Woodworking Essentials: Band Saws


A Better Way to Work: Part 5
By Marc Adams
Pages: 43-48

From the June 2008 issue #169
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I once toured a very large custom cabinetmaking shop and noticed that they had no band saws. When I asked the owner what his reason was for not having one of these saws, he responded by saying, “Band saws are for curves, and when we need to cut a curved line we use either a scroll saw or a saber saw.” I was shocked to think that a multi-million dollar manufacturer of wooden products did not have one of the most valuable and versatile tools in the shop.

As a matter of fact, I have since toured many production and home shops that do not have band saws either. How can that be? I think the band saw is one of the most versatile woodworking tools. Yes, it can cut curves and irregular lines, but that is just the beginning. Band saws can be used to cut thick materials, re-saw lumber, make compound cuts such as those used for creating cabriole legs, reproduce or make duplicate parts with a high degree of accuracy, cut a variety of joints including dovetails and mortise and tenons, cut circles, square notches, make angled cuts, and of course they can cut any type of a straight line – both with a fence and freehand.

The band saw gets its name because the blade that cuts the stock is a narrow steel strip where the ends have been welded together to form a continuous band. It is usually not the first machine purchased by the home woodworker, but it can be one of the most useful machines in the shop. Band saws are not typically used in the final milling process to make boards square or S4S (surfaced on four sides) but they can be wonderful tools to help cut rough lumber to length and width before starting the milling process.


From the June 2008 issue #169
Buy this issue now