How to Use a Band Saw – The Basics

Unleash Your Inner Craftsman: Mastering the Art of the Bandsaw!

Hi there! Several years ago, my dad gave me his old band saw, which was amazing. However, I had no idea how to use it and for a long time, it just sat there collecting dust. But one day, I finally asked my dad to come over and teach me how to use the saw. It was an awesome experience and I can’t believe that I waited so long to learn how to use it. It is definitely my favorite power tool!

Now, I want to share with you how to use a band saw. Trust me, it’s super easy! I promise –  you’ll be amazed at how quickly you can get the hang of it. Let’s dive in and get started!

How to Use a Bandsaw - the Basics SANY1764

It is well known that the jigsaw and I do not agree on things. I get aggravated at it the same way it probably gets aggravated at me! Using the bandsaw has solved this problem for me. I can cut curves with ease and without the blade wandering! (Which cuts down on my frustration level!)

Band Saw 8


The bandsaw is just that – a long band that has teeth on it. The band runs on tensioned wheels and cuts through thicker (as well as thinner) lumber like butter! There are three different kind of teeth on the blades – regular, skip, and hook. The regular tooth is used for smoother cuts in wood. The skip tooth is used mainly for softer woods and is perfect for resawing lumber. The hook tooth is best for hard and difficult to cut woods.


Photo Courtesy of Rockler

Photo Courtesy of Rockler

There are also different blade widths. The narrower the blade, the tighter the curve can be cut. I use a 1/4″ 15 TPI (teeth per inch) regular blade in my saw.

Your band saw may not be the same as mine (I have a 12″ Craftsman) but the basics are the same.  Once you have your blade selected, install it according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Band Saw 2


For the blade to cut correctly, the tension will need to be adjusted. With my saw, I adjust the tension control knob until the blade width lever points to the correct width. Since I am using a 1/4″ blade, I set the tension for a 1/4″.

Band Saw 3

Band Saw 4

When changing the blade DO NOT start the machine until the cover is correctly in place! I replace the cover and make sure it is locked in place. I then set the upper guide until it is approximately 1/8″ above my lumber. The closer the guide is to the lumber without actually touching it the better – it will help in case the lumber jumps!

Band Saw 5


When starting to cut, start slow and do not force the lumber through. This can cause the blade to twist and wander off of the line!

Band Saw 6 Band Saw 7

In the next few weeks, I’ll be posting a couple more articles using the band saw. Remember – always use common sense safety practices!

Have any questions about how to use a bandsaw – the basics? Leave a comment below or contact me at cher {at} designsbystudioc {dot} com!

Originally posted 2013-03-05 08:00:10.


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