Band Saw Cutting Tips | 6 Steps Bandsaw Tricks
While the band saw is specifically designed to cut curves and bevels into the wood as professionally as possible, it still requires a sense of skill from the carpenter or woodworker handling the saw. With some practice, however, you can become more aware of how to use the band saw and become a veteran band saw cutter yourself.
In addition to your bandsaw, you will need a thin saw blade, drawings of your cut lines, your material, such as plywood, and a means to transfer the drawings to your material.
Band Saw Cutting Guide Step by Step
Step 1. Prepare your band saw
When tuning up your band saw, you have to make sure that the right band saw blade is inserted, the guide is adjusted, the table is square, and the bearings are properly set. Being sure that all these settings are properly adjusted makes a world of difference, as the results of a well-adjusted saw and a badly tuned saw are like night and day.
Step 2. Draw lines onto paper, and transfer them onto your material
There are two ways that you can supply lines onto your materials. You can either draw your lines directly onto the material, or you can print them to scale on paper, and transfer them to your material. You can transfer in one of three different ways.
Primarily, you can use a pencil to draw or shade your designs onto your print. Tape the print to your material. With a ballpoint pen, trace the lines that you can see onto your material.
The pressure from the tip of your pen will cause the graphite from your pencil to be pressed into the material. You will have a great looking design that you can cut with your bandsaw.
You can also buy printable vinyl stickers. You can print your designs onto these stickers with the help of a computer and printer, and you stick them onto your material. From there, you can cut your material with the sticker still on.
A third way to get your design onto your material is with spray mount, also known as spray adhesive. Wait at least 10 seconds before proceeding. Then, spray the adhesive onto the back of your paper, and place the paper as you would place wallpaper onto a wall.
Just like with vinyl stickers, you can cut your lines with the paper still on. Try a mild adhesive, as it will stay on your material fairly well, and will come off easily when you want it to.
Step 3. Cut large sheets into smaller sections
For moving a large, heavy part of your band say, it can be quite a challenge, to say the least. This is especially true if your saw has a narrow distance between the cutting space and the guidepost.
If your band saw is known to have some throw limitations, try to cut your sheet of material into multiple, smaller parts that would make it easier to navigate your blade through.
Step 4. Make relief cuts for sharp curves
When you draw your curvy lines, there is your good area and your waste area, the area that you will throw away after cutting. To help you along with these tighter curved cuts, cut the waste area into straight segments. Not doing this will give your blade the chance to bind.
Additionally, when you cut down your segmented waste area, it will not get in the way, and you can re-adjust the material every time a segment from your waste area is cut off. This is recommended for curves that are smaller than a radius of two inches.
Step 5. Always cut on the outside of your line
The line that the blade cuts is usually known as the “kerf”. This kerf is cut from the waste area of your material, not the good area. For more accurate cutting, always be sure to direct the cut in between the line and waste area. Do not cut directly on your drawn line, as you might experience slightly smaller dimensions that what you have been planning all along.
Step 6. Move the cut forward as you make a turn
You always must be moving the cut forward as you are intending to go in any kind of direction. If you try to change direction without moving the cut forward, you can twist the blade and damage it.
This blade is rather thin, so it is better to be safe and sorry, considering that the band saw is on and running. If your cut is drifting away from your line, it is better to turn off the saw, back out your material after the blade stops moving, and redo the cut another time.
If you try to back the material out while the saw is still turned on and the blade is still moving, you might accidentally cut inside your good area.
Cutting effectively with a bandsaw is not a cakewalk, and the rate of learning depends on person to person. The most advanced of woodworkers, however, make livings by making their own furniture with the help of a band saw. People willing to go deeper into this exciting trade can learn how to make bevels, grooves, and other techniques, in order to create quality decor items.
We hope that these steps help you understand how to use a band saw and cut curves safely and effectively. Did you like this tutorial? Got any suggestions that you want to share? Leave your thoughts down in the comment sections below.