How to Make a Plywood Throat Plate for Band Saws

It is surprising how important is a tight throat plate to ensure successful sawing on the bandsaw. A  throat plate with a narrow kerf that flanks the blade neatly will prevent small wedge-shaped parts that separate during the sawing process from jamming the blade.

Our Grizzly Band saw came with plastic throat plate that had unusually wide kerf. This plate agonized us for a long time, that is until I decided that it is time to make a replacement. I used plywood and cut the circular plate on the band saw. Then I shaped a rabbet around its circumference to allow it to sit flush with the band saw table top surface. Once the plate was ready, I cut the kerf.

The main advantage of plywood for throat plates is that you can easily rehabilitate it even after the kerf had been widened up or became longer with use. To do so I take the plates out, affix a strip of masking tape over the top surface, turn it upside down and pour epoxy into the wide irregular kerf. After the epoxy cures, I reintroduce the plate to the band saw and behold – the new-old throat plate had been re-born. Sure it is possible to spend a few dollars and buy an aftermarket plastic throat plates, (although it might not fit into every bandsaws model out there), but these plates cannot be restored as most likely it would be very difficult to have the epoxy adhere to the plastic surface.  

For this reason, I believe it’s worthwhile to spend some time and make your next plate from MDF or Plywood.

– Yoav Liberman


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Yoav Liberman

About Yoav Liberman

Yoav S. Liberman is a woodworker and a teacher. His pieces have been featured in several woodworking books, most recently in Robin Wood’s CORES Recycled. Yoav teaches woodworking at the Rudolf Steiner School in Manhattan, and also frequently guest teaches in craft schools across the country.  Between 2003 and 2011 Yoav  headed the woodworking program at Harvard University's Eliot House. Yoav’s articles have appeared in American Woodworker and Woodwork Magazine. He frequently contributes woodworking web content to a number of digital publications   Yoav has a degree in architecture and later held two competitive residency programs: at The Worcester Center for Crafts in Massachusetts, and the Windgate Foundation Fellowship at Purchase College, New York. He lives in Chestnut Ridge NY.

7 thoughts on “How to Make a Plywood Throat Plate for Band Saws

  1. scoff1@gmail.com

    I turn a blank my my lathe, turn the tenon that fits in the drop in portion and part off the top. If it’s proud I just touch it on a belt sander.
    I do multiples this way.

  2. Jim Dee

    Very good! But you don’t address the one aspect of the job I’ve struggled with: cutting the kerf in the insert. I have come up with a couple methods for keeping the circular workpiece straight as it’s cut, but I’d like to hear about yours. I have fastened the new throat plate to a square piece of scrap and used that to guide it along a fence. I have marked a pencil line and cut to that freehand. I have trapped the circular blank between two parallel fences and done my best not to let it rotate as I hold it down with a good, sticky push stick. But all these methods seem either too involved or too imprecise to me, and I’d like to hear how you do it.

    1. Yoav LibermanYoav Liberman Post author

      Hi Jim,
      I salute to your creative mind. All your approaches seems to have been much more solid than mine. When I made my throat plate I just eyeballed it as I was sawing the kerf freehand. If I were to make make my next one I would probably to the following:
      1. I would make a plate-blank strip, wider then the diameter of the plate.
      2. Then I would tuck it against the bandsaw’s fence and push it forward to cut a short kerf that equal the plate’s radius. Now turn the saw off.
      3. Then retrieve the blank to the point that the full diameter of the throat reveals itself. With a pencil I would indicate the diameter on the blank and then I would draw parallel lines emanating from the two pencil marks down the blank.
      4. Next I would place the old plate in between the two lines and scribe the circumference line. Lastly I would saw the plate around and make the rabbet.
      Let me know if this make sense and if you would like to give this script a chance. If it works (for you) better than the other methods and you have images to share, I would be happy to feature them in this blog.
      Best,
      Yoav

      1. Jim Dee

        Thanks! That makes sense to me. I will give it a try, though it might be a year or so before I need to.

    2. scoff1@gmail.com

      Double stick tape the disc to a rectangular scrap with a straight edge. Stick it on the left side the scrap lined up with its edge. Move the fence so that it’s align with the bandsaw throatplate left side of the circle edge. Run the scrap through so the disc is cut half way or so and pull it back out and it should be lined up with the blade perfectly.

      1. Jim Dee

        I like it. I especially like that this approach automagically compensates if/when the blade isn’t centered on a circular throat opening.

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