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Bandsaw Operator Guidelines

Operating a bandsaw machine isn’t always easy. Taking care of one isn’t, either. A bandsaw is a versatile machine that allows for cutting of a variety of different types of materials: wood, plastics, and steels for example. Proper use and maintenance are important.

If being professional is as important as maintaining quality output and increased production, then knowledge and safety should be second-nature to the bandsaw operator.

Actually reading the instructions that come with the machine is a start. Information about the finer adjustments necessary for proper cut are usually included. Failing to follow manual instructions — like setting the correct blade tension and properly adjusting the blade guide, thrust bearing, and side bearings — becomes a safety issue.

Risks are always greater without basic knowledge, and decreased machine performance means an increased risk of stripped blade teeth and band breakage.

By taking the time to read the owner’s manual, the machine operator becomes more familiar with the bandsaw. Recognition and understanding of the proper methods for safe cutting are achieved. A bandsaw is actually considered among the safest of power woodworking tools, and yet improper use or lack of basic knowledge can result in horrific safety blunders.

Bandsaws can be a fun and profitable experience, but only if used according to manufacturer’s instructions and with the right amount of knowledge at the onset of any cutting procedure.

Here are just a few of the precautionary guidelines for proper use of a bandsaw:

  • Make sure that all necessary safety precautions are taken
  • Re-adjust the guides every time the blade is changed to keep drift to a minimum when cutting
  • Make sure the blade guides both above and below the table are reset correctly
  • Invest in a chip brush to allow the blade to stay on track and help clear debris from the blade
  • Assess all power needs before buying a bandsaw rather than relying on the ability to upgrade later

And here is a bit of helpful advice, information, and know-how:

  • A bandsaw referred to in so many inches is actually a reference to the wheel diameter
  • Tires are the rubber covering on the wheel(s) and offers needed traction
  • Dust is a common problem and should be eliminated on a regular basis. A bandsaw with a dust collection port is a major plus factor when considering the purchase of a bandsaw, especially if the operator isn’t inclined to clean or until it becomes an issue
  • Taking the tension off the blade each time work ends is a good idea. It will prolong blade and tire life. A quick-release tension lever makes this practice even easier to achieve
  • The throat is the distance between the post and the blade, and on most bandsaws it is 13:5″. This affords re-saw capacity — the maximum distance between the upper guides and table. The more distance available means the more projects that can be accomplished with the bandsaw
  • Every bandsaw has a table that tilts 45° right and up to 15° left. Finding a table that will lock at the 90° angle is helpful, but finding a bandsaw with multiple lock settings is even better
  • Retain the manufacturer’s contact information, and make certain that the manual’s directions are clear and concise enough to be understood prior to using the bandsaw

A difficult-to-operate bandsaw is no fun and is more likely to cause safety issues in the workplace or at home. Take care of the machine by faithfully adhering to the necessary tasks involved in maintenance. Find time to read the owner’s manual or go online and discover the basics at the manufacturer’s website. This will give you an edge when it comes time to actually get some work done using the bandsaw machine.

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