The Band Saw! You know it, you love it. No properly equipped wood shop is complete with out a band saw

As I am sure that you already know the band saw is used primarily for cutting circles, curves and other irregular shapes.

If you have a handheld jigsaw you can generally get the same shapes made but with a lot less accuracy.

I know that it goes without saying, but this is a very dangerous piece of equipment and you should never use it while under the influence of drugs or alcohol and always wear the appropriate safety equipment while operating it. Unless you want your thumbs removed.

Side Tables

Side tables are a great addition to any band saw. They can be a great tool for cutting circles or bigger pieces that you are working on. To make one, all you need to do is laminate two 3/4 inch thick pieces of wood together and create a sturdy table the same height as the band saw.

Another method is to attach it to the band saw table with hinges and a locking mechanism so it neatly folds out of the way when you don't need it. I would love to give you exact instructions on how to do this, but since every table is different, you are just going to have to get inventive. My only advice is to make sure you are getting the alignment of your side table perfect before you drill some holes into your table top.

Circle Cutting Guide - Blade Thickness

If like me you use your band saw to cut a lot of circles, you know that their are limits to the radius that you can easily cut. I actually bought my first one when I wanted to cut some clean circles.

If you want to cut a circle with a 1 1/4 inch radius then you are going to need a blade that is half an inch wide. Here is a chart to keep track of this information.

Circle Radius Blade Width
1 1/4 inch 1/2 inch
1 inch 3/8 inch
3/4 inch 3/16 inch
1/2 inch 1/4 inch
1/4 inch 1/8 inch

Circle Cutting - Multi-Cuts

If like me, you don't have the time, resources or patience to change your blade every time you need to cut a different size circle, there is another method that you can use to cut circles. It is the art of making many straight cuts before you actually cut out the circle.

To do this you don't need to actually cut a curved line. What you do is, cut your piece in the shape of a pentagon or a hexagon or a octagon. The more sides you add, the more this piece is going to look roughly like a circle. Keep cutting away the edges until you can cut out a circle without the blade binding in the material that you are cutting.

Circle Cutting - Side Table

This the time that you are going to find that the side table you created for your band saw to be the most helpful. If you are looking to cut a large circle, you can nail your rectangular piece of material to the top of the side table. Make sure that the piece rotates freely and is nailed so the saw blade is in alignment with the circumference of the circle that you want to cut.

Once you are set up properly, you can rotate the piece that you working on so the saw blade cuts it into the circle that you want to make.