What is a Band Saw and How Does it Work?

A band noticed falls into the “vital device” class for any serious woodworker. When generating peculiar or exclusive cuts, these saws have amazing versatility. While many saws can make similar cuts, none really compare to the ease of use of a band saw.

If you are asking yourself if a band observed is the appropriate selection for the next addition to your woodworking shop, this manual will supply all the information on what a band saw is and its best programs.

How Does it Work?

Simply place, a band saw is composed of a ribbon-like metallic band with enamel. On most designs, this band constantly rotates in between two wheels. The platform that you area the substance you’re reducing on moves up and down. So, the volume of uncovered blade is identified by how thick the content is.

Simply because of the modest dimensions of the cutting band, you can perform very intricate cuts. And you’re capable to be extremely specific due to the fact you have full management of the material you’re reducing on the system. For case in point, because of the blade’s overall flexibility, you can make ideal curved or spherical cuts.

There are a number of varieties of blades that we’ll get into in a small bit more depth below when we talk about where a band saw is utilised. But one particular point to keep in head when hunting at them is the various configurations. These configurations are established by how a lot of teeth the blade has—called tooth per inch (TPI).

Band saw blades
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What are the Different Types of Band Saw?

There are different band saws available that are suited for diverse programs:

General Application Band Saw

Usually, 1 band saw can reduce metal and wooden. Nevertheless, in most circumstances, you are going to want to adjust the blade. Due to the fact a metal a single will not lower wood very well and vice versa. Also, some blades have teeth on both sides of the band so that you can minimize in equally directions. These are usually identified in an industrial environment exactly where hefty-responsibility chopping is happening.

Vertical Band Saw

Vertical band saws are usually huge, flooring-mounted saws. The blade is run by a motor and belt normally, and the velocity can be adjusted relying on what you’re striving to minimize. A vertical band observed is at times referred to as a contour saw due to the fact of its performance at contouring.

bandsaw cut
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Horizontal Band Saw

The horizontal variation is also usually a ground-mounted saw. The only actual variation is that the blade turned horizontally. A horizontal band saw cuts down into the substance rather of keeping the material and working it around the blade. It is valuable for reducing massive pieces of substance like chunks of wooden or metallic piping.

Portable Band Saw

There are some smaller and far more workable band saws that are portable and have their very own stands, or you can get some that are even scaled-down and handheld. These are popular for doing work on the task site. For instance, plumbers will frequently use a handheld band noticed for trimming PVC or steel pipes to dimension.

close up bandsaw mill
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Benchtop Band Saw

Sometimes a much less high-priced option, if you do not want a entire-sized, floor-mounted band noticed, is a benchtop band noticed. Specifically as the identify indicates, it will mount on your workbench. These saws are available in both horizontal and vertical configurations. Some types are even similar in power to the massive, floor-mounted saw.

Where is a Band Saw Used?

Band saws are widespread in numerous various trades and work. Right here are a couple of of the most typical programs:

  • Woodworkers: Making unique and precise cuts on various types of wood.
  • Electricians: Cutting large cables or conduit piping.
  • Plumbers: Trimming plumbing pipes and PVC.
  • Millworkers: Cutting and trimming large pieces of metal to size.
  • Machinists: Contouring and shaping metal and other materials to create things.

The gorgeous thing about band saws is how flexible they are. Most times, all you require to do is swap out the blade, and you can do a various work with the saw.

portable band saw

Advantages of a Band Saw

There are many strong rewards when it will come to band saw use. Hold in head just since it’s an gain doesn’t indicate that a band saw is the only resource that can do the occupation, but in a lot of cases, it’s the best or least difficult tool to use.

Better Cuts

In numerous cases—especially with fantastic woodworking where everything is about the details—a band saw will make a faster and more exact lower. For case in point, a jigsaw can do many cuts that a band noticed can do. But the band noticed will be a straighter and cleaner lower due to the fact the blade cannot wander. And you will also be in a position to make the very same minimize as the jigsaw way more quickly.

Band Saw Uses

Less Waste

A band saw’s blade is considerably thinner than a desk saw or round observed. So, with every reduce, there is a minor bit less waste. A couple of sixteenths may possibly not look like a great deal, but for large parts of components, this may include up to needing to start off a new piece for 1 last lower.


Due to the fact a band saw has a minimum quantity of blade displaying, they are a really secure instrument. Of system, they are still a potent device that requirements appropriate education and protection precautions. But total, your probabilities of serious harm are reduced than a desk saw or jigsaw, for case in point.

Bandsaw Mill Plans You Can DIY Today


A significant pro to a band saw—as we’ve discussed—is their severe versatility. A band observed will minimize wood, steel, PVC, and numerous other components with the appropriate blade. That is not to say that other saws cannot cut a number of supplies, but the versatility is a bonus with the rest of the benefits.

Disadvantages of a Band Saw

For all the bonuses of utilizing a band observed, they have their limits. There are not a great deal of down sides to utilizing a band observed, even so, the handful of they have are significant and distinct. So, in some situations, you’ll uncover that a band noticed is not the right instrument for the work.

Size of the Material

Because of a band saw’s style, they are minimal in the dimension of the content they can lower. Distinct types have diverse changes, but if your band observed only opens up ten inches, the maximum dimensions of substance you can minimize is just beneath 10 inches.

Band Saw Uses
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Not Ideal for Straight Cuts

If you want long straight cuts (also known as rips), a desk observed or a circular saw with a guidebook are your ideal bets. A band noticed just is not made to make long rips.

Frequently Asked Questions: Band Saws

Are band saws and scrolls saws the same?

Each of these saws are very comparable in physical appearance and function. Even so, a scroll observed has a scaled-down blade and is made for really intricate work. Which is not to say that a band saw can’t do intricate perform, but this is the principal use for a scroll noticed.

Ryobi Portable Band Saw

Does the amount of teeth on the blade matter?

The far more enamel the blade has, the finer the minimize it will make, but the slower it cuts. You’ll want a blade with a large TPI configuration if you are performing good woodworking. This will make cuts that call for much less sanding to end.

Do I need a special blade to cut plastic or PVC?

If you normally lower wooden and you need to have to reduce plastic, most wooden blades will lower plastic just wonderful. The same goes with most steel blades. Nonetheless, you will most likely have to clear out the blade far more usually when slicing plastic since it will get all gunked up with melted plastic.


Band saws are tremendous handy tools. If you’re coming into into the trades or you are a passionate Do it yourself woodworker, the expense is really worth contemplating. Maintain in thoughts that even although they are extremely functional, there are still positions they are not suited to function on.


Showcased Graphic Credit: Benedek Alpar, Shutterstock