How Does a Bandsaw Work?

September 2, 2022

Using bandsaw to cut wood craft.

As you decide to jumpstart your woodworking career, you will surely need to invest in excellent power tools. But as you shop around for power tools, you will soon find yourself face-to-face with an array of woodworking power tools. You might opt for buying a table saw or a miter saw and might overlook the bandsaw. Yet, as you get the chance to use the bandsaw, you will soon discover how versatile this tool is. 

You will soon find that it can do almost anything a table saw and miter saw can do. You can also fashion out many exciting cuts using the bandsaw, including ripping lumber and cutting metals. Besides, you can make unbelievable scrolls and curves with this tool. Plus, you can reset and resaw board faces and edges. Moreover, you can make bent laminations, veneer, and small logs using a bandsaw.

How Bandsaw Evolves into Its Present Form?

William Newbery got the credit for inventing the bandsaw in 1809. The bandsaw, as a woodworking tool, was not an overnight success. Its evolution into a versatile and pragmatic tool has been gradual. Newbery got the patent for his idea of the prototype of the bandsaw. Yet, because the necessary technology for creating excellent bandsaw blades was lacking during those times, the use of bandsaw did not gain much traction.

The bandsaws back then lacked the power to cut more challenging materials. Besides, they did not come equipped with flexible blades which could withstand breaking. Over time, the technology to create excellent saw blades for the bandsaws became available. And soon after, the bandsaw became easy to use and increased in popularity among woodworkers.

Uses of Bandsaws

As a power tool, the bandsaw comes with a long blade stretched or looped between two wheels. This design makes the saw blade looks like a ribbon that rotates continuously along its wheels. You can use the bandsaw for woodworking. Nevertheless, you can also use it for metalworking and lumbering. 

The primary advantage of the bandsaw is its ability to cut with high accuracy and uniformity. The reason is its blade comes with evenly distributed teeth. You can use the bandsaw to cut irregular and curved shapes. It also works like a jigsaw. Nevertheless, it lets you have a higher level of control of the cut. Of course, other tools can cut curves and make intricate cuts. Yet, it is the bandsaw that is the easiest to utilize for such types of cuts. 

As you observe the bandsaw blade, you will notice that only a small portion of the saw blade is visible. The more significant part of the bandsaw blade stays hidden inside the bandsaw covers. Nevertheless, you can adjust the saw blade and expose more portions of it. Adjusting the saw blade will be helpful when you are cutting a larger wood piece. 

You can also use the bandsaw for making detailed and intricate cuts. With its small-sized blade, you can make those detailed cuts. The bandsaw also features a table where you position the workpiece for cutting. 

As you set the workpiece on the table, you move it towards the saw blade to cut it. You can likewise adjust the speed of the bandsaw. Depending on the saw’s table surface, you can also make angled and miter cuts with the bandsaw. Besides, bandsaws also come in various sizes and types.

Make Straight Cuts

The bandsaw is perfect for creating precise straight cuts. However, it is prone to drifting off the cutline as you feed the material. The blade guide comes in handy in keeping the saw blade on track. You can adjust the guides to keep the cut straight. 

Another method to keep your saw blade from making uneven cuts is to utilize an index card. To keep a straight line, you must ensure that the space between your guide and saw blade is only as thick as an index card. You can also use an Allen wrench to fix such a problem.

Resaw the Material

When resawing, you transform your material into smaller pieces. To resaw, you need to lower your saw blade to correspond to the workpiece height. Then, apply gentle pressure as you feed the workpiece through the saw blade. You can use a stick to push your material entirely through the saw blade. In this way, you can safely cut without exposing your fingers to danger. 

Cutting a Circle or Arch

You can cut an arch or circular shape on your material by positioning your material on the tabletop. Then, outline the arch on your workpiece. Cut the excess material to achieve an archlike shape. Cutting an arch will necessitate turning your material while feeding it through the saw blade. 

If you would make a circular cut, you need to drill a hole near your outline. This hole should be able to accommodate the saw blade. Once you’ve set the saw blade inside the drilled hole, you can begin feeding the material through the saw blade. Rotate your material accordingly as you feed it through the saw blade. 

How To Use Bandsaw Work?

Your bandsaw will work well if it is in top-notch condition. Hence, you need to ensure that you properly maintain your bandsaw. If you’re a beginner in the use of bandsaw, however, you can follow the simple steps on how to operate the bandsaw:

Step 1: Set Up the Bandsaw

When setting up the bandsaw, you need to select the appropriate saw blade for your needs at the onset. Your choice of bandsaw blade will depend mainly on the material you are cutting and the cut types you would like to make. If you make thin cuts, you need to use a fine saw blade. If you would engage in extensive and longer cuts, you will need a wider saw blade. 

After choosing the appropriate saw blade, you can now install the saw blade on your bandsaw. Make sure you tighten the saw blade well to ensure it will not come off when you’re using the bandsaw. Such an accidental coming-off of the saw blade will put you at risk of injury. Moreover, if you don’t provide the saw blade with the correct tension, the saw blade might also break and cause you injury.

Step 2: Adjust the Blade Guides

Afterward, you must adjust the blade guides. These blade guides keep the saw blade affixed to its proper position. The saw blade will not slip out of place with these blade guides when you operate the bandsaw. The bandsaw got two blade guides. You should ensure that both these blade guides are correctly adjusted before you cut.

Step 3: Set Its Blade Guard

The bandsaw blade guard is a safety feature that helps you minimize the risks concomitant with the bandsaw. It can help you avoid unwanted injuries. Thus, you must ensure that this blade guard gets appropriately positioned close to the material you are working on. In this way, the wood pieces will not come flying and hitting you. 

Moreover, the blade guard will protect both your hands from serious injuries. If you are engaged in heavy workloads, you might become lax and less keen on what you are doing. In such a case, your hands will get protected from any slip and cut.

Step 4: Turn the Bandsaw On

Once all the safety nets are in place, you can then start powering up your bandsaw. You can plug the cord into the nearest power outlet and turn it on. Set the length of the blade and its speed according to your cutting needs. Start feeding the workpiece onto the saw and inspect if it is cutting accurately. 

If it doesn’t cut properly, you must make adjustments to your setup. Halt the feeding of material, for the bandsaw might get damaged. Readjust the settings and the sawblade to correct the settings and try to use it again.

Start 5: Start Cutting

Once you’ve got the proper settings for your saw blade and other aspects of your bandsaw, you can then outline the cutline you would like to make on your material. In this way, you will have a clear idea of how you will go about the cutting process. 

Avoid feeding the material hastily. Any haste might result in unsmooth and uneven cuts. Moreover, you might injure yourself if you go about with the cutting process carelessly. Keep the feed of your material smooth and gentle. Follow your outline. 

The saw blade should cut through your material with ease sans applying too much pressure. If the bandsaw is not productive of smooth cuts, you can increase the blade speed.

Step 6: Clean the Bandsaw 

After making the final cut, you should turn off the bandsaw and clean it. It should be second nature to you to clean your bandsaw every after use. Clean the dust and debris. Ensure that you remove any residue of dust and debris, for this debris and pieces might damage your saw blade. By keeping your bandsaw clean, you can prolong the usability of your bandsaw. And you must clean the bandsaw tires too once a month.


The use of a bandsaw comes with many advantages that you can never get from other tools. One such advantage is the reduction of wastage of material when you cut. The bandsaw blade comes with a smaller kerf which reduces wastage when cutting. Other power saws, however, come with wider kerfs. Hence, their saw blades eat up much material when they cut.  

A bandsaw is a versatile tool, and you can use it to make curved cuts. You can also use it to resaw lumber. As you begin to use the bandsaw, you won’t be able to let go of it. You will indeed ache to have one in your workshop because of the versatility and reliability it offers. 

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