What is a table band saw and what does it do?

Posted on Jun 15, 2021

Table Band Saw

A table band saw is an automatic sawing machine. It is a multi-point machine that cuts materials in preparation for other processes. Such a tool is so useful that most woodworking and metalworking shops have at least one. Craftsmen and hobbyists find light-duty table band saws useful for their work. Heavy-duty band saws on the other hand are advantageous for industrial purposes.

Unlike portable power saws, table band saws are placed on a worktable or a benchtop to work. They are also known as benchtop band saws as a result. These machines are versatile because they can create custom curves and contours in a workpiece. Though used mostly for woodworking, they also have applications in metalworking and lumbering. In fact, table band saws can work with more materials such as stone and plastics. So how is a table band saw constructed and how does it work? Let's take a look.

Table Band Saw Construction

Table band saws come in different designs and configurations, but in essence, the components these machines all share are the band saw blade, the wheels, and the work surface (worktable).


Band Saw Basics (Wood Magazine)

Band Saw Blade

There is a flexible blade band on a table band saw. The band has a serrated cutting edge and is usually made of stainless steel or steel-based alloys. The blade features such as thickness, width, and teeth configuration vary. These specifications determine the cutting results. The band is attached to two wheels to work.

Top Wheel and Drive Wheel

The band saw blade travels between a top wheel and a drive wheel. The drive wheel is connected to a power source (typically an electric motor). As the drive wheel spins, the blade runs accordingly. On the table band saw, the two wheels are positioned facing each other vertically, with the drive wheel below the worktable and the top wheel above the worktable.


The worktable is set between the top wheel and the drive wheel and the blade goes through the worktable. It is where the workpiece is placed. When the workpiece is pushed towards the saw blade, the blade cuts the workpiece apart. The table band saw cuts various contours and curves on the workpiece since the machinist can move the workpiece freely on the surface.

What are the types of Table Band Saws?

People categorize table band saws into two types: vertical band saws and horizontal ones. The vertical band saws have the wheels and blade oriented vertically and the work surface lies between the wheels. The horizontal saws have the wheels oriented horizontally and the work surface positioned below the cutting unit

When it comes to operations such as contouring, slotting, or cut-off, the vertical band saws are the better choice. Horizontal band saws, on the other hand, are the type of band saw that commonly serve as an alternative to a device called a hacksaw. They are less versatile than vertical saws but ideal for bulk cutting operations.

:: Read More: Introducing Horizontal Metal-cutting Band Saws


Is a Table Band Saw a Table Saw?

No, they are two different tools It is not rare that people mistake table band saws for table saws, but they are actually two different machines. The table saws use a circular blade instead of a band saw blade to cut. The circular blade is mounted on the table and protrudes from the work surface. It is connected to a motor with an arbor. The machinist pushes the workpiece toward the blade to cut.


Fig. Woodworking Table Saw


Table saws are able to achieve cuts with different depths in the workpieces by adjusting the height of the blade. However, the table saws are less versatile than the table band saws because of the circular blade. The circular blade does not allow table saws to perform contouring and curving. In addition, compared with table band saws, they generate more chips and noise during operation.


Advantages of Table Band Saws

The table band saw is capable of achieving great precision in the cutting of the workpieces. It can carry out intricate contour cuts (with the right blade). It is also suitable for ripping and crosscuts. There are safety accessories such as blade guides and safety guards, etc., that ensure a hazard-free operation for the machinists.

Disadvantages of Table Band Saws

However, the table band saw also comes with several limitations. For example, the table band saw is considered to be the type of equipment that can be very dangerous if not handled in the proper way. Besides, the table band saw is also the type of equipment that is specially designed to deal with the larger workpieces, which makes it difficult to work on intricate details.

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