Published at Monday, November 12th 2018. by Alaine Mercier in Industrial Machinery.
Band saws do not create a thrusting or throwing sign near the operator. Instead they have pinch points. Since the cutting act of the blade is created through a downward motion, all cutting forces are engaged toward the table. This all but removes kickback near the operator. It can, however, pull the inventory, especially small off cuts, through the throat plate toward the bottom guides. This in turn could possibly break the blade, damage the throat plate, wreck the guides and throw off the tracking, any of which could create risk to both the machine and operator. So what should you do with all those small off cuts? It is tempting to tap them away with another slice of wood or with your fingers. However, this would put your pointers within the 3″ rule – which is in violation of protection rule number 1. These small off cuts cause no harm until you put them in motion. More than likely, the next slice of wood to be cut will push those small slices out of the way. When the last cut is total, wait for the blade to come to a total stop before removing any off cuts next to the blade.
It is also significant to know that the blade on a band saw will only cut on the front edge and not the sides or back. Since the sides and back have not at all teeth, wood that comes in contact with these parts of the blade will not be cut or pulled in any direction. Even if the sides or back of the blade do cause some kind of force to the inventory, it will be minimal and more than likely not cause any risk. This is where some confusion comes in with the guides. The guides do not act as guards. Remember, the guides retain in close proximity to the side and back of the blade, yet they leave the business side of the blade totally exposed.
In order for a band saw blade to cut, the inventory must be pushed or pulled into the descending teeth on the blade's front edge. Band saw blades will not cut inventory that is idle. The cutting action requires that the inventory be placed in motion toward the rotating teeth. With inventory sitting flat and supported on the table, it is fine to “let go” of the inventory to reposition your pointers while cutting. Once you stop pushing, the cut at the point of contact stops. This protection feature allows the operator to always be in control of the cutting action/motion.
It is not recommended to do sculptural labor, round or unsubstantiated freehand cutting on the band saw without providing some kind of control below the labor. For example, round inventory at the point of contact is unsupported, which in turn can cause the inventory to start to spin and be pulled into the blade. I recommend that a V-block be used to support all round inventory to prevent this from happening.
Although it is not advisable to do sculptural labor on a band saw, there are deliberations that must be taken into account when doing this type of cut. It is significant to set your labor on the table to create the least amount of angle or “tip” between the inventory, the blade and the table. When cutting lumber that is “tilted” off the bench, the sustenance is gone and the blade will need to grab the lumber and slam it toward the bench.
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