One of the most versatile saws in any workshop, the band saw replaces many different saws simply by changing the blades. Used to cut anything from wood to metal pipes and straight lines to curves, it provides the craftsman with a unique power tool that will see a lot of use.
Practice safety first. As with all cutting tools, the operator must wear safety goggles to protect the eyes from debris.
Use the correct blade for your project. For straight cuts, choose a wide blade and switch to a narrow blade when you need to cut curves. Use only metal blades when cutting metal.
Control the feed of the wood even if your band saw has rollers. Allowing the rollers to pull the bulk of the wood reduces your control and accuracy. If the piece is too large to handle smoothly, allow the rollers to feed but keep tension on the edge of the board with your hands for accuracy.
Inspect the adjustable guards before cutting a piece with varying heights. The self-adjustment should ride up and down easily with the contour of the wood. The last thing you want is to break a blade in the middle of a thick cut. Adjust the screw tension before you begin the cut.
Remove the wood before installing a new blade if you break one. You will have to re-cut the same line with the new blade, but attempting to start the saw in the middle of a cut can throw the wood, leaving a notch and damaging the new blade.
Check the chip texture and size when cutting. Too much pressure into the saw will result in chips that are singed and heavy. Chips that are powdery and fine indicate too little pressure. Use a steady and controlled pressure for the best results.
Read the instructions that came with your metal blade for using fluids when cutting metal. Bronze and cast iron do not need fluids but many metals cut better with them.