Many people think portable bandsaws are just good for decorative cuts, but they are actually a lot more versatile. These tools are not just useful for woodworkers, but can be helpful for steelworkers, plumbers, and craftsmen of all kinds. They are versatile enough for several uses, some of which you may not have considered.
Let’s take a look at the various uses of portable bandsaws, and understand when they should be preferred over other options.
How Are Stationary and Portable Bandsaws Different?
Bandsaws come in various shapes and sizes such as stationary and portable bandsaws. They can be horizontal or vertical in shape and are designed according to the material and type of cut that needs to be made.
A stationary bandsaw is a floor-standing tool that includes a table to support the workpiece. Stationary bandsaws come with either vertical or horizontal structures. Horizontal bandsaws contain a sharp-toothed blade that cuts parallel to the workpiece. This arrangement is mostly used for cutting metal. Vertical bandsaws contain a blade that cuts perpendicular to the workpiece. This arrangement is mostly used to cut woods, MDF, and thin metals.
On the other hand, a portable bandsaw is a cordless, typically handheld tool that is used to cut metals, wood, and plastic. The saw has a horizontal serrated blade that you can angle as desired to cut the workpiece. Unlike the stationary saw where you feed the workpiece onto the table, a portable bandsaw is flexible in terms of the angles required to cut the piece.
You can angle the saw anywhere between 90 and 180 degrees for the desired cut. In addition, the pressure applied by the portable bandsaw can be manipulated according to the material being cut. While woods require steady and slow pressure, metals require heavy pressure for clean cuts.
In addition to mobility, you can use portable bandsaws to create kerfs and notches on wood which are useful in creating roofs, ships, and other structures which require joining multiple seams or shafts of wood. Since it’s easier to manipulate the pressure and angle of the workpiece when using a bandsaw, it is preferable for creating kerfs and notches with accuracy. Stationary bandsaws are more suited to clean cuts and can make it difficult to create notches of specific depths.
While portable bandsaws are highly versatile, they require the expertise of the woodworker to produce good results. The angles, direction, and type of blade to use depend on the kind of cut that is required and the material being used. Generally, metal pieces require thicker and faster blades for making clean cuts, due to the strength of the substance. In contrast, plastic and wood require lower blade speed and lesser pressure.
6 Portable Bandsaw Uses
With that out of the way, let’s dive into the uses of portable bandsaws.
1. Cutting Metal Sheets
Portable bandsaws are ideal for cutting metal sheets. The versatility of the bandsaw allows for changing the blade speed according to the metal. Typically, metal pieces require higher blade speed and more pressure than wood pieces. A portable bandsaw can allow adjusting the speed and pressure for perfect clean cuts.
However, portable bandsaws are not suited to thicker metal pieces which might require a larger apparatus.
2. Cutting Pipes
Portable bandsaws are useful for cutting small plastic and metal pipes around the house. The ease of carrying the bandsaw makes it handy when mending and fixing fittings.
3. Creating Notches/Kerfs
Creating notches in wood is required to create wooden frames for different construction purposes, such as trusses and purlins. The wood shafts need to be attached with others to form a stable frame as a foundation for more work. You can use a portable bandsaw to make these notches at the correct depths with minimal splintering and chip out. To do this make sure that your bandsaw is at a 30-degree angle to the wood.
Using a portable bandsaw allows the woodworker to ensure that the kerf is not too deep. In addition, the thinness of the blade ensures that the kerfs are not too thick, which can cause the wood to become breakable and unstable.
4. Resawing Wood
Resawing is the process of splitting large pieces of wood into smaller and thinner slabs. This process is used to create wood veneers, including fine veneers for plywood. It is also used to cut large logs into planks or boards for making furniture and upholstery.
One of the biggest advantages of using a portable bandsaw to resaw wood is that it can slice wider pieces of wood as compared to other saws such as a table saw. In addition, the bandsaw can help cut thinner pieces, using a thin blade for the cut.
5. Cutting Meat
In addition to being used for woodwork and metalwork, it is common to find a portable bandsaw at the butcher’s as well. This type of saw is commonly used to create clean meat cuts with minimal wastage and edging.
Using the saw reduces the amount of external pressure that needs to be applied by the butcher, especially for tougher meats. The saw is helpful in creating the desired cut with precision and minimal effort.
6. Making Decorative Cuts
Due to its light-weight mechanism, the portable saw is suited to creating intricate decorative cuts. This includes cutting curved shapes and carving wooden decor items. This powered saw is able to cut intricate patterns in woods of different thicknesses, due to its electrical mechanism.
While a hand-held portable saw can be used for this purpose, a standing portable saw will be more suited due to its stability. The type of blade used can affect the quality of the cut. Generally, thinner blades with shorter edges along the blade are suited to intricate or curved cuts and render clean cuts without splintering thin woods.
To sum up, if you need to cut thin metal sheets, short pipes, or make notches and kerfs in wood, a portable bandsaw will be a good choice. On the other hand, use a stationary bandsaw for thicker metal sheets, bigger pipes, or precision cutting in thicker wood.
In addition, portable bandsaws can be used for rough cuts as well as intricate cuts. It can be used to cut large logs into smaller pieces, split wood into thinner slices, or carve intricate patterns on woods of different thicknesses.
Though multiple variants of the universal handsaw exist, the portable bandsaw is one of the high-powered saws which can be used in several different scenarios due to its lightweight hand-held design. Its ability to integrate with different types of blades and work at very high speeds allows it to cut difficult materials and pieces of varying sizes.