Band saws are powerful and precise tools that can be used in a wide range of jobs to achieve professional-standard results. As is the case with any piece of heavy machinery, however, great care must be taken to prevent injuries while they are used.
Here we will look into how to get the most from a band saw while remaining safe from harm.
What jobs can a band saw be used on?
Band saws are available in a range of sizes, from larger freestanding ones for the biggest of tasks, to worktop versions perfect for quick fixes.
They mostly work in exactly the same way, however, and are typically used for similar jobs.
- Cutting irregular or curved shapes into wood or metal
- Splitting larger pieces of lumber into more manageable sizes
So, now we know what we’ll be using our bandsaw for, let’s take a look at how to do so as safely as possible.
Take a risk assessment
Of course, you should take out a risk assessment before taking any kind of work involving power tools, whether you’re a DIYer or a professional tradesman.
For the latter, it is especially important and failing to do so could land you in significant legal trouble if something goes wrong.
There are many risk assessment templates available on the HSE’s website to help.
Always use the necessary guards
Back guards, wood mouthpieces and table guards should all be put in place before working with a bandsaw.
They will significantly lessen the chances of hands coming into contact with the blade and other moving parts of the machinery, as will using push sticks to move the cutting material into the blade.
Protective gear like gloves, goggles and helmets are also a must when reshaping or ripping wood/metal.
Only cut what is suitable
Smaller bandsaws will lack the power to cut through thicker blocks of wood or metal and attempting to do so could result in the malfunction of machinery as well as increase the chances of injury.
Before attempting any job using a bandsaw, refer to the machine’s manual to check that it is the right tool for the job.
Similarly, check that the saw you are using is suited to cutting the material you have. If not, find another tool.
Train staff regularly
If you are an employer, you may well be held accountable for any accidents in the workplace.
One way of mitigating this risk is to properly train staff members on how to use band saws and other items of heavy machinery.
And it’s not enough to simply train once and then move on. Set regular refreshers, perhaps every six month or so in order for the proper techniques to be reinforced across all staff members.