Band Saw Safety Instructions


A band saw is one of the most useful tools in any wood shop. The narrow blade can be useful in cutting curves of retailed work, but can also be used for larger jobs. However, as with all tools, band saws can be dangerous unless safety measures are followed. Following general safety guidelines and knowing how to operate a band saw can make it a safer and more useful tool.

Basic Guidelines

Many of the safety instructions for using a band saw apply to other tools in a wood shop as well. Always make sure the area around the saw is clean and clear of and debris before turning on the saw. Tripping on scrap wood is one of the most dangerous hazards in a wood shop. Always wear safety goggles or eyeglasses with side shields to protect from sawdust or other airborne objects. Finally, know the location of first aid equipment in case an accident does occur.

Safe Use

Before using a band saw for the first time, read the owner's manual and familiarize yourself with its operation. Most band saws have a plastic or metal guide that covers the blade and will slide away when wood is inserted to be cut. Never remove the blade guide except to change the blade and with the machine unplugged. When cutting, lay your wood flat on the surface of the table and feed it slowly away from you into the path of the blade. Never force the wood into the blade, as this can flex the blade and cause it to break. Use a push stick (a piece of scrap wood) to keep your hands away from the blade when working with small pieces of wood or when completing a cut. Make relief cuts from the edge of the wood to the shape you wish to cut. This will allow small sections to fall away as you cut the final design and prevent the blade from being twisted as you turn the wood during cutting. Never back the wood out while the blade is still running. If you must back the wood out, turn off the saw and wait for the blade to stop moving before carefully removing the wood. Many of these precautions are intended to guard against breaking the blade. If the blade does break during use, turn the machine off or unplug it as quickly as possible. Inspect the blade on your band saw occasionally and check for any cracks or corrosion. Replace the blade if necessary, remembering to unplug the machine before doing so.

Keywords: woodshop safety, how to use a band saw, procedures for safe woodworking

About this Author

Dennis Hartman is a freelance writer living in California. His work covers a wide variety of topics and has been published nationally as well as online. Hartman holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in film production from Syracuse University and a Master of Arts from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

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