Band Saw User Guide

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Shop Area: Woodshop

Tool: Band Saw

Requires in-person training: Yes 

Procedure Number

UG 110-01, Rev. 1

Date

1/10/2021

GENERAL

A guide to perform wood splitting; cutting curves, circles, and notches using a band saw.

There are two woodworking Band Saws:

  • Rotary International Bridgewood PBS 440: 16 inch vertical bandsaw
  • Rikon 10-326: 14 inch vertical bandsaw

Screenshot 2021-01-03 115553.png Screenshot 2021-01-07 104207.png

SAFETY

  • Always wear approved safety glasses or face shield while operating the equipment.
  • Before operating equipment, remove tie, rings, watches and other jewelry, and roll sleeves up past the elbows. Remove all loose clothing and confine long hair.
  • Non-slip footwear or anti-skid floor strips are recommended.
  • Closed toe shoes are required when working in a shop area.
  • Do not wear gloves while operating the equipment.
  • Make all machine adjustments or maintenance with the machine unplugged from the power source.
  • Do not attempt to saw boards with loose knots or with nails or other foreign material, on its surface.
  • Adjust the upper guides about 1/8” to 1/4” above the material being cut.
  • Check for proper blade size and type for the thickness and type of material being cut.
  • Make sure that the blade tension and blade tracking are properly adjusted.
  • Always keep hands and fingers away from the blade.
  • Make “relief” cuts before cutting curves to eliminate blade binding.
  • Always hold material firmly, resting flat on the table and feed it into the blade at a moderate speed.
  • Never attempt to saw stock that does not have a flat surface, unless a suitable support is used.
  • When cutting small work pieces, always use a push stick, holding jig or other device to keep your hands safely away from the blade. Use ‘Zero Clearance Inserts’ to prevent small pieces from becoming jammed in the table insert or lower blade guides.
  • Always allow the band saw blade to stop before removing scrap pieces from the table.
  • Do not remove jammed pieces from the saw until the machine and blade has stopped. Unplug the band saw from the power source, and then remove the jammed work piece.
  • Always turn off the machine if the material is to be backed out of an uncompleted cut.
  • Use extra supports (roller stands, saw horses, tables etc.) for any work pieces large enough to tip when not held down to the table top surface.
  • Remove material or debris from the work area. Keep work area neat and clean.

REFERENCE

 

PROCEDURE

  • Assure proper blade selection for the desired cut.
  • Power cord to be disconnected when blade tuning (tracking and tension) and setting up the band saw.
  • Assure that blade tension is appropriate for desired cut.
  • Use blade guard and guides.
  • Assure the table tilt is correct for desired angle of cut.
  • Assure that the blade is turning at full speed prior to initiating a cut.
  • Don't force the piece being cut into the blade – let the blade cut.
  • Avoid over stressing the blade when cutting curves, added stress or turning of the piece could break the blade.
  • For tight curves, consider using the scroll saw or CNC router.
  • Assure proper clamping and holding the wood when cutting.
  • Use guides, fixtures, and pushers
  • Do not attempt to saw twisted, warped, or bowed stock unless one edge has been jointed for guiding purposes prior to sawing.
  • Do not attempt to saw long or wide boards unsupported where spring or weight could cause the board to shift position.
  • The blade cuts on a continuous down-stroke. Never start the saw with the workpiece in contact with the blade.
  • With both hands, firmly hold the workpiece down on the table, and feed it slowly towards the blade, putting only light pressure on it, and keeping your hands away from the blade.
  • Keep your hands and fingers away from the blade. Use a push stick whenever working close to the blade.
  • For best results, the blade must be sharp. A dull blade will not cut correctly, especially when straight cutting, and causes excess pressure to be applied on the rear guide bearings.
  • Select the right blade for the job, depending on the thickness of the wood and the cut to be made. The thinner and harder the wood, the finer the teeth of the blade should be. Use a fine tooth blade for cutting sharp curves.
  • The machine is especially suited for cutting curves, but will also make straight cuts. When cutting, follow the design marked out by pushing and turning the workpiece evenly into the blade.
  • Do not attempt to turn the workpiece without pushing it, as this may cause the workpiece to get stuck, or bend the blade.
  • For straight cuts, use the fence to feed the workpiece along the blade slowly and in a straight line.


Tension: draw a line across a piece of scrap wood. Attempt to cut along the line. If you have trouble following the line or the blade wanders back and forth across the line, your blade might be too loose. The blade should flex no more than 1/4 inch when you push it sideways.

Dull Blade: If you've tightened the blade sufficiently and the blade still wanders, you might have a dull blade. Test the sharpness of the blade by cutting into a piece of scrap wood. If you have to use excessive force to push the wood through the blade, or you see wisps of smoke coming from the wood or the blade, it's probably dull. If the teeth are burnt with dark tips, the blade needs changing. The blade should be replaced if the ends of the teeth are bent or blunted.

Blade Tracking: Turn on the saw and observe the blade as it travels down through the slot in the top of the table. The blade should be centered in the slot. If the blade is too far forward or too far back, or even rubs at the front or back, it means the tracking is off and needs adjusting.

Cleaning: If you've adjusted the tracking properly but the blade will not stay centered inside the slot, it probably means the wheel needs cleaning. Depending on what you've been cutting -- pine is a likely suspect -- sawdust mixes with resin and clings to the blade. As it travels around in a circle, the sticky sawdust packs onto the wheel, causing a buildup. The buildup causes the blade to wander back and forth inside the slot. Remove the blade and use a putty knife to scrape off any packed sawdust, dirt or grime from the wheel until it's clean. Wipe off the blade and install it, turn on the saw, and readjust the tracking.

TROUBLESHOOTING

Tension: draw a line across a piece of scrap wood. Attempt to cut along the line. If you have trouble following the line or the blade wanders back and forth across the line, your blade might be too loose. The blade should flex no more than 1/4 inch when you push it sideways.

Dull Blade: If you've tightened the blade sufficiently and the blade still wanders, you might have a dull blade. Test the sharpness of the blade by cutting into a piece of scrap wood. If you have to use excessive force to push the wood through the blade, or you see wisps of smoke coming from the wood or the blade, it's probably dull. If the teeth are burnt with dark tips, the blade needs changing. The blade should be replaced if the ends of the teeth are bent or blunted.

Blade Tracking: Turn on the saw and observe the blade as it travels down through the slot in the top of the table. The blade should be centered in the slot. If the blade is too far forward or too far back, or even rubs at the front or back, it means the tracking is off and needs adjusting.

Blade is tracking forward on the lower wheel toward the door, follow these correction steps:

1.) De-tension the saw blade.

2.) Loosen 9 o’clock shaft bolt to take pressure off the shaft.

3.) Loosen 12 o’clock shaft bolt one half rotation.

4.) Tighten the 6 o’clock shaft bolt until the shaft touches the 12 o’clock adjusting bolt.

5.) Lock all three shaft bolts.

6.) Re-tension the saw blade and set the upper wheel to plumb by adjusting the tracking knob. 7.) Spin the upper wheel by hand and track the blade.

8.) Repeat if further adjustment is necessary.

Blade is tracking on the rear of the lower wheel, away from the door, follow these steps:

1.) De-tension the saw blade.

2.) Loosen 9 o’clock shaft bolt to take pressure off the shaft.

3.) Loosen 6 o’clock shaft bolt one half rotation.

4.) Tighten the 12 o’clock shaft bolt until the shaft touches the 6 o’clock adjusting bolt.

5.) Lock all three shaft bolts.

6.) Re-tension the saw blade and set the upper wheel to plumb by adjusting the tracking knob. 7.) Spin the upper wheel by hand and track the blade.

8.) Repeat if further adjustment is necessary.

Blade is moving back and forth (wobbling) follow these steps:  First, check the band saw blade to insure that it has been welded correctly, so that the blade’s back is in proper alignment - flat (if it is laid down on a table surface). If the blade is welded true, then adjustment to the wheel hub on the rear of the band saw is required.

1.) De-tension the saw blade.

2.) Loosen 6 o’clock shaft bolt to take pressure off of the shaft.

3.) Loosen 9 o’clock shaft bolt one half rotation.

4.) Tighten the 3 o’clock shaft bolt until the shaft touches the 9 o’clock adjusting bolt.

5.) Lock all three shaft bolts.

6.) Re-tension the saw blade and set the upper wheel to plumb by adjusting the tracking knob. Spin the upper wheel by hand and track the blade.

7.) Start the band saw and check blade movement.

8.) If movement has diminished then continue with the adjustment.

9.) If movement is worse, reverse the adjustments in steps 3 and 4.

Blade is tracking forward on the lower wheel toward the door, follow these correction steps:

1.) De-tension the saw blade.

2.) Loosen 9 o’clock shaft bolt to take pressure off the shaft.

3.) Loosen 12 o’clock shaft bolt one half rotation.

4.) Tighten the 6 o’clock shaft bolt until the shaft touches the 12 o’clock adjusting bolt.

5.) Lock all three shaft bolts.

6.) Re-tension the saw blade and set the upper wheel to plumb by adjusting the tracking knob. Spin the upper wheel by hand and track the blade.

7.) Repeat if further adjustment is necessary.

Cleaning: If you've adjusted the tracking properly but the blade will not stay centered inside the slot, it probably means the wheel needs cleaning. Depending on what you've been cutting -- pine is a likely suspect -- sawdust mixes with resin and clings to the blade. As it travels around in a circle, the sticky sawdust packs onto the wheel, causing a buildup. The buildup causes the blade to wander back and forth inside the slot. Remove the blade and use a putty knife to scrape off any packed sawdust, dirt or grime from the wheel until it's clean. Wipe off the blade and install it, turn on the saw, and readjust the tracking.

Screenshot 2021-01-10 104639.png


                                         END OF THE PROCEDURE