Tool Use : Band Saw

The band saw in a shop can see multiple use where many see resaw and cutting curves.  It is true that those function are some core operations that can be done with this saw, but ripping can also be done, specially on rough sawn boards.  And by the nature on how the saw operates, is probobly one of the safest to do ripping cuts with.

My main saw in my shop is the band saw that i baught about 3 years ago. I ultimatly baught a Laguna Tools LT16 3000 Series 16″ band saw.

Now when I say that it is my main saw in the shop, is that I do not currently have a table saw, which in many shops, is the centerpiece of the shop. Now this was a concious decision.  I did own a table saw before making this move and made sure I could operate without it.

So here is how I do a few operations :

Ripping

Most of my ripping activities are done on the Band saw, either with rough stock or to bring to close dimensions.

  • I have to agree here that this not the best tool for a finish quality cut.  For the time being, something I can live with as I can clean up the edge very quickly with a hand plane.

So far, with the 3 hp motor, ripping most of the woods have been a breeze.  I do adjust with the cut, but with a coarse blade and the motor, ripping has been pretty easy so far.

Resaw

Well, this is an easy one, where choosing the 16″ helped the process as this was one of the reason that I baught a “larger” bandsaw, was the ability to resaw lumber and not loose too much to planer/jointer dust.  Capacity has not been too much of an issue as most of the boards do fit within the resaw capacity.

Get a sharp coarse blade and you should be golden to do re-sawing. This will do most of the work.  The larger gullets will get the dust out and this is the main secret for better cut quality.

Quite Frankly, this is the reason why I got a bandsaw so that I could buy thicker boards and slice to the proper thickness needed for a project.  Rather plan to reuse the wood for something else (up to a point) versus seeing the same wood going into dust.

Dust Collection

Dust collection on the model I chose is pretty good, offering 2 x 4″ dust ports to collect the  dust.  One if right under the table and the other is right at the bottom of the bottom compartment.  It does a pretty good job and getting most of the dust out.

Guides and adjustment

Laguna has been pretty notorious for there guides and block.  The installed them on both the top and bottom doing a pretty good job at support the blade where it is needed.

Adjusting for the drift is pretty easy with the adjustment knobs to center the top wheel.  I sit on the side of adjusting the drift based on keeping the resaw guide parallel to the slots on the table and adjusting the camber of the wheel on top until all is cutting straight.

I put a pretty large blade (3/4″), again mainly for resaw and rips.  I don’t do my detail work on the bandsaw, at least on this bandsaw.  I can’t saw that I have had to do a lot of work with detail work or curved work yet that would require to put a smaller blade.  So far, I’ve been proficient with a jigsaw with a fine blade and faring the curve with sand paper.  This could change in the future, but so far, I have not seen the need.

Other

As I mentioned, this pretty much became my biggest stationary saw in the shop.  I did sell my table saw in the process and I do miss some of the function, mainly for longer rips with a finish cut right off the saw.  I don’t get this in a “one step” pass on one tool.

Joinery operation is limited, or at least I can’t do as many operation on one single tool.  This is why I looked if I had other means to do the operations and I had an answer for pretty much all the questions.

 

All in all I am very happy with my choice and really don’t regreat it.