What is a band saw, and what are some of its uses? Read on and discover all that you need to know.

A band saw comprises a long blade fitted with a continuous band fixed to two or more wheels. You will often find them at workshops. But what are some of its uses?

This article discusses the top five uses of a band saw. We will also review the main types of band saws and their benefits.

What is a Band Saw?

A band saw is a powered saw consisting of a long blade with a continuous band that is fixed to two or more wheels. Band saws are indispensable in workshops because of their uniform cutting action. They can be used in a wide range of tasks.

While there are many bandsaw designs, the basic design upon which they are all built consists of two wheels connected by a belt. A motor is connected to one of these belts. The second one only provides support. The blades come in different sizes and materials, making these saws versatile.

Types of Band Saws

Here are the different types of band saws:

Head Saws

Woodworkers use these large band saws to make the first cuts. They got the name from the fact that they make that initial cut before you work on the material. They are often larger and more powerful. Head saws have teeth that are two to three inches apart. They also have silver teeth. In case you are wondering, silver teeth are used to wipe slivers before the blade contacts the material.


Resaws work best when cutting wood along the grain. Woodworkers use resaws in workshops to reduce large parts into smaller ones that you can work on or into veneers. Making veneers requires a wide blade with a small kerf to reduce wasted materials.

Double Cut

These band saws have cutting teeth on both ends. Typically, a saw with double-cut capabilities is large and suited for workshops. With such saws, you do not have to move the material you are working on to cut in the opposite direction.

Top 5 Uses of a Band Saw

  1. Cutting Curves and Circles

The primary use of a band saw is cutting curves and circles. You have definitely seen those satisfying videos of someone cutting a perfect circle. Chances are, they used a band saw.

What makes a band saw particularly efficient is the way it works. The band saw cuts downwards, meaning no dust and debris will obstruct your view. This is unlike when using a jigsaw or other saws that cut upwards and the dust keeps obstructing you.

The best thing is that you can stack and cut materials together. That way, you can do a lot quickly, while still getting smooth cuts.

2. Resawing Lumber

A band saw is perfect for splitting large pieces of lumber into smaller bits you can work on. Think of a situation where you want a half-an-inch thick piece of wood. The ones at your disposal are one inch thick. This is where the perfect resawing ability of a band saw comes in.

However, before proceeding to split, you must confirm that the table and the fence are at 90 degrees. You need a perfect right angle on your wood as well.

3. Cutting Notches

If you have ever tried to make a notch cut on a table or saw, you know it is not easy. Also, a table saw may make a perfect cut on the upper side. However, the lower side will suffer from unpleasant overcuts. This makes table saws ineffective especially when you are making something that will be visible on both sides.

Using bandsaw results in clean cuts with minimal overcuts. Since you have more control and the blade cuts straight downwards, you will get a clean cut. The cut edges may be rough, but sanding should do the trick.

4. Bookmatching Figured Wood

Bookmatching is when you split a piece of wood into two and fix the two parts together to get that beautiful wooden look. A band saw is perfect for this work as it cuts cleanly and gives you better control as you chop the wood.

5. Repurposing Scrap Wood

Working with wood means there will always be useless offcuts. You have probably seen such piles of wood at timber yards. However, you can easily repurpose these scrap wood into meaningful boards that you can use to make a beautiful item.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is TPI, and what does it mean in band saws?

The TPI is Teeth Per Inch. Saw makers measure TPI in band saws from gullet to gullet, not teeth to teeth. This number is related to the smoothness or roughness of the cut. Generally, a TPI of 3 to 6 is ideal for wood or other softer materials. On the other hand, metals require a higher DPI from 6 to 24.

What is the difference between a band saw and a circular saw?

A band saw is a powered saw that uses a long and continuous band to cut through materials, while a circular saw is a powered one that utilizes a circular blade that runs at high speed to cut through materials. The circular and band saw are essential machinery in a workshop.

What PPE do I need to operate a bandsaw?

To safely operate a band saw, you will require safety goggles, hearing protection, respiratory protection, and protective gloves. However, apart from these PPE, you must take safety precautions, such as keeping your hand off the blade. Don’t pick anything below the working table when the saw is on.

Check out our article on PPE to see what we recommend.

Final Thoughts

A band saw is an essential piece of equipment in any workshop. It features a long blade with a continuous band fixed to two or more rotating wheels. Some regular band saw uses include cutting curves and circles, resawing lumber, cutting notches, bookmarking figured wood, and repurposing old scrap wood.

As you work on your tool, remember that safety is paramount. Always wear protective equipment and refer to the user’s manual for clarification.

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