Simple, Easy Woodworking Guide for How to Use a Band Saw

A man uses a band saw to make an intricate and precise cut in a piece of wood

A band saw consists of a band of steel with a serrated edge that rotates along two wheels. It is a must-have tool for any skilled woodworker. Band saws can cut curves and shapes in wood. They can even be used to cut other materials like metal.

A man uses a band saw to make an intricate and precise cut in a piece of wood

What is a Band Saw Used for?

You can use a band saw for a number of different woodworking projects. It is a very versatile tool which is a great addition to anyone’s woodworking shop. You can use band saws to complete the following tasks:

  • Resawing wood
  • Cutting circles in wood
  • Cutting pieces of wood simultaneously
  • Making straight cuts
  • Cutting pieces of meat

​Band saws are run by electric motors​, and are great for residential projects ranging from metal cutting, wood cutting, construction, meat cutting, and more.

​A top rated bandsaw will allow you to make a variety of cuts with ease and convenience.

Types of Band Saws

Band saws come in all sorts of different shapes and sizes. They each have their own uses. Since they can be used for all sorts of different projects, this makes them a versatile and handy tool to have. If you’re wondering how to use band saw, you’ll first need to know what type of band saw you need.

Metal Band Saw

If you’re cutting through metal, a metal band saw is the ideal tool to use. Metal band saws come in vertical/horizontal forms. If you are cutting stock down, you should use a horizontal metal band saw.

Polishing and contouring jobs are more likely to be finished with vertical band saws. You can use metal band saws to cut pipes, cut metal stock down, file and polish metal, and more.

Wood Band Saw

​Wood band saws are generally the more popular choice among most woodworkers and can be used for large pieces of timber. ​

A Jet bandsaw sits in a workshop garage

​There are three types of saws located inside a wood band saw which are all used for different purposes:

  • Head saw
  • Resaw
  • Double cut saw

The head saw makes the first, deep cut. The resaw cuts wood into smaller sections. The double cut saw, which has cutting teeth placed along both of its sides, can cut through any type of material without sticking.

Woodworkers love bandsaws as they allow them to take on a multitude of projects that they otherwise wouldn't be able to.

Meat Band Saw

how to use meat band saw

Meat band saws are used for cutting different types of meat and are usually made of stainless steel. These types of band saws cut with extreme precision and can even cut through bones.

Meat band saws, if not used correctly, can cause injury. This is why only skilled professionals should use them.

Horizontal Band Saw

The horizontal band saw is used by both professionals and amateur carpenters. These types of band saws can be used to cut longer materials down to size. They are generally not recommended for cutting shapes or curved lines.

Horizontal band saws hold the material you are cutting as the blade makes the cut. They also offer great precision and are much quieter to use than regular band saws.

Another benefit of a horizontal band saw is that once the machine has completed the cut. It automatically turns off. This makes it much safer to use.

You can use horizontal band saws to cut wood, metal, plastic, and more.

Vertical Band Saw

A vertical band saw, unlike its horizontal counterpart, has a saw which remains in a stationary position. It stays in position as the workpiece moves through the saw blade. Vertical band saws are great to use when you are cutting complicated and curved shapes. They can cut precise, straight lines as well.

Vertical band saws are extremely versatile tools you can use for both complicated and simple lines. If you're looking for ease, speed, and precision in a band saw, the vertical band saw is an ideal choice.

Portable Band Saw

Portable band saws are a great tool to use on the go. If you travel to several different locations to complete work and often have different jobs on the go, it is the perfect tool for you. Portable band saws can cut curved, straight, or complicated lines and shapes and are very versatile.

If you’re wondering how to use a portable band saw, it is very similar to how other band saws work, except that it is portable. This makes it very handy and convenient to use.

Portable band saws use the same technology as other types of band saws. A portable band saw has a continuous band of metal which is pulled along wheels. That is how it makes its cuts. Portable band saws are also great to use on pieces of material that are too large for regular band saws.

Portable band saws are a great option because you can use them to cut through material that you can’t necessarily get into your workshop. You can also use portable band saws to work with large materials that are too big to fit on your regular band saw table. They can also cut through pipes and metal for a clean, smooth cut.
A man uses a band saw to cut wood for a DIY project

How to Use a Band Saw


If you’re wondering how to use band saw, it’s not as difficult as you may think it is. How you use one and the difficulty which comes with it with depends on the project.

Before you start using your band saw, make sure it is adjusted properly. You can find directions for the proper adjustment in your owner’s manual.

You must also ensure the blade is tensioned, so it tracks properly and doesn’t break. Make sure you are using the correct blade for the material you are cutting. 

To ensure the blade is properly tensioned, revolve one of the wheels to check that the blade is tracking. You must do this only when the machine is unplugged.

The tension of the blade will determine if the blade tracks. If the tension is too high, there is a chance the blade will break. Once you have made sure the blade is tracking, check that the blade guides are properly adjusted.


When you are using the band saw, make sure you are wearing safety glasses. If you have just purchased your machine and are using it for the first time, try doing a few practice cuts before you start. Always get to know your machine before you use it.

Some band saws have one speed while others come in varying speeds. Check your speed indicators on the sides or back of your machine before getting started. You should generally use a faster speed when cutting soft materials, and a slower speed with harder materials.

Once you check your speed, mark your measurements. After marking the measurements on the workpiece and setting your speed, feed the material you are cutting through the machine. You can do this either manually or with a powered feeder depending on the machine you are using.

Grab the material, align the measurement with the blade, and always make sure your hands and/or any loose clothing are away from the blade's path. Push the material in line with the blades and cut through.

​Types of Band Saw Cuts


To resaw a piece of wood (cut it into a smaller piece), lower the saw to the material’s height.

After starting the blade, feed the material into it, applying a little bit of pressure onto the wood.

Cut Circles

If you're looking to cut a circle with the bandsaw, adjust the foot of the saw to the appropriate height and cut the wood around the circumference of the circle.

Sometimes it can be hard to determine whether to use the bandsaw or the jigsaw for cutting circles. The bandsaw is more accurate, the jigsaw is more convenient.

A man uses a band saw for woodworking

Multiple Pieces

If you’re wondering how to use a band saw to cut through multiple pieces of wood at the same time, it’s actually quite simple. First, stack the pieces you are cutting together and secure them with tape.

After adjusting the band to the appropriate height, feed the wood through the blade just as if you were cutting a single piece.

Safety Measures

You should also always remember that safety comes first in any type of DIY project. Working with blades can be dangerous, so always take proper precautions. Always be sure to wear safety goggles and safety gloves.

Cutting a straight line with a band saw isn’t always easy. This is why you always have to make sure the band saw blade is tuned so it doesn’t swerve.

You also need to make sure the blade doesn’t touch the guide. There should be a tiny amount of space between the blade and the guide, small enough to fix a small index card.

Make sure the band saw’s table is lubricated so the blade can cut smoothly through the wood.


Now that you know the basics of how to use band saws, you should determine what type of band saw you will be using. You’ll also need to determine the size and scope of your project.

When using any type of band saw, minimize the amount of loose clothing you are wearing. You don’t want anything that can get caught in the blade. Lastly, get to know the machine you are using before you get to work so you can be comfortable with it. Test it out with a few practice cuts and always read the owner’s manual before getting started.

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