How To Use A Bandsaw (Tips & Tricks)

Last Updated on August 28, 2022 by Barry Gray

Bandsaws, in both benchtop and compact form, are powerful tools that are able to perform cuts that alternative saws are unable to do. Due to this, they are popular in both professional and personal settings.

Don’t have too much time on your hands? No problem, feel free to read our quick overview on how to use a bandsaw:

  • Become familiar with the three common blade types, skip-tooth, regular-tooth and hook-tooth
  • Protect your eyes by always wearing safety glasses, and replace throat plates when they show signs of damage
  • Adjust the height of your blade guard to ⅛ “- 1⁄4” above your material, as this reduces the risk of blade breaks tension
  • Use the bevel when necessary, which you can partner with the rip fence when making angled cuts
  • Release the blade tension after each use, as well as cleaning regularly – as this will promote the longevity of your blade.

They’re relatively easy to understand and learn, yet even the most experienced bandsaw users are always looking for additional tips and tricks to assist with their cutting game – which is what we’re providing for you today.

bandsaw cutting wood

Bandsaw Tips & Tricks

We’ve put together nine tips and tricks to be aware of when using a bandsaw – perhaps you can use these in your next session.

With that being said, let’s start with the first.

Become Familiar With The Different Blade Types

As different materials require specific blades, it’s important to know the materials you’ll be working on the most often, so your blades will be designed for that particular role.

There are three common types of blade, which are the hook-tooth, skip-tooth, and the regular-tooth blade.

Regular tooth blades are general-purpose, so you’ll see these in most places as they are universally accepted through most materials. Hook-tooth blades are larger than regular blades, with a deeper gullet, meaning this is perfect for making fast cuts.

Skip-tooth blades are great for cutting through plastics, softwoods and non-ferrous materials due to the space between individual teeth on the blade. This also prevents resin build up through use.

Replace Throat Plates To Protect The Blade.. And Yourself!

You want quality cuts, but not at the cost of your fingers, right?

A throat plate is the best solution to guarding both the blade and yourself from potential damage. Most bandsaws come with a throat plate, however in those that don’t – consider a plastic throat plate.

The reason for a plastic throat plate, is that it won’t damage the blade if both are to come in contact. They are also relatively inexpensive, which is also a bonus.

You should replace these throat plates often, especially if they’re damaged or showing signs of weakness.

The reason for this? You’re preventing a build-up of wood from falling under, and reduces splitting.

Always Wear Safety Glasses When Cutting

This should be a no-brainer, yet you’d be surprised at how many people don’t wear safety glasses when cutting.

Complacency is the biggest reason why, as many people believe that their experience with a bandsaw correlates to them being safer.

Whilst you may have many years of experience, it only takes a split second for an incident to occur.

Debris from splintered or broken materials can take a matter of seconds to strike thanks to the speed of the bandsaw blade, giving you little to no time to react. Glasses should be worn in order to protect your eyes – and it’s as simple as that.

If you value your safety and your vision – it’s definitely something you should always be organizing at first.

Adjust Blade Guards To Prevent Damage

WIth your blade guard, you should be adjusting the height so it’s just above the material that you’re cutting.

The reason for this closeness? Well, wider gaps between the guard and material will stress the blade, adding tension unnecessarily.

This will increase the risk of the blade breaking, and that’s definitely something you don’t want.

What’s the perfect amount of space to leave between the two? Well, a perfect height for the blade guard is anywhere between ⅛” to ¼”. This is close enough to minimize any stress to the blade, whilst not interfering in the line of cut.

Adjusting your blade guards upon each cut will have your bandsaw performing to optimal condition in each use.

Use The Bevel

For many users, the bevel is an unused component of the bandsaw. Simply, some don’t see the need for this feature.

Yet, when used correctly, the bevel tilting feature can enhance the quality of your work.

With the ability to tilt to the right of the table at a 45° angle, this provides an added versatility to the selection of cuts that you can make, as there may be a certain angle you’d like to cut through.

When using the bevel to cut through long edges of different woods, use the rip fence as a guide to make accurate cuts.

Move Slowly When Cutting Curves

It’s relatively straightforward to align the rip fence and make precise cuts when ripping straight down the line.

Curved cuts, however, require accuracy and attention to detail. Approaching a curved cut is different to a straight cut, due to its’ shape. It’s best to create these cuts slowly.

With curves that are tight, you’re able to make a ‘relief’ cut. With this, you’ll be cutting through the free space you have on your material, so you’re better suited to access the tight areas that you normally would find difficult to reach if moving linear.

If you accidentally cut through tighter curves in shorter portions, you’ll be at less risk of making errors than a longer cut, and this can be inaccurate. Use the free and otherwise wasted space on your material to complete these cuts.

Release Tension After Each Session

You want to increase the lifespan of your bandsaw and blades, that’s right? If so, you’d definitely want to read on.

It’s recommended to release the tension of your bandsaw after each use of the machine. If you’re done for the day – release the blade’s tension, and keep a note that it’s loose, so you’re prepared for working on your project the next day.

When releasing the blades, it’s also a good idea to utilize your blade tracking feature that your bandsaw most likely has.

Blade tracking has the important job of monitoring the lifespan of the blade, which will give you a clear indication on the quality of the blade can give you, as well as pinpointing any damages and preventing these from also occurring.

Clean Blades Regularly

Many people suggest cleaning your bandsaw blades after every use – yet this can be very time consuming, and frankly – it’s not necessary. Monthly or biweekly are fine intervals, but it’s also quite dependant on how often you use your bandsaw, the applications you cut – and the blades you’re using.

Certain blades build up resin and gunk more often than others, and when replacing the blades, it’s a perfect time to clean them.

There are a few options regarding what to use as a blade cleaner. Oven cleaners are great for this, and so is a degreasing agent.

You can also clean your blades in a simple, easy wash in soapy water – which is both the easiest and cheapest option available.

Fold Blades For Additional Space When In Storage

This is a tip for those with limited space in their workshops, especially if you have multiple bandsaw blades.

To create more space, simply fold the blades. This is also known as, ‘coliling.

To fold blades, it’s a simple, three-step process.

Firstly, you’ll want to use one hand to hold the blade in front of you, keeping the blade’s teeth pointing in the opposite direction.

This will create a loop, which you’ll need to place your foot inside of it.

After doing this, you’ll need to step on both the blade. As you’re still holding the top of the blade, you’ll need to simultaneously lower your hand as you slowly get lower towards the ground, and also rotate your hand whilst doing so.

There you have it, pretty easy don’t you think?

The Round-Up

Now, you’ll have more tips and tricks up your sleeve when you switch on your bandsaw next.

A lot of these tips are relatively simple to follow, and with such ease you’ll find that you’re working safer, with a bandsaw that is working to its full potential.

Of course, these are just some examples of tips and tricks you’ll learn, with many of those coming on the job.

Ask your friends if they follow any of these tips we’ve mentioned, and feel free to share them.

Speaking of sharing, if you have any additional tips you’d like to share – we’re more than happy to listen. Feel free to let us know of these in the comments below.

Related Questions

What’s the best way to increase the lifespan of a compact bandsaw?
Luckily for contractors and those who use compact bandsaws, these cordless versions are incredibly durable – built to last the rigors of the jobsite.

Maintenance of your bandsaw, replacing and cleaning blades and using the blade tracking adjustment features are examples of what you can do to keep your compact bandsaws working for years to come.

Plus, it’s always essential to clean the internal components of your compact bandsaw, which you can use a dust blower for.

Photo of author

Barry Gray

Hi, I’m Barry. I’ve loved woodworking and bringing things back to life for more years than I care to remember. I hope my passion for tools comes across loud and clear in everything you read here on The Tool Square.

2 thoughts on “How To Use A Bandsaw (Tips & Tricks)”

  1. I like how you suggested that you clean your bandsaw either monthly, biweekly, or whenever you need to replace the blades. I think that keeping your saw clean will stop it from messing up or getting caught on debris which could cause it to break. Thanks for helping people know when they should clean their saws for optimal usage.

    • Hi David,

      Thanks for your feedback and glad it hit a note with you. Cleaning your equipment should be one of the most important things you should do, as monotonous as it sounds.



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