Band Saw

Band saws are power tools that incorporate a blade that consists of a metal band with blades or teeth along one edge. The blades are mounted on two pulleys, one of which stays idle and the other is driven by a motor. Today, band saws are one of the most commonly used devices to cut various workpieces in workshops around the world. With band saws machines you can produce a consistent cutting action as a result of the evenly distributed teeth that are used for the cutting process. Band sawing is primarily for cutting wood, acrylics and other similar materials. The most common use of band saws is to cut irregular shapes and curves in materials, including dense sheets and strong metals.  Most workers in the woodworking and metalworking industries rely on band saws, but they are also great tools to cut various other materials. Because they can cut straight or irregularly, they are hand-held tools and are extremely versatile band sawing devices. In this article we will discuss band saw types, applications and also take a look at different band saw machine blades.

Band Saw Types and Applications

Band sawing has expanded to a wide variety of applications and customers, from amateur carpenters to commercial lumber yards. After its introduction in the 19th century, the improvement made by band saws has made this power tool still of great importance and practicality in modern workshops.

Metal band saw

Metal band saws are suitable tools for tasks involving smooth metal cutting. Such band saws are split into two styles, horizontal or vertical, depending on the type of saw you want to cut. For straight cut or reduced metal size, horizontal band saw machines are the ideal choice. You should opt for a vertical band saw if you really care about high precision processing such as filing, polishing and creative cutting. 

Wood Band Saw

Thanks to their flexibility wood band saws are the most commonly used type, not surprisingly especially in woodworking. Small wood strip saws are typically used in factories, and wood mills use large models as they can cut the wood quickly and easily. Unlike other devices, wood strip saws can handle large pieces of wood and are thus suitable for commercial grade band sawing operations.

Vertical Band Saw

The vertical band saw machine remains stationary as the piece moves through the blade, making it unique to the method of horizontal band sawing. It helps the saw to make dynamic cuts and curved lines as well as straight regular ones. Vertical band sawing also comes with an integrated welder, which helps the user to make their own blades or repair old and damaged blades.

Horizontal Band Saw

When a band saw cuts through a workpiece, a horizontal band saw is very different from a vertical band saw. When the saw blade of the band saw swings downward through the incision, the material will remain in a fixed position. These machines are ideal for cutting wood and cutting quickly and accurately, but they cannot create any complex curves or shapes.

Portable Band Saw

The portable band saw is a multifunctional tool that allows you to carry the instrument with you. Portable band saw machines can be suitable for professional carpenters working in various places, or for home carpenters who want the flexibility of using their tools. The compact hand saw can perform any operation that other models can perform, including straight edge cutting, curved edges and irregular shapes. They do have an extra battery pack, which means you don’t always need a direct power source to operate them. Due to their mobility, these saws can naturally be used to cut railway sleepers and even metal poles, and can be used with main bodies of larger workpieces that may be difficult to transport.

Band Saw Blades Choices

Band saw blades are such diverse tools because of their unique skills in handling a piece of work. For band saw machines, using only one type of blade is never an ideal choice. You should have a series of blades that can meet various items and various band saw prices. You will find various types and sizes of saw blades on the market. All of them have various uses. Band saw blades are classified by the number of teeth per inch, the thickness or gauge of the blade, and the width of the blade. Generally, the thinner the edge, the finer the curves you are going to carve during band sawing operations. Unlike other saws, blades with smaller teeth are ideally suited for metal cutting. If you want to cut wood, use blades with larger and fewer teeth. However, you can find larger blades for larger band saws.

Capacity & Radius

When choosing a band saw blade, the maximum capacity that the band saw can hold and the minimum radius to be cut are the two most important factors. Please refer to the manufacturer's instructions first. If you want to re-saw, bevel or cut off, use the maximum blade width of the band saw. In this way, the cutting surface can be kept neat and beautiful, and a good feed speed can be obtained without breaking the blade. At the other end of the grating ruler, if you want to perform contour sawing, use a blade narrow enough to cut the required radius.

Blade Thickness

It is also important to choose the correct blade thickness. Continuous bending, heating, and cooling can cause metal fatigue and eventually failure. The thickness of the blade depends on the diameter of the grinding wheel and the work to be done. Thicker blades can withstand the greater cutting strain caused by straight cutting, but are more likely to break due to bending and twisting actions. A thinner blade can easily accomplish this job. The table below shows the ideal blade thickness for various wheel diameters.

Number of Teeth

For any form of precision cutting, the rule of thumb is to retain at least three teeth in the material at any given point in time. This improves stability and precision and is ideal for cutting metal and wood. Using coarse-toothed blades to re-saw and cut through tougher materials. For general wood cutting work of general 3/4 inch products , please use four teeth per inch (TPI) blades for rough and quick cutting, and 14 TPI blades for slower and smoother cutting. TPI blades in the range of six to eight TPI will have decent overall efficiency. The same rule holds when you are cutting wood or metal. Using a finer blade for thinner metals and plastics within a quarter of an inch.

The Band Saw Table

The type and size of the table on the saw are also important. The larger the table, the easier it is to hold and guide the sawn timber through the saw. The table should also be able to be set to an angle of up to 45°. One use of this mode is to remove the corners of large turning blocks when turning on the lathe to speed up the cutting speed. Most band saws also come with fences for re-saw cutting and miter gauges for cross-cutting saws. Band saws do vibrate, and regardless of desktop or floor model, they should be carefully built in a sturdy chassis. The desktop model should be bolted, tightened or fixed on a solid surface. Many of the band saws produced today are fine to be used the way they are straight out of the box from the manufacturer. Optionally, you can get riser kits for certain saws to improve the depth of cut. And more detailed blade guides are also available as post-market add-on solutions. However, if you're buying a high quality saw, you actually won't need these things to begin with.

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