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:
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.