May 30, 2021

How to Use a Portable Band Saw | A Detailed Guide

Band saws are effective tools that are useful in various woodworking tasks. There are many different band saws, but they all have one thing in common: they can make clean, precise cuts in wood. But why do you need a band saw in the first place? First, it’s much more convenient to use than a circular saw. Second, it is much faster than sawing by hand.

Attaching the blade

Loosen the tension on the blade by turning the tension knob counterclockwise. The tension knob is on a vertical shaft above the upper housing of the bandsaw. Raise the blade guard on the bandsaw. The blade guard must remain in a low position. It must slide up and down on a rail when cutting material.

Keep the knob secure. Remove the rear blade guard. Sometimes it comes with screws that secure the top and bottom of the guard. Loosen the under-table blade guard. Adjustment wheels underneath the table keep the blade in place just in case it breaks. Slide the new band saw blade through the slot in the saw table. 

When the saw blade goes through the slot, rotate it and place it over the top and bottom tire. Center the saw blade over the center of the two tires. Tighten the tensioning knob that is on top of the band saw. Hold the saw blade in position. Make sure that you do not over-tighten the saw blade. Adjust the band saw guide blocks. 

Loosen the guide blocks and rollers. Rollers keep the blade tracking properly. Loosen the set screw that holds the saw block on both sides of the saw blade. Loosen the set screw and rotate the rear roller backward—tension the saw blade. Position the guide blocks and test the band saw blade tracking. 

Feeding the wood

Never use your hands to feed material into the saw. Use a push stick to ensure your safety. Watch your feed rate while running the machine. Pushing the material faster causes the blade to buckle.  

Securing the wood

Before cutting the wood material, ensure it is safely placed. Use a vice to clamp the wood piece. If you do not have one, you ask someone to hold the application. Knowing the material, you are working on helps you spin accurately.  

Maintaining the blade

  • As soon as you turn off the band saw, stop the blade using the foot brake.
  • Clean the blade using a brush.
  • Sharpen the blade.
  • Do not apply more pressure on the blade.
  • Apply lubricant on both sides of the blade.
  • Match the blade with the material.

Parts of a Band saw

Tension release handle

The tension release handle is on the forward end of the saw. You can quickly and easily change the band saw blade by releasing it. You change the saw blade when it becomes dull and does not suit the project. 

Guide rollers

The roller bearing assembly supports the blade engaged in the cutting process. It does not have to deflect. The blade is of thin and flexible material. They are positioned and rotate accurately to avoid warping during the cut. 

Cutting shoe

The cutting shoe is a flat, notched metal guide that supports the saw to offset the drag of the blade teeth during cutting. That ensures that the material is not dragged into the rear-drive pulley while you are cutting. 

Saw blade

The saw blade is a thin material that stays parallel to the cutting line and perpendicular to the stock. You do not have to apply pressure onto the saw since the saw blade removes a certain amount of material with each pass. 

Never use an old saw blade for any reason. Some users use old blades to save from buying a new one. A used saw blade is dangerous. It requires more pressure, and that strains the operator. Do not rush through the blade when you are almost through the stock. 

The width of the blade has to match the cut radius. Pushing a wider saw blade through a small cut causes injuries. The saw blade is damaged due to twisting. 

How to Use a Bandsaw

You have to look for a portable band saw that suits your needs. The material you are working on has to fit in the machine’s throat. You have a wide range of band saws to choose from. There are large-capacity band saws amongst the portable band saws you have. A battery-powered band saw is ideal for field use or places without power. 

Please familiarize yourself with the tool the moment you buy it. Portable band saws have a trigger switch that has a separate speed selector. The saw blade has to move at a speed that matches the material you are cutting. Use the two handles that are on each end of the tool. They keep the band saw machine sturdy. 

You have control over the machine as you guide it. The tracking adjustment feature allows you to adjust the path the band saw travels. The blade revolves around the rear drive pulley. The alignment must be changed, and the blade should be positioned correctly on two pulleys. 

The operator’s manual guides you to use the band saw effectively. It has safety rules that keep you safe from your band saw machine. The blade is exposed, and that is dangerous to the user. Since it has the power to cut through metal, it cuts fingers with ease. That is why you have two handles to hold onto during the operation. 

The chances are low that you will put your fingers on the blade. Support the material when you are cutting by using a vice. You can use a helper to hold a round pipe, so the material does not spin. The material is prone to spinning due to the movement and pressure applied by the blade. 

The blade bites the material during cutting, making you lose control of the machine. The metal might bend, and that binds the saw blade. Heavy items have a higher chance of falling off the band saw. The material you should be working on has to be marked to start cutting at the right angle. The position should meet your needs. The saw blade has to be against the stock that you are missing. 

The blade must stay parallel to the cut line you have marked. Start the saw by squeezing the trigger. Release the saw so that it starts cutting. You do not have to apply pressure onto the saw. Hold the saw so that it becomes steady. Clear the stock’s way, so it does not fall on an underlying item. Release the trigger so that the saw blade stops running.  

How to make Straight Cuts with a Band Saw

Take a board 20inch long and mark a straight line along the length of the material. Turn on the band saw and cut the board along the cutting line. Stops halfway through the board are allowed. Trace the edge of the board on the tabletop and adjust the fence. The fence aligns to cut straight with the setup of the blade. 

Band saw safety rules

  • Dress appropriately when you are using the tool. Your clothes should be tight-fitting, so they do not get caught in the moving blade. That includes safety glasses and gloves. Do not keep loose jewelry.
  • Apply less pressure. The saw blade has a certain amount of material that it removes in a single pass.
  • After cutting, the material does not fall on a rough surface that damages it.
  • Keep your fingers as far as 3inches from the blade.
  • Check the tracking and blade tension before you start cutting.
  • Maintain a balanced posture when using the band saw.
  • Do not use the thumb to push the wood towards the blade.
  • Use the jig to cut bumpy wood.
  • Maintain a safe distance from the band saw.
  • Never use an old blade.
  • Always clean your band saw.
  • Take proper preparation. 
  • Do not over-tighten the blade. 

Find out How to Measure Band Saw Blades.

David D. Hughes

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