How Does A Band Saw Work?

If you had any prior experience with woodworking, you would know that a band is one of the most versatile power tools out there. However, most people face difficulty when operating a bandsaw. If you're one of those people, then your troubles are about to come to an end.

We have provided a thorough discussion of all the steps you need to take to operate a bandsaw.

Not only that, but you'll also get to learn a little about its history and complexity. So, put on your DIY gloves and get ready for the answer to your question, "how does a bandsaw work?"

Basics of Bandsaw

There is no lack of options when it comes to buying a bandsaw from the market. This wide variety offers a whole new level of versatility to woodworkers and DIY fanatics. Each model is designed for a particular purpose and can benefit you in many ways.

For those who have never used a bandsaw, it’s an exceptional power tool with a thin blade that is connected to each end of the saw like a band.

It enables you to cut through large logs of wood into small, evenly sized pieces. The thin blades make them suitable for cutting different types of materials other than wood.

It is safe to use and also easy to operate (once you get the hang of it). They come in different shapes and sizes.

Small benchtop models are mostly used by small to medium companies and are pretty lightweight. The alternative is a floor model, which is ideally used by large companies.

Due to its heavy operation, it requires a large number of people to function efficiently. Both of these models consist of evenly distributed teeth that are useful for making curved and accurate cuts.

History of Bandsaw

The bandsaw was invented by a man named William Newbery in the year 1809. It wasn’t widely used by professionals until the British government recognized his efforts and awarded him for his revolutionary invention.

However, bandsaws weren’t as effective back in the day due to the limited technology.

The blades were poorly made and often used to break under pressure. Thankfully, modern technological prowess has enhanced the blades’ quality. They are much sharper and durable now.

How It Works?

To learn how a bandsaw works, you need to go through a few key steps, which also include maintenance of the machine. Maintenance is an important factor to consider if you want your bandsaw to last longer and reduce the chances of accidents.

Setting Up the Bandsaw

To set up the saw, you first need to pick the right blade for the material you're working on. This will depend on what you're cutting and the types of cuts you want. Thin cuts require a fine blade, whereas you'll need a wider blade for large cuts.

Once you've chosen a blade, it's time to install it on the bandsaw. You need to tighten the blade carefully to make sure it doesn't come off while you're operating.

This can have serious repercussions and harm you in more ways than one. Too much tension on the blades can also break it.

Adjust the Blade Guide

Next, you need to adjust the blade guides that keep the blades in a fixed position. It will prevent it from slipping out of place during operation.

A bandsaw consists of two blade guides, one that's higher than the other. Make sure you adjust both of them before you proceed any further.

Set the Blade Guard

The blade guard is a necessary safety measure to avoid the risk of an unwanted accident. You need to ensure that the blade guard is positioned near the material you're working on. Doing this will keep any pieces of wood and metal from flying up and hitting your face.

It will also protect your hands from any severe damage. Woodworkers can often be so overwhelmed by the work that they tend to slip and cut their hands. The blade guard will stop that from ever happening.

Turn On the Bandsaw

Once you've taken all the precautions, it's time to power up the bandsaw. Plug it into a nearby outlet and switch it on.

Set the speed and length of the blade according to your needs. Carefully feed the material to the saw, and check if it cuts through accurately.

If the blade isn't cutting through properly, it means there are still adjustments to be made. In that case, stop feeding the material immediately as it can damage the bandsaw. Take your time to readjust the blade and the settings before using it again.

Cutting the Design

Before you start cutting, you must draw an outline of the design on the material. This will give you a faint idea of how much of the material you need to cut.

Whatever you do, do not feed the material hastily. This can result in uneven cuts and can also cause accidents.

Gently keep feeding the material while following the previously drawn outline. The blade should cut through it with ease without applying much pressure. If you’re not getting smooth cuts, consider increasing the speed of the blade.


Resawing is a term used for cutting material into much smaller pieces. To do so, simply lower the blade to the corresponding height of the workpiece.

Apply gentle pressure while feeding the material to the blade. As you reach the end of the material, your hands will touch the blade guard.

To feed it even further, use a stick to push it in. This will allow you to keep your fingers safe while cutting the rest of the material.

Making Straight Cuts

Bandsaws are perfect for making accurate straight cuts. Unfortunately, these have a tendency of drifting off the course while you're feeding the material. This is where the blade guides come in. Adjusting the guides will ensure that the blade cuts straight through.

Another way to keep the blades from cutting unevenly is to use an index card. The card should be placed between the blade and the blade guide.

To maintain a straight line, you must make sure the space between the blade and the guide is only as much as the thickness of the index card.

An Allen wrench can also fix this problem.

Cutting an Arch or Circle

To cut the material in the shape of an arch, you first need to place it on top of the table of the bandsaw. Draw a rough outline of the arch on the material.

The excess material should be cut off to achieve the arch. This will also require you to carefully turn the material while you're feeding it.

In case of a circular cut, you might need to drill near the outlines of the material. The hole should be large enough to fit the blade.

Once you position the blade inside the hole and start feeding it through, keep rotating the material according to the outline as the blade cuts through it. You will end up with a perfect circle.


Maintaining a bandsaw is not as complex as operating it. Once you're done with your tasks, make sure you clean it thoroughly.

All the leftover dust and debris must be removed off the surface. Any remaining residue can hamper the accuracy of the saw and also damage the blade. Keep it clean to prolong its lifespan.

Final Words

By now, you know everything there is to know how does a bandsaw work. It is integral that you make sure to take all the necessary precautions before starting the process. Wear gloves and safety goggles to keep yourself safe from any flying debris.

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