A bandsaw is the saw type with a long blade consisting of a band of serrated metal stretched between more than one wheel. Its blade is like tape as it rotates continuously along with the wheels like the cassette tape. When the blade moves constantly, only a part is visible in a cutting area. Likewise, the saw blade rides on a flat surface on the table where the workpiece is transferred to the saw to make cuts. The blade, which is small in size, allows for intricate and detailed cuts.
The bandsaws are used mainly in carpentry, but they are very useful in lumbering and metalworking. The main advantages of the saw are a very smooth cutting action due to a consistently distributed tooth load together with the capacity to cut curves or irregular shapes with control, as is possible with the jigsaw.
The motor powers the saw, and many models have the adjustments, which allows you to expose more saw blades for larger workpieces, adjust the speed, and allow for angled edges and miter cuts. All this depends on the surface and the characteristics of the saw table.
The history of the bandsaw
Like many saws, the history of the bandsaw goes back many years. This has gone through numerous changes and ideas to this day. The overall concept dated 1809 when William Newberry received the British patent for some ideas. Unluckily, these old bandsaws were impractical because there was still no technology to make durable saw blades that could withstand heavy use.
The constant flexing of a blade on the motor’s wheels makes it fail frequently. Some decades later, Anne Paulin Crépin from France developed the welding technique, which allowed for a better blade structure for this saw type. In 1846 she finally applied for the patent and sold the right to the manufacturer Company in Paris and A. Perin.
The new steel alloys were combined with the latest welding method and the advanced tempering techniques that allowed Perin to develop the first modern bandsaw blade, immediately making a saw design more practical and efficient. The first U.S. patent for a bandsaw was issued to Benjamin Barker of Maine, Ellsworth, in 1836 in January.
The first bandsaw manufactured and commercially available in the U.S. was designed by Paul Prybil, an engineer. This quickly increased the popularity of bandsaws, particularly among builders and lumberyards.
Types of bandsaws
- Vertical bandsaw
The vertical bandsaw is equipped with a vertical blade, which rotates straight. The motor turns the blade in rhythm and a fixed position. This bandsaw is among the oldest brands in the bandsaws history. Today this machine is the first piece of equipment in any workshop. The vertical bandsaw can cut different parts based on your needs. All you have to do is set the speed and the blades.
- Horizontal bandsaw
The horizontal bandsaw is commonly used in wood-cutting shops like the vertical bandsaw. This bandsaw is effective for easily cutting thick wood into thin pieces. The user can operate the model manually. A horizontal bandsaw can increase the output of other workers. The main feature of this saw is its movable saw blade. The user can move the bandsaw in various directions by pressing the handle.
- Portable bandsaw
The portable bandsaw comes in a horizontal or vertical position. The key features may be similar except for performance and size. Therefore, the portable bandsaw has a compact size so that you can take it anywhere. Here you need to consider the functioning capacity of the portable bandsaw. It has a smaller capacity motor and a short blade. It would be best to use this tool in a picnic area or at home.
- Floor standing bandsaw
The floor-standing bandsaw can be horizontal or vertical. In many cases, this equipment comes with a vertical blade, which is an efficient bandsaw because of its big size. You can find the floor-standing bandsaw at the industrial workshop. This bandsaw effectively cuts wood, metal, and meat objects with ease.
How does a bandsaw work?
If you want to learn how the bandsaw works, there are some important steps you need to take, including machine maintenance. Maintenance is the crucial factor if you wish the bandsaw to reduce the risk of accidents and last longer.
1. Set up the bandsaw
If you want to set up the bandsaw, you must first select the correct blade for the material you will cut. It depends on what you want to cut and what kind of cut you want. Typically, a thin cut needs a thin blade, while a larger cut requires a wider blade.
Once you have selected the blade, it is time to fix it on a bandsaw. The blade must be tightened carefully to prevent it from loosening during use. This may have serious consequences and can harm you in many ways. Also, excessive tension on a blade can break it.
2. Adjust blade guide
It is then necessary to adjust the guides of the blade to put the blades in the fixed location. This prevents slipping during use. The bandsaw has two blade guides, including one higher than the other one. Be sure to set both before proceeding.
3. Set the blade guard
A blade guard becomes a crucial safety measure to avoid any risk of an accident. It is necessary to ensure the blade guard is located close to the material you are working on. This will prevent pieces of metal and wood from hitting the face and flying. It also protects the hands from serious injury. Carpenters are often so busy working that they slip and cut their hands. Typically, the blade guard prevents this.
3. Put on the bandsaw
As soon as all precautions are taken, it is time to start the bandsaw. You need to plug it into the nearby electrical outlet and turn it on. Adjust the blade speed and length according to your desires. Carefully insert the material into the saw and make sure it cuts accurately.
If the blade is not cutting properly, you’ll still need to make adjustments. In this case, immediately stop putting the material as this may damage the bandsaw. Readjust the settings and blade before using it again.
4. Cut the design
Before you begin cutting, you need to outline a design on a material. Typically, this will offer you a rough idea of the material you want to cut. Anything you do, don’t rush to feed the material. This can lead to uneven cuts and even accidents.
Carefully feed the material along the earlier drawn outline. The blade must be easy to cut without using excessive pressure. If you are not getting consistent cuts, increase the blade speed.
Resawing becomes the term being used for cutting material into smaller pieces. In doing this, lower the saw blade to the proper height on the workpiece. Apply light pressure when feeding the material onto the blade. When you get to the end of a material, the hands can touch a blade guard. If you want to feed it, even more, push it with a stick. This protects your fingers when cutting other materials.
6. Make the straight cuts
Bandsaws are ideal for making straight cuts. Unfortunately, they tend to drift when feeding the material. Typically, this is where a blade guide comes in. The adjustment of the guides ensures a blade cuts in a straight line.
Another way of preventing the blades from an uneven cut is using the index card. This card must be between the blade guide and the blade. To retain a straight line, make sure the distance between the guide and the blade is equal to the index card thickness. Also, the Allen wrench can solve this problem.
7. Cut the arc or a circle
To cut an arc shape in the material, you must first place it on a bandsaw table. Draw a rough sketch of an arch on a material. Excess material must be cut away to obtain an arc. Also, this needs you to turn the material carefully when feeding it.
You may need to drill close to the material’s outline for the circular cut. The hole is supposed to be big enough to hold the blade. After you have inserted the blade into the hole and started cutting through it, continue to rotate the material along the contour as the blade cuts through it. You can end up in a perfect circle.
Maintaining the bandsaw is not as complicated as using it. When you are done with the job, be sure to clean it up completely. Debris and dirt must be removed from the surface. The remaining residue can affect the sawing accuracy and damage the saw blade. Keeping it clean prolongs its life.
Now you know everything about how the bandsaw works. It is important to take all the required precautions before beginning the process. Wear safety goggles and gloves to protect yourself from flying debris.