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What is a bandsaw used for

Jack Gordon - January 12, 2019 - 0 comments

A bandsaw is one of the most used woodworking machines. If you are a woodworker, sooner or later, you are going to need and love to have a bandsaw in your life. The bandsaw is well-loved because of its uniqueness and its variety of application to so many uses of woodworking.

The bandsaw is super efficient for cutting curves due to its narrow blade that can easily follow any contour. Compared to a jigsaw or scrollsaw, a band saw can cut much thicker stock. But a bandsaw is more than just cutting curves, it can also precisely cutting straight lines. When you need to slice veneer of uniform thickness or cutting intricate dovetail joints, a bandsaw can do a magnificent job. You would be amazed how popular bandsaws are used to cut metal. The best thing is that a bandsaw blade cam continuously pushes the stock down on the table and so you won’t feel as much kickback as a table saw might.


The bandsaw can actually replace the work of a handful of woodworking tools. It can rip like a table saw, cut curves like a jigsaw, make fine cuts like a scroll saw, saw logs like a mill, cut joints like a handsaw, and even follow templates like a router. The bandsaw is excellent at cutting compound curves and resawing wide stock.

Rip like a table saw

When you have a thick hardwood stock on your table saw to rip, you might encounter several problems. The saw blade tends to bog down and sometimes stalling the motor. A lot of feed resistance occurred when you work and you have burned edges on the stock. This is a problem due to the thickness of a table saw’s blade, it produces a wide kerf, usually 1.2 inch. A lot of power is needed to push a blade through heavy stock hardwood. Ripping a thick piece of heavy hardwood required your table saw to have adequate horsepower and sometimes, your machine just doesn’t fit for this job.

With a bandsaw, you can actually fix these problems easily(since you won’t even have these problems in the first place). A bandsaw blade is thinner than a table saw’s blade, making it sharper and easier to cut through any type of hardwood. Feed resistance is minimized and so, you won’t have the burnt edges on your wood because the blade doesn’t get heat up. It is safer to work with a bandsaw since there is no chance of kickback if you have a wide blade and a sturdy fence.

The bandsaw is the safest way to rip stock that is twisted, cupped or warped. Ripping these stocks on a table saw is more dangerous since the stock can bind and pinch the blade, which increases the likelihood of kickback. The constant downward pressure of the bandsaw blade pushes the stock onto the table so it can’t kick back.

Cutting curves just like a jigsaw

Most woodworkers choose the bandsaw to saw curves. The bandsaw is the best tool to cut curves precisely and quickly. The blade of the bandsaw is narrow, making it easy to follow the curves while the saw’s table provides support for the wood(or metal). The downward movement of the blade keeps the stock stationed and firmed, unlike a jigsaw or a scroll saw. This releases you from other task and helps you concentrate on the saw.

In my experience, it is easier to use the widest possible blade that can follow the radius of the curve. A wide blade is easier to control and has less of a tendency to wander.

Effortlessly making fine cut

Due to its narrow blade, the bandsaw is capable of making fine, intricate cut on your stock. The bandsaw’s blade can squeeze around the tight curves while remaining stable unlike the scroll saw which has a tendency to vibrate and lift the wood off the table. The good news is that a budget bandsaw can do the task just as fine as an expensive saw as long as you choose the right bandsaw blade.

Saw logs like a lumber mill

Lumbering is getting more expensive. Having a tool like a bandsaw that can do many types of work can save you money and stress. The bandsaw is perfect to saw small logs into small scale project like watches, vase, boxes and other decoratives objects.

There are small logs for making small items everywhere and finding it is easier than you think. You can it in firewood shop. Logger or tree surgeon might even give you small logs for nothing. Since loggers like big logs, they often throw away less desireable small logs.

Cut joints like a handsaw

Most woodworkers like dovetail and mortise tenon joints due to their strength and how they look. These joints bring mechanical interlocks and long grain surface areas that give better strength than most other joints. Dovetails are used most often to join the corner of casework and drawers, while mortise and tenon joints are used to make face frames for casework and panelled doors and to join legs to rails when constructing tables and chairs.

A bandsaw is a perfect tool to quickly and precisely make these type of joints. Obviously, this work requires a bit experience and the right blade as well as a tilting table.

Follow templates like a router

Template sawing is easy with a bandsaw. Although it doesn’t do the finest work and produce a finished surface as a router, the bandsaw can quickly do template work, faster than just sawing pieces by pieces. We are going to go over this topic in another article.

Saw compound curves

The bandsaw is the perfect tool for producing sensuous, flowing lines for graceful curves. It takes time to learn these techniques but you will it easy and satisfying with the bandsaw to do these type of curves.

Resaw wide panels

Resawing involves standing a board on edge and ripping it through its thickness to produce two pieces of thinner stock. This technique is used to make matching panels by sawing a thick oversized board into two pieces of equal thickness. The bandsaw is the best tool for resawing due to its thin blade, it creates a small kerf and therefore very little waste during sawing. You will get more usable stock from your expensive lumber and less sawdust. The thin blade of the bandsaw creates very little feed resistance as you are sawing.

It is also safer to resaw with the bandsaw since the blade push the stock downward toward the table so that there is no kickback. You can resaw wider stock with your bandsaw than with a table saw. Choose a large capacity floor model bandsaw is your best option to do a lot of resawing since it has the motor, frame, wheels and guides to handle the wider blades and the greater tension needed for successful resawing.

Sources & Reference: The Bandsaw Book by Lonnie Bird.


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