Metal bandsaw user guide

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Shop Area: Metal Shop

Tool: Vertical Bandsaw

Requires in-person training: Yes 

Procedure Number

UG 130-14, Rev. 1




Wilton 14" Tradesman Model 8201VS

Vertical Bandsaw.png


  • 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 leave machine unattended during operation.
  • Always power off machine when not in use.
  • Never operate with unbalanced tooling.
  • Remove all tools (wrenches, chuck keys, etc.) from spindle and machine surface before starting operations; loose items can become dangerous projectiles.
  • Use adequate work clamping; loose workpieces can become dangerous projectiles.
  • Protect your hands. Stop machine:

- Reaching into any part of the machine motion envelope

- Changing tools, parts or adjusting the workpiece

- Changing belt/pulley position

- Clearing away chips, oil or coolant; always use a chip scraper or brush

- Making an adjustment to part, fixture, coolant nozzle or when taking measurements

- Removing protective shields or safeguards; never reach around a guard

  • Keep work area clear of clutter as machine motion can occur when keys are accidently pressed or objects fall on keyboard, resulting in unexpected motion.
  • Position clamping attachments clear of tool path. Be aware of workpiece cutoffs that could be cut free during operations and become dangerous projectiles.
  • Check for damaged and cease operations if detected; replace before re-starting operations as these can become dangerous projectiles. Chips and dust from certain materials (e.g., magnesium) can be flammable. Fine dust from normally non-flammable materials may be flammable or even explosive.
  • Chips, dust, and vapors from certain materials can be toxic. Always check the Materials Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for each material.
  • Do not overreach. Failure to maintain proper working position can cause you to fall into the machine or cause your clothing to get caught pulling you into the machine.
  • Keep guards in place and in proper working order. Do not operate the machine with guards removed.
  • Avoid accidental starts by being sure the start switch is OFF before plugging in machine.

Safety Instructions for Saw Blades

1. Always wear leather gloves when handling saw blade. The operator shall not wear gloves when operating the machine.

2. All doors shall be closed, all panels replaced, and other safety guards in place prior to the machine being started or operated.

3. Be sure that the blade is not in contact with the workpiece when the motor is started. The motor shall be started and you should allow the saw to come up to full speed before bringing the saw blade into contact with the workpiece.

4. Keep hands away from the blade area.

5. Remove any cut off piece carefully while keeping your hands free of the blade area.

6. Saw must be stopped and electrical supply must be cut off before any blade replacement or adjustment of blade support mechanism is done, or before any attempt is made to change the drive belts or before any periodic service or maintenance is performed on the saw.

7. Remove loose items and unnecessary workpieces from area before starting machine.

8. Bring adjustable saw guides and guards as close as possible to the workpiece.

9. Always wear protective eye wear when operating, servicing, or adjusting machinery.

10. The workpiece, or part being sawed, must be securely clamped before the saw blade enters the workpiece.

11. Remove cut off pieces carefully, keeping hands away from saw blade.

12. Saw must be stopped and electrical supply cut off or machine unplugged before reaching into cutting area.



Band Saw Features

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Operating Instructions

Saw blades

  • The Wilton 14-inch saws accept blades from 1/8- inch wide to 3/4-inch wide.
  • Narrow widths are used for cutting shapes or circles; the wider widths are used for straight cuts.
  • For straight cuts, use the widest available saw blade. A wide blade provides cutting stability, and allows for more accurate and straighter cuts.
  • Blade speed effects the efficiency of the cut and the service life of the blade.
  • Good shop practice requires that work-hardening materials, such as stainless steel, require the cut be completed in a single pass. Otherwise, the effect of stopping the cut can result in hardening of the cut interface.
  • Other materials such as wood require higher blade speeds to prevent fiber tearing.
  • The chart in Figure 6 provides suggested blade speeds for various types of materials.
  • The recommended speeds should be decreased 30 to 50% when using carbon steel blades.

(The chart provides speeds that are based on cutting a 4-inch thick work piece using a bi-metal blade without cutting fluid.)

Vertical Bandsaw Speed Chart.png

The following conditions should also be considered:

1. Increase speed 15% for materials 1/4-inch thick, 12% for 3/4-inch thick, 10% for 1 1/4- inch thick, and 5% for 2 1/2-inch thick.

2. Decrease speed 12% when cutting 8-inch thick material.

3. To avoid tooth breakage, select a blade-tooth pitch that will have two or more teeth in contact with the workpiece at all times.


Adjusting Blade Support/Guide Height: The upper blade support and guide mechanism can be adjusted to accommodate the height of the work piece.

1. To adjust the support, loosen the knob that clamps the support rod, then move the support up or down in its holder.

2. Adjust the support so there is space between the support and work piece. Space of approximately 1/8-inch is generally appropriate.

Adjusting Blade Tension: Blade tension is set by a spring loaded tension mechanism on the upper drive wheel. Check the level of the tension device before cutting. The tension for various blade widths as indicated on the casting on the tension device.

Vertical Bandsaw Tension and Tracking.png

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Adjusting Table Angle: (Refer to Figure 8.) The angle gauge is under the front of the table. The angle gauge shows the angle of the table relative to the saw blade. The table is mounted on trunnions that allow adjustment downward 45 degrees, and upward 10 degrees. Loosen the two trunnion lock knobs slightly to adjust the table angle and retighten the lock knobs.

NOTE: by adjusting the positive leveling stop on the table leveling mechanism, it is possible to tilt the table upward 10 degrees. When returning to 0 degrees, the table leveling mechanism must be reset after completing the sawing operation.

WARNING: When cutting at an angle with a tilted table, provide a guide against which the material being cut can rest. Cutting “freehand” at an angle, can result in injury and maintaining an accurate cut is it difficult.

Leveling Work Table: The table can be adjusted to level the table relative to the saw bleade. Use the following method:

1. Unplug the electrical cord or open the circuit breaker in the branch circuit.

2. Move the upper blade guide assembly to the very top of its travel.  

3. Make sure the blade is straight, and fully tensioned.

4. Loosen the table lock knobs and hold the table firmly against its positive leveling stop.

6. Using a machinist’s square, check to make sure the table is 90 degrees to the blade. USING LEATHER PROTECTIVE GLOVES, turn the upper drive wheel to check the squareness at a minimum of three points on the blade.

7. If the table is not level, unlock the lock nut on the table leveling bolt.

8. Turn the leveling bolt as required to make the table square to the blade.

9. Lock the leveling bolt lock nut and recheck the table level.

10. When the table is level lock the table lock knobs securely and recheck for level. Adjust as necessary until the table is level while everything is tightened to working tightness.

11. With everything locked down, look at the pointer for the angle gauge. It should be exactly on the zero mark of the gauge (Figure 12). If not, loosen the pointer screw, adjust the pointer until it is on zero, then tighten the pointer screw while holding the pointer securely in position on zero.

Adjusting Miter Gauge Slot Parallelism: The miter slot should be parallel to the side of the blade. If the saw is not cutting straight when using the miter gauge, the miter slot may not be parallel.

1. Put a straight edge against the blade. Make sure to position the blade so tooth offset does not affect the straight edge.

2. Measure from both ends of the miter slot to the straight edge.

3. If the measurements are not equal at both ends of the slot, loosen six bolts securing the table to the table trunnions (see Figures 12 and 13.)

4. Adjust the table until it is parallel with the blade.

5. Tighten the trunnion attaching bolts.

Adjusting Blade Speed: Figure 6 provides blade speeds for various materials. To adjust the blade speed, change the clutch position of the clutch (in or out) and the position of the drive belt on the pulleys on the motor and reduction gearbox shafts.

Adjusting Blade Speed: See Figure 9.

1. The blade speed is controlled by an adjustment mechanism on the right end of the saw. Speed increases or decreases as the knob is turned

2. A placard on the drive belt guard (shown below) provides recommended speeds for various materials.

3. A speed indicator is provided on the barrel of the adjustment mechanism. In surface feet per minute; Position 0 = 334, 1 = 262, 2 = 216, 3 = 171, 4 = 137, and 5 = 116.

4. Turn the speed adjustment knob to the desired setting as determined by the material being cut.

Vertical Bandsaw Variable Speed.png

Changing Clutch Position: Never attempt to shift the clutch mechanism while the saw is running. The saw must be turned off before clutch shifted.

1. Turn the main switch to off.

2. Pull the door open on the pulley case.

3. Turn the clutch handle clockwise and push in, to engage the high speed pulley drive. Or, turn the clutch handle clockwise, and pull out, to engage the reduction gearbox drive.

4. Close the pulley case door.

5. Plug the electrical cord into the power source or close the circuit breaker on the branch circuit.

NOTE: When pushing or pulling the clutch knob, the dogs on the clutch mechanism are being engaged. Take the time make sure the clutch handle is all the way in, or all the way out, so the clutch dogs are in full engagement when the saw is started.

Changing Drive Belt Position: The saw must be turned off and power disconnected before changing drive belt positions. Refer to Figure 9.

1. Unplug the electrical cord or open the circuit breaker in the branch circuit.

2. Open the door on the machine base and the door on the pulley case.

3. Push up on the motor to pivot the motor upward and slacken the drive belt.

4. Move the drive belt to the desired pulley position.

5. Release the weight of motor so the motor pivots downward. The weight of the motor is provide adequate belt tension.

6. Plug the electrical cord into the power source or close the circuit breaker on the branch circuit.

NOTE: Never force the belts to change pulley location without pivoting the motor to loosen the motor belt. Failure to do so can cause damage to the drive mechanism, and accelerate belt wear and possibly result in belt failure.

Changing Pulley-to-Belt Position: Never attempt to change pulley shaft positions while the saw is running. The saw must be turned off and power disconnected any time pulley shaft positions are being changed.

1. Unplug the electrical cord or open the circuit breaker in the branch circuit.

2. Open the door on the machine base and the door on the pulley case.

3. Push up on the motor to pivot the motor upward and slacken the drive belt.

4. With the motor drive belt loose, remove both pulley drive belts.

5. Both of the pulleys are secured to their shafts with two set screws. These are located in the bottoms of the V-grooves on the pulleys. Using a hex wrench, loosen (but do not remove) all four set screws.

6. Pull the pulleys straight off each shaft.

7. Put the lower pulley on the upper shaft and the upper pulley on the lower shaft.

8. Push the upper pulley firmly against the reduction gearbox and tighten the two set screws which secure it to the shaft.

9. Using a straight edge against the pulley flanges, make certain the bottom pulley is aligned with the upper pulley. Then tighten the two set screws that secure the lower pulley to the shaft.

Vertical Bandsaw Clutch to Pulley speed.png

10. Install the belts as required (refer to Figure 10).

11. Release the weight of motor so the motor pivots downward. The weight of the motor will provide adequate belt tension.

12. The weight of the motor should provide sufficient tension so the the middle of the small drive belt is displaced approximately the thickness of the belt. (The high speed belt is adjusted at the same time as the smaller belt.)

13. Set the drive clutch to the desired position (IN or OUT).

14. Close the access doors.

15. Plug the electrical cord into the power source or close the circuit breaker on the branch circuit.

Using Miter System: A miter gauge is provided with the band saw. The miter gauge slips into a slot in the face of the work table. The miter gauge can be adjusted from 0 to 45 degrees. Adjust the miter gauge as follows:

1. Loosen the clamping screw on the miter gauge.

2. Adjust to desired angle.

3. Tighten the clamping screw.

Using Rip Fence:

1. Unlock the fence by loosening the lock knob and handle.

2. Slide the fence on its guides until it is the required distance from the blade.

3. Tighten the lock knob and handle, slightly.

4. Using a machinist’s square, measure the distance between the edge of the miter slot and both the front and rear of the rip fence. Adjust so both distances are equal.

5. Check the fence-to-blade gap, again. Readjust the fence, if necessary, until the blade gap is correct and the fence is parallel with the miter slot.

6. Tighten the fence firmly using the lock knob and handle.


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                                 END OF THE PROCEDURE