How to Use a Portable Band Saw

Guide on how to use a portable handheld bandsaw to cut wood and metal.

The jigsaw, of course, is portable. Most bandsaws, however, are stationary tools. Yet, you can also purchase a portable bandsaw. As such, you can bring this portable band saw to wherever you would like to use it. But what is a portable band saw?

The portable band saw is like a mini version of the band saw. It is a handheld power tool that features a continuous blade that loops around dual pulleys. Of course, it has one succinct advantage over the rigid and non-portable band saw—you can move it around where you want to use it. 

You can use the portable band saw to cut wood and metal. You can also replace its blade, depending on the material you would like to cut. Using such a portable band saw will lead to more square and cleaner cutting results than the reciprocating saw.

Steps on Using a Portable Band Saw

As a beginner, you may find the portable band saw a challenge to use. Yet, if you know the following simple steps on how to use a portable bandsaw, you can immediately get the hang of it and safely operate your portable bandsaw in your woodworking tasks:

Step 1: Select the Correct Cutting Blade for the Task at Hand

Bandsaw blades differ depending on the materials you will cut. So, it will be good to choose the right bandsaw blade for your use at the start. Choose the correct blade’s thickness and width. Choose the saw blade likewise with the right teeth per inch (TPI) based on the cutting task you will engage in. 

It will be good to note that thinner blades come with a smaller turning radius. Thus, thinner blades will let you deal with intricate curves. However, if you work on sharper curves, you will find the thicker saw easier to use. Moreover, they are durable. Yet, saw blades with many teeth may take longer to cut, but they will produce smoother cuts.

Step 2: Meticulously Adjust the Bandsaw Blade

Before adjusting the saw blade, you should ensure that you unplug the bandsaw. Once you are sure that you’ve removed the cord from the power outlet, you can adjust the saw blade. You must adjust it to ensure that it is not stiff or taut. Otherwise, it will deviate from the cutline. 

It should be loose enough likewise so that it will not get damaged quickly. Check the stiffness of the blade by pressing the blade’s end. Apply enough force onto it. If you’ve overtightened it, it will deviate a bit by 3mm.

Step 3: Check the Saw Blade’s Alignment

To check the bandsaw blade’s alignment, you can open its cover to access the adjustment wheels. Try to turn the upper wheel up to twenty times. Afterward, check if there is any deviation. If there is, you can adjust the knob and set the blade in the proper position.

Step 4: Inspect the Workplace and check the Workpiece You Would Like to Cut

Before turning on the bandsaw, check if the place is clear of any hazard to your work. Make sure you got enough space to rotate your workpiece. Moreover, ensure that you’ve marked the workpiece properly using a marker or pencil. 

Afterward, you can plug in the equipment. Start cutting the material by tracing the cutline. Keep your hands and fingers always out of the bandsaw blade’s way and follow all the safety protocols. 

Step 5: Start the Cutting Process

During the cutting process, you can align the saw blade to your cutline. Make sure that the bandsaw blade is parallel to the line you want to cut. Press the trigger. Apply a slight pressure to let the saw slide through the cutline. Refrain from applying too much pressure to prevent the blade from snapping. 

When applying pressure, you should find the sweet spot, wherein you will use just enough pressure to keep the saw blade from snapping. You should also keep the saw steady while allowing the saw blade to work its way and do its job.

Step 6: Watch How the Blade Cuts

While you go on cutting, you should spot-check the blade. Watch if it is following the cutline. In this way, you will know if the saw blade is cutting accurately. 

If your saw blade deviates, you should not worry much. Realign the saw blade by adjusting it. Nevertheless, you should refrain from forcing the saw blade to realign.

Step 7: Slow Down Once You are About to Finish

When you’re about to finish the cut, The piece may fall off. So, it will be best to slow down the saw blade and ease it out of the wood slowly. In doing so, you can prevent any complications and extra pressure on your saw blade. 

Once the cut is complete, don’t forget to turn off the saw. Before putting down the portable bandsaw, let the saw blade stop completely.


Important Tips to Keep Yourself Safe When Using a Bandsaw

When using a Bandsaw, it will be best to follow the safety protocols. Below is a rundown of the different safety tips you should follow when using a bandsaw:

  • Make sure you tightly secure the equipment to your workbench.
  • Before using the bandsaw, make sure you read the user manual. Ensure that you thoroughly understand the manual. 
  • Don’t forget to wear your safety glasses.
  • Make sure that the guides and protections are fixed and in place. 
  • Don’t operate the bandsaw when the wheels are exposed. If you do so, the saw blade may break or run. 
  • Adjust its top guide at least 1/8 inch over the material you will cut. 
  • Make sure that you hold the workpiece firmly. 
  • Don’t position your hand in the line of cut. 
  • Don’t force the saw blade onto the sheet. 
  • Don’t forget to use a push stick or fence when cutting some narrow pieces. 
  • Remove any obstacle on the ground. 
  • Don’t hold the cut piece until the saw blade entirely stops. 
  • Please don’t leave the equipment running on its own and unattended.  

Aside from knowing the steps to follow when cutting using a bandsaw and the safety tips, it will likewise help if you are cognizant of the following FAQs:

Why You Should Avoid Apply Too Much Pressure on the Bandsaw Blade?

It is a misconception that the saw blade will cut more efficiently when you apply more pressure onto it. Such an idea is a myth and doesn’t have any practical or scientific basis. The band saw blade, just like any other blade, can only remove a certain amount of material at a time. Therefore, if you force it to remove more materials, you may end up damaging your blade and tool.

What Blade Should You Use With Your Portable Bandsaw?

You can indeed get precise results from your portable bandsaw if you got the right saw blade. It can provide you with precision cuts that you would surely love to have. Hence, choosing the saw blade for your bandsaw appropriate to the applications will be best. 

Moreover, you should consider the critical factors when choosing a saw blade, such as TPI, material and make, width, length, and other essential factors.


Conclusion

You may think of the bandsaw as something stationary. Yet, the bandsaw technology continues to improve, and now you can buy a portable bandsaw as if it is a jigsaw. So, instead of bringing the workpiece to your bandsaw, you can now get your portable bandsaw to your workpiece. You can likewise bring it anywhere you want to work. 

The blade of the bandsaw is long and sharp. It is perfect for cutting thicker wood. The jigsaw, of course, can create great cuts. But the band can make cuts into materials deeply. And if you have a portable bandsaw, you got ample freedom to bring your bandsaw anywhere you would like to make deep cuts on a workpiece.

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