How to get the best results with a bandsaw

Doing your own repairs, construction or crafting projects can involve a lot of tricky steps. But one that’s often handled in a relatively crude manner even by experienced handymen and DIY practitioners is sawing. Simply put, with a hand saw or jigsaw, accurate lines and complex shape are challenging, which could leave you with cuts that appear amateur and rough.

For this reason, some people who commonly find themselves doing home projects, or who may be putting together home workshops, ultimately come around to the idea of having a bandsaw. It’s a larger investment than most home tools, but is a useful piece of equipment. Indeed, UK trade tool site Screwfix suggests that a bandsaw can be a very handy piece of kit for multiple purposes. These include not only the ability to cut straight lines, but also to cut irregular shapes and complex curves. Bandsaws can also handle a range of materials that extends beyond basic wood, such as metals and plastics. All told, it’s one of the most versatile cutting tools you can own and should save you from a lot of the errors and crudeness (not to mention the effort) of using handheld sawing equipment.

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So, say you’ve been looking for a tool like this and you pick up a bandsaw or have one delivered to your shed or garage… what now? These are fairly serious pieces of equipment, and while they can make many home projects a lot easier in the long run, they do take some getting used to. The following tips should help you get the most out of this valuable piece of kit:

  • Know How To Set The Blade – As covered by Instructables, the difference is huge between a bandsaw that’s been properly set up and one that hasn’t. Ideally, if you’re going to acquire a tool like this, it will be ready to go upon purchase. But even if that’s the case (and it isn’t always), you’ll need to learn some of the basics about how to set it up for optimal performance. That means changing and centering the blade, setting the guides, squaring the table, and tensioning the blade. Fortunately, these steps can be accomplished with some ease once you get the hang of it.
  • Cut Outside The Lines – This is a basic but very handy tip from a list of tips courtesy of Family Handyman, and really it’s something to keep in mind with any sawing project (bandsaw or other). While a bandsaw can make crisp and efficient cuts, it doesn’t make them without leaving marks. So, if you have a piece of wood or other material you need to cut up, it’s best to draw outlines of where you want the cuts and then saw just slightly outside those lines. That gives you a sliver of extra material (which will be marked by the saw) to smooth down for the appearance you want.
  • Section Off Your Designs – When you have a bandsaw handy there can be a temptation to simply go for it with a major project, a big piece of material, and an intricate design. It can certainly be pulled off, but the best practice is typically to cut down your material in a way that sections off your designs into smaller pieces. Basically, cut out a rectangle around a given slab on which your design can be made, and then work from that smaller piece to achieve the finer details. It’s an easier way to control the cutting and will help achieve better results.

There’s more to learn, but a lot can be learned as you go. The best advice for growing accustomed to the use of a bandsaw may just be to do a few practice projects with cheaper material, just to get the hang of it. But in the meantime the tips above should give you a nice start to using a piece of equipment like this.

About the author

Jake Bradley is a freelance writer hailing from Manchester. In addition to writing and reading all hours of the day, he loves working on DIY projects around his home.

One thought on “How to get the best results with a bandsaw

  1. Riley Holt says:

    So I have been noticing a lot of burning on the wood every time I use my band saw. I have been expecting that it was time to get a new band saw blade but I am just a novice and didn’t know which thickness of blade to get. Now all I have to do is decide what sort of work I want to use the blade for and then I can produce better quality. Thank you for sharing!

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