If you are a craftsman involved in woodwork or a budding enthusiast entering in the world of woodwork, A band saw is probably the first tool you will buy for your workshop. It’s a precision cutting machine and excellent for cutting circles or curves.
In this article, we are going to learn what can be done using this amazing woodcutting tool.
What is a band saw?
Before diving further deep and know what the uses of the band saw are, we must know what exactly the band saw is.
When you are looking for circular, curved, or more intricate cuts, a band saw is a tool you are looking for. It is the most valuable tool and a must-have in your workshops.
Not that you won’t be able to make a circular or curved cut without a band saw but it will definitely make your work a lot easier and the cuts more precise.
The idea of the band saw was conceived by William Newberry, who patented his idea back in 1809. But this earlier iteration of the band saw was faced with criticism due to failure of the motor on a constant basis.
It was in 1846, when a French woman Anne Paulin Crepin introduced the welded blade in the band saw and solved the existing problem of constant flexing of the blade.
She patented it in 1846, but the intellectual property was acquired by a French company called A.Perin & Company who later improved on Anne’s idea and popularize the modern band saw that we see today.
The band saw was first introduced to the American soil in 1836 which was engineered by Paul Prybill.
The band saw is an electric-powered saw which has a long and thin metal blade attached to two or sometimes more wheels.
The blade in the band saw is like a ribbon that rotates along the wheels attached to it in a non-stop loop. The blade has sharp jagged teeth just like any other saw which does all the cutting.
Although the blade is quite long, only a small area of it is open which is used for all the detailed cutting.
The band saw comes equipped with a fence with an opening through which the blade passes and make the cut. The blade stays still and the user will need to guide the wood piece through the blade to make the desired cut.
The band saw’s main benefit is that it can make even cuts in a controlled action. This consistency is impossible to get using a regular saw. The blades come in many sizes. The wide blades are best for straight cuts and the narrower one is preferred when making intricate cuts.
Many uses of the band saw
The band saw is a very versatile cutting tool and it has many uses. Below is the list of 11 Different Uses you can do with your band saw
The primary purpose of the band saw is woodcutting. Being a versatile tool, it lets you cut from straight cuts to very intricate and delicate cuts on your wooden board. Here are two most popular wooden cuts using a band saw.
Cutting straight using a band saw is really easy and efficient. Though straight cuts can be done through any other saw, band saw makes the job easier and ensures cleaner cuts each time. To make straight cuts using a band saw first you must place a mark on your board to indicate where the cut will take place.
You can do this with a pencil, permanent marker, or any other marking tool that you prefer. After marking the cut area, make sure the marked area is a straight line using a protractor or any other tool which lets you measure angles.
After that, hold the saw with a strong and firm grip to ensure a clean and accurate cut.
If you’re not holding it firmly, then it will be a shaky cut. This is why if you are a beginner, I would recommend using the fence which comes with your saw to hold the board in place.
All you need to do is to set the board firmly to the fence and the fence will guide the board itself, ensuring an accurate straight cut.
Curved and circular cutting:
No other saw can do the job of cutting a curved or circular cut more efficiently than a band saw. To make a curve cut, it’s a good practice to make a relief cut first. If you don’t know about relief cuts, don’t worry. We will cover that up in the next section.
You’ll need relief cuts before actually making the curved cut because it will increase the chances of a cleaner and perfect cut. We need to first mark all the cut lines on the board including the relief cut lines. After marking the cut lines, we must proceed with the relief cuts first.
Then, we need to stop after every relief cut rather than cutting the entire curve line at once. This method will prevent the saw blade from binding in the middle of the cut which can cause an imperfect curve. But stopping after each relief cut makes the job easier and cleaner.
2. Metal Cutting:
A band saw can be used to cut through non-ferrous metals as well. Non-ferrous metals are more malleable than other metals. Copper, lead, tin are all non-ferrous metals. Before you start cutting these metals you must make sure you are using the proper blades for the job.
Blades that have lots of tiny teeth are best suited for cutting non-ferrous metals. A band saw is used to cut metal sheets and tubes and it can cut it more efficiently than other tools available.
3. Relief Cuts:
A relief cut is a necessary step before you can make a clean curve cut. The saw blade can bind if we try to make a curve cut that is really small in radius. To prevent this from happening relief cuts need to be made after few intervals.
The blades will stop where those relief cuts are made. This why how the binding problem is addressed. These are called relief cuts because it relieves the blade from binding and let us proceed with the curve cut. Relief cuts are made at each sharp turn to avoid blade binding.
Resawing is done by cutting any wider board into smaller pieces. Resawing is a painstaking task if done using another saw. Band saws are best for resawing wider boards. The versatility of the band saw allows it to resaw even the largest of the lumbers without any hiccups.
5. Veneer Cuts:
Veneer is the art of slicing a piece of wood into thinner and uniform thickness pieces and then gluing them together to create flat panels of wood.
Doors, cabinets and furniture are made using wood veneers. A band saw is the ideal tool to make uniform veneer cuts each time. As veneering involves cutting a piece of log into thin pieces, it requires a firm and steady cutting tool like a band saw.
Lamination is the process of cutting very thin pieces of wood and joining them together as per a specific design. This is done by gluing the pieces and holding it down to retain the desired shape. Lamination requires very thin slices of wood which can be easily cut through the use of a band saw.
7. Sawing smaller logs:
It’s well known that band saws are great for cutting wider and bigger sized logs but it’s a great tool for cutting smaller boards as well.
Due to the smaller blade size band saw is a great tool for cutting through smaller logs. The versatility of the band saw allows for even delicate and decorative cuts into smaller wooden boards.
8. Meat cutting:
Anyone who has visited a butcher shop must have seen a band saw in there. A band saw is a must-have in any butcher shop.
It does a great job of making clean cuts through bones and helps to cut down meat into manageable proportions. It also leaves behind a lesser amount of waste. A special blade is used specifically for meat band saws which allow this clean-cut of meat.
9. Rip Cuts:
Rip the cut is the process of cutting a piece of lumber across the grains. It may seem that rip cut and re-sawing is the same but actually there is a fundamental difference between these two cuts.
A rip cut is done by making the cut across the grain while re-sawing is the process of cutting the lumber parallel to its thickness.
10. Decoration cuts:
Due to the small blades that can be installed in a band saw it is an ideal tool to make all sorts of decorative and delicate cuts on wood. A band saw is really popular tool to make pergola and corbel cuts.
11. Cutting truss circles and notches:
Notches are a crucial step while building a rooftop. Band saws can be used to make these notches. Portable band saws are the preferred tool of choice for most of woodworkers. They use the blades at a 30-degree angle to create the notches.
Band saws can also be used to create truss circles which makes the rooftop look aesthetic. Creating a truss circle demands a great deal of attention and patience. You can use a portable band saw to create a truss circle that will make your rooftop look great.
Band saw is a crucial part of any woodworking workshop and is revered by both professionals and enthusiasts. It’s a versatile tool with many uses.
The uses listed above are just the tip of the iceberg. The band saw has a great scope you just need to be creative about it.