4 Tips for Cutting Curves on a Band Saw
A quality band saw can offer woodworkers access to so many tools in one. Band saws are often looked over when performing the more complex curves and lines, but they needn’t be any longer.
The general rule of thumb is that the narrower the blade, the tighter the cut you can perform, so you might be tempted to go out and purchase a smaller blade to get these cuts, but that isn’t always necessary with a band saw.
According to Woodworker’s Journal, many people simply reach for the scroll saw to make tight cuts or complicated curves when it just isn’t necessary. With these simple tips, we can show you how to perform cuts with your band saw that will rival any cuts performed with a scroll saw.
1. Draw Your Lines Before Cutting
It can be tempting to work without a pattern in mind, but if you’re looking to perform tight cuts you’ll need to be prepared. Rather than drawing straight onto your material, produce accurate plans that you can print and transfer onto your stock. These plans can be transferred with a vinyl printout, spray adhesive or even traced with a pencil, but whatever method you choose, ensure that it’s done to scale.
2. Cut Your Stock Down to a Manageable Size
Many of us make the mistake of trying to perform a tight cut on such a large piece of material, making for a very difficult process. It can be near impossible to maneuver a massive band saw around a large piece of wood when trying to perform intricate cuts, so start with cutting your stock down to smaller and more manageable pieces.
3. Use the Power of Relief Cuts
When making a tight radius cut, your blade is more prone to binding. An old trick with woodworkers is to make a relief cut in their stock, preventing your blade from binding and drifting off the cut line. To do a relief cut, make a straight cut in your waste material right up to the line and then straight back out. This works well with any curve with a less than a 2-inch radius.
4. Cut on the Outside of Your Line
Once you’ve drawn your lines on, you should keep your blade on the waste side of your material. If you follow the line directly you’ll cause the thickness of the blade to cut into your preserved material and destroy your pattern, so stay on the outside of your line to avoid any errors.
With these four tips, you’re able to put your band saw to use in more ways than you ever imagined and perform complicated curves and tight cuts in your material. Once you’ve perfected the art of creating these complex cuts, you’ll spend less time finishing your product with sanding and polishing as you’ll have perfected the cut already with your saw.