Cutting on the Band Saw

The band saw is an all around tool. The band saw can be used to cut many different types of cuts that include: curved, irregular,
beveled, and straight cuts.
This will describes the proper way to cut a curved or irregular cut.


Controls: The controls on the circular saw in the materials processing laboratory consist of the following:

  • A magnetic power switch that must be reset if the power in the laboratory is interrupted. 
  • A knob to loosen the saw blade guard and guide block assembly.
  • A miter gauge for straight cuts. 
  • A handle to lock the table at the desired angle.
  • A blade tension knob on top of the saw.
  • A blade tracking knob on the back of the upper wheel guard.

Operation (Irregular or Curved Cuts): Irregular or curved cuts is when a
 piece of stock is moved around in a circular motion to make a curve or square.

  • First mark out the shape you want to cut on the stock to be sawed.
  • Make sure the cutting surface is clutter free.
  • Adjust the blade guard and guides so they 1/4" above the stock you are cutting.
  • Turn the saw on and start to make your cut, if the curve is too sharp you may need to make relief cuts to allow for clearance. 
  • Finish the cut and turn the saw off and wait until the blade comes to a complete stop before removing any scraps.

Stock is being pushed into the blade. Note the position of the hands and the blade guards height above the stock.

Again note the position of the hands away from the blade about 4". Only turn the stock while moving forward.

Potential hazards: Because the blade on the band saw is one continuous blade and for the speed that it goes the follow hazards exist.

  • Contact with the blade can cause serious injury.
  • Loose clothing can get caught in the blade.
  • The blade can break if twisted or pinched.

Safety practices: Because of those potential hazards the following safety rules must be followed.

  •  Only perform operations if you properly know how to use the machine.
  •  Make sure you are wearing safety glasses.
  •  Don't ware loose clothing that could be caught in the machine.
  •  Be sure to have a good hold of the stock.
  •  Make sure the blade is at the proper height 1/4" above the stock.
  •  Check the cutting surface for any foreign objects.
  •  Match the radius of the curve to the saw blade.
  •  Don't back out of long cuts
  •  Don't force the cut.
  •  Keep you fingers away from the blade, about 4î away.
  • Be sure to have firm footing. 
  • Check the saw to make sure it is in good working order. 
  • Make all adjustments with the saw turned off, and unplugged in cases where the blade is or could be touched.  
  • Turn off the saw to clear any materials from near the blade.
  • Avoid distractions, never look away during a cut. 
  • Do not allow others to crowd around the saw. 
  • Turn the saw off immediately if it does not sound right or if slivers of wood catch between the blade and table. 

Spence, William P., Griffiths, L. Duane (1981) Woodworking: Tools,
 Materials, Processes. American technical Publishers Inc. Alsip,

 Cliffe, Roger W. (1981) Woodworking Principles and Practices. American
 technical Publishers Inc. Alsip, Illinois.

ITT 252 - Materials Processing
Department of Technology
University of Southern Maine
Prepared by Jason Lanoie, 9/25/2001