Band Saw

Band saws use a flexible band of steel with teeth along one edge, which forms an endless belt on a power-driven pulley. Band saws are capable of sawing straight, curved, or irregular cuts in a great variety of materials, including wood and metal. They are available in a variety of models and sizes. The blade can be rigidly mounted within the saw housing and the material moved into the vertical blade.

14 inch bandsaw

The bandsaw is a versatile machine that has many uses in the woodworking shop. The size of the band saw and the blade selection determine the type of work the machine can do. Larger band saws are well suited to straight rip cuts, and especially resawing. The direction of travel of the blade is down into the table, negating the danger of a kickback when ripping as long as the material is kept flat on the table. Band saws are safer than table saws for ripping, although usually not as accurate. Another advantage of the band saw is the is much smaller than a typical circular saw blade, which can conserve material when breaking out parts.

The vast majority of saws have two wheels that carry and power the blade, although there are some three wheel bandsaws. The diameter of the wheel denotes the size of the saw. There are some bench top models of band saws, however these have little place in a professional woodworking shop. The smallest industrial band saws are 14″, large saws are available in sizes up to 36″. As the column that connects the upper and lower wheel is positioned just to the left of the wheel, the diameter also indicates the throat capacity, or the width of material that may fit between the blade and the column. Because of the blade guard, the throat capacity is usually a small amount less than the diameter of the wheel.

Operators of band saws must possess good working knowledge of the mechanics of the machine. These saws have a tendency to go out of alignment with use, and must be inspected regularly during use to ensure the blade and guides are operating correctly.

A portion of this chapter has been adapted from Trades Access COMMON CORE
Line C: Tools and Equipment Competency C-2: Describe Common Power Tools and
Their Uses. Download for free from the B.C. Open Textbook Collection ( The adapted content includes graphics and descriptions of metal band saw blades and blade geometry



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Woodworking Machinery by Sandra Carr is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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