How to Cut Wood Slabs on a Band Saw
Band saws, upright power saws with a thin revolving blade, are convenient and versatile wood shop tools, although the table on a , , Bimetal BandSaw Blades is not as large as that of a table saw--use band saws to cut thin-stock wood or thicker wood slabs, as opposed to large sheets of plywood. Use band saws to make cut rip, cross, angled and curvilinear cuts.
Read your owner's manual to determine the maximum cut depth for your band saw, and make sure your slab is not thicker than that amount (some band saws can cut thicknesses up to 6 inches).
Determine the type of blade recommended for the type and size of wood you are cutting and make the necessary blade adjustments. Blades with 8 teeth per inch (TPI) are usually recommended for wood 2 inches or thicker. If you are cutting a thick slab into several thinner pieces, a skip-tooth blade usually is indicated. (Thinner blades are better for cutting curves, while thicker blades will make the straightest cuts.)
Ensure the blade tension is set and that the blade is centered on the wheels. Adjust the tension by turning the tension knob on the wheel. The tension should be enough to keep the blade inside the wheel groove, but not so much that the blade is stretching and putting undue pressure on the wheel.
Mark lines, shapes or curves for cutting with a pencil.
Loosen the upper guide knob to adjust the upper guide so it sits 1/8 inch above the surface of the slab. Re-tighten the knob.
Set a guide fence and/or an adaptor block into the slot on the band saw table for guiding straight cuts (not used for curvilinear cuts). Set the fence at a particular distance from the blade for making measured or multiple cuts.
Place the wood slab onto the table, against the fence. Position your hands so they are on either side of the blade--not in line with the blade.
Turn the machine and gently push the slab through while keeping it firmly against the guide fence and block. Do not pull the slab backward at any point--keep pushing it forward. If not using a fence and block, use the pencil line to direct the blade.
Push the block all the way through to finish the cut. Do not remove support of the slab until the cut wood has cleared the blade. For thin cuts or any cut where one hand gets too close to the blade when pushing the cut through, use a push stick instead to push the slab through.