My husband was in the construction business for many years. He had a lot of tools in his workshop, and some of them were very helpful when I began woodworking several years ago. I quickly found that there were some different tools I would need in order to complete my craft projects other than the ones he used in his construction business. My first purchase included a bandsaw and a scrollsaw.
One important thing to keep on hand when you do craft woodworking is extra blades. Scrollsaw and bandsaw blades break, and there is nothing worse than being in the middle of a project and having a blade break with no spare on hand. Since blades are relatively inexpensive, I always keep at least two replacement blades for the bandsaw. Scrollsaw blades typically come in packages with several blades; the ones you keep on hand will depend on the type of blade you use the most.
You can buy a bandsaw for a couple hundred dollars, or you can spend over a thousand, depending on your budget. I bought a relatively inexpensive benchtop style bandsaw and a metal bandsaw stand; the saw is easily bolted to the stand and it is very sturdy. You can purchase bandsaws in floor standing models, as well.
If you can afford it, some bandsaws offer an attachment which collects all of the wood dust. Dust collectors typically come with a hose attachment that hooks up to the bandsaw. If you don’t have one of these attachments, you’ll have more clean up to do, and you may want to wear a mask when cutting to avoid inhalation of the dust. Some woods are treated with chemicals which makes the dust dangers for you to inhale.
Other safety concerns when using a bandsaw are your eyes and ears. Wood chips and dust can damage your eyes, and the noise of the motor can damage your hearing. Protective eye goggles and ear plugs or muffs.
Important considerations when selecting a bandsaw is the throat and depth of cut. The depth of cut determines the thickness of the stock you can cut on the saw; it is the distance from the saw’s table surface to the upper blade guides. Some saws with a small depth of cut offer an optional riser attachment that allows you to cut thicker stock.
The throat of the saw is the measurement from the sawblade to the back vertical section of the saw frame. This measurement determines the width of the cut you can make on your saw. A saw described as a 14-inch bandsaw is referring to a 14-inch throat measurement.
Some people new to using a bandsaw think it is going to cut curves with a great deal of ease. Bandsaws are great for cutting curves, but it requires a bit of practice at first until you learn how to make all the proper cuts required to complete a deep curve. If you try to cut a deep radius curve the wrong way, you’ll end up forcing the blade to bend and maybe even break.
Another consideration that comes into play when cutting deep curves is that you are limited by the depth of cut and the throat. This means you may have to maneuver the stock in specific ways in order to complete your cut, depending on the size of the stock you are cutting.
Be sure to read the instructions so you know how to properly adjust the blade tension. It is important to open the saw case regularly and clean out the sawdust that accumulates inside; an air compressor works great for spraying out the inside.
Lubricate the saw parts as a regular part of maintenance as noted in your saw instruction manual. Check all parts regularly for wear and replace any that become worn or damaged.
If you saw makes unusual noises or vibrates, turn it off and check everything thoroughly to make sure everything is tight and properly aligned. Operating a saw in an improper condition can cause even further damage.
A bandsaw is a wonderful addition to your crafting workshop. As with any tool you purchase, maintain it properly and use it as directed for many years of use.