The band saw is used for cutting curves and resawing wood. It gets its name from the the blade, which is one continuous band rotating around two wheels at approximately 3,000 feet per minute. It is a very safe machine if the safety rules are followed.
Safety Rules for the Band Saw
Wear safety glasses.
Keep guards in place and adjusted 1/4" above wood.
Maintain a 2" margin of safety.
Never stand to the right of the machine when it is in operation.
Never back out of a cut.
Make relief cuts when making sharp turns.
Use a push stick(s) when cutting small pieces.
Do not force the cut - wait for the blade to do the cutting.
Never remove scraps while the blade is moving.
Parts of Band Saw
Study the parts of the saw below. It is crucial that you know and understand how these parts function.
1. The on/off switch controls the power to the saw. The user should be the only one to operate the switch.
2. The table supports the work that is being cut. The table is adjustable in terms of the angle of the table to the blade. Always check to make sure the blade is square to the table.
3. The guard locking knob allows the user to raise and lower the guard.
4. The guard assembly protects the user's hands and fingers while using the saw. It is extremely important to have the guard assembly adjusted so that the guard is no higher than 1/4" above the work piece. (About the width of a pencil.)
5. The blade can vary. The thinner the blade, the sharper the turn or radius you can make. We usually have a 1/4" blade on our small saws, which means you can make a 5/8" radius. This is equal to cutting a 1 1/4" circle.
6. The table insert is a soft piece of metal that is inserted into the table so that if the blade hits the insert, the blade in not damaged.
7. There are two knobs located on the bottom of the table. These knobs lock and unlock the table. They allow the table to be tilted to for angular cuts.
8. The tension handle controls the amount of pressure on the blade. Do not adjust this without the instructor present.
9. The tension gauge is used in conjunction with the tension handle. This is how we know how much tension to put onto the blade.
10. The tilt knob controls the angle of the top wheel. This is used to make the blade track correctly. Never touch this adjustment.
How to use the Band Saw
The first step is to make sure that the blade is square to the table and that the guard is adjusted properly. Loosen the guard locking knob and raise the guard. Place a square on the table so that one leg of the square is vertical to the blade. If the blade is not square to the table, loosen the table lock knobs and adjust the table so that it is square to the blade. Once the table is square to the blade, hand tighten the table lock knobs. Now loosen the guard locking knob and lower the guard until it is no more than 1/4" above your work piece. Tighten the guard locking knob.
Standing slightly to the left of the table, place your work piece flat on the table. Turn the saw on. Make all short cuts and relief cuts first. (Relief cuts are used to relieve pressure from the blade when making tight turns.) Remember, it is not a good idea to back out of cuts, with the saw running, because you will pull the blade off of the wheels if you do not come out in the exact manner of entry. Stay slightly to the scrap side of your line of the part being cut. Keeps your hands a minimum of two inches away from the blade at all times. Be extremely careful when the cut is just about completed. A lot of accidents occur due to the fact that band saw operators push the work piece with their thumbs on the end of the board. They forget this and when they reach the end of the board, they slice their thumbs. The idea is to use a push stick or push from a safe location. Do not force the wood into the blade. Keep a firm and steady pressure and listen to the sound that the saw is making. If the saw begins to bog down, it means you are forcing the wood. Once your have finished making your cuts, turn off the saw and wait until it comes to a complete stop. Remove the scraps and clean the surrounding area.
A little side note: Do not let anyone stand to the right of the saw when it is in operation. If the blade breaks, the saw has a tendency to throw either the blade or wood to the right.