How to Use a Portable Band Saw

What You'll Need
Protective Gloves
Hearing protection
Eye protection
Proper band saw

A portable band saw is a good option for when you cannot bring your metal to a shop for cutting. A typical portable band saw can cut a pipe up to four inches in diameter. If you choose a large capacity model you will be able to cut stock up to six inches thick. In order to properly use a band saw you need to know what size you will need. If you are uncertain of the size you're cutting, or if the material has proven to be very tough, then go with the large capacity model.

Step 1: Safety and Preparation

Go over the machine you've rented. You will need to familiarize yourself with that particular model. There are speed switches as well as a trigger for starting the machine. You should also understand that holding the two handles while the machine is cutting is essential to a straight cut and to your safety.

Step 2: Change the Blade

Your blade needs to be sharp enough to cut through the material you're using. If you need to change the blade, there is a tension release handle on the forward end of the saw.

Step 3: Using the Saw

Unlike some other power tools, the saw blade should be firmly against the metal before starting up the machine. Ensure that the shoe of the saw is in contact with the stock you are working with. The best method for using the band saw is to keep it in place and not move it. The saw allows for light pressure but will not respond well to being forced through a job. The blade can catch or the saw can stall if too much pressure is exerted.

Step 4: Finish the Cut

When you are almost to the end of the cut, keep a tight hold on the saw. You should anticipate that the saw may jerk or buckle when it approaches the end of a cut. Work your way through the cut and watch to make sure that the debris will fall to a safe place.

Step 5 – Wait Patiently

After your cut is complete you will need to release the trigger and wait for the saw blade to stop moving. Once it has stopped moving, you can move to your next cut or place the saw on a stable surface. Do not set the saw down while it's still moving; it can pull dirt and debris into it, causing the pulley mechanisms to malfunction.

Using common sense and safety precautions cannot be stressed enough when you are using the band saw. There is no cover on the blade and loose items, as well as fingers, can be sucked into the machine - causing damage to yourself or the machine. Metal and concrete can be cut all day long with these portable saws, but your fingers can be gone in an instant without the proper precautions.