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How To Use a Horizontal Bandsaw (8 Quick And Easy To Follow Steps)

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The horizontal band saw is a common type of band saw fancied by many professionals due to its ability to cut through larger materials like big logs and timber.

The band saw holds its own when it comes to cutting power in the world of band saws which is why it is preferred by many. If you need a long-term power tool to cut through large masses of wood easily, then the horizontal band saw will be a good choice.

However, picking the horizontal band saw for your task is one thing, knowing how to use it for the same task is another.

There are tools needed and steps to follow when using a horizontal band saw. This article will highlight these tools and teach not just the easiest, but the safest way possible on how to use a horizontal bandsaw. Let’s get to it.

How Does a Horizontal Bandsaw Work?

The band saw is a power-tool that showcases the improved technological developments in cutting tools. The saw makes use of a thin long blade that is spun around repeatedly by wheels located within the saw.

Band saws can be used to make a myriad of cuts on solid materials ranging from straight cuts to design cuts. The horizontal band saw is a variant of the band saw largely accustomed to cutting thick and large materials into smaller bits that are suitable for tasks.

The horizontal band saw lowers on the material and uses a long blade to cut horizontally.

Read More — Best Horizontal Bandsaws

Important parts of the horizontal band saw

  • The safety guard: these guards guide and protect the blade. The guards are usually made of metal.
  • The table: this is the work surface of the saw where all the cutting happens.
  • The motor: this serves the same function as the motor on other saws. It provides power to the blade. The motor of the horizontal band saw comes in different power variations measured in “amps.” Be sure to get one that can provide sufficient power for your task.
  • Emergency stop switch: this allows the user to halt the cutting process while cutting. Think of this switch as a pause button on your TV remote.
  • Vise Clamp: this holds the material firmly in place so it doesn’t move around while cutting. The vise clamp is even more important when cutting round materials.
  • The lowering knob: this feature controls the lowering speed of the horizontal band saw meaning that you can simply adjust the knob to maintain a specific drop speed while cutting. This continues to lower the saw at that set speed until it cuts through the material. This means all you have to do is to keep watch of the cutting process to ensure nothing goes wrong. This makes the saw convenient to use.
  • Lift handle: this is located at the top of the band saw. It allows the user to lift the band saw so you can have access to the cutting area.
  • The blade: this is the sharp steel that does the cutting.

Read More — Different Types of Bandsaws

Tools needed to use the horizontal band saw

  • A ruler or measuring tape
  • A suitable blade
  • A pair of thick gloves
  • Hearing protection (earplugs or earmuffs)
  • Safety goggles

How To Use a Horizontal Bandsaw

Before we move on, it’s vital to ensure that the material you want to cut with the horizontal blade can be cut using that machine.

The wrong material will damage the material, cause a lot of noise, damage the blade, and lead to a poor result. Only cut materials thick and big enough for the machine.

Due to the advanced features that come with the horizontal band saw, the machine is easy and convenient to use.

All you have to do is set it up perfectly and switch it on. Features such as the lowering knob and vise clamp do all the work while all you do is supervise. Let’s go over the steps involved in using the machine.

Put on Your Safety Gear

Always ensure your safety. The thick gloves prevent your hands and fingers from cuts. The goggles shield your eyes from dust and debris. The earplugs or muffs block out the noise from the machine.

Mark The Material

As with all cutting processes, it’s important to know where you want to cut. Measure and mark out that part so you can get an accurate result.

Secure the Material With Vise Clamp

Place the material on the table and use the vise clamp to tightly hold the material down in place while cutting.

Most clamps have a lever that can be pulled all the way depending on the amount of holding pressure required to safely secure the material.

Ensure the part of the material you want to cut is exposed while securing the material with the clamp.

Loosen The Blade Guards

The guard knob is usually located on either side of the saw. The knob allows you to slide or move the blade guard-forward or backward. Gently turn the knob.

This allows you to move the blade guard so you can expose more or less of the blade depending on your task. Since you will be working on a large piece of material, it’s advised to move the guards backward (about 10-15 centimeters) to expose more of the blade so you can get more cutting action.

Turn the knob back in place tightly when you are done. Occasionally, you may experience the blade guard is about to come in contact with the material while cutting. Simply hit the emergency stop switch, turn the guard knob, move the blade guard backward again and continue cutting.

Read More — How to Fold Bandsaw Blades?

Turn the Lowering Knob

Turn the lowering knob to a degree that maintains the desired level of lowering speed while cutting. As the blade cuts through the material, the knob allows a consistent level of lowering speed thereby ensuring that the blade doesn’t just keep cutting a particular point but it cuts through and down. Ensure the drop speed isn’t too fast or too slow. Set it at that degree that feels just right.

Turn The Stop Switch

Rotate the stop switch. It is usually located near the power or trigger button. If you do not rotate the stop switch, the power button will not work, so rotate the stop switch to the right. If this is done correctly, the stop switch should pop out.

Read More — Best 14-inch Bandsaws

Push The Power or Trigger Button

When the stop switch pops out, push the power button and the blade will start running. Ensure you already set the lowering knob to the desired level before pushing the power button.

It’s also important to let the blade run before coming in contact with the material. When you push the power button, the blade will start running, then the hydraulics located at the rear of the machine will lower the blade based on the drop speed you selected. These parts all work together to ensure you get a perfect cutting result.


While using the horizontal saw, your main task is to keep watch on the cutting procedure at all times. If there is too much noise coming from the saw, or the blade guard hits the material, or something isn’t going according to plan, hit the stop switch, adjust whatever is wrong, and continue cutting until you get the result you desire. It’s that simple.

Read More — Horizontal Bandsaw vs Vertical Bandsaw

How To Get The Best Cutting Result With a Horizontal Bandsaw?

  • Always start slow
  • Make sure the blade is already moving before it comes in contact with the material.
  • Ensure you measure and mark out the points you want to cut on the material
  • Inspect all parts of the saw before cutting to ensure the parts are not damaged.
  • Ensure at least three teeth on the band saw blade is touching the material before cutting. If three or more teeth can’t fit on the material, it means the material is not fit to be cut by the horizontal band saw. Going ahead with that kind of task will cause the blade to start chipping. This will damage the blade of the saw which is rather expensive.

Safety Measures to Follow When Using a Horizontal Bandsaw

  • Keep all loose clothing and hair away from the saw
  • Always follow the instructions stated in the user’s manual
  • Use safety gear
  • Keep your fingers away from the blade at all times.
  • Always clean up your band saw after use.

Follow the steps and precautions above and you will have an amazing result. Be sure to leave a comment below and check out other articles on this website. Have a splendid cutting experience.

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We’re a team of engineers, contractors, technicians, and woodworking experts who use power tools daily and share fact-based information, tips, and recommendations. At thetoolgeeks.com, we debunk myths about power tools and share methods to use them effectively.

The Tool Geeks Team

We're a team of engineers, contractors, technicians, and woodworking experts who use power tools daily and share fact-based information, tips, and recommendations. At thetoolgeeks.com, we debunk myths about power tools and share methods to use them effectively.

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