Band Saw Cutting: Importance of Blade Speed Band Saw Cutting: Importance of Blade Speed

When it comes band saw cutting, as you would have guessed, speed plays an important role.  But is faster always better?

When to Use a Higher Speed

If you are using your band saw for industrial purposes (think cutting lumber at a lumber yard), then you are going to want a higher speed for your band saw.  The higher the speed, the faster you are able to feed the material through.  If you have a lot of material that needs to be fed and have a lot of experience using a band saw, then using a higher speed could easily be the best solution.  However, if you are not all that experienced, then you are taking the chance of having the material kicked back at you if you are not feeding it through fast enough.  This could pose a very dangerous risk. 

Detailed Woodworking

High speeds are not good for doing detailed work.  If you are making simple straight cuts, then have at it, a higher speed is fine.  However, if you are trying to round out the edge on the new shelf you are building, you are going to need a slower speed.  The slower speed allows you to work at your own pace.  However, if the speed is too slow and you work the material through too quickly, you will run into the problem of having jagged cut as you force the material through a blade that is not working at the same speed you are. 

Problems With Slower Speeds

Another thing to keep in mind is the fact that running your band saw at a speed lower than recommended causes the blade to make the cuts similar to those that would be made by a dull blade.  This could cause you to change your blade prematurely.  Before assuming the blade is dull, attempt to adjust the speed of the saw and see if using a higher setting will cause the blade to slice right through your material as well as before.

Best Time to Use a Slower Speed

In addition, when you are cutting thicker materials, you need to have your band saw set to a slower speed.  This allows the blade to work through the entire piece of material in an apt amount of time.

Safety First

Furthermore, although you might want to use a higher speed to fly through all of that lumber that you have to cut, keep in mind that a higher setting poses more safety risks than a slower one.  For instance, one little slip of the hand could result in the loss of a finger or two.  A thousand feet per minute is a speed that will allow you to get most jobs done safely.    

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