How Dangerous Is a Band Saw?
Almost any saw that comes with sharp blades and jagged edges can be dangerous to a certain extent. Are you afraid that your band saw can also be a safety hazard?
If so, then you've come to the right place. Band saws are highly efficient power tools for cutting thick pieces of wood and metal.
They are also widely considered as one of the safest power tools on the market. Nevertheless, even a band saw can cause severe accidents if not used properly.
Thus, we have highlighted some of the risks of using a band saw and discussed the necessary precautions to avoid them in this article.
How Dangerous Is a Band Saw?
Before you start working with any power tool, it is highly recommended that you take all the safety measures you can to protect yourself. The safety equipment will not only boost your work ethic but also reduce the chances of any fatal accident.
Putting on safety glasses is the first thing you should do before operating a band saw. You might already know that band saws consist of blades that rotate at incredibly high speeds.
This can often cause pieces of wood to fly off in random directions. Without safety goggles, your eyes will be prone to damage.
What's even worse is that the blade can break while you're working. Even the professionals tend to be unaware of when that happens. Imagine the harm a piece of sharp, broken blade can do to your naked eye. It's better to wear safety glasses at all times than to risk blinding yourself.
When operating a band saw, you might notice a constant whirring sound. Although it might not be as loud as a table saw, it can still be a bit unsettling. If the noise is too much to bear, you can always rely on earmuffs to protect yourself.
You should also beware of the clothes you wear when woodworking. Wearing loose-fitting shirts, and even long sleeve shirts can be more hazardous than you think. If the clothes get wedged in the blades while you're working, you might even lose your hand.
Check the Band Saw Frequently
A band saw consists of a few blocks and wheels that keep the blades in a fixed position. Not only that, but they also manage to keep the blades as good as new for a long time. Make sure you check them regularly and see if you notice any signs of wear.
If the blocks and wheels are not adjusted according to the manufacturer's instructions, it can damage the blade much quicker.
The blade tension should also be optimal for it to last longer. If the blade breaks prematurely, it can injure you while you're carrying out an important task.
You can also adjust the blade guard to be within 1/8 to 1/4 inches from the stock to ensure maximum safety. This will also enhance the accuracy of the cuts.
Cut the Stock Safely
You should only start cutting the stock when the motor is running at full speed. The stock must remain flat on the tabletop at all times when the blade is running.
Trying to handle the stock freehand will be a big mistake. To make the cut safer, you can rely on a miter gauge when cutting at a specific angle.
If you want to make curved cuts, you should always prepare an outline of the stock beforehand. Follow the outline and feed the stock to the blade accordingly.
Leaving some extra stock outside the edges of the line might be wise. The band saw leaves some rough edges that need to be sanded for better finishing.
Be extra careful when turning tight corners of the stock as a slight misjudgment can severely injure you. In case you want to back out of a curve, don't pull the stock right away.
Instead, hold the stock firmly in position and turn off the motor. Once the motor is off, you can remove the stock.
Keep Your Hands Away
You must always be wary of your hands during the woodworking process. Never keep your hands closer than 3 inches to the blade.
Your hands should never remain on the cut line either. Also, using your hands to reach across or over the band saw is a bad choice. If the switch is on the right, use your right hand.
Common Rules of Safety
Using a band saw will often leave loose pieces of stock that came from the material you’re cutting. Do not try to get rid of it while the blades are moving.
If you do need to remove it, try to do it after turning the band saw off. Don’t let the loose pieces lie on the table either as it can easily impede your cut.
Another obvious precaution is not to give in to distractions when working with a band saw. For example, if someone tries to interact with you, never look away from the spinning blades. Remind your coworkers to wait for you to finish the cut before interacting with you. It’s common courtesy!
How dangerous is a band saw? We hope that's no longer a question that bewilders you. Don't be discouraged by the risks as there are several ways you can avoid them.
If woodworking is your passion, don't let the hazards stop you. Enjoy your work and prioritize safety.