Band saws are especially useful for cutting irregular shapes. The radius of a curve that can be cut on a particular saw is determined by the width of the band: the narrower the band, the tighter the curve.
Band saws can also handle thicker stock than most table saws or radial arm saws, and can cut thin veneers effectively.
Their only disadvantage is that they require more a lot of set up. Different operations call for different blades and each time a blade is changed the saw has to be tuned to that particular blade. Professional workshops usually end up with a large machine for heavy work and a smaller machine with a narrower blade for fine work.
Bench-top band sawsThese can be mounted directly on a workbench or on their own stands. Their compact size makes them suitable for small workhops and light scroll cutting.
Floor-model band saws
SpecificationsHorsepower: the maximum power produced by the motor. Saws with high horsepower ratings are good for pattern cutting and cutting down thick stock. Higher horsepower also allows the saw to cut through thick stock without bogging down or burning the wood.
Throat capacity: the distance between the saw's blade and the frame. This ranges from 8" to 36". The size of the throat determines the maximum width of the saw's cutting capacity. Saws with wide throats allow you to make wider straight cuts and scroll larger pieces without the frame getting in the way. Choose at least a 14" model if you plan to do much resawing as the smaller models are a bit too light.
Blade width. Most saws accept narrow 1/8" blades for cutting detailed designs and tight curves. Better saws also accept wider blades, up to 1". Wide blades don't flex as much as narrow ones, but they make accurate straight cuts in thick stock quicker. There are also some wide blades available that can cut metal.
Band saw bladesBand saw blades are classified by width, number of teeth per inch (tpi), rank angle, and material composition. When selecting a blade, remember to match the blade width to the type of cutting you are doing.
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