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Safe Bandsaw Operation

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Research shows that bandsaw machines are considered to be among the safest of all woodworking equipment. They are often considered to be the ultimate woodworking tool for cutting different shapes and angles. The risk of accidents still exists though, and no type of mechanical equipment can truly be considered accident-free or 100% safe to operator.

Guidelines and safety procedures need to be learned and implemented in order to achieve a higher safety standard inside any machine or woodworking shop — including a basement or garage set-up.

Improper use is a major safety concern, and this post will attempt to cover some of the issues along with providing helpful advice in order to gain better production output while maintaining a safer work environment.

First and foremost, be sure to wear the proper eye and ear protection. Make it a habit of wearing safety glasses at all times.

Bandsaw blades rotate at considerable speeds. Small pieces of stock can be propelled in any direction. If a blade breaks, there is a possibility for that piece to leave the material and fly in an unfortunate direction. If eyesight is valued, then taking chances with them should be out of the question. Wearing protective eye gear will help to avoid any unnecessary accidents.

At no time during any cutting procedure should the hands be closer than three inches from the bandsaw blade. One hand should be on either side of the stock to help ease the material through the blade. Never place hands directly in line with the cut, not even if it is more than three inches away. If holding the stock requires being closer than three inches from the blade, use a push stick to get the job done and not a hand or hands.

Never reach across the bandsaw. If the on/off switch is on the left, use the left hand to turn it on and off.

When using a bandsaw, there will often be very small pieces of stock that are cut off of the larger piece. Do not attempt to flick these away from the saw blade. Doing this increases the risk of losing a digit, or worse — the whole hand. Always use another piece of stock or a push stick; preferably with the blade stopped. This way there is less chance of being injured. The next cut will likely push the material safely away from the blade, but once it is clear, push it off of the table and never leave loose pieces that may end up clogging the cut.

With woodworking bandsaws, avoid distractions. If interruptions occur while making a cut, stay focused. Finish the cut or turn off the saw before concentrating on anything else. Injuries occur when the operator is distracted — even for a moment. Establish a do-not-disturb rule in order to avoid such instances from occurring in the future.

Be mindful to follow the basic steps in bandsaw usage in order to help avoid accidents and to assure the safety and health of workers.

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