November 17, 2021

Can You Cut Logs with a Bandsaw? A Detailed Guide

When you have a bandsaw, you cannot cut full-length logs into boards. You cut what you can safely handle. That means working on smaller wood logs ranging from 20-24 inches, depending on the diameter of the wood log. That is why this size of stock is in high demand in shops.

Logs have an irregular shape, and that makes it so hard to cut using a bandsaw.  To make the process easier, cut the wood log on a bandsaw sled. However, the wood log can be too big for that, and you might fail to raise it by putting it on a sled. Can you cut logs with a bandsaw? There are ways to mill lumber with a bandsaw. Let’s look at some.

Related Post >> Best Bandsaw for Resawing.

Even if you can flatten the bottom of the log on a jointer, the wood log can be much bigger than the jointer. Remove the outer layer of bark before putting the wood log on the jointer. Remove the sand and dirt from the bark when the tree is cut and dragged out of the bush.

Pushing the log through is slow and takes a bit of force. After the first cut, there is a lot of sawdust stuck to the inside of the kerf. That results in the saw teeth failing to clear out the sawdust fast enough. Try to cut slower, and the teeth need a feed rate to bite into the wood.

Selecting a bandsaw that is right for you

Knowing the log types that a bandsaw can handle helps you make accurate cuts and save your logs from unnecessary saw cuts and damages. A bandsaw can be the best candidate when looking to cut precise curves in wood. 

Use a quality band saw for more cuts. Band saws are differentiated by types and sizes. Choose from the available options by considering what you want to use the saw machine for. Cabinet models are for professional use, whereas smaller models are for homeowners. 

There are two features to consider when choosing a band saw. These are the depth of the cut and the throat. The saw’s depth of the cut refers to the distance from the table to the upper blade guides. It tells the buyer how thick the stock is cut using the band saw. However, some saws have a six-inch depth of cut bur with an optional riser added to the unit. It extends the depth from six inches to twelve. 

The throat is the distance from the blade to the vertical frame section body of the saw. It tells you the width of the cut that can be completed on the bandsaw. The term 18-inch Band Saw on an advert represents the throat measurement to which the manufacturer is referring.

Consider the size of the motor. Home-level models use a 3/4 to 1 horsepower motor, whereas professional models have larger motors with variable speeds. Band saws have a cast-iron, steel, or aluminum alloy table which tilts up to 45-degrees for angled cuts.

Look for band wheels that have tires with cleaning brushes to keep the wheels clean. A built-in dust collection port that connects to your shop vacuum keeps your workplace clean. A rip fence and a miter gauge are for ripping, resawing, and cross-cutting.

Pay attention to the adjustments for the band saw to cut. Failure to follow these instructions decreases performance. The adjustments involve setting the blade tension and adjusting the blade guides, thrust bearing, and side bearings.

Consider a clear manual so that it helps you set up your saw with ease. You become much more familiar with the proper methods for safely cutting with your saw. Although a band saw is a safe power tool, set up properly before use.

Holding a bandsaw while cutting logs

Hold stock firmly and flat on the table. That prevents the wood stock from turning and drawing your fingers against the blade. The injury comes when you fail to hold the saw tool. Use a push stick when removing cut pieces from between the fence and saw blade. Do not use your hands even when they are close to the saw blade.

Safety procedures

  • Wear safety glasses or goggles.
  • Wear hearing protection that matches the level and frequency of the noise in the woodworking area.
  • Consider protective footwear.
  • Get rid of hanging clothes.
  • Make sure all guards are in place and run the necessary adjustments.
  • Enclose all band wheels.
  • Sharpen the blade.
  • Position the blade properly.
  • Adjust blade guard height.
  • Ensure the blade is tracking correctly under proper tension.
  • Keep hands away from the line of the cut.
  • Hold stock firmly and flat on the table to prevent the wood stock from turning and drawing your fingers against the blade.
  • Use a push stick when removing cut pieces from between the fence and saw blade.
  • When you stop cutting, hold the material firmly and shut down the saw. Wait for the blade to stop moving before removing the piece.
  • Oil and service the machine.
  • Give adequate lighting at the machine table.

The blade

Use a coarse blade, such as a 2 or 3 TPI tooth geometry. You can also use some blades designed for cutting greenwood. Cut logs while they still have plenty of moisture remaining.  Use an actual resaw bandsaw blade. 

Resaw blades have fewer, larger teeth, which are better at clearing out sawdust. Fewer teeth allow you to feed the wood slower, and you can still have each tooth cut away enough for it to bite into the wood.

Resaw blades are also wider, which minimizes the risk of it wandering. The saw blade becomes better at withstanding pushing forward against it. You may as well pre-cut a kerf with your table saw. The table saw’s kerf will be as wide as the bandsaw blades. If you cut 5 cm in from the top and bottom, it puts it within reasonable limits of the saw blade. 

Bandsaw blades differ in thickness, width, length, and tooth configuration. The length differs by machine, but the size of your saw’s wheels determines thickness and width: Smaller saw machines range from 9 to 12-inch wheels. 

They need thinner blades to prevent breaking the welds and accept only Larger saws that handle thicker and wider blades with no issues. Blades come in four tooth configurations, and the number of teeth per inch (TPI) matters. 

The reason being larger gullets allow for better debris removal, and closely spaced teeth deliver a smoother cut. Choosing a blade’s tooth count and pattern depends on the type of cut and the material being cut.

What sort of logs can a bandsaw cut

  • Logs with regular shape.
  • Smaller logs than the jointer.
  • Wet logs.

Disadvantages of cutting logs with a bandsaw

  • A bandsaw is limited to the size pieces you can cut because of the circular blade. 
  • It does not take the place of simple cuts. 
  • It is slow.

How do you cut round stock on a bandsaw?

Follow some precautions when cutting round stock using a bandsaw. Be aware that the blade can grab hold of the side and spin your stock.  To avoid this problem, use a drill press vise. Lock the round piece into the vise, turn the vise over, and cut while holding on to the vise.

David D. Hughes
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