suggestions? I am new into wood working again after 30 years and I do have an idea of what I am doing but then again maybe I don't.. If you need I can take a pic of the blade and its adjustments and a cut of what it looks like if that will help..

author
lokithecat (author)carlpoppa2016-03-30

i had the same problem. what i found is that the vibration would vibrate the guides apart resulting in bad cuts. a dab of lock tight can help

author
digitaus (author)carlpoppa2015-07-27

Quite often if a band saw tracks to one side consistently it will be that the blade has lost it's "set" or was a cheap blade and never had an even set to start with. Loosing the set on a blade (any blade) can be caused by cutting too hard a material and overheating the blade or the blade running into something hard such as a nail touching one side only as you're cutting, if you blunt one side the set is then uneven and the blade will cut towards the sharp side or as you say, veering off.

Adjusting the fence will compensate a little at times but really if the blade has become blunt one side it will keep going sideways.

... avoid hitting nails (in jigs, in used timber etc), pliers and other tools, or even binding or touching the table when the table is tilted.

How to fix... Buy a quality blade and take note of the above.

All good advice though.

author
carlpoppa (author)digitaus2015-07-28

Thank you for the info, It was the original cheap blade. I think I will replace it and see what happens.. This info tells me and helps me a ton!!

author
creed2 (author)carlpoppa2015-07-27

you need to compensate bandsaw drift by aligning your fence parallel with the drift angle, watch this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sgytcjbE708

author
bcassner (author)2016-01-23

I just got a used Grizzly bandsaw. I purchased a new blade. I have been having an issue of the blade slipping off the top wheel.

I believe I set the tension properly but still having the same issue. Have you ever heard of a bandsaw that does this?

author
Carleyy (author)2015-08-10

Great thorought project!

author
BeachsideHank (author)2015-07-17

All good and sensible tips for bandsaw use. Adjusting the blade tracking is vital for efficient and safe cutting, one of the best methods ever posted is a video by Alex Snodgrass who demystifies what many consider to be a black art- his bandsaw tuneup:

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&so...

author

Thank you for that link. That is a brilliant demonstration and explanation.

I had independently figured out out Alex's method of correctly setting the tracking position for a bandsaw blade when I first used a 32 mm blade on my saw (it's a big saw). The big blade made it immediately and visually obvious why the usually advised method of centering the blade on the wheel is completely wrong.

Centering the gullets of the blade on the top wheel eliminates drift problems.

author
tonicho (author)2015-07-21

Great Tips - I would just like to add to "Clean!" a quick clean out of the wheels and lower cabinet after use - we cut materials including foam, polypropylene sheet, and even aluminium. These can build up under the blade on the wheels and cause uneven tension and breakage.

author
57thcork (author)2015-07-21

Great "ible". Adding a printable checklist might be an idea.

author
ventifact (author)2015-07-21

Use a push stick.

author
you (author)2015-07-18

Heed the good advise about releasing the blade tension! Recently I "tuned up" a delta bandsaw and determined that the "C" frame must have a permanent bend in it due to years of constant tension. Regardless of how robust the frame structure looked, it was deformed. The result is that the blade guide slides down at somewhat off perpendicular and there was no means to compensate for it. You've got a nice tension indicator so it's very easy to reset, but this older model didn't and that (and not reading instructions) is probably why others never bothered to release the tension.

author
joelav (author)2015-07-18

Add properly tracking the blade after any tension changes, and adjusting the fence for drift and this is a great guide!

author
Professor-Mousedude (author)2015-07-17

Nice saw. I'm sure I'm not the only one eagerly waiting for the resaw jig video.

author
Jobar007 (author)2015-07-17

Your steps are almost a palindrome. I like it!

author
Mindmapper1 (author)2015-07-17

This is really good. I would add a couple of things: always lower the top guard to the table when not in use, spray the table with furniture polish to make the timber slide easily and it protects the table from moisture.

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