Bandsaw machine – what is it and how to work on it

The band saw is a fairly effective and versatile tool. In woodworking, it displaces the circular saw, and when working with metal, it will give a head start to the grinder in terms of cut quality. In the material, we will consider the field of application of the “ribbon”, consumables, useful devices and techniques for working on it.

All bandsaws work according to the same principle. An “endless” saw blade moves in one direction in a closed circle, cutting through material in its path. It will be metal or wood – it doesn’t matter. With the correct selection of the saw blade, there will be one outcome – a thin, neat cut will go exactly where the master intended it.

Within the framework of this material, we will shift the focus of attention towards woodworking and consider the operation of a band saw in a carpentry workshop.

Bandsaw Makita LB1200F 55 999 *
What a band saw can do
The band saw machine accurately performs any straight and curved wood cuts. Perhaps the only thing that is too tough for him is the selection of a quarter and blind cuts.

“Ribbon” gives several times less waste in comparison with a circular saw. It has a thin saw blade, which is several times less thick than the thinnest saw blade. Such a careful attitude to the material is convenient when working with valuable types of wood.

The band saw is unrivaled when it comes to cutting thick material. A circular saw has a maximum cutting height of 60–80 mm, a band saw – 200–300 mm. Many craftsmen use a “ribbon” as a divider – they cut an array of material into small blanks, beams, slats, lamellas, planks, etc.

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A special chic is the dissolution of the workpiece along the face (wide plane of the board) into thin lamellas and veneer for finishing finished products.

The band saw is the only mechanized tool in the carpentry shop that can be used to cut round workpieces and tree cuts. It is only important to securely fix the material against turning. For this, many craftsmen make special carriages for the desktop or firmly screw a guide from a board or rail to the end of the cut block.

Dangerous spreading round workpieces on the circular saw! The risk of injury is very high!

Features of work
When the machine is in operation, the saw band moves in one direction from top to bottom. This way the cut is cleaner, without chips. In this case, the blade itself presses the workpiece to the working surface of the sawing table – the workpiece does not need to be held, and the load on the hands is reduced. The master only has to feed the workpiece to the cutting belt in the desired direction.

For all the seeming simplicity of work, the cutting blade is sharp and dangerous. Therefore, when sawing straight cuts, use pushers and special clamps, and when curly cutting, keep your hands at a safe distance from the blade.

Bandsaw machine Metabo BAS 318 PRECISION WNB 45 299 *
High cutting accuracy is achieved due to the saw band tension mechanism. The tension gives the saw a certain stiffness and resistance to direct and lateral loads.

Applying heavy loads to the canvas is fraught with jamming and breaking.

For the band blade to last longer, you need to release its tension immediately after use. This will save the saw band from mechanical stresses, which are especially dangerous in the place where the ring is welded.

It is also important to remember about adjusting the cutting height. Support units are installed in the upper and lower parts of the cutting zone, on which the tape rests during operation. The lower unit is permanently installed, while the upper unit is part of the cutting height adjustment mechanism. The closer it is to the top of the part, the harder the tape is in the cut area. Consequently, it experiences less longitudinal loads and lasts longer.

The saw blades themselves deserve a special discussion. The success of the work depends on their correct selection. The key parameters are as follows:

Width. The narrower the tape, the smaller the radii of curved lines can be made without fear of jamming and tearing the canvas. Typically, the minimum tape radius that a tape can reproduce is twice its width.
TPI (Tooth Per Inch). Determines the cleanliness of the cut produced by the tape. As a rule, in woodworking, blades with a TPI value from 3 to 6 are used. The higher the value, the cleaner the cut is, but the speed of work is reduced.
Constant TPI tapes are prone to resonant vibrations under certain operating conditions. To eliminate this effect, cutting blades with variable teeth per inch are increasingly common. Such tapes are denoted by two numbers separated by a fraction. For example, TPI 4/6 – there are four teeth on the first inch of tape and six teeth on the second inch.

Bimetallic canvases deserve special love of the masters. Unlike carbon steel belts, they are stronger and thinner – 0.6 mm versus 0.9 mm. The basis of the blade is spring steel, and the cutting teeth of the belt are additionally equipped with soldering from durable tool steel. The resource of such a tape is several times higher than its usual counterparts.

Additional equipment of the machine
The band saw is so versatile that it is often modified for specific tasks.

If we are talking about products in the forms of which exclusively curvilinear cuts are used, then apart from good high-quality canvases and free desktop space, nothing else is required.

If it is necessary to make straight cuts, then you should take care of the presence of a parallel stop. Many manufacturers do not include it in the standard equipment of the machine, but offer to purchase it separately. At the same time, the thing in the work is necessary.

And for an accurate cut at a given angle, you need a special protractor stop. However, it can also be made independently in the form of a desktop carriage with reference templates for sawing at the desired angle.

Such a device, together with a parallel stop, optimizes sawing the ends of parts for miter joining or dissolving material into equal segments. Useful for creating blanks and turning them later.

To dissolve the round timber, you will probably need to make a special carriage with a holder.

There are a lot of instructions and master classes for modernizing a band saw machine on the network. The main thing is to decide on the type of your work.

It is important to take care of the organization of the workplace. Few bandsaw machines are equipped with good illumination of the working area. The original solution is a portable flashlight with a long flexible “gooseneck”, fixed with a magnetic lock on the machine body.

This improvement will provide good spot illumination of the work area and significantly increase the level of comfort.

For better sliding of the workpiece on the working surface, the table should be periodically treated with a wax or paraffin compound and carefully polished. This will not only improve sliding, but also protect the metal from corrosion. After such processing, a damp workpiece, forgotten on the table top of the machine, will not entail disastrous consequences.

The use of silicone sprays is undesirable, since wood impregnated with silicone is less susceptible to gluing and staining.

Safety engineering
Stirlitz’s subtle psychological trick says: “The last phrase is always remembered!” Although a band saw is considered fairly safe compared to other machines and tools, it is possible to injure yourself. Here are some important things to remember:

Keep your hands away from the moving saw blade. When working, use special pushers.
Wear safety goggles or a face mask to keep sawdust and wood dust out of your eyes.
Wood dust of some wood species (oak, beech, ash, etc.) can provoke the development of cancer. Therefore, use a dust mask to work with them. Ideally, organize a wood dust removal system at the workplace.
Even an immobilized saw blade can cause injury. It heats up during operation, so touching the belt immediately after stopping it may cause burns. The maintenance of the machine must be carried out with protective gloves.
Store tapes in such a way as to completely eliminate the possibility of injury to people in the room.
It is strictly forbidden to saw with gloves! You should also work with your workwear fully buttoned.
During setup and adjustment, the machine must be disconnected from the mains.
It is strictly forbidden to cut workpieces in which foreign objects are present – nails, staples, wire, etc.