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    How to Use a Bandsaw

    The bandsaw is an indispensable tool in a workshop.

    It cuts much smoother curves than a jigsaw, and it is the only tool that can slice a wide board through its thickness, called resawing, to make two thinner boards. And it is dead easy to use. You just steer the workpiece through the blade, following the layout line you drew on the wood.

    But a bandsaw has to be set up well to work well. Start by pulling the guides away from the blade. Then tighten the blade to its proper tension (usually there is a tension gauge on the bandsaw), and adjusting the upper wheel so the blade is tracking in the center of the wheel as you turn it by hand. Now you should set the blade guides so they are almost touching the blade, and set the thrust bearing (behind the blade) about 1/16 in. away from the blade. Last, check that the table is square to the blade.

    For good blade control, you should always adjust the upper guides as far down as the workpiece will allow.

    You are ready to cut. For curves, just follow a layout line. For straight cuts, use the rip fence that came with the saw. If your saw doesn’t have one, you can just clamp a straight board to the table. Start with the fence square to the table. If the blade wants to drift to one side or the other as you cut, adjust the angle of the fence to follow that natural drift.

    That’s all there is to it. Just use a sharp blade, and don’t push too hard. The blade will cuts at its own rate. A ½-in.-wide, skip- or hook-tooth blade with 3 teeth per inch (tpi) is a great all-around choice, but you’ll need a narrower blade for very tight curves.

    Put your bandsaw skills to the test with this small bandsawn box project:

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