Bandsaw Newbie-Refresher Course

A preventive safety course for bandsaw operators new to the machines as well as for those quite familiar with them.

All bandsaw operators should possess adequate knowledge of mechanics, materials, and most important — safety — prior to any cutting procedure.

Lack of experience combined with lack of knowledge will jeopardize not only the materials but the machine and worse, the machine operator.

Every bandsaw machine offers various operating features, and before using any particular machine, it is important to be familiar and possess a minimum of confidence prior to operating.

Aside from possessing thirty+ years of experience in a variety of shops and having operated countless bandsaw makes and models, there are several ways in which a less qualified bandsaw operator can gain confidence and knowledge.

Important factors that all operators should know:

Always review the owner’s manual before operating any piece of machinery. This isn’t as tedious as it is common sense — especially if it’s been awhile or rarely ever that the operator comes in contact with a bandsaw machine. Any bandsaw machine.

Always check the stock prior to cutting. Make sure the materials are securely clamped in place and that the guides are properly positioned and as close to the material as possible. Check twice-cut once type thinking that may seem OCD to everyone but the informed machine operator.



Always maintain a safe, clutter-free environment while also keeping a safe, distraction-free distance from a machine in motion.

Remove all unnecessary hindrances prior to starting any cut. The hi-lo, hard hat, work gloves, broken blades, and whatever else was discarded the night before need to be removed from the bandsaw area before starting work.

Make sure hair is tied back, clothes are secured somehow, and always wear safety goggles and work gloves — if it seems bothersome or time-consuming, then it is likely to be a wise safety precaution.

Prior to routine maintenance or end-of-day clean-up, make sure to unplug the power source and check that the machine is inoperable.

It is advised to use cleaning tools near the blade as opposed to the hands. Long handle brushes or a clever dusting devise attached to a handle work well and guarantees an accident-free job.

After daily/routine maintenance, double-check that all things moved or removed, set aside, or shifted for clean-up purposes are set back to their original positions so that next-day operation runs like clockwork.

Use of a welding torch on a bandsaw machine is not advised.

Electrical, air, and hydraulics lines can catch fire or fail due to excessive heat exposure. It is also a sure way to destroy vital mechanical components.

With regard to excessive heat, be sure to keep the motors free of obstructions, debris, and dust — unnecessary causes of excessive heat will prove to be costly as a result of neglect.

During the cutting procedure:

  • Safety glasses or shield visor will serve to protect eyes from all airborne particles
  • A face mask will protect the lungs from dust, especially during the use of a belt grinder
  • Appropriate clothing includes tighter fit, shorter length, or cover-alls over street clothing — jewelry, key chains, and anything dangling off the body (this includes a tie) can get caught in the machine
  • Use the vise instead of digits to hold material in place — bare hands are not an advisable form of firm grip
  • Respect the coiled (new) blade — they are packaged under tension and need to be cautiously uncoiled using work gloves
  • Do not operator heavy machinery under the influence: recreational drugs, alcohol, or any prescription or OTC medications that warn of risk — the warnings are clear and if ignored will prove dangerous

Bandsaw machine familiarization and sufficient understanding of the basics are key to gaining more knowledge and confidence. The operator will be using the machine daily and needs to consider potential hazards as well as proper procedure.

Automatic bandsaws can be just as hazardous as older, more manual types. Remaining alert while studying the ways in which the machine operates using a particular blade on a specific material will help avoid potential hazards while increasing skill.

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