Band Saw Tune Up and Calibration Tips

How to Keep Your Band Saw Running Smoothly and Cutting Cleanly

The band saw is the ideal woodworking machine for cutting curves in wood. The premise of a band saw is simple: a single, endless loop of a think blade with teeth on one side of the blade that is stretched between two wheels. The board to be cut is placed on a saw table with a hole in the center through which the looping band saw blade travels. The operator simply pushes the board though the blade, rotating the board as it passes through the blade to complete the cut.

In actuality, there are a lot...MORE of various parts necessary to keeping a band saw cutting smoothly and accurately. Here are the basics of what you need to keep your band saw in tip-top condition, along with a couple of bonus articles for using your band saw.


  • 01 of 06
    Changing a Band Saw Blade
    Changing a Band Saw Blade. (c) 2015 Chris Baylor

    There are a variety of different band saw blades, for making various types of cuts. The general rule is, the narrower the blade, the more tight of a radius on a curve that can be cut by the band saw. Very wide blades are typically used for resawing lumber into thinner veneers. In any case, the steps for changing to a different band saw blade are the same, which are covered in detail in this step-by-step article.


  • 02 of 06

    How to Replace a Band Saw Tire

    An Open Band Saw
    An Open Band Saw Cabinet. (c) 2015 Chris Baylor

    A band saw has two large wheels that drive the band saw blade and keep it on track. Each of the two wheels has a rubber or urethane tire that keeps the blade in place and protects the teeth for longer life. Over time, much like the tires on a car, the tires on a band saw need to be replaced for improved performance. Here are the steps required to change the band saw tires on your machine.


  • 03 of 06
    Band Saw Guide Blocks
    Band Saw Guide Blocks. (c) 2015 Chris Baylor

    The guide blocks on a band saw are designed to keep the blade from deflecting as the board is passed through the blade. The blocks are easily adjustable for various sizes of band saw blades, but they do wear out over time due to friction between the blocks and the blade. This article covers the steps to replace your band saw guide blocks and keep your blades tracking properly.


  • 04 of 06
    Band saw in use with debris
    princessdlaf/Getty Images

    Most quality band saw tables are made from cast iron. A cast iron table is sturdy, solidly heavy and provides a great base for making a stable cut. However, cast iron is very susceptible to rusting, which can not only inhibit the ability to push a board accurately through the saw, but can also leave rust stains on the wood stock. By keeping your saw table clean and properly protected, you can cut more easily with your band saw. Here are some tips for keeping it clean and protected.


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  • 05 of 06
    Woman using band saw
    Getty Images

    Making accurate cuts with a band saw requires some skill that can be developed with patience. It also requires a bit of know how, understand the basics of how a band saw cuts and what movements will allow the saw to cut smoothly and easily. This article covers the basics of cutting curves with a band saw.


  • 06 of 06
    Modular Wine Rack
    Modular Wine Rack. (c) 2006 Chris Baylor

    Once you have the basics of using your properly-tuned band saw down, you'll want to move on to building a project or two. Here are some sets of free woodworking plans that will get you started. You can read the step-by-step articles and download measured drawings that will help you turn the plans into a reality. In this list, you'll find plans for a modular wine rack, knick-knack shelf, hardwood book stand, classic wooden toolbox and more!