10 carving tips for using a bandsaw
Friday 21 May 2010
Our woodcarving experts give their advice on how to use a bandsaw correctly and safely
Top tips from Peter Clothier
1. A clear workspace, good lighting and safety equipment is essential. Safety glasses are needed not only for protecting eyes from dust but also tiny offcuts that touch the saw can whizz across the workshop. Ear defenders not only protect your ears but also help to keep your concentration sharp during sawing. A push stick will keep your fingers well clear of the blade.
2. Folding bandsaw blades can be tricky. For a clear demonstration, go to
Top tips from Fred Wilbur
3. Select the proper blade for the thickness and species of wood. For the most part, smooth surfaces are not necessary, as much of the sawn surfaces will be carved away. I, consequently use aggressive blades.
4. The blade needs to be running perpendicularly to the table and tensioned properly. This should be checked with square and on a trial piece of the thickness intended to be cut. It is disheartening to believe one is following the top layout or pattern only to discover that the drift of the blade has skimped on the back side.
Top tips from Chris Pye
5. Blunt blades are the primary causes of bandsaw accidents: you push the work harder against a blunt blade and risk it jerking out uncontrollably when it leaves.
6. Blunt blades also cause excess wear to your machine and burn the wood. Remove a blunt blade from your bandsaw immediately and kink it up so you are no longer tempted to use it.
7. Buy the best blades you can, and always have replacements to hand.
8. New blades seem expensive, and not to last very long. Add a small sum to each carving towards new blades so you always feel you can afford them.
9. Rather than think about cutting just with the teeth, work from the back of your blade.
Top tips from Anthony Bailey
10. Setting up the blade carefully on the bandwheels and correct adjustment of the guides and thrust wheel is essential for accurate cuts.
11. Bandwheels get covered in chippings very easily and the case can get very full of waste. It is important to have extraction and ensure the bandwheel cleaning brush is correctly positioned.
12. When making a cut, keep your fingers well away from the blade. When a blade completes a cut, it can spring forward suddenly, especially during a forced cut with a blunt blade.